Cable Stays Partisan in Recall Coverage
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Little Outrage at Prospect of Birmingham Cutbacks
Black Churches Demonstrate to Keep Pastors on Cable
Roland Martin on CNN Suspension, Building One's Brand
"60 Minutes" Has Difficulty Finding Correspondents
Romney Scuttled Affirmative Action Policies in Mass.
"If ever there was a political event to lay bare the partisan ideologies of the cable news media, the Wisconsin recall was it," Dylan Byers wrote Tuesday night for Politico.
"MSNBC was blatantly rooting for Tom Barrett to defeat Gov. Scott Walker, even sending union champion Ed Schultz to cover an event with no apologies for the dog he has in the fight. (Earlier tonight, Chris Matthews even told Schultz that if he wasn't an MSNBC host, he could be head of the AFL-CIO.) When it became clear that Barrett would lose, Schultz looked almost teary eyed. Not long after, the network's contributors immediately began suggesting that this was, in fact, good news for [President] Obama — who, after all, hadn't even set foot in Wisconsin — and began attacking Mitt Romney.
"Meanwhile, Fox News was blatantly rooting for Gov. Walker, and the moment it became clear that Walker might win, host Sean Hannity called it 'a repudiation of big unions,' which did 'everything they could do to demonize Scott Walker.' Guest Hugh Hewitt then predicted that, five months from now, Romney would follow Walker just 'as Reagan followed Thatcher.' Fox's Greta Van Susteren later hosted what amounted to a victory celebration for the Republicans.
". . . Which means it was the perfect night for CNN, the network that bears the slogan 'CNN = Politics' and claims to have 'the best political team on television,' to step up and offer what only it can offer: a semblance of nonpartisan political news coverage."
Among African American opinion writers, Gregory Stanford, a former Journal Sentinel editorial writer, wrote Wednesday, "This is no time to sulk. Ousting Walker from office was a long shot anyway. Besides, in the one bright spot, the Democrats did seize control of the state Senate — which should keep Walker from ramrodding more of his right-wing agenda through the Legislature. The movement deserves praise for getting as far as it did. Now, it must keep fighting this good fight."
Eugene Kane, a Journal Sentinel columnist, had warned Monday that whoever won should avoid gloating. "Remember, for many folks this was not so much an election as a battle for the soul of Wisconsin," Kane said.
On Wednesday, Kane turned his attention to "a shocking local shooting last week where a 75-year-old white homeowner killed a 13-year-old African-American boy he suspected of stealing from his home." The slain child was Darius Simmons.
". . . With the recall election decided, more Milwaukeeans are turning their attention to this local story about a dead boy," Kane continued. "The national attention also has been growing."
Meanwhile, an April 3 story from WTMJ-TV, an NBC affiliate known as Today's TMJ4, remained among the most popular on the station's Website.
". . . TODAY'S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ discovered that several members of our staff signed the recall petitions for Governor Walker," it said. "Some of those employees play a role in our news-gathering and editorial process. Several of them also work on-air: One at TODAY'S TMJ4; four at Newsradio 620 WTMJ.
"We want you to know that we consider this a serious issue. We are in the process of dealing with it internally. Our reputation of being a fair and unbiased news source is of paramount importance to both TODAY'S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ.
". . . many employees told us that they felt signing the recall petition was not a political act, but instead felt it was similar to casting a vote. WTMJ does not agree and we want to assure you, our viewers, that we are taking measures to make sure all of our reporting is fair, balanced and to ensure something like this does not happen again."
- Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report: Wisconsin: What Happens When Movements Turn Into Campaigns
- Editorial, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker's challenge: to bring Wisconsin together
- Nancy Flores, New America Media: Wisconsin Latinos Will Carry On Fight for Workers, Immigrants
- Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Can We Recall Bad Reporting on Wisconsin Budget Deficit?
- Jason Johnson, politic365.com: Scott Walker: The GOP's New Pin-Up Boy
- Lloyd Marcus, thyblackman.com: Scott Walker Victory Bash Short On Blacks.
- Lenny McAllister, Politic365.com: Total Lack of Recall
- Brentin Mock, ColorLines: Young and Black Voters Turn Out in Wisconsin Despite Suppression Efforts
- David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Cable TV news the biggest loser in Wisconsin recall
"Leon Bibb, one of the most familiar faces in Cleveland television news, no longer sits in the 6 p.m. anchor chair for WEWS Channel 5," Chuck Yarborough reported in a front-page story in Thursday's print edition of the Plain Dealer.
