Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Boston Suspects Darkened for Magazine Cover

Send by email
Friday, May 3, 2013

Tsarnaevs Are White, but Look More Like the "Other"

Up to 5 Senior Blacks Leaving USA Today, Gannett

T.J. Holmes Says He's Officially a Free Agent

Could Fact-Checkers Have Saved Howard Kurtz?

Media Were Silent on Gay Player Who Came Out in '70s

Denver Post Joins Papers Dropping "Illegal Immigrant"

G.M. of Morgan State Radio Heading to Orlando Station

Four in 5 Americans Oppose Changing "Redskins" Name

U.S. to Train Central American Journalists in Security

Short Takes

May 3 issue of The Week: How many white people on the cover? (Credit: brofiling.

Tsarnaevs Are White, but Look More Like the "Other"

"This is how brofiling actually works in real life," Hari Stephen Kumar wrote Thursday for his "brofiling" blog. "The Week Magazine ran with this image as their cover sketch.

"Just so it is said, clearly and unambiguously: the Tsarnaev brothers are white guys. They are white. The FBI's own wanted poster for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lists his race as 'white', but you would never know it from the cover image on The Week.

"Hold up the cover to someone else, and ask them how many white people they can see on the cover. Chances are they will identify Gabby Giffords on the top left and the image of the Boston policemen (all white men) on the top right, but how about those two guys in the center? Nope, not a chance that anyone would say these caricatures look white.

"Why? Because in addition to being white they are also 'Muslim', which is the current dehumanizing 'Other' label that whiteness has constructed as a sanctioned target for violence in US popular culture.

"This is how white privilege works in media representations and everyday life: when the criminal suspects are demonstrably white men, seize upon any aspect of difference and magnify it such that they become Othered, non-white, and menacing. If it is too hard to do so, simply dismiss them as aberrations and isolated cases of insanity. This is also how white culture, specifically the process of whiteness in conjunction with white privilege, portrays several non-white identities, including those that are now considered white but at one time were decidedly not so. . . ."

The Week magazine did not respond to a request for comment.

The episode is reminiscent of Time magazine's darkening of O.J. Simpson's face during his 1994 murder trial to make him appear more menacing.

The well-respected weekly calls itself "A comprehensive, balanced distillation of national and international news, opinions and ideas." Its subscriber base is just a fraction of Time's 3.2 million: It had a total paid and verified circulation of 561,459 for the six months ending Dec. 21, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Up to 5 Senior Blacks Leaving USA Today, Gannett

From left: Robert Robinson, Geri Coleman Tucker, Larry Bivins

As many as five senior black journalists at USA Today and Gannett News Service are taking a buyout, depleting the top ranks of journalists of color at "the nation's newspaper."

Four of the five confirmed their departure: Geri Coleman Tucker, deputy managing editor; Robert Robinson, deputy managing editor/copy editors; Gary Rawlins, global editions editor; and reporter Larry Bivins of Gannett News Service.

"Early retirements were offered to USA TODAY employees who were at least 55 years old and had 15 years of service. They were offered two weeks pay for each year of service — with a cap of one year of pay," USA Today spokeswoman Heidi Zimmerman told Journal-isms by email  Friday. She would not disclose the number taking the buyout.

"Yes, it’s true," Bivins messaged Journal-isms. "After 36 years in the business, starting at The Cleveland Call & Post, a black weekly, I’m hanging it up. At least for a while. The timing is good for me . . . I'll be 64 in November, giving me just two more years before full Social Security eligibility. I’ll get a paycheck for almost a year. I’m not quite sure what I want to do. I imagine I’ll be open to freelance possibilities. But for a couple of months, at least, I plan on doing nothing but playing tennis every day. And clear my head!

"May 15 would have been my 20th anniversary with Gannett, all in Washington. I started in 1993 as an urban affairs/race relations reporter for The Detroit News, then moved over to Gannett News Service in 1998. I was a regional reporter, spent time as a regional editor, then went back to reporting when the bureau downsized in 2009 — I had just returned to work after a six-week disability for a hip replacement. . . ."

