Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Don Lemon Protests, "I Am Not Supporting Stop-and-Frisk"

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

CNN Anchor Reviled for Commentary on Joyner Radio Show

AP, N.Y. Times Say "Terrorist" Not So Easy to Define 

Elizabeth Vargas Checks Into Rehab Over Alcohol Abuse

Arlene Morgan Leaves Columbia J-School After 13 Years

Health-Care Snafu Overshadows Cuts in Aid to Poor

Obama Team Leaked GOP Plan on Rev. Wright, Book Says

N.Y.'s El Diario: New Mayor Should Name Diversity Chief

D.C. City Council Urges NFL Team to Change Name

Short Takes


In a "tough love" message in July, Don Lemon named five things the black community can do to improve. (video)

CNN Anchor Reviled for Commentary on Joyner Radio Show

CNN anchor Don Lemon, reviled on social media for a commentary headlined, "STOP and FRISK: Would You Rather Be Politically Correct or Safe and Alive?" told Journal-isms categorically Wednesday, "I am not supporting stop-and-frisk" and said his remarks are being "grossly misinterpreted."

Lemon's commentary aired Tuesday on radio's syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show" as New York voters were electing Democrat Bill de Blasio as the city's next mayor.

De Blasio has been critical of the stop-and-frisk policy of the Michael Bloomberg administration, writing on his campaign website that his office of the Public Advocate had studied use of the tactic, and that, "This information strongly suggests racial profiling is used in stop-and-frisk, which sows seeds of distrust and animosity in communities of color toward the police."

In his commentary, Lemon said, "if you question many people in New York City, even some black and Hispanic people, they will tell you that on the surface they don't really have an issue with stop-question-and-frisk. Not the idea of it at least."

But, he continued, "They know that officers will most likely not be that polite, if you can call that polite. They know that in reality they will probably be ordered to put their hands up, spread their legs, or lay on the ground and be handcuffed while an officer or officers have their ways with them; touching them wherever they'd like or handling them however they'd like."

At the end of the presentation, Lemon wondered what would happen if the stop-and-frisk formula were altered and the crime rate went up.

"The next New York City mayor may not know it: but so goes New York City, so goes the rest of the country," he said.

"If he alters the equation of the formula that has reduced crime in New York City to its lowest in decades. One of which is stop-question-and-frisk and the crime rate creeps back up, beyond local citizens moving away to the suburbs, people will stop visiting, stop spending their tourist dollars.

"A big driver to the city's economy, the city will suffer international consequences, cities and municipalities around the country will follow suit; looking at the Big Apple as an example of what to do or not to do.

"So whatever the mayor here decides will be reflected in your city, reflected in your crime rate, and in your economy. So the question is: would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive? That's the real issue facing the citizens of New York and pretty soon, ultimately YOU."

The commentary drew such headlines as this in the Huffington Post: "Don Lemon's Endorsement Of Stop And Frisk Gets Him In Big Trouble."

That article, by Jack Mirkinson, noted that Lemon's remarks had prompted their own hashtag.

"#DonLemon On Don Lemon: Would you rather be acceptable to whites and get paid to hate yourself or be liked by the coloreds and get nothing?" read one tweet.

"Don Lemon on Slavery: would you rather be free and unemployed or have a home and a job?" read another.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd think that Don Lemon was doing some sort of Andy Kaufman-esque performance art," read a third.

On Black America Web, one writer began below the transcript of the commentary, "Don Lemon should probably never comment on this subject again. . . ."

On Facebook, there were other comments:

"He's become a slave to contrarianism, ratings and TW [Time Warner, owner of CNN] shareholders. Featherweight."

Another: "Well, we're talking about and writing about and blogging about and paying attention to Don Lemon, aren't we? Seems that's what he needs to justify his continued employment at [CNN President] Jeff Zucker's toy store, right?

"And if Lemonhead has to play both Black people and himself in the process, hey, that's just how you fake your way to the top.

"One would think a man with a foot in not one but two despised groups would be a bit more sensitive to oppression. Apparently not. Pity."

The latter was a reference to Lemon's sexual orientation. He announced that he was gay in 2011, when he published a memoir, "Transparent."

Another website republished a news story from May 2001, when Lemon, then a reporter for WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, filed suit against Tower Records saying he was racially profiled. That suit was settled.


