Gregory Kane, Conservative Voice, Dies at 62
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Abbreviated column today
Returning February 24
Gregory P. Kane, a former Baltimore Sun columnist awarded a platform at the paper when many newspapers were looking for black conservative voices, died of cancer Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Jacques Kelly wrote Wednesday for the Baltimore Sun. "He was 62.
" 'He challenged a lot of traditional political thought in the African-American community,' said Anthony McCarthy, a talk-show host at radio station WEEA-FM. 'When I'd have him as a guest on my show, he'd say to me, "I'm your token conservative," ' " Kelly wrote.
Kane was a member of the Trotter Group of African American columnists, to whom, he often noted, his political views were in the minority. Yet he said he enjoyed the fellowship.
Rhonda Graham of the News Journal in Wilmington, Del., messaged Trotter Group colleagues on Thursday, "Add me to those who grieve Gregory’s mild, quiet spirit in our sessions of so many talking heads among us. He had a funny shy laugh, but a keen wit about him."
Though contrarian, Kane was not doctrinaire. In 2006, he was part of a five-member delegation of African American journalists who visited Cuba and came back favoring an end to the embargo against the island. He told readers that American arrogance made him wish "the Cuban team would beat the pants off the American team" if they met in the World Baseball Classic.
Still, Kane took the place of a columnist more reflective of mainstream black thought. That columnist, Wiley Hall III, told Journal-isms by email, "It is truly shocking about Gregory and sad. He was an OK guy, quiet spoken, often shy. I pray he didn't suffer."
But, speaking of the Sun and the now-defunct Evening Sun, Hall said of Kane's debut as a columnist, "I believe there was only one black mainstream columnist at either paper at the time — me. (Smile.) He took my spot. . . . the paper selected a writer whose views more reflected the point of view of Sun editors and conservative white readers as opposed to someone who better the reflected the view point of black readers. We like to say Gregory was courageous, but in fact, it's not all that courageous to tell conservative whites what they want to hear. In fact, it's the opposite of risky to do so."
Garland L. Thompson, then an editorial writer on the morning Sun, told Journal-isms by telephone that the Sun was "trying to find some alternative to Garland Thompson." He recalled telling the Evening Sun's op-ed editor, "You're trying to get somebody to say things about black men that you don't have the nerve to say." Thompson said of Kane, "He got hated in the black community."
Kelly's story continued, "Mr. Kane became a Sun reporter in 1993 and began writing his local column in 1995. Recalled for his provocative style, he wrote a description of himself in his first column: 'a lifelong Baltimore resident, liberal on some issues, conservative on others, a veritable fascist on the topic of crime.' "
Kane did not start his professional life as a journalist. After Kane attended Franklin & Marshall College and the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland, Kelly wrote, "He went on to work at Sinai Hospital for 16 years. He started in data processing and for his last five years was a supervisor in the transportation department. He was also fascinated by astronomy and worked at the Maryland Science Center's Davis Planetarium.
"Beginning in 1984, while still working at Sinai, he started an association with the old Evening Sun. He wrote op-ed page essays on local topics.
" 'I recognized him as a good writer right off. His copy was clean,' said Michael H. Bowler, a retired Sun staff member who edited Mr. Kane's columns 25 years ago. 'He was controversial and sort of drifted to the right in his later days. He was very perceptive and an intelligent guy. I liked him, and on social issues, he was perfect for balance.'
"Mr. Kane often mentioned his family in his writings. He wrote of how his brother had been killed in a street fight in Easton. He also said that his mother taught him the moral values that influenced his life. In a recent column for the Washington Examiner, he said that a phone call from his grandchildren on Christmas Day was his most precious gift. . . ." [Updated Feb. 20.]
"Arsenio Hall is one of the most enduring names in late night history, and so he was more than a little P.O.ed that his name was excluded in an NBC report on the late night wars and Jimmy Fallon's ascendancy," Josh Feldman reported Wednesday for Mediaite. "Hall called out Brian Williams for his exclusion, and Williams apologized on the air tonight for the oversight."
Hall noted on his show Tuesday that the New York Times also excluded him in a Sunday Arts & Leisure story on late-night hosts.
Hall mentioned that reporters continually mention that the hosts are vying to continue the legacy of longtime late-night king Johnny Carson of "The Tonight Show," but said he was the only one to survive competition with Carson. The roster of hosts presented by Williams "look like the Russian hockey team or something," he said.
Hall said so that he did not appear to be "the angry black man," hip-hop mogul Suge Knight, who joined Hall on stage, would volunteer to play that role.
Hall then gave out Williams' office telephone number and urged viewers to call.
"Williams noted tonight he left out both Hall and Pete Holmes, who hosts the late night show following O'Brien's, and pointed out the call-in campaign that Hall encouraged his viewers to get involved in," Feldman wrote.
