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Thursday, November 4, 2004

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2 Accused of Attempt to Blackmail Anchor

"The veteran anchorman of Chicago's most popular morning news program disclosed substance abuse and unspecified 'personal problems' Wednesday after he became the victim of an alleged extortion attempt," Robert Feder reported Thursday in the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Hosea Sanders, 47, asked colleagues at WLS-Channel 7 and viewers for their prayers and support after revealing that he had been in a 'self-destructive situation' and was seeking treatment in a recovery program. He is on indefinite medical leave from the Disney/ABC-owned station."

"Chicago Police arrested two men for threatening to expose details about Sanders' personal life unless he paid them $5,000, authorities said. Joseph J. Cantrell, 25, of Harvey, and James Brown, 22, of 4927 W. Congress, were arrested Tuesday night on charges of intimidation and attempted theft."

In a follow-up today, Feder reported that, "The two men accused of trying to blackmail WLS-Channel 7 morning news anchor Hosea Sanders have a history of arrests on charges related to drugs and other crimes.

"Brown was wanted on a charge of felony possession of a firearm, court records show. He was arrested on the charge last December but never appeared in court, records show. He pleaded guilty to a charge of selling heroin in August 2002 and was sentenced to 18 months' probation and four days of community service, records show.

"Cantrell was wanted on drug and theft charges.

"Sanders, 47, has been anchor of Channel 7's top-rated morning news program since 1994," Feder continued. "Colleagues of the suave and debonair newsman said they were at a loss to understand how he could have become entangled with men such as Brown and Cantrell. 'I trusted the wrong people, people I thought were my friends, and I was betrayed and hurt by them,' Sanders said in a statement.

"But those same colleagues -- as well as viewers and callers to radio shows -- rallied to Sanders' side Thursday, a day after the anchorman disclosed he was seeking treatment for substance abuse and unspecified 'personal problems.' Colleagues cited the recent death of Sanders' father but said they were unaware of other problems or specifics.

"Before leaving town to enter a recovery program, Sanders spoke to several Channel 7 co-workers by phone, who reported that he sounded positive and optimistic," the story continued. "'He knows everyone here is pulling for him to get better and return as soon as he can,' one colleague said.

"Although the court hearing was held on Wednesday, Channel 7 withheld reporting on the case until Thursday morning -- after the story appeared in newspapers.

"Emily Barr, president and general manager of the Disney/ABC-owned station, said Channel 7 officials decided it was most appropriate to deliver the news on the newscast Sanders anchors. 'We are very supportive of Hosea and wish him very well,' she said."

Post-Election, Black Web Sites Target Their Base

Black Web sites are providing more detailed follow-ups on the racial aspects of Tuesday's presidential election than has been available in the mainstream press, and more quickly than black newspapers, which typically publish weekly.

Among the coverage:

  • "Bush is Expected to Continue Rightward Drift" by George E. Curry and Hazel Trice Edney for the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, predicts that President Bush "is expected to appoint three or four Right-wing judges to the Supreme Court, a move virtually guaranteed to eventually end the use of affirmative action programs in public institutions, and preside over a second term that will be characterized by cuts in domestic programs to offset the $1.9 trillion tax cuts over the next decade and a $422 billion deficit from his first term, political experts and activists predict."
  • On, H.R. Harris wrote Thursday that Bush's defeat of Sen. John Kerry "in spite of an historic turnout by black voters Tuesday is prompting some black leaders and members of the Congressional Black Caucus to ponder their future role in the Democratic Party." This analysis of the black vote also noted that 38 of the 39 black sitting members of Congress were re-elected and examined those congressional races.
  • From Florida, Michael H. Cottman of quoted Rep.Kendrick Meek¬†as calling the election "a real gut-check for black America," which he hoped would produce many "leaders who will rise to the top."
  • carried an analysis from Johannesburg of Bush's projected policy toward Africa in a second term, headlined, "U.S. Election: Africa Expects a 'Business As Usual' Approach From Bush."
  • Today on, Sherrel Wheeler Stewart reportedthat, "Voters in Alabama -- where former Gov. George Wallace once vowed 'segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever -- narrowly defeated a move to strip Jim Crow language [from] the state's constitution that provided for segregated schools."
  • After the "Vote or Die" and similar efforts to engage the hip-hop generation,¬†Davey D. of Rock & Rap Confidential wrote "Hip Hop Where Do We Go From Here?" He said, "a possible mistake that may have been made was us not being clear as to what was being asked. Were we asking people to go to the polls to vote FOR John Kerry or to flex our power and vote Bush out of office just to prove that we could influence an election?"