"The 67-year-old Emmy-winning veteran newsman has been replaced by Chris Flanagan, who also co-anchors Channel 5's 11 p.m. newscast with Danita Harris. The shift went into effect Monday.
"Sam Rosenwasser, Channel 5's vice president and general manager, said Bibb has been reassigned to do two new programs, 'Leon Bibb's Ohio' and 'Leon Bibb's Perspective.' He will continue to anchor the station's noon newscast as well as its Sunday morning news program, 'Kaleidoscope,' Rosenwasser said.
" 'Leon is still a very vital part of what we have here,' Rosenwasser said. 'We want to put a spotlight on what he has.'
"Attempts to reach Bibb, who was raised in Cleveland and began his career as a Plain Dealer reporter, were unsuccessful.
". . . Competitors reacted to the reassignment with surprise.
" 'This is a guy who's had a distinguished career,' said Dan Salamone, news director at Channel 19. 'I don't understand what that decision is about. I have a lot of respect for Leon. He's done it the right way, and he exudes Cleveland. He's a fantastic anchor and I'm just shocked.' "
"I've heard the questions all day," John Archibald wrote Tuesday in the Birmingham (Ala.) News.
"Why are people protesting the new printing schedule at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, but not at the Birmingham News and other affected cities?" Print editions would be published only three days a week.
". . . look at the nature of the cities.
"New Orleans has identity and pride. Birmingham has division and hostility.
"We can't get together to 'save' anything, because we can't agree that anything is worth saving."
Kyle Whitmire, editor of new media of Weld for Birmingham, listed other reasons, one harkening to the News' segregationist past.
". . . What’s clear to me is that the key to having a good newspaper and maintaining a good audience is knowing when to defy readers' expectations and when to live up to them. Historically, the News has done a poor job of doing either.
"The News spent decades building a bad reputation for itself. It defended segregation and was not willing to hold up a mirror to the city it covered. Slowly it moved to the right side of history, but when it did, it did so with reporting that was stripped of any voice or editorial latitude. In part, I think that was the News' way of defining itself against the Birmingham Post-Herald, which was a more writerly paper with stronger positions and a more distinct voice. That has changed too, but again, slowly. From the pages of the Post-Herald, Ted Bryant kicked ass years before the News would even let itself have a metro columnist.
"In many ways, the News is now paying for the sins of its fathers, and perhaps that isn't fair.
". . . Great cities need great newspapers. It might not matter today whether newspapers are digital or print, but no city has become great without them.
"New Orleans realizes that. It’s time for Birmingham to realize that, too."
Solomon Crenshaw Jr., a Birmingham native, 32-year veteran of the Birmingham News and president of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists, disagreed with Whitmire.
Crenshaw told Journal-isms by telephone that New Orleans has a relationship with its readers "that was baptized by Katrina," which gives it "a unique circumstance." The newspaper not only covered the catastrophe, it went through the ordeal along with readers.
Crenshaw said he had spoken to some Birmingham residents who are concerned about proposed cuts at the News, and that contrary to Whitmire's argument, voices at the News did speak out against ousted mayor Larry Langford, who was sentenced in 2010 to 15 years in federal prison. Langford was convicted on 60 counts of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and filing false tax returns stemming from his time as president of the Jefferson County Commission.
- David Carr, New York Times: Rally and Open Letter Signal Pushback to a Less-Than-Daily Times-Picayune
- Mathew Ingram, gigaom.com: What happens when a newspaper is just another digital voice?
- Kent Jones, the Maddow Blog, MSNBC: T-P or not T-P: New Orleans fights for its newspaper
- Jack Shafer, Reuters: The great newspaper liquidation
- Harry Shearer, Columbia Journalism Review: The Sometimes Picayune
About 35 demonstrators representing a coalition of 34,000 black churches marched in front of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington Wednesday, saying many viewers of faith-based television programs would lose access to them if the FCC lets expire a rule requiring cable systems to carry the shows.
"Unless it takes action, the FCC's so-called three-year-old 'viewability rule' is set to automatically expire on June 12," Doug Halonen explained Tuesday for theWrap.com.