Tucker said she was "embarking on a great faith journey." She said she had spent 23 years at USA Today, "30 at Gannett all total because i was also a regional managing editor at Gannett News Service." Tucker has been deputy managing editor/Money at USA Today and managing editor/Midwest for Gannett News Service from 1986 to 1993.

She added, "I'm looking for exciting, new opportunities."

Rawlins, who has been with USA Today for 28 years, said he hopes to teach at a university in the area.

Robinson, deputy managing editor/Sports before a reorganization, messaged, "After 39 years at Gannett, the last 30½ with USA TODAY, I decided to take the early retirement package. I have had 39 wonderful years in the business, including being a founding member of the USA TODAY staff, and felt the timing was right to take a step back. . . . As for what's next, I have no immediate plans other than to take a month or so to just enjoy the family, visit my aging mother in Florida and then look for my next employment opportunity — or whatever God has in store for me." [Updated May 5]

T.J. Holmes Says He's Officially a Free Agent

T.J. Holmes

Black Entertainment Television finally acknowledged Thursday that it will not bring back T.J. Holmes' "Don’t Sleep!" late night news/talk show, eight months after its initial launch. Holmes told Journal-isms on Friday, "I'm a completely free agent."

Holmes left his job as a CNN weekend anchor in December 2011 for BET, which developed a half-hour late-night show for him that targeted African American viewers but was intended to have more in common with Jon Stewart than with traditional journalism.

"But the show, which aired Monday through Thursday, failed to draw a significant audience," R. Thomas Umstead wrote Thursday for Multichannel News. "After generating a series-high 1 million viewers for its Oct. 9 episode, the series averaged less than 400,000 viewers before being revamped into a weekly, one-hour format on Nov. 14. The last new episode of the series aired Dec. 19."

However, BET refused to say it was canceling the show, even as it turned its attention toward the reality show "The Real Husbands of Hollywood."

Holmes told Journal-isms by telephone, "I will never, ever regret thinking that my heart was in the right place," a young black man taking his skills "to do something that was not being done for our community," that is, providing a daily news show geared toward African Americans. "You learn from the mistakes, there are questions I should have asked, things that should have been cleared up," but reaching the black community in that way was "an opportunity I would love to have" again, Holmes said.

Umstead wrote, "In a statement, BET said Don't Sleep 'delivered smart social commentary on significant issues important to African Americans with the nation’s most prominent thought leaders. BET remains committed to being a resource for our audience on issues that directly affect the African American community.' "

Could Fact-Checkers Have Saved Howard Kurtz?

The saga of media writer Howard Kurtz, who "parted ways" with Newsweek and the Daily Beast after an embarrassing error this week, was part of the buzz Thursday night at the American Magazine Awards in New York. Jim Nelson, editor-in-chief of GQ, accepted one of the honors.

"Howard Kurtz, who wrongly accused NBA player Jason Collins of not mentioning his earlier engagement to a woman when he came out this week, could have been saved from his mistake by magazine factcheckers, GQ Editor-in-Chief suggested when his magazine won in the reporting category," Nat Ives reported for AdAge.

For the most part, reconstructions of Kurtz's fall have not addressed the role of the website in failing to catch his errors.

Dylan Byers and Katie Glueck wrote Thursday night for Politico, "At the height of his influence, Howard Kurtz was widely regarded as the most influential media reporter and critic in the country. But in recent years, erroneous reporting and careless errors reduced him to fodder for the media reporters and critics who followed in his footsteps.

"No single event has dealt such a crushing blow to Kurtz's reputation as Thursday's decision to 'part ways' — after a serious mistake in a story about gay basketball player Jason Collins — with The Daily Beast, where he has served as columnist and Washington bureau chief since leaving a long, illustrious career with The Washington Post in 2010. . . ."