Lemon was similarly criticized after saying in a July 27 CNN broadcast that Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly had a point when he said, "The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family. "

Lemon's prescriptions, which included renouncing use of the N-word and pulling up sagging pants, were said to ignore larger structural reasons working against black families.

In September, Joyner announced that Lemon would join his show as a commentator.

Lemon said by telephone Wednesday that the existence of the 2001 lawsuit did not make him a hypocrite because "99 percent of what I wrote is against stop-and-frisk. It's a shame that people are taking it that way." In any case, he said he had noted the lawsuit on the air many times. 

As for his concluding line, "So the question is: would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive?" Lemon said, "I'm trying to make you think. What happens when people's rights are violated? Are you going to decide based on political correctness?"

He said his instructions from Joyner were to give listeners something to think about.

Turkish journalists hold placards as they attend a protest for journalists in ja

AP, N.Y. Times Say "Terrorist" Not So Easy to Define

The Associated Press and the New York Times say they have no clear rules on who can be called a "terrorist" in news stories because the word is loaded and open to different interpretations.

The news organizations responded to an inquiry from Journal-isms after some writers called on the news media and the government to label the suspect a terrorist after the deadly ambush of Transportation Security Administration officers at Los Angeles International Airport Friday.

Some saw a double standard and said the term is more readily used when the suspect is Muslim or nonwhite. The L.A. suspect, Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, is white.

Darrell Christian, co-editor of The Associated Press Stylebook, messaged Journal-isms Wednesday, "The Stylebook deliberately avoids defining terrorism because it can mean different things to different people. One person’s terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

"Generally, we follow the lead of the appropriate authorities. Otherwise, we generally avoid the label and let the actions speak for themselves."

Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at the Times, wrote Journal-isms, "We don't have a hard-and-fast policy, style rule or officially approved definition of what makes a 'terrorist.' "

"People do sometimes ask about our use of that and other potentially contentious terms, especially in connection with the Mideast conflict. Unlike you, many of them have a very strong ideological stance on the overall topic — they aren't really looking for a discussion about journalism or language usage. But our general approach in news articles, in this or any area, is to report the facts as clearly and accurately as we can. We mostly trust our reporters, who are experienced and knowledgeable, and who have no ax to grind, to use language that is informative without being inflammatory. We don't necessarily avoid using terms like terror or terrorist, but we do try to avoid relying solely on labels or shorthand, which may or may not enlighten.

"When he served as The Times's public editor, Clark Hoyt (whose views were his own, not necessarily those of the newsroom), wrote a thoughtful column on the broad issue. It was prompted by the Mumbai attack, but it raised many of the same issues that arise in other coverage of terrorism.

"Our former executive editor, Bill Keller, also took on the topic some time ago in a Q&A with readers, specifically involving our coverage of Hamas and Israel. . . ."

Nancy Sullivan, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Times, where the LAX shooting is a local story, said, "We're going to pass on commenting."

Elizabeth Vargas Checks Into Rehab Over Alcohol Abuse

Elizabeth Vargas (Credit: Sara Jaye Weiss)

"ABC’s '20/20' co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas has been MIA on the air for weeks, and Confidenti@l has learned she's been in a well-respected rehab center for alcohol abuse," the Daily News in New York reported Wednesday.

Vargas, 51, confirmed her illness, the News reported. "Like so many people, I am dealing with addiction. I realized I was becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol," Vargas said. "And feel fortunate to have recognized it for the problem it was becoming. I am in treatment and am so thankful for the love and support of my family, friends and colleagues at ABC News. Like so many others, I will deal with this challenge one day at a time. If coming forward today gives one other person the courage to seek help, I’m grateful."

An ABC spokesman said, "We are proud of the steps Elizabeth has taken and are pulling for her recovery," the News reported. "We look forward to having her back home at ABC News, where she has done so much distinguished work over the years. Elizabeth is a member of our family, and we will support her in every way we can."

Arlene Morgan Leaves Columbia J-School After 13 Years

Arlene Notoro Morgan, an associate dean at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and a diversity advocate, has left the school after 13 years, she told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

Arlene Notoro Morgan"After 13 years at Columbia, a school I dearly love, I am going to develop the next chapter in my career and pursue consulting, lecturing and, hopefully, continue teaching," Morgan said by email.

