CNN's Don Lemon Discloses He Is Gay
Monday, May 16, 2011
Eight months after disclosing on CNN that he was "a victim of a pedophile," CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon told NPR on Monday that he is gay.
"Do I want to be 'the gay anchor'?" Lemon asked NPR's David Folkenflik.
"He said his mentors and agents challenged him to consider whether he was willing to wear that label throughout his career," Folkenflik reported.
" 'And I'd have to say, at this point, why the hell not?'
"American society has changed greatly in recent decades and the face of television news has changed a lot with it. Two women now occupy the nation's three network evening news anchor chairs, and the country's racial and ethnic diversity is reflected on the air as well. Yet Lemon says that change has not extended to sexual orientation — at least, not publicly.
" 'We live and die by people watching us,' Lemon said. 'If I give people another reason not to watch me, that is a concern for me and that's a concern for whoever I am working for.
" 'My livelihood is on the line,' he said, 'I don't know if people are going to accept me; if I will have a job. I don't know how people will feel about this.'
"Colleagues at work know about his four-year relationship with his boyfriend, a CNN producer. But until now, Lemon has been extremely guarded with the public. He said he was told that anchors do not talk about such things."
Lemon, 45, told Journal-isms there was no relationship between the childhood abuse and his sexuality.
"No correlation between abuse and gay. None at all. Not sure why minds would go there. Most abusers are heterosexual and chose children of the opposite sex," he said by email.
Asked whether he had a message for other journalists or journalists of color in particular, he said:
"I'd like other journalists to know they can be free to be who they are; gay, straight, black, white, woman or man. We are all 'people' who just happen to have journalist as a title.
"Journalists of color are well aware of the sometimes rocky path towards equality. So, I suspect they relate to their gay colleagues in a BIG way. If not, they should."
"There was a time when I was terrified of revealing these things to the person I love most in this world – my own mother. But when I finally mustered the courage to tell her that I had been molested as a child and that I was born gay, my life began to change in positive ways that I never imagined possible," he said.
Bill Carter, writing in the New York Times, saw a different way the two disclosures were related. ". . . He knows enough about news to recognize what will get this book noticed.
" 'People are going to say: "Oh, he was molested as a kid and now he is coming out." I get it,' he said."
Lemon made the earlier disclosure in the course of interviewing young congregants at the Atlanta area megachurch pastored by Bishop Eddie Long. He said on a live, Saturday night newscast in September, "I am a victim of a pedophile.
"Let me tell you what got my attention about this and I have never admitted this on television. I'm a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me, and those are the things that they do," Lemon told the three congregants, who had been unwavering in their support of the bishop during the interview.
"Four people have come up with the exact same stories," Lemon told them. "That's what pedophiles do. The language, 'this isn't going to make you gay if you do this.' " The Long case is scheduled for trial this summer.
Folkenflik said that Lemon spoke with NPR, with CNN's approval, in anticipation of the release of his memoir, "Transparent," later this spring.
". . . Just two openly gay people hold prominent on-air roles in network or cable news at the national level. Both work at MSNBC: opinion host Rachel Maddow, who arrived at the cable news channel via liberal talk radio, and daytime anchor Thomas Roberts, who came out in 2006." Neither is African American.
Carter reported, " 'It’s quite different for an African-American male,' he said. 'It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.' He said he believed the negative reaction to male homosexuality had to do with the history of discrimination that still affects many black Americans, as well as the attitudes of some black women.
" 'You’re afraid that black women will say the same things they do about how black men should be dating black women.' He added, 'I guess this makes me a double minority now.' "
Folkenflik added, "Most people would think if you're the prime news anchor, then you should sort of be this Edward R. Murrow, Clark Kent guy with the family and 2.5 kids — or the perky cute, yet smart Katie Couric," Lemon said. "Anyone would have to be naive to think that it wouldn't make a difference," Lemon said.
- Herndon Davis, Newsvine.com: Will Black America Embrace CNN's Don Lemon's Coming Out??
- Keli Goff, theLoop21.com: Exclusive Interview: CNN’s Don Lemon Not Ready To Be The Black Gay Posterchild [May 17]
- Mark Joyella, mediaite: CNN’s Don Lemon Discusses ‘The Down Low’: 'Black Community Needs To Get Over It' [May 17]
- Pew Research Center: Most Say Homosexuality Should Be Accepted By Society
- Pamela D. Reed, the Daily Voice: A Black Woman Responds to Don Lemon [May 17]
Johnathan Rodgers accepted a Hall of Fame honor from Broadcasting & Cable in 2009. (Video)
Johnathan Rodgers, first and only CEO of TV One, is retiring on July 31 after 45 years in the media business, TV One announced on Monday.
