NAHJ Says "No" to NBC-Comcast Merger
Friday, April 16, 2010
Group Fears for Jobs, "Control in Too Few Hands"
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has become the first journalist-of-color organization to oppose the proposed merger between NBC Universal and Comcast, saying that "this massive media consolidation will lead to fewer journalism jobs, less coverage of the Latino community, less diversity of voices, and excessive control for one company over the country's media."
"A merger of Comcast and NBC should cause real fear," said O. Ricardo Pimentel, NAHJ president, in a news release. "When an entity that provides major programming joins with the folks who control the pipes through which this content flows, this concentrates too much control in too few hands. Media consolidation has already resulted in too much of this. Let's not allow more of the same."
NBC and Comcast have both supported NAHJ financially, executive director Ivan Rom?°n told Journal-isms, but he said, "We know of sponsors who continue to support us" despite the association's stance on particular issues. He said NAHJ's position is consistent with its previous opposition to media consolidation. The motion passed at a March 26 board meeting in Los Angeles with all in favor save one member who abstained, Rom?°n said.
With NBC Universal valued at $30 billion, the two media companies have a lot riding on the proposal. But groups opposed to further media consolidation, as well as groups representing people of color, have been skeptical if not outright opposed to it.
The Latino Business Chamber of Greater L.A., for example, told the Federal Communications Commission that Latinos are unlikely to benefit.
"The group cited a lack of Latinos in key exec positions at both firms, a failure of 'sufficient positive' Latino content and 'more than occasional' negative Latino stereotyping," the trade publication CableFax reported two weeks ago. "Among recommendations: Public hearings in at least 5 major markets with large Latino populations and an FCC-appointed bilingual Special Master to analyze characters and content for a typical week of programming for NBC and Comcast, and to suggest changes."
At a February hearing on Capitol Hill, African American and Hispanic members of Congress grilled NBC and Comcast on their diversity records, and the next day NBC announced that "Meet the Press" was "committed to having a more diverse group of voices on the show whose opinions and expertise reflect, not just the news of the day, but the cultural, economical and political landscape of our country."
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., announced on Friday that she had forced the FCC to extend the comment period¬†on the merger after introducing legislation, with 56 co-sponsors, calling for such an extension.
"If the deal is approved, it would give Comcast control over the NBC and Telemundo networks, 11 cable channels, 26 local television stations, and a movie studio," NAHJ said.
"The resulting 'vertical integration' would allow a company that is a major distributor of news, information and entertainment to also control the production of a vast amount of the content the American public receives. Several legislators on Capitol Hill have said there is potential for Comcast to treat its own content preferentially on cable and on the internet, throwing up roadblocks for its competitors and smaller, independent producers who are even more likely to be left out of the cable lineup."
Rom?°n said in the release, "We remember the promises made by NBC in 2001 to invest in local Telemundo stations when it bought the network. But following the merger, NBC gutted the local news operations of Telemundo stations in major cities throughout the country. We urge our fellow journalism organizations and Latino leaders to join us in opposing this merger."
Four Online Outlets Say They Don't Recall ASNE Survey
Four online news operations said Friday they did not remember receiving a request from the American Society of News Editors to disclose their diversity figures, although the society had said that it sent the requests to 28 online outlets and that only seven had responded.
ASNE had announced on Sunday, "For the first time, ASNE also surveyed the staffs at 28 online only newspapers. Only 25 percent returned their survey forms, compared to a nearly 65 percent response rate for daily newspapers."
"No one at Slate has any memory of seeing it. I suspect that ASNE's methodology in reaching out to online news organizations leaves something to be desired. For future reference, we do, in fact, have telephones," Jacob Weisberg, chairman, of the Slate Group, wrote to the Poynter Institute's letters section.
"Who did ASNE say that they submitted the request to? I have no record of this request," Andrew Kirk, a spokesman for the Daily Beast, asked Journal-isms.
"The first I heard of it was when I got an email from the reporter who answered the phone giving me your message," said Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of TPM Media LLC, which publishes the Talking Points Memo.
"I don't recall receiving the original survey," said Richard Gingras, chief executive officer of the Salon Media Group.
Milton Coleman of the Washington Post, who became president of ASNE on Wednesday, said ASNE would have no response.
