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Fire Official Out After Dissing Reporter

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Mayor "Unappoints" Deputy Who Slapped Away a Mic

ESPN Backs Hugo Balta's Race for NAHJ President

Clinkscales to Launch "Digital Sports Platform"

Ed Gordon Debuts Radio Show in Detroit, D.C.

Native Press Wants Answers From Elizabeth Warren

Denver Post Rejects Criticism of Online Birther Poll

Producer of Anti-Obama Video Loses Job Offer at CNN

S. African Paper Yields, Pulls Controversial Image

Short Takes

 


Fred Wheeler, Detroit's deputy fire commissioner, slaps a microphone from the hand of WJBK reporter Charlie LeDuff. (Credit: WJBK) (Video)

Mayor "Unappoints" Deputy Who Slapped Away a Mic

"Detroit deputy fire commissioner Fred Wheeler has been removed from office following a physical altercation with WJBK reporter Charlie LeDuff on Tuesday," Andrew Gauthier reported Thursday for TVSpy.

"Working on a story about filthy conditions at a number of Detroit fire houses, LeDuff approached Wheeler on the street and things instantly went south.

" 'You better get the [four-letter expletive — should we spell it out as the original story does? Tell us here.] away from me,' Wheeler told LeDuff once he saw him. When LeDuff stepped closer to ask a question, Wheeler slapped the microphone out of his hand.

"Detroit mayor Dave Bing, who LeDuff continually addressed by name in his report, issued a statement today, announcing that Wheeler had been 'unappointed.'

" 'My administration has investigated the incident between Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler and Fox2 reporter Charlie LeDuff,' Bing said in his statement. 'We have a code of conduct for our appointees and we determined the Deputy Fire Commissioner violated that code in this unfortunate incident.'

"In a follow-up report on Wednesday, LeDuff recited from the fire department’s code of conduct."

LeDuff, who is one-eighth Native American (Ojibwa). worked for the New York Times from 1995 to 2007 and was part of the paper's prize-winning 2001 series, "How Race Is Lived in America." A University of Michigan graduate, he left for the Detroit News to write investigative and human interest features, then left the News in 2010.

"A man's got to find a reason after 45 years to feel it," LeDuff told Bill Shea of Crain's Detroit Business at the time. "I want to feel it."

Shea wrote, ". . . LeDuff — who is sometimes a polarizing figure among readers — always has struck me of a blend of George Plimpton's curiosity with Jimmy Breslin's nose for interesting characters others ignore, Hemingway's succinctness and Dennis Hopper's frenzied photojournalist character from Apocalypse Now, but without the servile insanity. That's probably a bit over the top and slightly hagiographic, but I tend to think in sweeping terms."

ESPN Backs Hugo Balta's Race for NAHJ President

Hugo Balta

Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer at ESPN, said Friday he had secured the permission and endorsement of his employer to run for president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

"The nomination process officially ends on 6/9," Balta said in a message to Journal-isms. "I expect to hear from NAHJ about the guidelines (to campaign). Afterwards — it's laying out the argument to members as to why I am the best candidate for President."

Associated Press writer Russell Contreras, NAHJ's vice president for print and chief financial officer, had been the only declared candidate for president until members urged Balta to run last week and circulated nominating petitions. Balta thanked them on Friday, notifying them of ESPN's approval, and said, "now, on to Las Vegas!," the site of the Aug. 1-4 Unity Journalists convention.

Contreras said last week he welcomed Balta into the race. "I'm running on my record and expect other candidates who get on the ballot to do the same," he said. Balta, a former NAHJ vice president/broadcast, lost the presidential race to Michele Salcedo two years ago by 13 votes.

Clinkscales to Launch "Digital Sports Platform"

Keith ClinkscalesKeith Clinkscales, who left ESPN last year after supervising ESPN's publications and a media incubator that produced such prize-winning movies and specials as "30 for 30," is ready to launch his next project, "a digital sports platform with the unique mission of delivering sports news with the real... Insights, commentary and analysis."

"The Shadow League" will be fully launched in late summer, Clinkscales told Journal-isms on Friday. As reported in this space on Wednesday, Vincent Thomas of SLAM Magazine, ESPN.com and formerly of NBA.com, has been hired as editor-in-chief.

"Keith is my boss. We work very closely," Thomas told Journal-isms by email on Thursday. "And that was definitely a factor in taking the gig. I have confidence in his vision and he has confidence in mine, as well." Thomas has an essay on the site, "All Stacks, No C'hips: Can Generation Y finally crack the championship code?" Clinkscales called that a preview for the site.

Clinkscales was chairman and CEO of Vanguard Media, publishers of Savoy, Honey and Heart & Soul magazines from 2000 to 2003 and from 1992 to 1999 was president and CEO of Vibe/Spin Ventures, which included Vibe magazine.

"Currently he is producing a four-part documentary on Hip Hop, entitled 'The Message' with Jac Benson of BlacJac Productions for Black Entertainment Television (BET)," Clinkscales says on his LinkedIn profile.

