Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Racism a Bigger Foe for Obama Than Believed

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

AP Survey Finds Bigotry a Critical Factor in Election

A button advertised on a racist Web site. 'A bigot doesn't think he's a bigot,' Stanford professor Paul Sniderman says."Many white Democratic and independent voters are steering clear of Barack Obama because of the color of his skin, according to a new poll that shows racial prejudice is more widespread and critical to the election than commonly thought," according to an advisory from the Associated Press about a survey to be released this weekend.

A Stanford political science professor who worked on the study, Paul Sniderman, told Journal-isms on Friday there was no significant difference between white Republicans, white Democrats and white independents in the level of bias.

"A bigot doesn't think he's a bigot," Sniderman said. "He thinks he's seeing the world just as it is. That's why bigotry is a force.

"It doesn't follow that Obama can't win," he continued, but "it's up to him to win it."

[The story, released Saturday, began, "Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks - many calling them 'lazy,' 'violent,' responsible for their own troubles.

["The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 - about two and one-half percentage points.

[". . . The findings suggest that Obama's problem is close to home - among his fellow Democrats, particularly non-Hispanic white voters. Just seven in 10 people who call themselves Democrats support Obama, compared to the 85 percent of self-identified Republicans" who back Republican John McCain.

["Statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama's support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice."]

The national study was conducted by Stanford's Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, with professors Jon Krosnick, Morris Fiorina and Sniderman collaborating.

Sniderman said the survey results did not surprise him, as he has been conducting research on prejudice since 1985. "But it's great that people will have the evidence right in front of them. This is just a wonderful opportunity for people to be able to see a part of the world that we've persuaded ourselves doesn't exist," he told Journal-isms.

In its advisory Thursday, the news cooperative said, "The candidacy of Barack Obama, bidding to become the first black president, will test Americans' racial attitudes when they vote Nov. 4.

"In a landmark survey, Stanford University, in conjunction with The Associated Press and Yahoo! News, examined the racial views of Democrats, Republicans and independents, and how their impressions could affect the contest between Obama and Republican John McCain."

For Sunday, AP said, it plans a story on the poll "that shows racial prejudice is more widespread and critical to the election than commonly thought."

For Monday afternoon papers, it said, it is moving a story concluding, "Racism remains a major part of American life."

For Tuesday morning papers, "A look at the presidential contest and the issue of race in a battleground state, Ohio."

The initial story released Saturday was written by Ron Fournier, Washington bureau chief, and Trevor Tompson, manager of news surveys, both white journalists. Sonya Ross, a news editor in the Washington bureau and a black journalist, was listed as one of five contributors.  [Updated Sept. 20]

In '05, NPR Paid Gordon $478,000 to Host "News & Notes"

Ed Gordon signed on with Black Enterprise after leaving National Public Radio. (credit: Black Enterprise)When National Public Radio replaced Ed Gordon in 2006 as host of its daily "News & Notes" hour, it removed its most highly paid host for that fiscal year, according to a tax form filed by NPR.

Gordon was No. 4 on its list of the highest paid hosts for fiscal 2006, the 2005 tax year. He earned $232,932, and he was compensated an additional $245,525 in benefits, the form states.

That contrasts with "All Things Considered" co-host Robert Siegel, who received $311,346 plus $27,052 in benefits; Renee Montagne, co-host of "Morning Edition," $307,675 plus $29,577 in benefits; and Steve Inskeep, the other co-host of "Morning Edition," $293,947 plus $37,754 in benefits. The fifth person on the list is Black Truitt, director of corporate sponsorships.

Gordon, who came to prominence as a host on Black Entertainment Television, debuted "News & Notes With Ed Gordon" in January 2005 after the sudden departure of Tavis Smiley. He stayed until September 2006, when he was replaced by substitute host Farai Chideya after Gordon complained about the show's treatment by NPR.

Gordon questioned NPR's ability to connect with African Americans, but his detractors privately painted a portrait of a host who was overly critical of and distant from the show's staff, doing his part of the show from his home.

