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GOP Voters Favor "Defunding" NPR

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Plurality of Democrats, Blacks, Latinos Oppose Cutoff

Sharon Prill, Former AAJA Officer, Named Publisher

Seattle Times Pulls Endorsement After Judge's Racial Remarks

Nearly 3 Million Watch Obama on "The Daily Show" 

Latinos Say Illegal Immigration Heightens Bias Concerns

In Makeover, CNN en Español Adds 3 New Anchors

James Wall, Beloved CBS Stage Manager, Dies at 92

Editor of Ugandan Paper Still Wants Gays Hanged

Short Takes

Juan Williams said on WAMU-FM's "The Diane Rehm Show" on Tuesday, "I think that NPR should have money." He went on to say he did not see what sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas had to do with his qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court. (Video)

Plurality of Democrats, Blacks, Latinos Oppose Cutoff

"Most Democrats and a plurality of independents want the U.S. government to continue its financial contributions to embattled National Public Radio, while most Republicans oppose continued U.S. funding for NPR," according to a national poll of 1,074 registered voters taken Monday.

A plurality of blacks and Hispanics, and a strong majority of people 18 to 29, opposed a cutoff of funding.

The survey was conducted by Poll Position, whose founding partners include Eason Jordan, longtime CNN news executive, and Jeff Shusterman, co-founder and president of Majority Opinion Research.

Asked, "Should the U.S. government stop helping fund National Public Radio?" 38.9 percent said yes, 44.7 said no and 16.5 percent had no opinion. Among blacks, the figures were 31.4 percent yes, 48.8 percent no and 19.8 percent no opinion. Among Hispanics, they were 38.7 percent yes, 48.2 percent no and 13.1 percent no opinion.

"It’s important to keep in mind, when writing about this issue, that NPR actually receives a lot less money than people might think it does (a fact drummed into listeners’ heads every time a membership drive comes along)," Lauren Kirchner wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "NPR actually does not receive any government funding for its operations costs.

"For NPR’s individual member stations: see that direct funding from Federal, State & Local governments made up only 5.8 percent of the stations’ revenue in FY 2008. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) contributed another 10.1 percent, but even if you add those up, that’s still only about 16 percent of the stations’ funding coming directly or indirectly from government sources."

Nevertheless, "NPR’s controversial firing last week of news analyst Juan Williams re-ignited a long-time debate over whether U.S. government funds should be channeled to the non-profit radio service," Ted Iliff of Poll Position wrote.

(Credit: Poll Position)"In partisan terms, Republicans favored ending U.S. funding 54-28 percent, while Democrats wanted the funding to continue 58-25 percent. NPR funding was favored by independents 49-38 percent.

"Broken down by ages, the 18-29 group supported continued taxpayer subsidies 62-30 percent. The 30-44 group narrowly sided with halting the funding 42-39 percent, and older groups were almost evenly split on the idea."

While such Republicans as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former House speaker Newt Gingrich have raised the issue of "defunding" NPR, Williams has concerned himself more with expressing anger at the organization.

"I think that NPR should have money. I think that people at NPR have to be held accountable for their words and actions," he said Tuesday on "The Diane Rehm Show" on Washington's WAMU-FM, an NPR affiliate. "I'm — to repeat, Diane, I'm a big fan of radio and I think especially the whole notion of public radio and good reporting, so this is not an attempt to wipe out anybody."

Meanwhile, Alicia C. Shepard, NPR's ombudsman, wrote that she had received hundreds of calls and 22,769 e-mails on the Williams firing.

NPR affiliates "were flooded with complaints when the news broke, but not all suffered financially," she continued.

"Stations in St. Louis, Cleveland, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Amherst, MA and other areas broke records. And in some areas, stations actually benefited from a backlash against the backlash; listeners said they wanted to support NPR against what they perceived as a Fox-News generated attack.

"NPR should salvage a bad situation by turning the underlying points Williams raised, about the widespread concerns, suspicions, and prejudices about Muslims in America into a national conversation," she wrote.

Williams had said on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" that he gets nervous when he sees passengers in "Muslim garb" on an airplane.

"What if NPR in the next few months started a thoughtful, probing conversation airing and addressing our fears, rational or not, about Muslims?" Shepard asked. "What if NPR skillfully explored areas many of us are uncomfortable talking about?

"What if it were done throughout the network with local public radio stations exploring the issue locally with interviews and stories?"

NPR spokeswomen were not responding to questions.

Sharon Prill, Former AAJA Officer, Named Publisher

Sharon Prill, general manager of JSOnline.com, website of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been named publisher of the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic, the Seattle Times, the Yakima paper's parent company, announced on Wednesday.

Sharon PrillPrill, a former secretary and treasurer of the Asian American Journalists Association, becomes the third Asian American woman leading a daily newspaper in the United States, AAJA President Sharon Pian Chan wrote on her blog. The others are Mei-Mei Chan, publisher of the News Press at Fort Myers, Fla., and Mi-Ai Parrish, publisher of the Idaho Statesman.