"This project is being developed through Shadow MediaWorks, also home to a digital content producer entitled, Shadow Digital. SD is currently developing digital content for the Alchemy Digital Network (a YouTube Premium Channel), among other outlets. Later in the summer SD will launch The Shadow League (www.theshadowleague.com). The Shadow League is a digital sports platform with the unique mission of delivering sports news with the real…Insights, commentary and analysis."

Ed Gordon Debuts Radio Show in Detroit, D.C.

Promotion for "Weekend With Ed Gordon"Ed Gordon, the anchor-host of news and interview shows whose return to Black Entertainment Television two years ago caused less of a splash than some anticipated, is turning his attention to radio.

"First two cities to get new radio show, Weekend with Ed Gordon, DC and Detroit," he messaged on his Facebook page Friday. "Look for the show this Saturday @ 7AM on WHUR and this Sunday on 92.3 FM in Detroit noon-2 PM!!!! I promise you're going to love this show!!! More cities to come. Next week you'll be able to find it online...stay tuned."

Gordon told Journal-isms by telephone Friday, "It's not a news show or a conventional public affairs show. It's like the 'Today' show on the radio." Regulars include comedian Joe Torry, judges Lynn Toler (relationship tips) and Glenda Hatchett (legal advice), and Boyce Watkins (hot topics).

Gordon announced more in the past few days via Facebook: "Our new radio show Weekend with Ed Gordon will have a segment called 'That's My Jam' where celebrities/newsmakers tell us their favorite song from back in the day," he wrote on Wednesday. "Some of the people who tell us their 'Jam': Whoopi Goldberg, Anthony Anderson, Eddie Levert, Lamman Rucker, Vivica A. Fox and even Condoleezza Rice & Louis Farrakhan plus many more! You'll also get a chance to share you favorite song!"

On May 22, Gordon wrote, "In studio working on our first 'Star's Story' for the new radio program Weekend with Ed Gordon...up close and very personal with Charlie Wilson" of the Gap Band. "He has a fantastic story and is very candid about his life, his comeback and past drug use. REAL radio on the way."

Gordon and BET spokesman Luis Defrank said Gordon's weekly public affairs show, "Weekly With Ed Gordon," is off the schedule, but that Gordon would be part of BET's political convention coverage.

Gordon said he is producing the radio show himself, working with fellow Detroiter Gerald McBride of Voice Over Productions.

Native Press Wants Answers From Elizabeth Warren

"The campaign of U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, has done something that Elizabeth Warren, his main Democratic challenger for his seat in Congress, has failed to do for the past month as a major controversy has swirled over her self-reported Cherokee ancestry: it responded to inquiries from the American Indian press," Rob Capriccioso reported Friday for Indian Country Today.

"Jim Barnett, campaign manager for Scott Brown, said in an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network on June 1 that Warren should have reached out to American Indians by now to explain herself.

" 'Elizabeth Warren has a lot of explaining to do to everyone, but I would think in particular to the Native American community, since that is the heritage that she has claimed without any evidence,' Barnett said. 'It seems to me that any time a person tries to attach themselves to a group of people without rationale for doing so, except for maybe personal gain, it seems very seedy to me.' "

The Warren campaign did not return a call from Journal-isms on Friday.

Denver Post Rejects Criticism of Online Birther Poll

Denver Post Editor Gregory Moore is rejecting criticism from Columbia Journalism Review about an online poll the Post conducted on whether readers agree with the "birthers" that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Gregory Moore

The poll was conducted after Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., said to supporters: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."

Greg Marx wrote Friday in CJR, "An online poll . . . has no useful purpose; it's pure junk data. When the questions are about people's opinions or preferences, that just makes for a harmless diversion, and maybe a cheap and easy opportunity for reader engagement. In this case, however, the poll involves a newspaper — an institution whose core function is to learn and communicate facts about the world — suggesting that there is legitimate disagreement or difference of opinion about what is, simply, a fact. There may be harmful consequences to public knowledge as a result. There are certainly consequences for the Post's credibility."

Marx continued, "That credibility took a further hit thanks to the paper's decision to publish on Thursday a column by Mike Rosen, an AM radio host at Denver's KOA, under the headline 'Mike Coffman was right about Obama in the first place.' Much of the column is devoted to agreeing with Coffman's statement that Obama is not an American 'in his heart,' and to pillorying the president with a barrage of culture-war epithets. . . . "

Asked for comment, Moore told Journal-isms by email Friday:

"It is silly to be criticized for an online poll. No one thinks they are scientific, we don't use the results in our news coverage and it is a fun way for readers to engage and register feelings about issues in the public square. To suggest anything else is ridiculous.

"As far as Rosen, he is a freelance columnist, who is entitled to his opinion and our readers are just as smart as the CJR reporter in making up their minds about Rosen's point of view. Much ado about nothing in our estimation."

Producer of Anti-Obama Video Loses Job Offer at CNN

"The Fox News producer behind a provocative four-minute anti-Obama video that aired Wednesday and caused the network considerable embarrassment has found his career on ice," Jeremy W. Peters reported Thursday for the New York Times.