"I will eventually return to Cherry Hill, NJ, and my Philadelphia roots, probably by the first of the year. I also hope I have another book in me and I definitely will continue to work on the causes of diversity that are so much a part of my career.

"The decision was quite sudden but coming for a long time. It was a good run and I am leaving a legacy that includes the Punch Sulzberger [News Media Executive] Leadership program, the Spencer Fellowships for Education Reporting and the start of continuing education programs for professionals. I am most proud of bringing the Dart Center on Journalism and Trauma to the school. And of course my work on the Let's Do It Better! Workshop on Race and Ethnicity that led to the creation of The Authentic Voice project were the ultimate highlights of my years at the school.

"I am leaving my programs in the hands of great directors, including Ernie Sotomayor who is heading up the growing continuing education division. I will be forever indebted to Nick Lemann who was the best boss and leader that we could have had during this time of change. He let me be me and that's saying something."

Lemann became dean of the school in 2003 and left at the end of the last academic year.

"After 46 years of almost non-stop work, it's time for my husband David and I to do the things we want to do, not have to do," Morgan continued.

"But I already have some new projects in front of me and am quite excited that at this stage of my life I still feel passionate about journalism.

"For those who want to reach me, I am on Facebook. New email is"

Volunteers at New Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ in Charlotte,

Health-Care Snafu Overshadows Cuts in Aid to Poor

"Unless you've been under a rock for the past two weeks, odds are you've heard the unhappy tale of at least one 'Obamacare loser' or 'rate shock' victim or 'poster child,' " Trudy Lieberman wrote Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review.

She also wrote, "On Tuesday, New York's Jonathan Chait took a smart stab at explaining 'What's behind the [media's] Rate-Shock-Victim Obsession.' Wrote Chait:

" 'The media's obsessive focus on the failed [] website launch was [last week] beginning to give way to stories about individuals who found higher-than-expected prices on the exchanges. …'

" 'The news media has a natural attraction to bad news over good. 'Millions Set to Gain Low-Cost Insurance' is a less attractive story than 'Florida Woman Facing Higher Costs.' Obama overstated the case when he repeatedly assured Americans that nobody would lose their current health-care plan. There's also an economic bias at work. Victims of rate shock are middle-class, and their travails, in general, tend to attract far more lavish coverage than the problems of the poor.

"Did you know, Chait asked, that on November 1, millions of Americans suffered painful cuts to nutritional assistance and not any Sunday morning talk show mentioned that? I'd add, while we're at it, that with the exception of David Rodgers' great coverage of the farm bill on Politico, you'd never know that Congressional support for food stamps had waned long ago.

"And what about those waiting lists for home-delivered meals for the elderly authorized by the Older Americans Act, which are stretching longer by the day because of the sequester? For that matter, Congress has yet to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which also provides important services to keep elders in their homes. You'd think that would merit press coverage, too. Aside from a few local stories in community papers, we haven't heard much about the plight of very old people going without food and other services. . . . "

The sentiment was shared Wednesday in Talking Biz News an interview with Brian O'Connor, "Funny Money" columnist for the Detroit News.

"We need to start covering the personal finance aspects of poverty and people who've taken major setbacks," O'Connor told Chris Roush.

"There is a very self-satisfied, ignorant strain of thought that says anybody can [cut back] or save or work and be able to provide for themselves and their families, and that is simply not true. I even say in my book that saving $1,000 a month isn't realistic for many people in this country, and that there are plenty who'd be lucky to find savings of $1,000 a year. We've got a huge wave of people who are going to retire with nearly nothing but Social Security to depend on, and another big chunk of wage-earners who are seeing their real earnings shrink and their costs soar. We need to start writing about the financially vulnerable and the personal finance realities of not being able to make it in the U.S.A. . . ."

Obama Team Leaked GOP Plan on Rev. Wright, Book Says

"The New York Times reported on May 17, 2012 that conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts and several Republican strategists were working on a plan to tie President Barack Obama to his controversial former preacher Jeremiah Wright, a strategy that the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shied away from during the previous election cycle," Michael Calderone and Luke Johnson reported Friday for the Huffington Post.

