Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Black Cop Took Down Fort Hood Suspect

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Media "Fell Hook, Line . . . " for Different Story

Dobbs Hasn't Gone Away, Hispanic Journalists Warn

CNN Lays Off Its 4 Web Anchors, Ending Experiment

New AOL Site Features 17 White Writers, Editors

AOL Latino, ImpreMedia to Share Content

Sosa Skin Lightening Recalls Journalist's Satire

Latinos Mobilizing for Immigrant Rights in Health Bill

Coverage of Comedian's Arrest Found Wanting

Short Takes


Senior Sgt. Mark Todd of the Killeen, Texas, Police Department, was outside the visitors center at Fort Hood on Thursday. (Credit: Ozier Muhammad/New York Times)

Media "Fell Hook, Line. . ." for Different Story

"With the publication of an interview with Sgt. Mark Todd, the actual cop who gunned down the killer at Fort Hood - following its account of an unnamed eyewitness last night - The New York Times this afternoon finally underlined what some of us noticed from nearly the start: the media fell hook, line and sinker once again for a military account of what happened during the tragedy," Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher, wrote Thursday for the Huffington Post and Friday for the E&P site.

"First, it was the 'death' of the apparent mass murderer, Major [Nidal Malik] Hasan, not corrected for hours. Then, for days, the story of how a white female cop brought down the shooter, even as she was receiving serious wounds.

"Yet I noticed - without great searching - just hours after the attack that scattered eyewitnesses, via the Web and Twitter, were saying that the killer re-loaded after Kimberly Munley went down.

"How could he have done that if she had just plugged him four times, supposedly ending the rampage? Some of those witnesses said they yelled at the unnamed second cop to shoot Hasan - which he did, and then went up and kicked his gun away."

Mitchell concluded, "Just coincidence that a white woman got the credit over a black male? We'll soon find out. Perhaps. But this time, put aside the military's official narrative. First time, shame on the source. Second time, shame on the media. Third time?"

The Associated Press interviewed Todd, 42, a retired soldier who works as a civilian police officer at Fort Hood, on Saturday. After reporting Todd's account of the firefight, which lasted less than a minute, the AP's Jay Root wrote, "There has been confusion since Thursday's rampage about whose bullets actually brought down Hasan, who was shot four times. At first, Munley's supervisor said it was her shot to Hasan's torso that leveled him, but Army officials would only say that an investigation was under way."

Asked in the New York Times interview Thursday whether he had asked to be kept out of the limelight, Todd said, "Initially I wanted to stay pretty low key. This is a tragic event. I don't think the attention should be on me. The medics are the ones who saved everybody's life," the Times' James C. McKinley Jr. reported.

Todd and Munley appeared Wednesday on the "Oprah Winfrey Show." They did not give a detailed chronology of what happened, nor did they say who had fired and hit the suspect, McKinley wrote.

"How the authorities came to issue the original version of the story, which made Sergeant Munley a national hero for several days and obscured Sergeant Todd's role, remains unclear," the story continued.

"Six days after the shooting, the military has yet to put out a full account of what happened."

Military prosecutors have charged Hasan, 39, with 13 counts of premeditated murder. His attorney, John Galligan, said doctors have told Hasan he may be permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

News organizations continued to probe Hasan's possible connections with Muslim extremists and whether the Army failed to act on warning signs. Commentators debated the role of potential "political correctness" and how much Hasan's Muslim religion was a factor in events:

Dobbs Hasn't Gone Away, Hispanic Journalists Warn

Lou Dobbs resigned from CNN on Wednesday, but "Our fear is that CNN's gain, represented by the loss of Dobbs will simply be someone's pain elsewhere," the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said in a statement on Thursday.

Lou Dobbs says in his farewell announcement that 'some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond my role here at CNN.'  He continues his radio show.NAHJ said it welcomed Dobbs' departure from CNN, but noted that "Dobbs will continue as anchor of a daily radio show broadcast by more than 160 stations as part of the United Stations Radio Networks Inc. And even CNN acknowledges that his departure is based on his decision to 'carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere.' "

Dobbs, who joined the network at its inception in 1980, angered Latinos and others with his opinions and faulty facts on such issues as immigration and whether President Obama was born in the United States. Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/U.S. "said Thursday that Lou Dobbs had himself made the decision to end his long association with the cable news network after months of conversations about the direction of the channel away from the kind of opinion-based reporting that Mr. Dobbs preferred," Bill Carter reported for the New York Times.