They added, "sources at the Daily Beast and CNN, who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, said there were several reasons for the breakup: For one thing, Kurtz had a string of high-profile mistakes on his record and that had become a source of embarrassment for The Daily Beast. For another, he commanded a hefty paycheck, despite turning out fewer scoops than in the past. . . ."

"But perhaps the main factor that led Kurtz out the door, several sources said, was the same quality that had fueled his rise in the first place decades ago: a hyperactive work ethic that ended up dividing his attentions and ultimately proved unsustainable. . . ."

Andrew Kirk, a spokesman for the Daily Beast, did not respond to a question about whether Kurtz's work went through copy editors. The fateful entry about Collins was described as a "blog post," which at many publications means it is posted without editing.

Meanwhile, CNN has decided not to remove Kurtz as host of his Sunday morning media show. "There has been no status change with Howard Kurtz, he remains the host of 'Reliable Sources'. He will address this issue on the program this weekend," a CNN spokeswoman told inquiring journalists.

Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown tweeted Thursday that Kurtz and the Daily Beast had "parted company ... we wish him well."

"A statement from Brown highlighted moves the website is taking to bolster its coverage of Washington, including with new columnists such as Jon Favreau, Joshua [DuBois] and Stuart Stevens," Ryan Nakashima reported for the Associated Press.

DuBois, an African American, left his position as faith adviser for President Obama in February.

Glenn Burke at the Gay Games in San Francisco, 1986, playing basketball at San F

Media Were Silent on Gay Player Who Came Out in '70s

"A few months back, the Baltimore Ravens' Brendon Ayanbadejo, an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, told USA Today that he thought the first player in the three major sports to out himself would be a baseball player: 'The religious roots are a lot deeper in basketball and football. With that being said, I think baseball players are more open-minded,' " Allen Barra reported Friday for the Atlantic.

"What Ayanbadejo didn't know was that one baseball player already had. This week's coming out by NBA player Jason Collins is momentous, but the Jackie Robinson of gay rights was Glenn Burke, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's from 1976 to 1979. He tried to change sports culture three decades ago — but back then, unlike now, sports culture wasn't ready for a change.

"Burke made no secret of his sexual orientation to the Dodgers front office, his teammates, or friends in either league. He also talked freely with sportswriters, though all of them ended up shaking their heads and telling him they couldn't write that in their papers. Burke was so open about his sexuality that the Dodgers tried to talk him into participating in a sham marriage. (He wrote in his autobiography that the team offered him $75,000 to go along with the ruse.) He refused. In a bit of irony that would seem farcical if it wasn't so tragic, one of the Dodgers who tried to talk Burke into getting 'married,' was his manager, Tommy Lasorda, whose son Tom Jr. died from AIDS complications in 1991. To this day, Lasorda Sr. refuses to acknowledge his son's homosexuality.

"Burke, who also died of AIDS-related causes in 1995, came out to the world outside baseball in a 1982 article for Inside Sports and even followed it up shortly after with an appearance on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel. But his story was greeted by the rest of the news media and the baseball establishment, including Burke's former teammates and baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, with silence. Even his superb autobiography, Out at Home, which published the year he died, failed to stir open conversation about homosexuality in sports. Practically no one in the sports-writing community would acknowledge that Burke was gay or report stories that followed up on his admission. . . ."

"Out: the Glenn Burke Story," a documentary featuring Burke, debuted in November 2010 in a San Francisco theater, accompanied by a television broadcast the same night on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Denver Post Joins Papers Dropping "Illegal Immigrant"

"During the past decade I have had several conversations with groups and individuals that eventually landed on use of the term illegal immigrant to describe those who have unlawfully come to the United States," Greg Moore, editor of the Denver Post, told readers Thursday.

"I have heard all kinds of arguments. I always tensed up when someone argued illegal immigrant was the same as racial epithets used to describe blacks and Jews. I still believe those comparisons are wrongheaded. But other examples stayed with me. I remember once being told that a young girl cried upon seeing a relative described as an illegal immigrant.