Eileen Murphy, spokeswoman for the Times, told Journal-isms by email that "the piece was about Jimmy Fallon and neither the piece nor the accompanying artwork was intended to be a fully inclusive portrait of all late night hosts."
Moroccan editor Ali Anouzla, who faces terrorism-related charges in connection with a news article, was temporarily freed on Tuesday, according to Human Rights Watch.
Anouzla is one of the few Moroccan journalists who criticize the monarchy directly, Human Rights Watch said. The editor linked to a blog post that in turn linked to a video that displeased Moroccan authorities.
On Monday, the International Press Institute reported that it had joined more than 40 freedom of expression organizations in an appeal to Moroccan authorities for Anouzla's immediate release.
"Yesterday, Moroccan Investigating Judge Abdelqader Chentouf questioned the defendant for a few minutes, then dismissed him and set the date of May 20 for the next hearing," Eric Goldstein reported for Human Rights Watch. "This laconic pace at the Rabat Appellate Court seems at odds with how it all began, when Judge Chentouf refused to release Anouzla for one month following his arrest while he questioned him on charges of justifying and providing material support for terrorism, charges that could mean 20 years in prison.
"On September 13, Anouzla's Arabic-language news website Lakome.com reported that Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had put online a video in which the militant group for the first time directed its wrath at Morocco's monarchy and exhorted the country's youth to join the Jihad. Lakome's article linked to a blogpost in a Spanish daily that provided a link to the AQIM video, which Lakome labeled 'propaganda.'
"The court has reportedly focused so far on Anouzla's decision to provide a link to the video. Anouzla maintains that, far from wishing to aid terrorists, he was informing his readers that a major militant group had set its sights on the country's leader."
Meanwhile, the Sahara Reporters Media Group, investigative journalists who report on corruption across Africa, posted reporter Eric Williams' interview with this columnist on the ethical issues involved with an expense-paid trip to Morocco taken by the National Newspaper Publishers Association in January [video].
One of the participants in that trip, Askia Muhammad of the Washington Informer, wrote another column on the trip Wednesday. It was headlined, "Morocco Loves Farrakhan, A Man for All Seasons."
Human Rights Watch said, "Anouzla joins a long list of government critics and dissidents who have been detained on grave charges only to be provisionally released to face a judicial process that advances at a snail's pace, if at all. Anouzla may be conditionally free, but the charges still hang over him and, by extension, weigh on other outspoken Moroccans as well."
"As newsroom staffing declined 6.4 percent from 2011 to 2012, the overall tally of women staffers continued to hover at 36 percent, a figure largely unchanged since 1999" [PDF], the Women's Media Center reported on Wednesday. "Nevertheless, the count for women of color continued its more extreme fluctuations."
The report, "The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014," is a compilation of existing studies.
"In the 2013 report:
- "Women of Asian descent represented 52 percent of all Asian newsroom employees, down from a high of 55 percent in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
- "Black women represented 47 percent of all black newsroom employees, down from a high of 50 percent in 2010.
- "Hispanic women represented 40 percent of all Hispanic newsroom employees, down from a peak of 42 percent in 2007.
- "Native American women accounted for 38 percent of all Native American newsroom employees, down from a peak of 51 percent in 2000.
- "Multi-racial women accounted for 47 percent of all multi-racial newsroom employees. That figure was 53 percent in the 2012 report, the first to include multi-racial people."
"In a one-for-two move, CBS will bring in recently retired Tony Gonzalez and dump Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe from its 'The NFL Today' pregame show," Bob Raissman reported Tuesday for the Daily News in New York.
"CBS Sports boss Sean McManus said Gonzalez will bring 'a fresh insightful perspective' to the program. Obviously, he did not think either Marino or Sharpe could deliver in a similar fashion.
Raissman also wrote, "Rumors of Marino's potential demise began circulating following the 2012 season and continued through last season. This past season similar speculation swirled around Sharpe from sources contending CBS wanted to change the chemistry on the show."
"It is likely CBS will add another former player to the cast of 'The NFL Today.' Industry sources say the leading candidate is Bart Scott, who spent the season as an analyst on CBS Sports Network's 'That Other Pregame Show.' Gonzalez will join host James Brown and analysts Boomer Esiason and Bill Cowher on The NFL Today. The now former All-Pro tight end for Kansas City and Atlanta and will also join the cast of Showtime's 'Inside the NFL.' "
- NFL Today: Shannon Sharpe With an Intense 2-Minute Rant About Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin (Nov. 10, 2013)
- Baldwin Wright, blacktopxchange.com: Shannon Sharpe fired: Remembering one of his finest moments on The NFL Today
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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