Speaking of Gordon's compensation, Chideya told Journal-isms Friday that "the information was news to me" and that it comes at a time when "News & Notes" "has not been able to access the resources available to us. I don't believe it's appropriate for us to discuss my compensation in strict terms, but I'm glad that Ed Gordon was compensated well, if in fact, he was compensated well. We as black hosts at NPR are aware that we have to fight for every penny we get."

She added that the show had just secured a grant of more than $150,000 from the Ford Foundation to pursue immigration coverage.

Gordon, who now hosts the weekly, syndicated "Our World With Black Enterprise" for Black Enterprise magazine, did not respond to requests for comment.

Explaining Form 990, posted by NPR on the Internet and publicized on Thursday by blogger Michael Petrelis, NPR spokeswoman Anna Christoper said, "The five highest compensated employees are reported on the 990 based on 1) all types of compensation paid during the fiscal year; 2) employer provided benefits; and 3) any deferred compensation. Based on these criteria, Ed Gordon qualified for the list in fiscal year 2006/tax year 2005."

Charges Dropped Against Journalists Arrested at RNC

"The city of St. Paul is declining to prosecute most, if not all, journalists arrested in connection with protests during the Republican National Convention," Jason Hoppin reported Friday for Minnesota's St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"The city said today that it is dropping misdemeanor charges against the journalists. Dozens of journalists were among the more than 800 arrested during the four-day event earlier this month.

"A spokesman for the city said charges dropped include those against Amy Goodman, host of the left-leaning 'Democracy Now!' show."

"This is an important first step, but many questions remain," said Nancy Doyle Brown from Twin Cities Media Alliance, the media advocacy group Free Press reported.

Goodman said on the "Democracy Now" Web site, "It's good that these false charges have finally been dropped, but we never should have been arrested to begin with. These violent and unlawful arrests disrupted our work and had a chilling effect on the reporting of dissent. Freedom of the press is also about the public's right to know what is happening on their streets. There needs to be a full investigation of law enforcement activities during the

The arrests had drawn protests from a variety of journalism and civil liberties groups.

"In this era of new technology and broader participation in citizen and independent journalism, it may become increasingly difficult for police to tell journalists from those who are not," the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said. "But police must be aware it is their duty to try, and to respect the role of the press in a democracy. When the media has credentials, as was the case with Goodman and other journalists arrested, the police should have a much easier job."

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said the city attorney's office recommended against prosecuting reporters for the misdemeanor charge.

"This decision reflects the values we have in St. Paul to protect and promote our First Amendment rights to freedom of the press," Coleman said in a prepared statement, according to Chris Williams, reporting for the Associated Press.

"He added, 'At the scene, the police did their duty in protecting public safety. In this decision, we are serving the public's interest to maintain the integrity of our democracy, system of justice and freedom of the press.'"

Some Try to Relate Wall Street Crisis to Average Citizen

The Spanish-language New York tabloid El Diario/La Prensa asked Friday in bold type, "Who's to Blame?"

Inside were stories about the worst week on Wall Street since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including a person-on-the-street feature in which interviewees were asked to assess blame. Many named President Bush. So did an editorial, in a David Letterman-style Top 10 list.

In Cincinnati, Enquirer business reporter Keith Reed wrote stories for a number of outlets --,, and his own blog, in addition to the newspaper. "It's easier to believe that what happens to rich investment bankers is unrelated to our own efforts to keep a decent gig, pay the bills and stash at least a little sum'n away," Reed said on

"The problem is we can't afford to ignore it anymore, and that's precisely because we as consumers and taxpayers ignored Wall Street's problems and excesses for too long. In fact, we've been partners in building Wall Street's house of cards, which, just like the real-world housing market, is tumbling brick-by-painful-brick."

In different ways, many in the media were attempting to relate the Wall Street catastrophe to the personal lives of ordinary people, including people of color.

Summing up, the New York Times wrote for Saturday, "At the end of a week that will be long remembered for the wrenching changes it brought to Wall Street and Washington," Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary, "and Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, told lawmakers that the financial system had come perilously close to collapse. . . . Mr. Bernanke said that Wall Street had plunged into a full-scale panic, and warned lawmakers that their own constituents were in danger of losing money on holdings in ultra-conservative money market funds."