"Under his leadership the last seven years, TV One, an award-winning cable network available in 53 million homes, has become recognized as the quality programming alternative for African American adults," the announcement said.
"The network, profitable after only five years, also set successive viewership records over the past three television seasons. TV One has won multiple NAACP Image Awards and was recognized with the National Association of Black Journalists’ Best Practices Award in 2009 for its coverage of the Democratic convention and election night in 2008."
Rodgers turned 65 on Jan. 18. When he accepted a 2009 Hall of Fame honor from Broadcasting & Cable magazine, he recalled that he and his childhood friends would discuss the lack of African American images on television. "I decided to devote my life to gently bringing change to our industry while maximizing change in our society," he said then.
"Running TV One has been an honor, a privilege and a labor of love for me,” Rodgers said in a release.
"I was able to bring all my experiences from my previous jobs to help create this wonderful network. I want to thank Brian Roberts and Comcast for their support, and especially Alfred Liggins for his vision in creating and funding TV One and for allowing me to run it for the past seven years. There could have been no better way to cap off a long and satisfying career in the television business for me than to help build a sustainable channel that African American adults, indeed all Americans can be very proud of."
TV One is owned by Radio One and Comcast Corp. and was created to appeal to an older audience than that of Black Entertainment Television. It has never had a news department — Rodgers has said that would be too expensive — but the network did cover President Obama's inauguration and the Democratic National Convention that nominated him, and it launched "Washington Watch With Roland Martin," a Sunday public affairs show taped on Fridays.
Liggins, chairman and Radio One president and CEO, said in the release, "When I realized that there was a business opportunity for launching a black cable channel nearly a decade ago, Quincy Jones told me there was only one person I should pursue to develop the channel, and that was Johnathan Rodgers. That was great advice, and Johnathan’s involvement in TV One has been invaluable in its success on so many different levels. He is leaving the network on very solid footing for the future."
The release continued, "Educated as a journalist at the University of California at Berkeley, Rodgers began his career as a writer-reporter for Sports Illustrated in 1967 and in the succeeding years worked for NBC and CBS as a television writer, reporter and producer. After moving into media management, Rodgers eventually became an Executive Producer at CBS News and later the President of the CBS Television Stations group. In 1996, he joined the cable industry when he went to Discovery Communications as the President of the U.S. Networks group. While at Discovery, he oversaw the conversion of The Learning Channel into TLC and the successful launches of Animal Planet."
Asked about Rodgers' successor, Lynn McReynolds, spokeswoman for TV One, told Journal-isms, "Alfred is likely to make an announcement on that within the next couple of weeks, but definitely before Johnathan leaves."
"One day after NBC said they would fire him if he ran for president, '[The] Celebrity Apprentice' star Donald Trump admitted he liked talking about political issues more than enacting them, telling an audience of advertisers in New York Monday he would not seek the GOP nomination," Eric Deggans wrote Monday for his St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times media blog.
"It was a predictable end to an unlikely media frenzy, as Trump saw increasingly heated questions about his views on the president's citizenship and education, along with demands for details on his finances and an announcement by NBC that they would hire a new boss for the 'Apprentice' if he kept flirting with a candidacy.
". . . The question left for media: Would any of this had consumed so much of the national dialog if reporters had treated Trump like a frizzy haired publicity hound from the beginning?"
- Ed Bark, TV Bulletin Board: Trump renounces presidential run after suckering national media
- Frederick Cosby, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Analysis: Huckabee Not Running, No One Cares
- Anthony Crupi, Adweek: Trump to Self: 'You're Fired!' The Donald ends Presidential charade at NBC upfront
- George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Donald Trump is a Celebrity Racist
- David A. Love, theGrio.com: Why Gingrich has already lost the minority vote
- Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Politics turns Americans into our own worst enemies
- Jim Rutenberg, New York Times: Trump Bows Out, but Spotlight Barely Dims
- Ujala Sehgal, FishbowlNY: Trump Twitter Roundup: Media Reacts to The Donald’s Decision Not to Run for President
- Armstrong Williams, rightsidewire.com: What the Huckabee Decision Means
- Edward Wyckoff Williams, theGrio.com: Gingrich can't stay out of gutter racial politics
Calvin Knight, director of photography at the Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., won a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for this photo showing Lakeland police Officer Scott Kercher ordering shooting suspect Derrick D. Robinson to come out of a trash bin.