In addition, there were these other pieces:

  • In the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs described how a local Republican activist told her Baptist Church "how she'd been delivered from the Democratic Party by another intercessor. He was a preacher who urged her to study and find a Biblical basis for political beliefs. . . . Such arguments persuaded enough Ohio voters to swing the state to the president and give him a second term."
  • On, Joe Davidson attempted to answer why "Bush made a modest inroad into the Black community."
  • But on,¬†Greg Palast, a contributing editor to Harper's magazine who investigated the manipulation of the vote for the BBC, "argues that if Ohio's discarded ballots were counted, Kerry would have won the state," in the words of the Web site summary.
  • Miami Herald reporter Michael A.W. Ottey wrote about the "foreign journalists from every corner of the world [who] came to Florida -- the 2000 election's ground zero -- for a front seat in the arena of political battle for power and control."
  • In his syndicated column, Gerald Boyd, former New York Times managing editor, analyzed where the news media went wrong. "Journalists find comfort in a story line and tend to stick to it. Kerry was supposed to be the perfect Democratic [candidate] to unseat Bush because he was articulate and a Vietnam War hero. Few seriously questioned his ability to articulate why he would make a better president than Bush, or to make a coherent case for unseating him," Boyd wrote.
  • covered a forum Wednesday night at the National Museum of the American Indian, where "A panel of Indian advocates, based in Washington, D.C. and beyond, discussed the potential aftermath of the GOP's decisive win on Election Day."


Latino Columnists Join Post-Election Punditry

President Bush made inroads into the Latino vote as well, and Latino columnists wrote about that and other post-election issues:

  • Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News: GOP's mad dash to irrelevance
  • Carlos Guerra, San Antonio Express-News: In the end, we still don't know which, if any, polls were right
  • Myriam Marquez, Orlando Sentinel: Mel Martinez free to be a man of compassion
  • Jose R. Martinez, Denver Post: Unspoken fear among Hispanics
  • Ruben Navarrette, Dallas Morning News: Latinos say si to GOP
  • Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Hispanic vote should increase focus southward
  • Ken Rodriguez, San Antonio Express-News: Hollywood's message for Kerry bombs at mid-America polls


Bennett, Not Robinson, Named ME at D.C.'s Post

"Philip Bennett, the assistant managing editor for foreign news at The Washington Post, has been named the next managing editor for the newsroom," the Post announced on its Web site this afternoon.

"In an e-mail sent to newsroom staff late this afternoon, Executive EditorLeonard Downie Jr. said Bennett would replace Steve Coll, who is returning to reporting, on Jan. 1."

Bennett was a surprise choice.

In the Washingtonian magazine this month, Harry Jaffe wrote that David Ignatius and Style editor Eugene Robinson appear to be the two top candidates.

". . . Style editor Robinson is the newsroom favorite, though Ignatius has the stature, gravitas, and Ben Bradlee swagger."

". . . Should Robinson succeed Downie, he would become the first African-American to run one of the nation's top dailies unless Dean Baquet, now the number-two editor at the Los Angeles Times, first replaces editor John Carroll."


NABJ Expresses Concern Over Layoffs

"The National Association of Black Journalists is troubled over the impact on newsroom diversity as our industry continues its steady pace of layoffs, buyouts and downsizing," the organization announced today.