"The rule ensures that all 58 million cable TV subscribers have access to local must-carry signals — not just the 46 million who subscribe to digital cable." The "must-carry" rule mandates that cable companies carry various local and public television stations within a cable provider's service area.
"Eliminating the viewability rule would severely undermine the viewership of independent, religious and foreign-language stations that rely on the regulation to reach all cable viewers, broadcasters say," Halonen wrote.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable reported late Wednesday that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is siding with the cable industry, not the broadcasters and churches.
"Cable operators will no longer be required to provide both analog and digital versions of must-carry TV station signals as of December 2012 if FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gets his way, with low-cost converter boxes considered a sufficient vehicle for allowing analog customers to continue to view TV station signals," Eggerton reported.
Halonen's story explained, "The FCC originally adopted the rule in 2007 so that the millions of cable TV subscribers with analog TV sets could continue getting must-carry TV station signals after the broadcast TV industry switched from analog to digital transmission.
". . . The FCC originally set a three-year limit on the rule, assuming that most cable systems would also have switched completely to digital by this time. But about 12.6 million of cable's customers are still equipped with analog sets and could lose access to must-carry signals if the rule is allowed to expire."
The renewal issue pit broadcasters against cable operators. The black church group also demonstrated in front of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which represents the cable industry.
In a news release, the Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative, said, "we strongly believe that it is the job of the FCC to assure that minority church-based broadcasters should receive the same consideration as large cable operators. We strongly urge the Federal Communications Commission to extend the rule because many of our 15.7 million members will be directly and adversely affected by the FCC not extending the viewability rule. We plan to fight for our right to have comprehensive access to all cable systems whether it is analog, digital or hybrid systems. We plan to let our congressional representative know our position. We will use the full force of the Black Church to be heard on this issue."
Halonen's story added that "Liberman Broadcasting, a Spanish-language broadcaster that owns five TV stations, including KRCA-TV in Los Angeles, said elimination of the rule could result in the loss of 300,000 homes for EstrellaTV, or 4.3 percent of the audience for the company’s new Spanish-language network."
- Brendan Sasso, the Hill: Obama nominates Mignon Clyburn to second FCC term
Roland Martin, CNN commentator and host of TV One's "Washington Watch With Roland Martin," among his other endeavors, said his attitude toward his recent suspension from CNN is "It happened, you deal with it and you move on." He also discussed building a personal brand, the Sunday television talk shows and the role of the black press in an interview Wednesday with Marcus Vanderberg of MediaBistro.
"Looking back, what are your thoughts now on your month-long suspension from CNN for your Super Bowl tweet about David Beckham?" Vanderberg asked.
"First of all, my thoughts were the same then — I was cracking on soccer and that's what I talked about," Martin responded. "It happened, you deal with it and you move on. My deal is, if you spend significant amounts of time freaking out and going nuts, you'll simply go crazy. My philosophy is very simple: You keep it moving."
Vanderberg also asked, "What's your secret to developing your brand?"
Martin replied, "Know exactly who you are. The second thing is you have to have no fear in being able to work it. Companies today will fire you, not renew your contracts and when it's gone, it's gone. So you're left with what, saying that I [used] to be with so-and-so and I [used] to work with so-and-so? I love this scene from the movie The Insider where Al Pacino says, 'Lowell Bergman, 60 Minutes, I wonder if my phone calls would get returned if I didn't have 60 Minutes after my name?'
"When you build your own brand, people will still return your phone calls regardless of the call letters or where you actually work, because they now know you and they trust you in what you have to say and what you're doing. That, to me, is the most important aspect when it comes to building your brand. If companies are able to have multiple revenue streams and have their hands in multiple pools of money, then why shouldn't the people who actually work for those brands be able to do the exact same thing?"
Veteran "60 Minutes" journalist Steve Kroft, who, by his count, has interviewed Barack Obama a dozen times, discussed those interviews at the annual awards dinner of the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists Monday, and also said it was difficult to find qualified applicants for "60 Minutes."
"The challenge for the show ahead is going to be finding replacements," Kroft said, according to Azi Paybarah, writing Tuesday for capitalnewyork.com.