"A native of Hawaii and graduate of the University of Washington, Prill cut her management teeth at The Seattle Times in the 1990s before leaving the company in 2002," Chris Bristol wrote in the Yakima paper.

" 'Digital has to be a big piece of every news media strategy,' she said in a phone interview from her office at the Journal Sentinel, adding, 'I'm hoping to bring the best practices I’ve learned here and infuse some of that in Yakima.'

"Part Filipino, she said her first language was [Tagalog] and that she can sympathize with immigrant children who come from families where English may not be the native tongue."

Seattle Times Pulls Endorsement After Racial Remarks

The Seattle Times has withdrawn an endorsement for the first time in memory because a judge's comments about African Americans and crime "were so off base, so uninformed, that we could no longer stand by him," Editorial Page Editor Ryan Blethen wrote on Friday.

Steve Miletich reported on the Times front page on Oct. 22, "State Supreme Court justices Richard Sanders and James Johnson stunned some participants at a recent court meeting when they said African Americans are overrepresented in the prison population because they commit a disproportionate number of crimes.

"Both justices disputed the view held by some that racial discrimination plays a significant role in the disparity.

"Johnson also used the term 'poverty pimp,' an apparent reference to people who purportedly exploit the poor in the legal system, say those who attended the meeting.

"Sanders later confirmed his remarks about imprisoned African Americans, saying 'certain minority groups' are 'disproportionally represented in prison because they have a crime problem.'

" 'That's right,' he told The Seattle Times this week. 'I think that's obvious.'

"Blacks make up about 4 percent of Washington's population but 17 percent of people under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Similar disparities nationwide have been attributed by some researchers in part to sentencing practices, inadequate legal representation and drug-enforcement policies that unfairly affect blacks."

Blethen responded to criticism of Monday's editorial withdrawing its endorsement by saying, "To believe we changed our minds about Sanders because of some notion of political correctness is also wrong. This goes beyond being politically correct.

"What Sanders and Johnson said seriously brings into question their ability to hear cases that involve people of color. That assertion has nothing to do with being politically correct and everything to do with having a Supreme Court that can act in the best interest of all Washington residents, including African Americans."

He said he could not remember when the Times had ever rescinded an endorsement. The paper did not discuss Johnson, the second judge, in its general-election endorsements because he "received more than 50 percent of the primary vote, which in judicial races is enough to win the race."

In his appearance on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show," President Obama "seemed to bristle at times over the comic's assumptions," Eric Deggans wrote for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. (Video)

Nearly 3 Million Watch Obama on "The Daily Show"

"About 2.8 million people tuned in for President Obama’s interview on 'The Daily Show' Wednesday night," Brian Stelter reported for the New York Times.

"It was the first visit by a sitting president to the news satire show, and it was worth almost an extra million viewers for the program, which normally averages about 1.9 million viewers for its 11 p.m. airing.

"Comedy Central said the interview ranked as the third-highest-rated edition of 'The Daily Show' ever, behind then-candidate Obama’s appearance in October 2008 and Michelle Obama’s appearance that same month."

On his St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times blog, Eric Deggans wrote, "the President's stop by the Daily Show tonight . . . was a substantive, spirited debate on some of the central questions which have most troubled liberals and progressives about his administration."

On theLoop21.com, Devona Walker agreed.

"After watching the cable outlets go ballistic over President Obama’s appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, I have one slightly sardonic question to ask. If it’s disrespectful to call the President 'Dude' then how would you categorize labeling him a welfare thug, Kenyan Witch Doctor, Nazi or racist?

"The whole thing seems like another stupid, made-up media narrative when in actuality they should be embarrassed because Stewart’s (who is a satirist not a real journalist) interview was far more interesting and engaging than any I’ve seen in the least two years."

Latinos Say Illegal Immigration Heightens Bias Concerns

"The national political backlash against illegal immigration has created new divisions among Latinos and heightened their concerns about discrimination against members of their ethnic group —including those who were born in the United States or who immigrated legally," Mark Hugo Lopez, Rich Morin and Paul Taylor reported Thursday for the Pew Hispanic Center.

"About four-in-five of the nation's estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin. A new national survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, finds that Latinos are divided over what to do with these immigrants. A small majority (53%) says they should pay a fine but not be deported. A small minority (13%) says they should be deported, and a larger minority (28%) says they should not be punished.

"Hispanics are also divided about the impact of illegal immigration on Hispanics already living in the U.S. Roughly equal shares say the impact has been positive (29%), negative (31%) or made no difference (30%). This mixed judgment stands in sharp contrast to views that Latinos expressed on this subject in 2007. Back then, fully half (50%) of Latinos said the impact was positive, while just 20% said it was negative.

"Today, more than six-in-ten (61%) Latinos say that discrimination against Hispanics is a 'major problem,' up from 54% who said that in 2007."

Fernando del Rincón, left, Mercedes Soler and Camilo Egaña

Part of "comprehensive channel reface":  Fernando del Rincón, left, Mercedes Soler and Camilo Egaña.

In Makeover, CNN en Español Adds 3 New Anchors

CNN en Español is adding three new anchors — Fernando del Rincón, Mercedes Soler and Camilo Egaña — to its lineup, Veronica Villafañe reported Thursday on her Media Moves site.