"Dobbs’ 'reporting' prompted some groups earlier to demand that CNN either dismiss or control him, specifically on this issue of immigration. We’ve understood the deep concern Dobbs' reporting has generated but did not join these efforts," the NAHJ statement said. "Not because Dobbs is an NAHJ lifetime member by virtue of a single donation made earlier but because we believe that the best antidote to flawed journalism is good journalism, of the kind practiced both by our members and by most of the responsible press on the issue of immigration.

"In that spirit, today we call on CNN to keep the highest standards of journalism in mind as it considers Dobbs’ replacement, considering when it makes this decision the considerable harm Dobbs’ show has done to the cause of understanding on the issue of immigration in particular. It is an issue that has too long attracted fear mongering and inaccurate reporting."

The network announced on Thursday that Dobbs' slot would be filled by John King, a CNN anchor and chief national correspondent who has a reputation as a straight-news reporter.

Pink-slipped: From left, Reggie Aqui, Naamua Delaney, Melissa Long and Nicole Lapin 

CNN Lays Off Its 4 Web Anchors, Ending Experiment

"CNN laid off its four Web anchors on Thursday and said it had stopped producing continuous live video for, curtailing one of the Internet’s biggest news experiments," Brian Stelter reported Thursday in the New York Times.

A CNN spokeswoman confirmed that the laid-off anchors were Melissa Long, Naamua Delaney, Reggie Aqui and Nicole Lapin.

Before joining, Delaney, who has a law degree from the University of London, co-hosted a daily talk show on the NBC network's "iVillage Live," an interactive effort aimed at women that aired on NBC-owned television stations and the Bravo cable network.

Aqui reported for KHOU-TV in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and was a freelance correspondent for CNN in Chicago.

The four could be seen especially during special events, such as last year's election coverage and the presidential inauguration, when viewers could follow the stories on the site.

"The company, a unit of Time Warner, also said it was making new investments in on-demand video," Stelter's story continued.

"Along with the four anchors, CNN eliminated an unspecified number of production positions, a spokeswoman said.

" will still show live streams of events like press conferences. The Web site’s general manager, KC Estenson, said the company would shift more resources to on-demand video and would hire seven employees in its original video production unit by the end of the year."

New AOL Site Features 17 White Writers, Editors

Top editors Claire Robinson, left, managing editor, and Mike Porath, editor in chiefAOL is giving viewers a sneak preview of its new news Web site — and its roster of 17 white writers and editors.

"Sphere is a preview of what's to come," the Web site says of "the next phase in the evolution of AOL News. Here you will find original reporting, analysis and commentary from our ever-growing cast of top-notch journalists."

"In the past few months, we've brought on writers and editors from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, The Atlantic and other great news organizations. And our network of contributors around the world is expanding each week.

"We had planned to wait until early next year to unveil Sphere, but the enthusiasm behind the project pushed us to reveal what we have so far. It's very much a work in progress. A more robust site is a few months away."

The editor in chief is Mike Porath, "an award-winning writer and editor who previously worked for ABC News, NBC News and The New York Times." Managing Editor is Claire Robinson, "a longtime news editor at AOL."

An AOL spokeswoman, asked about the absence of journalists of color among the 17 hires, said "we are just starting. It is going to be a diverse staff. It's super-early."

AOL Sports has hired several sportswriters of color, such as Terry Harris, Terence Moore, Calvin Watkins and Sunny Wu. AOL's Politics Daily features commentary from Mary C. Curtis, formerly of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, and occasionally from Donna Britt, formerly of the Washington Post. Matthew Scott, formerly with Black Enterprise, has been a fulltime reporter/editor for since April.

Tiane Gordon Mitchell, who grew up in a large, poor family in South Carolina but was the first in her family to go to college, is AOL's senior vice president for diversity and inclusion. She could not be reached for comment.

AOL Latino, ImpreMedia to Share Content

AOL Latino, a bilingual portal for U.S. Hispanics, and impreMedia, the nation's leading Spanish-language online and print news publisher, Thursday announced an agreement to share content.

The announcement was made during a week in which AOL trimmed about 100 positions, with more expected. An AOL spokeswoman would not say how AOL Latino was affected or indicate whether the layoffs and the content-sharing with impreMedia were related.