". . . Noting the death of '60 Minutes' mainstays like Andy Rooney and Mike Wallace, Kroft said, 'We have to refill the talent pool and that's not that easy right now. We've been looking for someone to hire really as a full-time correspondent for a number of years and have had difficulty finding somebody that has all of the skills that we need in '60 Minutes' that wants to come work on the show, and kind of give up their life and to travel around the world."
"That's because 'so many people think they can make more money right now, you know, anchoring a talk show in the afternoon for one of the cable news networks and not having to leave,' he said. 'And so it's hard to find somebody who's got foreign experience, Washington experience, economic experience, who is pretty well-rounded, that is smart, that can do interviews.' "
"Mitt Romney scuttled the Massachusetts government's long-standing affirmative action policies with a few strokes of his pen on a sleepy holiday six months after he became governor," Andrew Miga reported for the Associated Press.
"No news conference or news release trumpeted Romney's executive order on Bunker Hill Day, June 17, 2003, in the deserted Statehouse. But when civil rights leaders, black lawmakers and other minority groups learned of Romney's move two months later, it sparked a public furor.
"Romney drew criticism for cutting the enforcement teeth out of the law and rolling back more than two decades of affirmative action advances.
"Civil rights leaders said his order stripped minorities, women, disabled people and veterans of equal access protections for state government jobs and replaced them with broad guidelines. They complained Romney hadn't consulted them before making the changes, snubbing the very kind of inclusion he professed to support.
". . . It wasn't until Deval Patrick, a Democrat who was the state's first black governor, took office in 2007 that the old policies formally were reinstated."
Meanwhile, "The Romney campaign announced Wednesday that its Latino outreach team, called 'Juntos Con Romney,' will be led by three Hispanic Republicans, all of whom said they will remain focused on a message about the economy," Elise Foley reported for the Huffington Post.
The three chairmen — Hector Barreto, former administrator of the Small Business Administration; Carlos Gutierrez, former secretary of commerce; and Jose Fuentes, former attorney general of Puerto Rico — join 14 others on Romney's National Advisory Board.
- Emil Guillermo blog: Emil may rhyme with schlemiel, but in affirmative action fight are Asian Americans the New Jews?
- Jay Jones, Columbia Journalism Review: Dark money targets Hispanics in Silver State
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN: What Latinos want from candidates? Respect
Roxane Gay, an author and assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, "tasked my amazing, incredibly thorough graduate assistant, Philip Gallagher, with looking at every book review published in the New York Times in 2011, identifying the race and gender of the reviewed titles' authors," Gay wrote Wednesday for therumpus.net. "The project took fourteen weeks, with Philip going at it for about sixteen hours each week because the only way to find out the race of each writer was to research them. . . .
"We looked at 742 books reviewed, across all genres. Of those 742, 655 were written by Caucasian authors (1 transgender writer, 437 men, and 217 women). Thirty-one were written by Africans or African Americans (21 men, 10 women), 9 were written by Hispanic authors (8 men, 1 woman), 33 by Asian, Asian-American or South Asian writers (19 men, 14 women), 8 by Middle Eastern writers (5 men, 3 women) and 6 were books written by writers whose racial background we were simply unable to identify.
"The numbers are depressing but I cannot say I am shocked. The numbers reflect the overall trend in publishing where the majority of books published are written by white writers."
". . . Nearly 90% of the books reviewed by The New York Times are written by white writers. That is not even remotely reflective of the racial makeup of this country, where 72% of the population, according to the 2010 census, is white. We know that far more than 81 books were published by writers of color in 2011. You don’t really need other datasets to see this rather glaring imbalance."
[Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for the Times, replied by email on Thursday: "As the study's author Roxane Gay points out, this is a reflection on the book publishing industry, not on book reviewers. Book reviews in The New York Times reflect what is being published in the United States today."] [Updated June 7]
"Last week, ProPublica, This American Life and Fundación MEPI produced in-depth stories about a father and son who'd been separated for nearly 30 years after a massacre at their Guatemalan jungle village," ProPublica reported on Friday. "Tranquilino Castañeda, now 70, believed his youngest son Alfredo — now called Oscar — was dead. On Monday, they reunited — and Castañeda met his grandchildren for the first time. (Story) (Video)
- Does "NABJ" really stand for the "National Association of Broadcast Journalists?" It does in the online bio of veteran Washington television anchor J.C. Hayward, who last year was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. The reference to the faux NABJ has been widely circulated, most recently in a column by Republican-activist-turned-columnist Raynard Jackson, who in writing about "Under-Publicized Black Success Stories," said of Hayward, "Last year, she was inducted into the National Association of Broadcast Journalists' Hall of Fame." Khalim Piankhi, spokesman for Hayward's station, WUSA-TV, told Journal-isms Wednesday, "Obviously it is a mistake and it's being corrected."