On the day he shot his winning photo, Calvin Knight, director of photography at the Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., "grabbed a portable scanner and bolted out the door, following bits of information police exchanged on the scanner. A pursuit. A chase. A black Taurus," the Ledger recalled last week.
"He headed west, crisscrossing the streets he's so familiar with. Before long, he found the spot where the Taurus had flipped. He jumped out of his car and shot a couple of photos with a 300 mm lens. With no police around, he figured they were chasing the suspect on foot. So he headed in the opposite direction from which he came — and found police gathering near railroad tracks. Someone told him one suspect had been arrested, but another was on the loose.
"Ten police cars and several K-9 units were searching the area when one officer ran toward a small trash bin with his gun drawn. 'He starts yelling, "Get out with your hands up," and I could see the guy peeking out of it,' Knight said.
"From about 30 yards away, Knight had hit photographic pay dirt. 'I hit the motor drive and lined him up. I shot eight frames a second, and I just kept firing,' Knight said. The result: A stunning sequence of photographs depicting a clearly terrified, ready-to-surrender young man as he emerged from his hiding place. The slender 19-year-old didn't dally when told to get out.
" 'Some photographers wait their entire lives for opportunities like this, and if it hadn't been for Calvin's ability to work and listen to the scanner at the same time, he would have missed his five minutes of fame,' said Ledger Managing Editor Lenore Devore. . . .
"Knight, 50, joined The Ledger as a staff photographer in 1985, then worked his way up to assistant director before being named director of photography in 2006."
The suspect was charged with robbery with a firearm, but was released within a month because of an "uncooperative victim," Chip Thullbery, a spokesman for the state attorney's office, told Journal-isms on Monday.
"Surrender" won in the breaking news photography category for newspapers with a 50,001-100,000 circulation or online independent publications. Here is the complete list of winners.
Rufus M. Friday, president and publisher of the Tri-City Herald in eastern Washington state, has been named publisher and president of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, effective June 6, the McClatchy Co. has announced.
"Friday, 50, became president and publisher of McClatchy's Tri-City Herald in 2005. He arrived there from another McClatchy newspaper, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where he served two years as vice president of circulation. Friday spent the previous 11 years, from 1992 to 2003, with Gannett Co., Inc., directing circulation for newspapers in Tennessee, Illinois and Alabama," the announcement said.
"Friday was born in South Carolina and raised in Gastonia, N.C. He attended North Carolina State University, earning a football scholarship his sophomore year and playing three years as a tight end for the university. He graduated in 1984 with a degree in business management and economics and went to work for The News & Observer's circulation department, where he spent the next eight years before moving to Gannett."
"Rufus has undertaken many assignments for McClatchy and has been hugely successful in every one," said Frank Whittaker, McClatchy vice president, operations, in the release. "As evidenced by his most recent service as publisher of the Tri-City Herald, Rufus cares deeply about his employees, his paper and the community. We're confident he’ll be an excellent fit for the Herald-Leader."
In another business-side promotion for a McClatchy person of color, Kim Woods, advertising director at the Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald since 2007, was named vice president of advertising for the Bradenton (Fla.) Herald.
- Michelle Dupler, Bellingham (Wash.) Herald: Publisher Rufus Friday leaving Tri-Cities for Lexington, Ky.
- Janet Patton, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: Herald-Leader publisher Tim Kelly to retire; Rufus Friday to succeed him
O. Ricardo Pimentel, former editorial page editor and columnist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Arizona Republic, wrote his first column over the weekend as the new three-times-a-week columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.
In his farewell column May 3 in Milwaukee, Pimentel warned, ". . . if Wisconsin does not fix its urban areas and particularly its systems for educating the youth living in them, it will cease to be great. It will have no claim to the description at all.
"It will be just another state that has allowed its seed corn to go unplanted and its potential untapped, even if glimmers of progress burst forth from time to time in more affluent parts of the state."
Pimentel told Journal-isms, "In January, at my request, I stepped down as editorial page editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and became a full-time columnist. San Antonio came calling because they wanted another metro columnist. It very much appealed to me. As the column says, it very much feels like home."
"The point isn't that I will be writing exclusively about immigration or immigrants. I won't, wrote Pimentel, who is also the immediate past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. "It is, however, an inescapable part of my voice.
"It can't be helped and I wouldn't take the cure even if one were available. I am, of course, more than the U.S.-born son of Mexican immigrants — longtime reporter, editor and columnist, author and a military veteran, too. But it is an essential part of who I am.