"It touches everybody's pocket, eventually," Miguel Sarmiento, managing editor of El Diario/La Prensa, told Journal-isms, speaking of the crisis and his Spanish-speaking readers. "With the mortgage and subprime rate debacle, a lot of readers have been affected by these types of loans -- and I mean a lot. It's the political moment."

"Did I miss my call from Uncle Sam when I faced foreclosure?" asked Sidmel Estes-Sumpter, a media consultant and a former president of the National Association of Black Journalists, Wednesday on her blog. "Did Alan Greenspan and the gang try to come up with some relief for me when I had to pay my son's college tuition at the same time that all the utility bills were due? Where is my bailout????"

"Workers are looking at their futures dissolving in front of them," labor leader Bill Fletcher said Friday on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" "It's as if it's a piece of film that's melting before their eyes, as these overly ambitious objectives were stated in terms of pension investments.

"So, what workers are now wondering is, as they watch their 401(k)s decline, as they watch their pensions disappear, what kind of future do they have? And can they actually retire? And I don't mean that as a rhetorical point . . . It is like, will workers be able to retire, or, actually, are we talking about working until you drop?"

Not everyone was seeking to explain the Wall Street disaster to the common man. Black Enterprise had little about it on its Web site. Same with Hispanic Business, whose managing editor, Michael Bowker, explained that many in his audience are CEOs and 70 percent don't speak Spanish, so they don't need special explanations as readers in other demographic groups might.

The Gawker Web site localized the story for readers of financial magazines, looking at the advice those magazines had given about investing in the doomed companies.

It was headlined, "How Magazines Led Investors Toward Ruin."

Pew Survey Finds Pessimism Among Latinos

"Half (50%) of all Latinos say that the situation of Latinos in this country is worse now than it was a year ago, according to a new nationwide survey of 2,015 Hispanic adults conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, the center reported on Thursday.

"This pessimism is especially prevalent among immigrants, who account for 54% of all Hispanic adults in the United States. Fully 63% of these Latino immigrants say that the situation of Latinos has worsened over the past year. In 2007, just 42% of all adult Hispanic immigrants -- and just 33% of all Hispanic adults -- said the same thing."

"These increasingly downbeat assessments come at a time when the Hispanic community in this country -- numbering approximately 46 million, or 15.4% of the total U.S. civilian non-institutional population--has been hit hard by rising unemployment . . . and stepped-up immigration enforcement."

Keith Harriston Takes Buyout at Washington Post

Keith Harriston (credit: Washington Post)Keith Harriston, a 23-year employee of the Washington Post who has been metro editor, deputy metro editor, deputy national editor, city editor and reporter, bid farewell to the Post this week.

Harriston, who just turned 50, was among the last to leave of more than 100 whose buyout offers were accepted in the spring. "I want to stay in journalism," Harriston told Journal-isms, though he has nothing firm lined up. Jon Perkins, a longtime copy editor and also a black journalist, took a buyout as well. Perkins came to the Post from the Detroit Free Press, where he worked from 1988 to 1991, and had been at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Warren (Ohio) Tribune and Bloomington (Ind.) Pantagraph.

"What fun I've had working with many of you, probing the lives of real characters whose stories often unfolded like a script destined for HBO," Harriston wrote to colleagues. "Len Bias to Marion Barry, JFK Jr. to Elian Gonzalez and the DC Sniper to Chandra Levy . . . one helluva ride."  Maryland basketball star Bias died of cocaine intoxication in 1986; Levy was a government intern who disappeared in 2001 after having an affair with Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.

. . . And Tamer El-Ghobashy Takes N.Y. Daily News Offer

Tamer El-GhobashyTamer El-Ghobashy, a 29-year-old police reporter at the New York Daily News, is among 25 editorial staffers the rival New York Post says took a buyout by the News' Sept. 12 deadline, sparing layoffs at the paper.

"It's been a great almost 9-years at the News, but this a good opportunity to move on and grow my career with a little money to take risks with," El-Ghobashy told Journal-isms via e-mail on Friday.

