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Gay Group Serves Up Details on "Experts"

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Project Says Website Will Give Journalists the Rest of the Story

Martin Back on CNN; GLAAD Stance Is Wait and See

AP Updates Stylebook Entry on Racial Identification

Killing of Florida Teen Bubbling Up to National Attention

Malveaux on Leaving Bennett: "I Saw an Uphill Climb"

NABJ to Honor Monica Pearson, Longtime Atlanta Anchor

Afghan Official Threatens Wall Street Journal Reporter

Short Takes

Project Says Website Will Give Journalists Rest of the Story

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, known as GLAAD, launched a project on Wednesday designed "to educate the media about the extreme rhetoric of over three dozen activists who are often given a platform to speak in opposition to LGBT people and the issues that affect their lives."

"Hate is not an expert opinion," GLAAD spokesman Herndon Graddick As more commentators engage in anti-LGBT rhetoric, new profiles will be added. said in a news release. "In most cases, news outlets invite reputable experts to speak on the subject at hand, but when talking about LGBT issues, open hostility and anti-LGBT bias seems to be all the credibility required. This project holds these so-called 'pundits' accountable for the extreme anti-LGBT rhetoric they continue to spread." The organization listed the Southern Poverty Law Center as a resource for reporters writing about its project.

"The Commentator Accountability Project launches with a comprehensive set of online resources detailing the anti-LGBT, racist, and anti-woman sentiments of nearly three dozen anti-LGBT commentators who have appeared in local and national news. As more commentators engage in anti-LGBT rhetoric, new profiles will be added." LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

In an essay on mediaite.com, Aaron McQuade, a "straight ally" who is GLAAD’s director of news and field media, "The truth is, many newsrooms don’t actually know the extent of the animosity that these anti-LGBT activists hold towards the LGBT community. They’re often careful not to say these things in the mainstream media. But get them speaking to right-wing radio, or writing statements to their supporters, and you see them in a whole new way.

"Last year I spoke with a reporter from a very well-respected newspaper who had quoted one of the figures profiled in our project. I asked why the reporter had gone to this person for a quote. The reporter told me that an editor had demanded 'balance.' I explained that this person would only provide 'balance' if the LGBT advocates quoted were calling for criminal sanctions against heterosexuality, or said that straight people were 'pawns of the enemy.'

". . . Please note here that 'accountability' does not necessarily mean keeping these people out of the media. But if a reporter is interviewing someone who insinuates that his or her political opponent is controlled by the devil, it's the reporter's journalistic responsibility to put that person’s opinion in perspective.

"The Commentator Accountability Project contains facts that every journalist who covers LGBT issues should be familiar with, but usually is not. It's the responsibility of journalists to inform their audiences about an issue. But it is also journalists' responsibility to fully inform themselves about the people they’re calling on to provide opposition to the LGBT community, and to relay that information to their readers, listeners, or viewers."

Martin Back on CNN; GLAAD Stance Is Wait and See

Roland Martin returned to a CNN newscast for the first time since a month-long suspension on Wednesday, participating in the morning "CNN Newsroom."

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which strongly protested the commentator's Twitter postings during the Super Bowl as anti-gay and called at first for his firing, said "it remains to be seen" whether the chastened Martin will meet its expectations.

Herndon Graddick, a spokesman for GLAAD, said Tuesday in an Roland Martinemailed statement to Journal-isms, "CNN’s suspension of Roland Martin sparked a nationwide dialogue about the prevalence of anti-LGBT violence and how language can contribute to that. We hoped that Martin would use this incident to speak out in support of LGBT people and against violence. It remains to be seen whether he will continue to use his platforms to do that."

On "Newswatch," Martin participated in a "Political Buzz" segment, described as a rapid-fire look at the best political topics of the day.

Told that exit polls from Tuesday's Republican presidential primaries showed that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was favored by 46 percent of those who thought beating President Obama was the most important quality in a candidate, anchor Carol Costello asked, ". . . Should Romney just get on that horse and ride full-out to the finish line, don't even talk about other issues?"