"At least five black journalists were among more than 60 newsroom staffers recently let go in the wake of stagnant revenues and a circulation scandal at The Dallas Morning News. The Houston Chronicle is eliminating 10 percent of its workforce. The San Francisco Chronicle plans to trim up to 10 percent of its management and support staff. The Tribune Co., owners of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and Baltimore Sun, plans to cut more than 200 jobs. ABC News downsizing of its Washington bureau resulted in longtime NABJ member Lynne Adrine, an award-wining producer, losing her job. And CNN ìs plans to shut down its financial channel, CNNfn, also could affect journalists of color."

Newsroom diversity is sorely lacking as it is and so we need more black journalists, not fewer,  NABJ President Herbert Lowe, a reporter at Newsday, said in a news release. We cannot afford to set back years of progress. Even during the toughest times, increasing and maintaining diversity must be paramount.

Where the journalism jobs are (NABJ)


Black-Press Readers Called Better Educated

"Readers of black-oriented newspapers are better educated, wealthier consumers than the general African American population, with significant discretionary income and plans to spend it -- but, by skipping ads in the black press, advertisers are not reaching this key audience, according to a new report by a big ethnic-newspaper rep firm," Mark Fitzgerald reports in Editor & Publisher.

"'African American Newspaper Report' is the first in what is intended to be an annual study of readers of black newspapers by the newspaper representation firm Ethnic Print Media Group (EPMG) and the market research firm International Demographics Inc. The study surveyed 6,993 readers of 107 black papers in 55 markets.

". . . Black-press readers, the survey found, have an average household income of $53,051. More than 60% of the readers are female, with 61% aged 25-54 and about half between 25 and 49. Nearly 60% are homeowners, and another 25% plan to buy a home in the next two years."

Retiring Editor Wrote Controversial Slavery Editorial

"Lloyd Brown, editorial page editor of The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, has retired following an investigation that revealed instances of plagiarism in some editorials published in the newspaper," as Editor & Publisher reports.

The resignation has created a vacancy at a paper where in 2000, 70 staffers protested an editorial by Brown that declared slavery had "existed briefly in America" and that "slavery is not unique and its effects are not permanent."

The editorial suggested that enslavement of blacks no longer justifies affirmative action and noted that blacks are not unique because "virtually every American probably is a descendant of slaves," as the St. Petersburg Times reported at the time.

"A committee had been established at the Times-Union to look into allegations that plagiarism may have occurred in some editorials published in the newspaper," Editor & Publisher continued. "The committee's report, released today, found three instances of plagiarism and several other instances of lack of complete attribution in editorials prior to September 2004. Some of the uncovered instances of plagiarism dated as far back as 1996.

"Brown, who has served as editorial page editor since 1993, told the paper, 'I cannot continue to be an effective voice for the editorial board of The Florida Times-Union and I have told publisher Carl Cannon that I would like to retire as soon as possible.'

After the uproar over the slavery editorial, "Cannon wrote a short 'clarification' on the editorial page . . . It did not apologize for the previous editorial, but said that 'many in the community feel the reference to a brief period of slavery in America was insensitive and demeaning,'" Joe Strupp wrote in E&P at the time.

"Cannon said he usually reviews all editorials, but did not get to look over the affirmative action piece."

"Heritage" Group Wants Student Paper Punished

"A Southern heritage watchdog group is calling on the East Carolina University board of trustees to sanction the East Carolinian student newspaper for an opinion column that called the Confederate flag a symbol of racism," the Student Press Law Center reports.

"School officials declined to pursue the matter, saying the East Carolinian is staffed and controlled by ECU students and does not speak for the school," the report continued.

"In his Oct. 14 column, East Carolina senior and opinion columnist Peter Kalajian said the Confederate flag and the Nazi swastika are 'morally relative' symbols that stand for hate, oppression and murder. People who fly the flag are 'overlooking the racial implications inherent in the very symbol they hold so high,' Kalajian wrote.

"In response to the column, My Dixie Forever, a self-styled Southern heritage group, began an online petition to request that the university investigate the 'hate speech' in Kalajian's column."


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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