- "Emails seen by The Daily Telegraph show that [Barbara] Walters tried to help Sheherazad Jaafari, the daughter of Syria's UN ambassador, secure a place at an Ivy League university and an internship with Piers Morgan's CNN programme," Raf Sanchez reported from Washington Tuesday for the London Telegraph. "When confronted with the emails, which were obtained by a Syrian opposition group, the 82-year-old ABC broadcaster admitted a conflict of interest and expressed 'regret' for her actions."
- "There's an old well-established rule in TV circles — anchors anchor," Verne Gay wrote Tuesday for Newsday. "So where's 'Today's' anchor, Ann Curry, in the midst of one of the network's most prestigious coverage events of the year? the Queen's Diamond Jubilee? Curry has been MIA during coverage, and a spokeswoman said, 'Ann had taken two vacation days Monday and Tuesday of this week (been planned for a while). She will be back tomorrow.' (By the way, learned this afternoon that she took these days off to pick up her kid at school...)"
- Vivian Toy, known primarily for writing New York Times Sunday real estate section's "On The Market" page, is succeeding Peter Sigal as deputy editor of of the section, Jotham Sederstrom reported Monday for the Commercial Observer. Sigal has accepted a position at the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune in Paris.
- David Trotman-Wilkins, laid off as a Chicago Tribune photographer in 2009, is joining Newsday as a photo editor in early July, Newsday spokesman Paul Fleishman told Journal-isms Wednesday. Trotman-Wilkins owns Milwaukee-based DTW WorldWide Photographic Imaging.
- The American Immigration Lawyers Association plans to award José Díaz-Balart, a journalist and anchor for Telemundo, with its 2012 Media Leadership Award June 14 "in recognition of the individual whose efforts in the media most accurately depict immigration and immigrants," the association said.
"Mira Lowe will be joining us as Senior Editor for Features," Manuel Perez, editorial director for CNN Digital, and Meredith Artley, vice president for CNN Digital, told staffers Wednesday. "Mira comes to us after working for the Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago as Editor-in-Chief at JET magazine . . . Before her move to Chicago, Mira had a very successful career at Newsday, where she played a variety of roles, including News Editor, Editor of the paper's Sunday lifestyle section, Editing Director for the METPRO copy-editing training program for minority journalists, and Associate Editor for Recruitment. . . . she will be bringing her talents to our team when she joins us later this month to help lead our Entertainment, Health, Living, Tech and Travel coverage!"
- The Poynter Institute "recently announced the creation of the Poynter Foundation, a new avenue for the nonprofit to create a 'culture of philanthropy' to help fund the institute," Randy LoBasso wrote Monday for the Philadelphia Weekly. "They've tapped none other than Brian Tierney, former head of Philadelphia Media Holdings and 'nationally recognized expert in branding, marketing and advertising, and an accomplished entrepreneur,' as he's called, according to a Poynter job ad, to head the foundation."
- "Journalists from across Africa announced the creation of the first continent-wide professional association of health journalists," the International Federation for Journalists announced Wednesday. "The new organization, the African Health Journalists Association, aims to improve the quality and quantity of reporting on health issues so that people across the continent can make healthy choices for their lives. The group's media coverage will encourage the best possible public health programs and policies throughout the continent."
- In El Salvador, "Jonathan Martínez Castro, a 'marero' (gang member) also known as 'Budín,' was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a San Salvador court on 31 May for the April 2011 murder of Canal 33 cameraman Alfredo Hurtado," Reporters Without Borders reported. "His alleged accomplice, Marlon Abrego Rivas, also known as 'Gato,' is currently a fugitive."
- "An appeals court in the Dominican Republic yesterday threw out the criminal defamation conviction of Nagua radio journalist Johnny Alberto Salazar, who in January was sentenced to six months in prison for allegedly libelling a local lawyer," the International Press Institute 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 BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites. 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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