"I feel like at age 29, I have amassed a solid body of work that can help me build the next phase of my career. I'm unsure what I'm moving onto but I would like to learn multimedia reporting and explore overseas journalism opportunities. I have five months to figure it out before the buy out money runs out! I also plan to take a breather and do some traveling before charging ahead."

El-Ghobashy has been a board member of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association and was featured in the first episode of the 2006 Bravo reality series "Tabloid Wars," chasing a shooting in the Howard Beach section of Queens.

After Loss, Kevin Powell Eyes 2010, Promotes Book

Kevin Powell, journalist and activist, says he has moved on from his decisive defeat in his bid for Congress this month and is promoting a new book: "The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life."

A former senior writer at Vibe magazine and author of eight books, Powell attempted to unseat veteran Rep. Edolphus "Ed" Towns, D-N.Y., in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, portraying it as a generational battle. He lost, 67 percent to 33 percent.

Veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf told the New York Daily News that insurgents typically have a tough time. "Money and organization support won the day," he said.

Powell did not change his tune in his concession statement, posted on his Web site.

"I want to thank every single person who supported, donated, and believed in my run for Congress here in Brooklyn, NY's 10th Congressional district," it began. "I acknowledge that Congressman Edolphus 'Ed' Towns won the race this time around. But I also acknowledge that the good people of Brooklyn lost for another two years. If Mr. Towns has done little to nothing for the district during his 26 years in office, we seriously doubt that he is suddenly going to change now."

He told Journal-isms he would try again in 2010. "Barack and a few of us are going to open up some doors," he said.

Short Takes

  • "A Boston Globe reporter at the center of a Miami schools Tania deLuzuriagascandal is fighting for her job, as the Hub newspaper tries to deal with the embarrassment and questions about her professional ethics," Christine McConville wrote Thursday in the rival Boston Herald. "Journalist Tania deLuzuriaga¬†has been on vacation since last week, when the Miami Herald reported that she may have had a romantic relationship with a high-ranking school administrator while reporting on the school district for the newspaper."
  • "An Associated Press reporter in Vietnam was punched, choked and hit over the head with a camera by police who detained him Friday while he covered a Catholic prayer vigil in the communist country," the AP reported¬†from Thailand. "Ben Stocking, the Hanoi bureau chief for The Associated Press, was released from police custody after about 2¬? hours and required four stitches on the back of his head."
  • Robert Flores was promoted to co-host of ESPN's flagship midday "SportsCenter." He joined ESPN in 2005 as anchor for ESPNews, the ShopTalk newsletter reported.
  • "Everyone's a hurricane reporter when a storm approaches, and Houston's television and radio sports types put in long hours in that regard during Hurricane Ike's approach and arrival and the long days since its departure," David Barron reported¬†Friday in the Houston Chronicle. "Jorge Vargas of KIAH (Ch. 39) and Bob Slovak of KTRK (Ch. 13) covered the fire at Brennan's restaurant as Ike rolled from the Gulf toward Houston, and Vargas rode out the storm at the Hyatt parking garage. Mark Berman of KRIV (Ch. 26) and photographer Raymond Ramirez were at the Kemah boardwalk last Friday as Ike approached and returned Tuesday to survey the damage."
  • "When 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' was first broadcast in Saudi Arabia in November 2004 on a Dubai-based satellite channel, it became an immediate sensation among young Saudi women. Within months, it had become the highest-rated English-language program among women 25 and younger, an age group that makes up about a third of Saudi Arabia's population," Katherine Zoepf wrote¬†Thursday in the New York Times. "In a country where the sexes are rigorously separated, where topics like sex and race are rarely discussed openly and where a strict code of public morality is enforced by religious police called hai'a, Ms. Winfrey provides many young Saudi women with new ways of thinking about the way local taboos affect their lives ‚Äî as well as about a variety of issues including childhood sexual abuse and coping with marital strife ‚Äî without striking them, or Saudi Arabia's ruling authorities, as subversive."
  • "Reporters Without Borders calls for the reopening of Channels TV, a
    independent television station whose Lagos headquarters and Abuja
    bureau were raided and closed by the federal State Security Service
    (SSS) yesterday after it wrongly reported that President Umaru
    was about to resign because of ill health," the press advocacy group said on Wednesday.
  • "As Americans count down to Election Day, CNN contributor Roland Martin will host his second special in a series examining the various issues driving this election. The special titled, 'What They're Not Saying. . . About Your Money,' airing this Saturday, Sept. 20, and Sunday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. (ET), will examine what it means to be middle class in America," CNN announced on Thursday.
  • In Hawaii, "KITV news anchor Shawn Ching will leave the station after the November Nielsen ratings to join the Kobayashi Sugita & Goda law firm. He will specialize in commercial litigation," the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported.