"The producer, Chris White, had been offered a job by CNN before the video was broadcast. But on Thursday, a CNN spokeswoman said that the network would not be hiring him.

". . . The video, which aired twice on the morning show 'Fox & Friends,' was widely criticized as a thinly veiled attack ad. In it, President Obama is depicted as a failed leader who has not delivered on his 2008 campaign theme of hope and change."

On Friday, Chris Ariens of TV Newser quoted Bill Shine, Fox News executive vice president of programming. "Chris White will remain employed with FOX News. We've addressed the video with the producers and are not going to discuss the internal workings of our programming any further."


A South African television station showed footage of an unidentified man defacing a controversial portrait of South African President Jacob Zuma at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. (Credit: eTV) (Video)

S. African Paper Yields, Pulls Controversial Image

Under pressure from the ruling African National Congress, South Africa's City Press newspaper pulled from its website an image of a painting showing President Jacob Zuma as Lenin with his genitals exposed.

The Vienna-based International Press Institute, a press-freedom organization, condemned the pressure that led to the removal, as did the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which called it "harassment and intimidation."

Steven M. Ellis of IPI reported on Tuesday:

"City Press Editor and IPI Executive Board Member Ferial Haffajee wrote yesterday that the newspaper decided to take down the controversial image, which had accompanied a review of a satirical art exhibition in a Johannesburg gallery, 'Out of care and as an olive branch to play a small role in helping turn around a tough moment'.

"The image had inflamed tensions in South Africa and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party last week called for a boycott of City Press until the 'insulting portrait' was removed from the newspaper's website.

"IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said the pressure City Press faced was 'exactly the type of thing we fight against', adding: 'While we understand the sensitivity of the subject, City Press' reporting was on a matter of public interest. The actions taken by the ANC — which we again condemn as abuse and harassment — will lead only to future self-censorship by journalists. Worse, it will add fuel to the disturbing belief by those in power that they can muzzle the media to stifle unwelcome or embarrassing critiques of their behaviour.'

"Haffajee explained her decision yesterday in a column posted on City Press' website.

" 'We take down the image in the spirit of peacemaking — it is an olive branch,' she said. 'But the debate must not end here and we should all turn this into a learning moment, in the interest of all our freedom.' "

"She added, however: 'Of course, the image is coming down from fear too. I'd be silly not to admit that. The atmosphere is like a tinderbox: City Press copies went up in flames on Saturday; I don't want any more newspapers burnt in anger.' "

On May 22, the Associated Press quoted Sophia Morren, a ceramicist who saw the painting defaced after she brought her 17-year-old daughter to see artist Brett Murray's show. Morren said Zuma had shown little respect for himself. "She referred to Zuma's six marriages — he currently has four wives, his 21 children, and his acknowledgement in 2010 that he fathered a child that year with a woman who was not among his wives.

" 'He's famous for all his women, all his children. I get exactly what the artist is saying,' Morren said. 'Zuma shouldn't be complaining. Really.' "

In a column Sunday, "How a painting divided a nation," Haffajee asked herself if she would publish the artwork knowing what she does now.

"I would think 10 times before publishing because this week has caused me to pause and think about our nation," Haffajee wrote.

"Our common national dignity is a paper-thin one; a chimera in parts. It is in the process of being knitted and the media holds at least one knitting needle.

"The exposure of black genitalia is still a raw and festering wound – its resurrection in any form a painful flashback to the various and many indignities inflicted on the black body from colonialism to its later manifestation as apartheid. . . ."

Short Takes

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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 BugMeNot.com 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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Comments

Denver Post Birther Poll

Gregory Moore just yelled "fire" in a crowded theater. He wants to save his phony baloney job. If the NYT or the Washington Post polled readers about the ability of African-Americans to disseminate unbiased news--Moore would be foaming at the mouth. 

IMO, Moore has revoked his rights as a journalist and a MOT(member of the tribe). 

Decency Kept

In such a time as this new era in which the extent of words, quotes and indecent improper language as rooted itself in the mainstream from music (country music? When did this happen?), across the cinema media and fines levied for indecency is a pinch to the wallets of corporations who violate such rules and regulations, news rooms in its focus to bring the most pinpoint, most accurate details of any and every story, are finding themselves asking such questions ad whether to actually print the very, exact words in quotes of those speaking within the story. This in itself is clearly indicative of a morale shift occurring even amongst journalists as the public decries the importance of reporting as is any statement made during stories and quotes made by individuals. When did we get to the place where journalists are wondering if they should report expletives and obscenities as they are said? Regardless of such bombardment of decadence spewed daily on TV and other media technologies, the media must remain steadfast in keeping to caution and refrain from writing or speaking exactly what quotes have been spoken in keeping with whatever percentage of the public doesnt wish to read such statements. It is highly recommended that every individual journalist evaluate his and her morale stance and determine any shifts regarding speech and decency. And news rooms must mandate keeping to such guards.

Fire official fired.

Show the word. Why leave it out? It is a common enough word.

four-letter expletive

i say spell it out if it's in quotes. we can take it.

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