"If so, he will be dead in the water," Martin replied. "You have to talk about the issues that people care about. You have to be focusing on the economy. What Romney [should] be doing is stop talking about NFL owners and NASCAR owners as being his friends and learn to sit down in living rooms to get an understanding of what mom CEOs and dad CEOs are talking about."

Costello next played a clip of state Sen. Nina Turner, D-Ohio, saying, tongue-in-cheek, "It is patently unfair in this country that we simply only focus in on a woman's reproductive health. We've got to show men that we care about them, too."

Martin replied, "I support her 100 percent because when you check these guys who are making these decisions, they're never talking to their mothers or their sisters or their wives or their daughters. And so absolutely, you say pull the Viagra. Trust me, their attitudes would change quickly."

AP Updates Stylebook Entry on Racial Identification

"On Tuesday, the AP Stylebook updated its entry on when journalists should publish information about a person’s race," Mallary Jean Tenore wrote Wednesday for the Poynter Institute.

"The update says that race is pertinent in stories about crime suspects who have been 'sought by the police or missing person cases,' so long as 'police or other credible, detailed descriptions' are used. When the suspect is found or apprehended, the update says, the racial reference should be removed."

Tom Kent, the Associated Press standards editor, told Journal-isms that the language did not represent a change in policy, but simply added more detail. There was no particular news peg that prompted the new language. "We go through the book all the time," he said.

The former entry on "race" read:

"Identification by race is pertinent:

  • "In biographical and announcement stories that involve a feat or appointment not routinely associated with members of a particular race.

  • "When it provides the reader with a substantial insight into conflicting emotions known or likely to be involved in a demonstration or similar event.

  • "In some stories that involve a conflict, it is equally important to specify that an issue cuts across racial lines. If, for example, a demonstration by supporters of busing to achieve racial balance in schools includes a substantial number of whites, that fact should be noted.

  • "Do not use racially derogatory terms unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story."

The relevance of racial identifications was addressed in this space in 2010.

As Tenore pointed out, "My former colleague Keith Woods wrote that racial identifiers are rarely relevant or revealing and can perpetuate stereotypes. While they carry information about heritage and geography, they don't describe much about a person’s physical appearance."

Moreover, as Gary L. Wells wrote in 2007 on the Nieman Watchdog Web site, "Mistaken eyewitness identification is the most common cause of the conviction of innocent people. Since 1992, there have been 200 definitive exonerations of people whose convictions were overturned using forensic DNA testing, and mistaken eyewitness testimony was involved in 154 of those cases."

Wells is professor of psychology at Iowa State University and director of social sciences at the American Judicature Society’s Institute of Forensic Science and Public Policy.

"Cross-racial identifications are much less reliable," Ezekiel R. Edwards, the Mayer Brown Eyewitness Fellow at the Innocence Project, told Journal-isms then.

The lesson for journalists, Edwards said, is to be skeptical when reporting eyewitness accounts of crimes.

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a

Killing of Florida Teen Bubbling Up to National Attention

"James Davis gripped the hands of the people on either side of him, closed his eyes and prayed for justice in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin," Bianca Prieto wrote Wednesday for the Orlando Sentinel as the case appeared to join others that have bubbled up to national attention.

"The lifelong Sanford resident was one of nearly 400 people, including many influential local civil-rights leaders and pastors, who packed the Allen Chapel AME Church to call for an arrest in the slaying of the unarmed black teen by a white crime-watch volunteer last month."

" 'What occurred here is tragic and horrific,' said Davis, 64. 'Every American citizen should be outraged.'

"Davis, like many others, thinks Trayvon was confronted — and ultimately shot to death — because he was black. The shooter, George Zimmerman, claimed he acted in self-defense and has not been arrested or charged. Sanford police say they don't have enough evidence to make an arrest.

"But more than two weeks after the Feb. 26 incident, controversy continues to mount around the shooting and the Police Department's handling of the case."

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton give the background in this change.org petition:

"On February 26, our son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. He was only 17 years-old.

"Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. Zimmerman, the community's self appointed 'neighborhood watch leader,' called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon, a young black man, walking from the store. But Zimmerman still hasn't been charged for murdering my son."

On Politic365.com, Charles Ellison wrote, "It won’t go unnoticed that the killing occurred in Florida, which will serve as a key battleground state during the 2012 elections.