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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RE: Nancy Hicks Maynard

RE: Nancy Hicks Maynard WOW. That makes me feel so sad. I was in the Maynard Institute Summer Program for Minority Journalist in 1981; it was the forerunner of all of the minority recruitment programs that got many of us in the business. During that summer, in which I underwent 'boot camp' to become a journalists, Bob Maynard was considered the father of the program. Nancy Hicks Maynard was our mother. Her giving nature but strict adherence to journalistic principles was the perfect counter-balance to other instructors. You always wanted to do your best because if you didn't, you knew Nancy would be disappointed in you. I honor Nancy Hicks Maynard in everything I do in this business. She was truly one of my biggest influences. Rest is Peace Eugene Kane Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Columnist

the lady in black

the lady in black miki turner one of the highlights of my career was the opportunity to work for and with bob and nancy maynard at the oakland tribune. i say "with" because it always felt as though the "trib" was such a collaborative effort that no one really worked for anyone else. we were all in it together. perhaps that was because it was so important to the maynards that their newsroom reflect the community we served. at the trib it was not unusual to have a black city editor send an asian photographer and white writer to cover a latino funeral in east oakland, which would then be edited by an irish catholic assistant city editor. that was life at the trib, the best place i ever worked. one of the worst things about working there was also the best. there was no money. but that just made us work harder. the maynards, along with eric newton and roy aarons wouldn't settle for mediocrity, so even though the trib didn't have the numbers or the cash flow, we had the talent, the commitment and more importantly, the desire to be the very best. that was something nancy, particularly, insisted on. she was such an accomplished woman with sterling credentials. to this day i've never ever met another journalist with equal parts style and intelligence. the first time i met nancy was in 1989 at the opening reception for IJE's prestigious summer program for minority journalists. honestly, she scared me just a little. she was so glam and graceful. it kind of felt like having an audience with the queen. i think we all secretly wanted to be her. as luck would have it i was placed in the sports department at the trib following my completion of the program. although i was still somewhat scared of nancy, my fear dissipated once i got to know her. nancy always wore black. nancy always looked good. nancy was not a hands-on kind of mentor, but she always had time for you and praised your efforts when you had done well. nancy was a great mom. nancy's home office was solid red and was the coolest room i'd ever seen. nancy always smiled at me and spoke when she walked past my desk, but i'll never forget that one time when she rolled her eyes at me. it was my 34th birthday and i was bemoaning the fact that i was six years from 40--as if that milestone would mark the end of my life. nancy was like, "baby, please." the last time i saw nancy was at the memorial service for roy aarons here in l.a. at USC. i literally fell into her arms because i tripped on a snag in the carpet. although i hadn't seen her since Bob's funeral in '93, seeing her there felt like i was back in that dusty old newsroom on the fourth floor of the tribune tower in downtown oakland. it felt good. i always loved being around her. she was smart, straight-forward, cosmopolitan, somewhat vulnerable and knew her way around a joke. the more i got to know her, the more i adored her. you really couldn't help but look up to NHM. about 13 years ago i was asked to write a tribute speech to nancy at an event honoring her career. i was in cincinnati at the time and missed my plane and was unable to get to oakland in time. i was crushed because i'd never actually had the opportunity to tell her how much i appreciated the influence she had on my career and life. i knew then i might never get another chance to do so. the irony. i think, however, she knew. maybe she got a clue when i started wearing more black than usual. nancy, thanks so much for letting me ride on your shoulders. miki turner writer/producer los angeles

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