"This background does different things to different people. In me, it has developed an affinity for folks routinely characterized as victims or suspects. There is often more to that story. In fact, few topics are generally as simple as portrayed."
Pimentel then mentioned immigration reform, as did a number of other columnists last week:
- Esther Cepeda, Chicago Sun-Times: Dream Act can help students get over the top
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., USA Today: Latinos need a Tequila Party to rock the vote
- Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News: President Obama's dreaming if he thinks he's mending fences with immigrants
- Marisa Treviño, Latina Lista blog: Figuring out which President Obama is pushing for immigration reform
- Marisa Treviño, Latina Lista blog: Yes, Mr. President, I'll help push immigration reform under one condition
- Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Border is secure, but Congress won’t pass immigration reform
A mural in the Missouri Capitol depicts the Battle of Westport. (Credit: © 2011 Patrick T. Fallon/Special to the Kansas City Star)
The real flashpoint for the Civil War "burst in a place neither North nor South, but here — where slavery’s western trajectory hit a dead end," Rick Montgomery wrote for the Kansas City Star, beginning a series commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
"On the Missouri-Kansas line.
"The bad blood only started with the question of slaveholding, which had been legal across Missouri since its statehood in 1821. Ultimately the violence would be fueled less by ideals of equality (some 'free-soilers' in Kansas, in fact, argued for keeping black people out) than by vengeance and vicious one-upmanship.
"Long before the U.S. wars of the 2000s, boyish-looking irregulars, bushwhackers and Red Legs — today we call them terrorists or death squads — lurked outside Kansas City.
"Missourians, whether hostile or not to the Union that governed them, endured federal occupation and fiery pre-emptive strikes."
The newspaper promises for the second of the five-part series, "The story of the Missouri slave and Kansas Freeman; the black community’s view of what the Civil War wrought. This area produced the first African-American U.S. fighting units, well before 'Glory’s' 54th Massachusetts."
Meanwhile, columnists tackled related subjects.
In the Austin American-Statesman, Alberta Phillips wrote on April 30: "By any measure, the Texas Juneteenth statue honoring the emancipation of Texas slaves is not a fitting tribute to the traditions and contributions of Texas African Americans. Since 2005, several artists have tried to fashion it into a tribute worthy to be displayed on the Capitol grounds. But no amount of tinkering could fix that monstrosity."
In the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Jarvis DeBerry noted on May 8 that in Caddo Parish, La., the Confederate flag "flies outside the courthouse there next to a monument celebrating Caddo Parish as the last stand of Confederate Louisiana."
"Denise LeBoeuf, a capital defense attorney with the ACLU, said lawyers will argue . . . that the flag's presence outside the courthouse is problematic in and of itself, that it might subliminally encourage white jurors to think negatively of either black defendants or victims. . . . Another lawyer told The Shreveport Times that Caddo's one of the few jurisdictions in the country to have sentenced five people to death since 2004 and that the surest way to be sentenced to death there is to be a black person convicted of killing somebody white."
- Kenneth J. Cooper, theRoot.com: Revising the Civil War Record (Feb. 4)
- Allen C. Guelzo, theRoot.com: Should African Americans Care About the Civil War?
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Why the Confederate flag is still flying high
- Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: The Civil War: 'A conspiracy of amnesia'
- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: How we still fight the Civil War
- DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Civil War isn't just history; for me, it's personal
"The opening game of the Eastern Conference final between Miami and Chicago dunked the largest basketball audience in cable history — deflating 'His Airness,' Michael Jordan, from the record book in the process," Mike Reynolds wrote Monday for Multichannel News.
"TNT's coverage of Chicago and MVP Derrick Rose's 103-82 stomping on Miami and its Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on Sunday night scored a 6.2 U.S. household rating, translating into 11.1 million viewers on average, according to Nielsen data.
"TNT's May 15 telecast supplanted the 'drama' network's coverage of the 2003 NBA All-Star Game — Michael Jordan's last at the event netted 10.8 million watchers — as cable's best-ever hoops telecast."
- J.A. Adande, ESPN: Searching for answers in L.A.: Looking back at Lakers' 2010-11 and trying to find how and why things went so wrong
- Howard Bryant, ESPN: Not for sale: Mendenhall's voice
- Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Don't be so sure Phil Jackson is retiring
- Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Athletes have a right to speak out
- Jerome Solomon blog, Houston Chronicle; Looking back on NBA history can be very revealing, interesting
- David Steele, AOL Sporting News: Why is LeBron apologizing for 'The Decision' now?