"The state itself will be hotly contested, and some observers point to the caustic 2000 election decision as an unfortunate model. Given the state’s very diverse racial demographics, including its large Black and Latino populations, Martin’s shooting may end up becoming an emotional flashpoint that will eventually translate into mobilization on a massive scale. Brace for that in a big way, particularly if Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, continues to roam free despite his, to date, unapologetic confession to the killing."

Julianne Malveaux answers questions after reading a statement on Bennett College

Malveaux on Leaving Bennett: "I Saw an Uphill Climb"

Julianne Malveaux, the economist and commentator who announced two weeks ago that she is resigning as president of Bennett College for Women, elaborated on her reasons this week in the syndicated column she has continued during her tenure at the Greensboro, N.C., school.

". . . Why go? Because it’s time," Malveaux wrote. "Because leading the college is easy and fun, but raising money is hard. In order to move into the next phase at Bennett, somehow we need to both enhance our endowment and raise enough moment to implement the strategic plan I led. Do I have the stomach for spending 80 percent of my time raising money? When asked the question, I had to go into deep prayer and meditation. The answer? No.

"External forces work against HBCUs," historically black colleges and universities. "President Obama has been great in managing to keep the Pell grant level, but it needs to be larger. In North Carolina, the private colleges have been excluded from state lottery funds, reducing the money Bennett students can bring to the college. Key stakeholders committed for four years and may or may not renew commitment. The United Negro College [Fund] has slashed its appropriations to private colleges by more than 50 percent. When I looked at the factors in play, I saw an uphill climb. And five years of working at full speed, wearing myself down, convinced me that I didn’t have the energy for another uphill climb. . . ."

NABJ to Honor Monica Pearson, Longtime Atlanta Anchor

Veteran broadcast journalist Monica Pearson will receive the National Association of Black Journalists' 2012 Legacy Award, NABJ announced on Tuesday. "The annual honor is awarded to an accomplished journalist who has broken barriers and blazed trails. . . .

Monica Pearson" 'Monica is an icon and for nearly four decades has served the Atlanta market giving a voice to the issues and interests of the city. She epitomizes the true meaning of this award, a true trailblazer opening the doors for women and for people of color in local news. Monica is most befitting of our annual Legacy Award,' said NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr.

"Pearson, 64, is the longest-running anchor in the Atlanta market, working through seven presidencies and six Georgia governors as the state nearly doubled in size. For 37 years, she has served as an anchor at WSB-TV (Atlanta), where she presently co-anchors the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts."

Pearson was a 1969 graduate of Columbia University's summer program to train minority journalists, a forerunner of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

Afghan Official Threatens Wall Street Journal Reporter

The Committee to Protect Journalists Tuesday urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to "address" a statement by Ministry of Defense spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi that attacked a Wall Street Journal reporter.

Maria Abi-Habib's March 8 article "reported on accusations that Afghan Maria Abi-Habib (Credit: Twitter)Air Force personnel were involved in drug and weapons trafficking while using AAF aircraft," Joel Simon, executive director of the committee, said in a letter to Karzai. "The story cited officials from the International Security Assistance Force openly saying they were investigating misconduct within the AAF. The article also said a separate investigation was being carried out by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"The article also quoted several high-ranking Afghan government officials, including AAF spokesman Lt. Col. Mohammed Bahadur and Minister of Defense Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak. But Azimi's statement, released two days later, contained personal attacks on the journalist in a seeming attempt to discredit her:

"Miss Maria Habib, a journalist of The Wall Street Journal deals with these matters with ultimate obsession; her untruthful reports are well-known amongst national and international media.

"Perhaps even worse, the statement ended on a threatening note:

"In reviewing this story by The Wall Street Journal it appears that political groups from different countries pay certain journalists such as Miss Habib who are seeking fame to broadcast such baseless and untruthful reports.

"Stating that someone is being paid by 'political groups from different countries' is a serious charge, one that puts any reporter in serious danger. The accusation is even more dangerous in a country like Afghanistan, where rule of law is relatively weak and threats, attacks, and murders take place with near-complete impunity."

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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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