"The Times' bombshell story, accompanied by the full advertising proposal online, got significant media pick-up and drew an immediate rebuke from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. . . ."

But according to "Double Down: Game Change 2012," the hotly anticipated 2012 election post-mortem from Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, "Obama's team decided to leak the $10 million advertising proposal to the press, a move that would not only not only expose Ricketts' plan but also 'send a message to conservative mega-donors and Republican operatives that if they crossed the line when it came to race, the would be a price to pay,' " the Huffington Post article continued.

"The Obama team rightly assumed the news would spark outrage. The group had proposed hiring an 'extremely literate conservative African-American' to criticize Obama, who was described in the plan as a 'metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln' . . . ' "

New York's Democratic mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, center, hugs children Dante, f

N.Y.'s El Diario: New Mayor Should Name Diversity Chief

The Spanish-language New York newspaper El Diario/La Prensa urged Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to "hire a diversity consultant for this transition and appoint and empower a chief diversity officer in his administration."

In an editorial, the newspaper said, "One of the lingering criticisms of outgoing Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg was that City Hall did not reflect the diverse complexion of New York. The new mayor has a chance to turn the page on this issue.

"The chief executive chooses his deputies and commissioners. Who he appoints to advise him on policy changes will affect nearly 2.4 million Hispanic New Yorkers. This is why he has to resist the pressure of political rewards and punishments and assemble a high caliber transition team that reflects the spectrum of our city, as newly elected Public Advocate Letitia James has moved to do.

The newspaper also said, "We also urge the new mayor to ensure that pipelines for [Latino] representation and leadership run throughout all city agencies and boards — at all levels. . . ."

D.C. City Council Urges NFL Team to Change Name

"In the latest challenge to the Washington Redskins' name, District [of Columbia] lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to call on the team to change it, saying it is widely recognized as 'racist and derogatory,' " Mike DeBonis and Aaron C. Davis reported Tuesday for the Washington Post.

" 'Enough is enough — the name must go,' said David Grosso (I-At Large), who first introduced the name-change resolution in May.

"The version of the 'Sense of the Council to Rename the Washington National Football League Team Resolution of 2013' approved by the council was worded less strongly than the original, which called the team name 'insulting and debasing.' But Grosso pulled few punches in comments on the council dais.

"The notion that the 'Redskins' name should be kept as a symbol of the team's heritage, he said, 'is akin to saying to the Native American people . . . .  your pain has less worth than our football memories.' . . . "

Short Takes

  • Elaine Rivera A memorial service for Elaine Rivera, teacher of journalism at Lehman College in New York and a veteran of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, New York Newsday, El Diario/La Prensa, Time magazine, the Washington Post and New York's WNYC-FM, is planned for Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. at Lovinger Theatre, Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, Bronx, N.Y. 10468. An Elaine Rivera Memorial Scholarship in Journalism at Lehman College has been created. It is to be a needs-based scholarship that will provide funding for a journalism student in the program where Rivera taught. Rivera died at 54 on Oct. 26 after battling liver disease. Those interested in supporting the scholarship may contact Sol Margulies, director of major gifts at Lehman, 718-960-6908 or sol.margulies (at)

  • Morgan State University's School of Global Journalism & Communication Monday announced publication of Morgan Global Journalism Review, "a quarterly e-magazine that examines media, communication and information technology on the international stage."  "Columbia Journalism Review and American Journalism Review both do a great job of looking at the media here in the United States. MGJR will fill a much needed niche, one that has often been overlooked by mainstream media," DeWayne Wickham, the dean, said in a news release. "We will provide journalism and journalism education with a worldwide view." 

  • "In a milestone achievement for press freedom in the Caribbean, the Jamaican Parliament has approved a bill fully abolishing the offence of criminal defamation," Scott Griffen reported Wednesday for the International Press Institute. "What tremendous news for press freedom in Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the world over!" said IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie, who has led three IPI missions to Jamaica.

  • "Today,, the website focusing on African-American news and commentary, unveiled a comprehensive redesign, nearly five years after the Washington Post Company-owned website first launched in 2008," David Zax wrote Monday for Fast Company. " 'We're changing just about everything on the website,' says Donna Byrd, the site's publisher. The redesign will also include optimization for tablet and mobile devices, and heralds a new editorial direction for the site, one with an expanded focus on video — including some fictional and comedy-driven entertainment. . . ."