"Yesterday, I decided The Denver Post will no longer use the term 'illegal immigrant' when describing a person in the country unlawfully. If we know the actual circumstances we will describe them. The word 'illegal' will not be applied to a person, only an action. . . ."

The Denver Post entry on "illegal immigration" now reads:

"Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

"Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals, undocumented aliens or undocumented workers. Use the unmodified word immigrant only for people who have entered the U.S. lawfully.

"Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.

"If possible, specify how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?

"People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story."

An Orlando station's choice of LaFontaine Oliver, general manager at Baltimore's

G.M. of Morgan State Radio Heading to Orlando Station

"A Baltimore broadcaster will become president and general manager of WMFE-FM after a national search, the public radio station announced Thursday," Hal Boedeker reported Thursday for the Orlando Sentinel. LaFontaine Oliver has held a similar position at Morgan State University's WEAA-FM since 2007. "He will start at WMFE late this month.

" 'He has energy and enthusiasm, and we thought he would lead us to great things,' said Derek Blakeslee, chairman of WMFE’s board of directors.

"Oliver replaces Jose Fajardo, who left WMFE in October. Oliver's challenges will include leading a reduced staff through a tumultuous media landscape. WMFE, which got out of public television in 2011, now has 15 employees overall and four full-timers in the news department. WMFE is working to hire several reporters, Blakeslee said. . . ."

Boedeker added, "WMFE listed Oliver's achievements as starting Michael Eric Dyson's show, which is now nationally syndicated, and leading the New Visions, New Voices campaign to increase diversity in public media. Oliver is African American. He has been an actor and worked in management at XM Satellite Radio and Radio One in Washington. . . "

Boedeker noted that Oliver’s appointment comes shortly after the ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in an April 24 report, highlighted complaints by activist Jonathan Sebastian Blount about a lack of diversity at WMFE. The complaints were endorsed by Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla. Blakeslee said that Oliver's hiring had nothing to do with Blount's complaint.

Blount, a founder of Essence magazine, told Journal-isms by email, "As one of my most admired mentors said at the Inaugural Congressional Black Caucus Dinner, 'It's not the man it's the plan. It's not the rap, it's the map.' "

Oliver told Journal-isms he had nothing to add to the announcement, but that before he leaves Baltimore, WEAA will be adding NPR's "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin and expanding the local "The Anthony McCarthy Show" from once a week to five "as apart of our expanded news and talk schedule."

Four in 5 Americans Oppose Changing "Redskins" Name

"It’s been a rough offseason for the Washington Redskins, and not just because of the knee injury to star quarterback Robert Griffin III," Ben Nuckols reported Thursday for the Associated Press.

"The team's nickname, which some consider a derogatory term for Native Americans, has faced a barrage of criticism. Local leaders and pundits have called for a name change. Opponents have launched a legal challenge intended to deny the team federal trademark protection. A bill introduced in Congress in March would do the same, though it appears unlikely to pass.

"But a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that nationally, 'Redskins' still enjoys widespread support. Nearly four in five Americans don't think the team should change its name, the survey found. Only 11 percent think it should be changed, while 8 percent weren't sure and 2 percent didn't answer.

"Although 79 percent favor keeping the name, that does represent a 10 percentage point drop from the last national poll on the subject, conducted in 1992 by The Washington Post and ABC News just before the team won its most recent Super Bowl. Then, 89 percent said the name should not be changed, and 7 percent said it should. . . ."

Last month, Unity: Journalists for Diversity reiterated its opposition to the team name and supported removing federal trademark protection for the name.

The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, the Kansas City Star and the Washington City Paper do not allow the team to be referred to as "Redskins." The Oregonian in Portland has a similar policy, but the name appears frequently on the newspaper's website. "There are wire feeds that flow onto the site that we don't edit," Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia told Journal-isms by email.