"The agreement establishes that both companies, which are widely accepted by Latino cybernauts, will share content in two areas in particular: impreMedia, with an ample base of news coverage in the main cities with Hispanic presence in the United States, will provide news content to AOL Latino, which includes breaking news stories, analysis of the most recent local events and human interest stories, among others," the announcement said.

"On the other hand, AOL Latino will provide its content in the lifestyle area, which includes fashion, beauty, family issues and others."


Sammy Sosa at various stages, complexions. (Credit: Chicago Tribune)

Sosa Skin Lightening Recalls Journalist's Satire

The apparent skin lightening undertaken by the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa led Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman to recall the late journalist, social satirist and novelist George Schuyler.

George Schuyler"A former reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier, Mr. Schuyler was both a black conservative and a 'race man,' an archaic term that refers to someone who takes upon himself the duty of protecting and defending the black race," Norman wrote on Tuesday.

"First published in 1931, 'Black No More' is a hilarious and brutal tale about Max Disher, a Harlem insurance agent and neighborhood rogue who undergoes a pigment-lightening process said to have been invented by Dr. Junius Crookmore, a black mad scientist. Dr. Crookmore's studies in Germany led to the invention of a machine that turns people of African descent into Swedes and Norwegians.

"Once Max takes on his new identity as a white man, he changes his name to Matt Fisher and marries the unsuspecting daughter of a notorious white supremacist. As you can imagine, all sorts of hilarity and racial subversion ensue.

". . . Mr. Sosa denies hanging around the modern equivalent of Dr. Crookmore's 'black no more' machine," Norman continues. "A former Chicago Cubs community relations flack blames the lighting in recent photos for Mr. Sosa's pale look."

Norman says that "Someone lightening his skin has bought into an inherently corrupt measurement of worth in society." But he concludes, "Who says that you only get one bite at the apple of racial identity? For all his brilliance, George Schuyler could be wrong. In the end, looking askance at what many would consider pitiful attempts at racial migration is just another way of being prejudiced."

Latinos Mobilizing for Immigrant Rights in Health Bill

"After trying to carefully balance their interests in health-care reform and immigration, the nation's Hispanic lawmakers and largest advocacy groups are scrambling to develop a strategy to counter what they see as efforts to shortchange immigrants in health bills on Capitol Hill, Krissah Thompson reported Thursday in the Washington Post.

"They had tried to keep the two issues apart, concerned, they said, that immigration would distract from health care. But other lawmakers and activists have inserted the immigration issue into the middle of the health-care debate, causing a collision between what Hispanic leaders call their two top policy priorities."

Coverage of Comedian's Arrest Found Wanting

Katt Williams after Nov. 8 arrest (Coweta County Sheriff's Dept.)"Comedian Katt Williams has been arrested in Georgia on trespassing and burglary charges. We have a hard time believing the millionaire performer stole the $3,500 worth of jewelry and coins reported missing," Pandora Young reported Monday for MediaBistro. "Clearly there's more to the story — but reports by CNN, the Associated Press and Associated Content simply quote the Coweta County Sheriff's department and the arrest report. TMZ  is the only news outlet we can find that bothered to speak to someone in Willams' camp."

"Katt Williams was not burglarizing anyone and his arrest for same is totally bogus — according to Katt's lawyer.

"William Briggs told TMZ Katt was in Georgia shooting a movie, staying at the property of a friend and the movie's producer, Barry Hankerson.

"Briggs says the reason his client was busted is because he was involved in a dispute with one of Barry's employees who lives in the guesthouse. The vengeful employee called the cops and reported a faux burglary, Briggs says. Briggs adds Katt had 'full permission' to be on the property and has been staying there for the last 3 weeks."

On Tuesday, Dionne Walker of the Associated Press added to the story. She reported, "A Coweta County magistrate set bond at $41,150 Monday afternoon. Williams was released Monday night. As he emerged from the Coweta County Jail, he called the alleged burglary 'a misunderstanding between me and two stupid detectives.'"