The announcement comes three weeks after CNN en Español announced "the most comprehensive channel reface in its history."

Starting Nov. 22, it said, "CNN en Español will begin rolling out a slate of new programs and a completely redesigned branding package including a new logo, tagline, music and marketing campaign. The network is also making significant investments in technology, and will unveil a Miami-based production hub and state-of-the-art studio in Atlanta."

It said the changes would debut in several phases over the next year.

Del Rincón, a former anchor at Mega TV, will be based in Atlanta and anchor the network's new program "CNN Investiga," Villafañe reported. "He will also co-host 'Panorama Mundial' with CNNE Senior Anchor Patricia Janiot. Additionally, Patricia will anchor the midday newscast 'Nuestro Mundo.'

"Mercedes Soler will co-host 'NotiMujer,' one of the network's new shows, along with longtime CNNE anchor Glenda Umaña. The show will be broadcast from the new production center in Miami and from Atlanta. Mercedes was most recently a columnist for El Nuevo Herald and previously a correspondent for Univision.

"Camilo Egaña will relocate to Atlanta, where he'll be in charge of 'Mirador Mundial,' CNNE's weekend newscast, as well as 'Archivo CNN,' one of the network's new programs. Prior to joining CNNE, Camilo was a news anchor at Mega TV."

James Wall, Beloved CBS Stage Manager, Dies at 92

James ("Jimmy") Wall, "the stage manager for many CBS, CBS News James Wall  (Credit: Mark Mahaney/CBS)and CBS Sports broadcasts, including the 'CBS Evening News,' 'Face the Nation,' '60 Minutes' and 'NFL Today,' " died in his sleep Wednesday after a short illness, CBS News announced. He was 92.

"In 2008, he was recognized on the air for his 41st consecutive year as stage manager of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.

"Wall was also Captain Kangaroo’s knowledgeable neighbor 'Mr. Baxter' on the children’s show during the 1960s and 70s. Wall had been the stage manager for the Captain Kangaroo show since 1962, when he joined CBS, before persuading the show’s producers to create its first black character. Wall, a talented former vaudevillian with a wonderful voice and kindly demeanor got the regular role of Mr. Baxter in 1968. He played Baxter and another recurring role on the show until 1978," CBS said.

"He also stage managed coverage of political conventions, presidential inaugurations, election coverage and space launches of the 1960s.

"The stage manager’s role is to be the director’s eyes and ears on the set in addition to other tasks, most prominent of which was the countdown to air for a live broadcast.

"In a rich baritone that could call a busy newsroom to attention, Wall counted the time to air for the likes of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather as stage manager for THE CBS EVENING NEWS from the 1960s through the 1980s. 'TWO MINUTES TO AIR' began his count and eventually, 'IN FIVE,' he would intone, and count down until a flip of his hand indicated the anchor was on live television."

In 1999, Wall was interviewed about his life for 4 1/2 hours for the Archive of American Television, and the video of the interviews is online.

"Wall was a person whose eclectic life and fascinating career made for a never-ending string of stories. Wall went to sea as 15 yr-old, had delivered sugar for New York bootlegger’s stills during Prohibition, and became a singer and dancer in a series of Vaudeville acts that took him around the country and put him on Broadway stages before he was drafted by the Army. He went to Europe, where he became a master sergeant involved in USO shows that he staged throughout the continent," CBS said.

Editor of Ugandan Paper Still Wants Gays Hanged

The editor of a Ugandan newspaper that ran a front-page story listing 100 "top" homosexuals with a banner reading "Hang Them" is holding fast to his position, but an international press-freedom group called on the editor to issue an apology.

"Giles Muhame, the youthful editor of Rolling Stone," no relation to the American publication, "is unrepentant (video). He says homosexuality is a virus spreading through the world and believes they have done a public good," David McKenzie reported for CNN.

"He says the aim was to target Ugandan homosexuals who were recruiting 'converts in schools.'

" 'We thought, by publishing that story, the police would investigate them, prosecute them, and hang them,' says Muhame."

Muhame said much the same thing on NPR's "Tell Me More" on Thursday. Host Michel Martin also interviewed Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda. "Almost every person who was named and whose picture appeared in the paper has been harassed already," Mugisha said. "I personally have received threats from people around the area where I live, who are pointing fingers at me and have thrown all sorts of vulgar insults at me because my name did appear in the paper."

Alison Bethel McKenzie, a former Washington bureau chief for the Detroit News who is acting director of the International Press Institute in Vienna, Austria, sent Muhame a letter in which she noted that the government of the East African nation has shut down the newspaper as improperly registered.

"IPI believes that an attack on press freedom in one country is an attack on press freedom in every country," McKenzie wrote. "Similarly, irresponsible journalism in one place reflects poorly on journalists everywhere — and is insulting to those journalists who have gone to prison and even died in pursuit of the truth.

"The struggle for press freedom is slow, hard work for journalists in many countries around the world. Rolling Stone can choose to make this struggle harder, or it can turn around and show what good journalism is all about."

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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