- Jason Whitlock, foxsports.com: Heat are no match for Bulls
- "Both white Americans and black Americans perceive significant progress in the fight against anti-black bias, but white Americans believe the progress has come at their expense, a new survey finds," Christopher Shea wrote last week for the Wall Street Journal. ". . . White Americans, in short, thought that anti-white bias was a greater societal problem by the ’00s than anti-black bias." The study, "Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing," by Michael I. Norton and Samuel R. Sommers, appeared in Perspectives on Psychological Science.
- "Florida International University is joining Telemundo Communications Group to help develop more Hispanic journalists and encourage their involvement in Spanish-language media," the Associated Press reported. "The initiative begins this summer and will pair Telemundo executives with students from FIU's School for Journalism and Mass Communication."
- "Twenty-three students and young journalists from diverse backgrounds have been named Chips Quinn Scholars for summer 2011 by the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute and participating news organizations," the Freedom Forum announced on Monday. ". . . The 2011 scholars will work in paid internships at 20 different newsrooms across the country. . . . They bring to 1,248 the number of men and women placed as reporters, copy editors, photographers, graphic artists and multimedia journalists since the program began with six Scholars in 1991. This year marks the Chips Quinn Scholar program's 20th anniversary."
- "It was supposed to be a carefree reunion at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation, with lots of catching up between close friends who live apart," Jenna Russell reported Sunday in the Boston Globe. "Instead, friends of the journalist Dorothy Parvaz who gathered this weekend found themselves fixated on her absence: The 39-year-old Al Jazeera reporter, who traveled to Syria two weeks ago to cover prodemocracy protests, has not been heard from since."
- "Former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and the Anti Defamation League’s Abe Foxman were guests of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez at Yankee Stadium last week," Alex Weprin wrote Sunday for TVNewser. "Sanchez lost his job last October after a radio rant in which he called 'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart a 'bigot' and went on to say, 'a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart.' Many people took Sanchez’s comment as being critical of Jews, including Foxman."
- Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald traveled with 40 students on a commemorative ride from Washington to New Orleans to publicize "Freedom Riders," a documentary that aired starting Monday on PBS’ "American Experience" series. Pitts filed columns such as this one from Nashville, Tenn., Saturday focusing on John Seigenthaler, former aide to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
- In a column Sunday, Cary Clack of the San Antonio Express-News shared his response to elementary students who say they find writing boring: "Have them write down three movies that they like, three television shows that they like and three songs that they like. Then ask them what all of those movies, television shows and songs have in common. Inevitably, a student will correctly answer that they were all written. The purpose of this exercise is that while they may find writing boring, they should understand how much enjoyment they get from the writing of other people, and it's possible that with their own writing they can bring enjoyment to others."
- "HBO executives informed 'Treme's' producers Friday (May 13) afternoon that the New Orleans set-and-shot drama has been renewed for a third season," David Walker reported for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Lolis Eric Elie, the former Times-Picayune columnist who wrote for the show in its first season, told Journal-isms, "I am still with the show and every indication points to me being with it next season as well."
- In Chicago, "Merri Dee, who spent nearly four decades working at WGN-Channel 9, was undergoing tests Saturday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after she fell ill Friday night while speaking at a West Side church," Stella Foster and Kara Spak reported Saturday for the Chicago Sun-Times. Dee, 74, was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Black Journalists in January.
- The New York Amsterdam News is running a four-part series on African American maternal health in New York in partnership with Women’s eNews, a nonprofit that received support from the Kellogg Foundation for the reporting and editing, Rita Henley Jensen, editor of women's eNews, told Journal-isms. The last story, on embolisms, is to appear Thursday. Of the pregnancy-related deaths due to embolism, 82 percent of those who died were black and none were white. Embolisms are usually preventable, Jensen said.
- In Uganda, "The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, yesterday found himself in an awkward situation when journalists walked out of a meeting he had organised along with Fred Opolot, the Uganda Media Centre executive director," the Monitor reported in that country on Monday. "The journalists walked out in protest of a new government proposal seeking to accredit scribes covering demonstrations."
- Reporting another incident in Uganda, the Committee to Protect Journalists called last week for an investigation of "an arson attack on the home of Goodluck Musinguzi, contributor to the state-owned daily, New Vision. . . . Someone poured gasoline on the house and set it on fire while Musinguzi, his wife, and his newborn child were inside, he told CPJ. Musinguzi, a correspondent for the daily in the southwest border town Kabale, escaped the 2 a.m. blaze with his family but part of his house was destroyed."
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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