Short Takes

  • "Outgoing White House communications director Anita Dunn didn't back down from her broadside against Fox News Channel in an interview Friday," Eamon Javers reported Friday for Politico. "'The reality is that, you know, let's face it, you know, we're under no illusions about what the political agenda of, you know, certain news networks are,' Dunn told Bloomberg's Al Hunt in an interview conducted as part of the Bloomberg Washington Summit at the Newseum."
  • "Current TV correspondent Euna Lee, who with her colleague Laura Ling was captured by North Korea and sentenced to 12 years hard labor before being freed, is writing her memoir of the experience for the Broadway Books imprint of Random House," Keith J. Kelly reported Friday in the New York Post. "She received a six figure advance for the book, tentatively titled, 'The World is Bigger Now: A Memoir of Faith, Family and Freedom.' " Glamour magazine this month named Lee and Ling "Women of the Year 2009."
  • "Megan Williams is changing her story of abuse -- again," Gary A. Harki reported Nov. 6 for the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette. "She now says that she was raped and tortured. Less than a month ago, a lawyer representing Williams held a press conference saying Williams was recanting her original claims."
  • "Pennsylvania-based publisher Rodale Inc. landed a series of exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on how the first family keeps healthy and fit," Jason Fell reported Thursday for Folio. "The stories, and their respective cover treatments, appeared on the October issues of Men's Health and Women's Health, as well as the November issue of Prevention. . . . While specific figures have yet to be tallied, sales of the October issues of Men's Health and Women's Health are 'tracking similarly' to the October issues in 2008, a Rodale spokesperson told FOLIO. (The October 2008 issue remains the magazine's best-selling issue to-date, Rodale said.) Meanwhile, Prevention' November issue, which featured Michelle Obama on the cover, is on track to beat last year' November issue by 33 percent, the spokesperson said."
  • BET News' "Heart of the City," which debuted this fall with a successful special on the Detroit schools, returns Sunday at 10 p.m. Eastern. "Through the intimate story of people fighting obesity, and insight offered by health experts, HEART OF THE CITY: DYING TO EAT IN JACKSON, reveals the socio-economic, cultural, and lifestyle choices that cause so many people in the black community to suffer poor health because of their obesity," an announcement says. Star Jones hosts the special, set in Mississippi.
  • Ebony's eight covers for the December-January "Power 150" issue.

  • Ebony magazine is publishing eight separate covers for its December-January issue, saluting trailblazers with a


    Power 150 list." "After months of strategizing, the company also decided to make fundamental changes to enhance the iconic EBONY brand. As part of the Ebony brand re-launch campaign, that will roll out over the next several months, we will position our branded channels including print, digital, entertainment and consumer products to meet the ever-changing consumer demands in the marketplace. 'The Celebration issue is the first step forward in our evolving branding strategy, which will help underscore our competitive edge and signal EBONY


    new direction,' said President and COO Anne Sempowski Ward," the company said Thursday in a news release.
  • At a Washington dinner Thursday celebrating its 25th anniversary, the International Federation of Journalists heard from Chouchou Namegabe, a reporter from the lawless eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who said sexual violence against women is getting worse and called for action [Video.] The keynote speaker was David Rohde of the New York Times, who spoke of the Taliban's grip on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was his first public address since escaping from the Taliban in June. [Video.]
  • New York University has announced The Reporting Award of 2010, to be given to "a significant work of journalism in any medium on an under-reported topic in the public interest." The winner gets $2,500 on announcement of the winning proposal; an additional $10,000 on completion of the project and $6,000 in NYU graduate journalism student research and fact-checking assistance.
  • Richard Prince discussed Monday's and Wednesday's Journal-isms columns with Keith Murphy on "The Urban Journal" on XM Satellite Radio (Segment two).
  • "The story of the attack on three Cuban bloggers a week ago is still developing. Not only did more international organizations denounce the incident," Jose Simian reported on, but Yoani Sanchez announced through Twitter, to her more than 13,000 followers, that she had identified one of her attackers, and named him.
  • Gannett Co. announced Friday it has partnered with The Smile Train, the world' largest cleft charity, to distribute free DVD copies of Smile Train', Oscar-winning documentary, "Smile Pinki" to 1 million subscribers of Gannett-owned newspapers on Sunday. "'Smile Pinki' won the Oscar in February for Best Short Documentary and follows Pinki, a young girl in rural India whose life is transformed when she receives free surgery to correct her cleft lip. The Smile Train' mission is to help very poor children in developing countries who are suffering with unrepaired clefts."
  • "Two Pakistani journalists, Rab Nawaz Joya and Javed Kanwal Chandor, have been held since 10 November in a police station in Okara district, in the northeastern province of Punjab. Although charged with theft and fraud, they were arrested for helping Pakistani and international news media get background information about Ajmal Kasab, a participant in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai," Reporters Without Borders said on Friday.
  • "Disciplinary records related to citizen complaints against Chicago police officers will not be released to the public in a lawsuit brought by a reporter and local government officials, a federal appeals court ruled Nov. 10," Kirk Davis reported Wednesday for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago (7th Cir.) overturned a 2007 decision to unseal disciplinary records of eight Chicago police officers sought by journalist Jamie Kalven and 28 [aldermen] elected Chicago officials who represent different wards within the city."
  • Katherine Reynolds Lewis, a freelance writer who was the money and work reporter in the Newhouse News Service Washington Bureau, which closed a year ago, has organized a free teleconference on "How to Succeed As a Freelancer or Consultant." It is co-sponsored by the Washington chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and and runs from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST next Wednesday, Nov. 18.