U.S. to Train Central American Journalists in Security

"The US government is to open a security training center for Central American journalists in an attempt to plug the gap left by the regional authorities' inability to protect journalists threatened by organized crime groups," Michael Tatone reported Wednesday for InSight Crime.

"The center will be based in El Salvador and will support journalists in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala by providing physical and digital security training, offering financial help to journalists in 'emergency situations' and developing personalized security plans for reporters and their families facing death threats, reported EFE.

"The deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Jane Zimmerman, who made the announcement, said the three countries lack the institutional capacity to protect journalists or catch those responsible for targeting them.

"The center is part of worldwide initiative that will also provide security training to journalists in Georgia and Kenya. . . ."

Short Takes

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter @princeeditor

Facebook users: "Like" "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" on Facebook.

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.

Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince.

To be notified of new columns, contact and tell us who you are.

About Richard Prince

View previous columns.



This Week's cover

To me, the most interesting aspect of the This Week cover illustration is that the artist deliberately made them appear older.  He made their eyebrows thicker.  Cheeks sallow.  Wrinkles between their eyebrows.  Such obvious alterations must have intended significance.  The skin tone does not seem to be a deliberate attempt at darkening, but due more to the limitations of having to keep production costs low by using just one hue in various levels of intensity.  Besides, everyone in America knows that the two men are white. 

The fear of a blackness

In our nation power of one's hue continues to have more value than the substance of one's demeanor . This of course is not a news flash such it is a reality which operates on every level of personal and public intersection of life in America. One 's hue is designated with metric points in the cultural and racial calculus of worth in America being dark and colored is a debit .

Cross-postings from the Root (T.J. Holmes)

P. Blakeney

What does this say about what BET thinks of it's audience? Nothing of substance same old movies and music videos. Is the black community not capable of following and supporting a well written and produced news show? Here was a wonderful opportunity to show that BET could do a good news show......but like always just shows that all that survives is comedy, music, and nothing educational. Truly not TJ's fault just very poor network management. What a wasted opportunity......


I tried to watch the program several times..but gave up. It seemed to be no more than a never ending commercial for Obama. Did it ever change????

KC 842

This type of commentary hosted by Holmes' show was the type that I listen to. BUT...It was slated during the same time as the nightly news. I knew that wouldn't work. Also, notice that BET has lost some credibility as a serious station that should cast shows of social and political significance to our plight as a community. Where are they? TJ is the only one I can think of. I hate his show didn't last. He's a very smart and insightful journalist. And super, super cute may I add!

Professor Dee Dee

TJ Holmes' show was set up to fail. The idea that he had was great and much needed, however, when I first watched it, I was prompted to turn to the guide and saw that it was listed as a "comedy show". That was a red flag for me that this show was going to fail. Real information for and about Black folks is not "comedic" in nature. Additionally, we're not dumb. TJ Holmes was only permitted to address certain topics because of the nature of the listing for had it been listed as a news show and he addressed such issues, BET (Bamboozled Entertainment TV) would have never aired it to begin with. Let's be real, BET was never really a station that addressed our issues even when it was Black owned. TJ might have done much better on TV1, where the programming is of a better quality. I think he is a great journalist and I look forward to seeing him doing his thing real soon!

Zaidi Baraka

It's not T.J. Holmes fault (He did a wonderful job); it was BET's! I wonder how much marketing research BET did to find their targeted audience? I hope they didn't take black people for granted in perceiving us as being monolithic; that our views and taste are one and same when it comes to showing an all black news/talk show, hosted by a young, charismatic, good looking host? Doing so would not only be a wasteful expense of monies, but a laziness on the part of the BET producers. I tried my best to stay up and watch the show, and of those I viewed, I noticed, early on, a lack of advertising, showing previews of upcoming shows. This was probably why they switched from daily to every other night: to give them more production time. However, because I'm one, of perhaps thousands of others, who records certain shows to maximize and organize my time, this was frustrating; because having no idea of the featured guest(s) and topics, I was unable to schedule a recording of shows I was curious in watching. I became irate with BET in assuming that I would stay up late, every night, to watch "Don't Sleep", regardless of the show's content. I felt used (and abused--no, not really). Then again, maybe that's what BET had in mind when they titled the show "Don't Sleep." The problem was: this is a free country, and I could exercise my free will to "sleep" or not. In the meantime, I wish T.J. Holmes well, and best wishes in his future endeavors.

bsbfankaren likes this..