  • "The conservative Washington D.C. newspaper The Washington Times announced Tuesday it is ending Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's column after it was discovered that a portion of his column was plagiarized," Andrew Kaczynski reported Tuesday for BuzzFeed. "Sections of an op-ed [that] Paul wrote on mandatory minimum sentencing in the paper in September appeared nearly identical to an article by Dan Stewart of The Week. . . ."

  • "African Americans are more likely than the public at large to use the Internet to look for a job, and particularly when it comes to using mobile devices and social media for that purpose," according to research unveiled Wednesday by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The report, "Broadband and Jobs: African Americans Rely Heavily on Mobile Access and Social Networking in Job Search," was released at a Washington broadband technology forum.

  • "France's first black newsreader today launched an outspoken attack on the country, saying it is blighted by 'deep-seated racism', " Peter Allen reported Tuesday for Britain's Daily Mail. "It was not until 2006 that Harry Roselmack finally became the only non-white presenter on TF1, the Gallic equivalent of BBC1. Now he is furious after monkey chants were aimed at a black minister, saying they reduced him 'to my negro condition'. 'Racist France is back,' said Mr. Roselmack, responding to a massive increase in popularity for the far right National Front (FN). . . ."

  • "On Tom Wheeler's second day as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, or as he called it, the 'optimism agency,' Wheeler blogged," Katy Bachman reported Wednesday for Adweek. One of Wheeler's three key points: "Make networks work for everyone. More than expanding networks, Wheeler plans to focus on how networks can help a 21st century educational system, expand capabilities for Americans with disabilities and assure diversity, localism and free speech," Bachman wrote.

  • The new Fusion network's elevation of Alicia Menendez "— a relative unknown who has sparkled as a cable talking head and Web programming host but has never carried her own television program — says more than anything else about the channel's bravado," Manuel Roig-Franzia wrote Tuesday for the Washington Post. "Menendez is the foremost example of the network's utter confidence that it can spot the next big thing in places everyone else has missed. Her success would be an affirmation of the network's unconventionality; her failure a sign for the naysayers of its recklessness. . . ."

  • "In 2012, Preston Gannaway was living in Norfolk, Va., looking for a coming-out story to cover for the Virginian-Pilot, where she was a staff photographer," Alyssa Coppelman wrote Tuesday for Slate. "Gannaway met Tavaris 'Teddy Ebony' Edwards, a 21-year-old gay man living in public housing in Chesapeake, Va., who came out when he was 16. Because Edwards represented several demographics rarely covered in the paper — gay, black, poor — Gannaway decided instead to focus on Edwards and his experience living in Virginia." Throughout the year-long project, Gannaway "said she was pleasantly surprised not to see too much prejudice surrounding Edwards' sexuality. . . . "

  • Gannett Co., Inc., which has been criticized for a diminution of African Americans in top positions, announced Wednesday that Joe Hurd has been named vice president of business development for Gannett Broadcasting. Hurd, who is African American, comes to Gannett from UniversityNow, Inc., where he was vice president of public policy and communications.

  • Katrice Hardy, tablet enterprise editor of the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, has been promoted to the new position of senior editor/digital news, Editor Denis Finley told staffers on Tuesday. Hardy is a 2007 graduate of the Maynard Media Academy and a past president of Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals, a chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

  • "Leaders have come from across the continent to plot the future of media in Africa, and they must remember that journalists are languishing in Ethiopia's prisons on trumped-up terrorism charges for doing their jobs," Sue Valentine, Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a news release on Tuesday. Delegates gathering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week for the African Media Leaders Forum "should use the opportunity provided by this conference to highlight the plight of these persecuted journalists and to acknowledge media freedom is a cornerstone of Africa's development. . . . "

  • "Gunmen killed a Mexican sports journalist who was driving in a car in the northern state of Sinaloa, officials said Tuesday," Agence France-Presse reported. "Three carloads of gunmen chased Alberto Angulo Gerardo's car and fired when he refused to stop in the small town of Angostura, a police official told AFP on condition of anonymity." The Sinaloa state police director, Jesus Antonio Aguilar, said the gunmen were apparently trying to steal the journalist's car.

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

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