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@sphere and its all-white cast

It's early, huh? I'll bet they didn't even notice the their all-white staff until Journalisms pointed it out.

On Fort Hood and AOL Sphere items, from Facebook

Comments from Facebook on Fort Hood and AOL Sphere items in this column (names removed). Facebook users: Sign up for the "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" fan page. good to see you do this. it has bothered me for days! what did they think--the black man couldn't shoot? purty shameful! and how the lady could continue taking the credit is also beyond me. ------------------- An AOL spokeswoman, asked about the absence of journalists of color among the 17 hires, said "we are just starting. It is going to be a diverse staff. It's super-early." Guess they couldn't find anyone eh? -------------- Richard, the AOL story and the Ft. Hood story are both tremendously important. I am constantly boggled by the idea that you can build the future of news without diversity. (I hate the word diversity, btw, but cannot conjure up something better. I just think the word has become toothless.) In any case, being someone who has gotten to see efforts to... Read More "save" journalism, I'm troubled that technophilia gets construed as an excuse to hire all-white or almost all white staffs. There are plenty of web-savvy African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Arab-Americans, East Asian Americans, South Asian Americans, etc etc etc who have experience in both technology and journalism. But I guess no one has their information. Maybe I need to make a list and send it! --------------- To quote Gloria Steinem, "The truth will set you free, but first it will make you mad." Check not only the Ft. Hood story but also the all-white AOL news startup. I guess the fact that America will be majority non-white in the year 2042 (according to Census) means this project has a planned obsolescence. If anyone need...s to hire web-savvy people of color who also know the news industry, but "can't find anyone" or "it's too early" in the project (AOL's excuse)... call me! I have a big rolodex and if your HR department can't handle buildi ------------------- I've learned to believe absolutely nothing reported within the first 48 hours of a big event. The initial reports are almost routinely wrong, and often badly so. When it involves DOD, you shouldn't assume accuracy for at least a year (Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch). It's sad and cynical, but events bear it out. -------------- Its whack!!!! -------------- Ugh. Makes me so angry, I guess because it's the truth. ----------- have you heade any conspiracy stories behind this shooting;' like Pres Clinton and Bush I were trying to rob the WWII stores at FT. Hood, and even as I write it is seems ludicrous..but when I read this line in the link, ""Six days after the shooting, the military has yet to put out a full account of what happened.", it just seems to reinforce plenty and so much else is amiss in this whole episode. --------- Not trying to defend them, but "six days after the shooting" is nothing in military time. It can take ages for the "official version" to be released and even then it might be revised multiple times. ---------- This neo-Jessica-Lynch thing is really disgusting. Who would have thought they could make the Ft. Hood thing worse just through bureacratic activities? It should be unbelievable, instead it's frakkin typical. Ugh. This whole episode is such a microcosm. ------------ re the AOL start-up, I see three people of color featured in the news stories just now. Above the fold is the story of Manjit Singh, a British Indian brother who pulled a double decker bus with his hair. Then scroll down and there's a story on former Rep. Jefferson getting sentenced, and below that, something with a photo of Michael Steele. Yay Diversity! ------------------- I would not be surprised if AOL becomes Murdochian. Sounds like his kinda place.. -------------- they're apparently aware of SE Asian journalists, and quite happy to bring them in as a sop to "diversity," a word that like you I believe has run its course. (Apologies for the screwy grammar but it is late now, and this entire topic -- willfully ignorant/protectionist white J-Industry Gatekeepers -- has begun to wear me out.) -----------------

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