And I remember TJHolmes prior to the Obama campaign when he didn't want to talk about race and he lacked edge. He was just the cute Black anchor. Now he wants to be edgy. Amazing how the future after being behind the curve so many want to innovate but now can't because they are too slow. I remember all he wanted to do was giggle. Now he wants to be serious. Social media opened so many people us to the fact that many people want to be serious but they don't always trust the person who changed their tune so late in the game. People can like TJHolmes but not take him seriously because they remember him being a softball anchor that giggled a lot with his fellow anchors. This was way before CNN would even say the word, "race", which was "before Obama" which changed everything.


He meant well but that was a major leap into territory where there is no community trust for BET with and of this caliber of creativity to get behind. But to be honest, there is no space for it now. Black America is too bastardized to want garbage or simply not trust when something good comes. We are too cynical to believe it can be good or what comes really isn't original or good. I haven't seen a BET show since the night Jada and Will hosted the BET awards and even before that I wasn't watching BET. So I gave up on it way before the Aughts/Millenium rolled in.

BET would and should work at rebuilding trust before trying to put risky programming on that they know their current audience isn't mature enough to understand or accept as well as that same campaign to message a recommitment in a mission statement of providing an audience that left that are committed to improvement. But hey, when you say they put Husbands on, that says it all in a lack of commitment.

I have not seen the Husbands show but its not what we need. It's entertainment and it gave Black male talent some work but it's still in the vein of the lack of originality. It's a spoof. I get it. But it's tired before it started. And again, we look replicating others to not work on originality. We suck. The future is not about copying everything. You can't trailblaze copying. You are a still a copycat meaning you are second or worse. You can't be superior being a follower.

traeh fraser

i knew tht was going to be a mistake on his part; he shouldn't have never left cnn

Washington Pro Team Moniker

AP's poll finding, "four in five Americans" cannot grasp what is so wrong with the Washington pro football team keeping a racial slur as their brand. AP should have correctly polled the Native American community and not run with a pre-determined, predictable poll outcome. Native Americans make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, yet remain unheard, unseen and unforgiven for the past. How can we explain to future geerations that back in 2013, we could not have done what we could to fix this disrespectful depiction.


he came out. he thought he'd be treated like anderson cooper. gays like him will be better served if they just stay professional and stop barfing up every aspect of their gay behavior in such a cocky manner. its a turnoff. he left cnn. then he shoved his gay self on the black community thinking wrongly that they'd accept his immoral sexual preference. the focus for his audience became his sex choice and not his work. he believed the media hype that the whole country accepts gay marraige and gays. while gays like him ignore the fact that even still the black community is not comfortable with gay marraige. 72% of black voters in CA voted against prop 8. he has kinda stuck it to himself. he's not white like he thought he was and should have respected his black audience more. the same will hold true for the stupid black athletes who are allowing themselves to be used to advance an agenda but at the end of the day, they are screwing themselves so badly and they'll never be able to undo the damage they've done to themselves by betraying their one time fans. i have no sympathy for TJ. what anyone does in private with another person should be private privalleged info but these dummies barf it all up. white gay celebs are accepted cause most white folks (except conservative ones) just dont seem to care about nothing, the black guys will hopefully zip it in the future and learn from dummies like TJs mistakes

Editor's note: Are you confusing T.J. Holmes and Jason Collins?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.