Not everyone denied receiving the form. "It was an omission this year, which we'll correct for next year," Mario Ruiz, spokesman for the Huffington Post, said.
Some ignored an e-mail from Journal-isms seeking the diversity information, or said they could not produce it that quickly.
"Slate relies on a large and varied pool of contributors, and is absolutely home to writings and pieces by journalists of minority descent," Jocelyn Nubel, a spokeswoman for Slate, said. "Jacob mentioned that Slate has never done a diversity count that he's aware of, and he wouldn't undertake this casually."
Marshall said Talking Points Memo's staff of 16 included an Asian American associate editor as well as its chief operating officer.
Among those that did not supply figures to Journal-isms were National Public Radio; Yahoo!; Google; AOL; stateline.org and about.com, which is owned by the New York Times Co.
- Eric Deggans blog, St. Petersburg Times: Arianna Huffington at the American Society of News Editors convention: "Trust is the new black"
- David Cay Johnston comment: Online response to ASNE diversity survey
- Tim McGuire, Arizona State University:¬†ASNE needs to figure out what game it is rejoining
- Andrew Vanacore, Associated Press: ASNE Wrap-up: News Editors See New Tools but Little Cash Online
NBC News reporter Kelly O'Donnell asks a black man at a Washington tea party rally, "Have you ever felt uncomfortable?" (Video)
Fox News Pulls Sean Hannity From Tea Party Rally
"Angry Fox News executives ordered host Sean Hannity to abandon plans to broadcast his nightly show as part of a Tea Party rally in Cincinnati on Thursday after top executives learned that he was set to headline the event, proceeds from which would benefit the local Tea Party organization," Matea Gold reported for the Los Angeles Times.
"Rally organizers had listed Hannity, who is on a book tour, as the headliner of the four-hour Tax Day event at the University of Cincinnati. The rally, expected to draw as many as 13,000 people, was set [to] feature speakers such as 'Liberal Facism' author Jonah Goldberg and local Tea Party leaders. Participants were being charged a minimum of $5, with seats near Hannity‚Äôs set going for $20, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, which reported that any profits would go to future Tea Party events. Media Matters for America noted that Hannity‚Äôs personal website directed supporters to a link to buy tickets for the Cincinnati rally.
"But senior Fox News executives said they were not aware Hannity was being billed as the centerpiece of the event or that Tea Party organizers were charging for admission to Hannity‚Äôs show as part of the rally. They first learned of it Thursday morning from John Finley, Hannity's executive producer, who was in Cincinnati to produce Hannity's show.
"Furious, top officials recalled Hannity back to New York to do his show in his regular studio. The network plans to do an extensive post-mortem about the incident with Finley and Hannity's staff."
Tea Partyers Say Too Much Made of Black Problems
More than half of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters "say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites ‚Äî compared with 11 percent of the general public," Kate Zernike and Megan Thee-Brennan reported in the New York Times on Wednesday, discussing a new New York Times/CBS poll.
"They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people," 52 percent vs 28 percent of the general public.
The 18 percent of those polled who identify as Tea Party supporters "tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.
"They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as 'very conservative' and President Obama as 'very liberal.'‚Äù
- "One percent of Tea Partiers are black, 89% are white.
- "63% say they get the majority of their political and current events news on television from the Fox News Channel, compared to 23% of Americans overall.
- "59% of Tea Partiers have a favorable view of Glenn Beck, 6% have an unfavorable view while 34% are unsure. That's the second-highest favorability number in this poll, after Sarah Palin."
However, the Times also reported, "A plurality do not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, and, despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers."
- Danielle Belton, the Black Snob: It's Protest Season In Washington, D.C. Who's Up For A Tea Party?
- Eugene Kane blog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Tea Party cancels speaker for wrong reasons.
- Andrew Kohut, Pew Research Center: The Tea Party's Effect on the Midterms?
- Dwight Lewis, Nashville Tennessean: Some tea party activists taunt a true hero
- Jon Stewart, "The Daily Show," Comedy Central: Jon Stewart goes hunting for fair coverage of the Tea Party
- Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Tea party supporters: white, male, older and despise Obama
- Joan Walsh, Salon: The Tea Partiers' racial paranoia
- Tonyaa Weathersbee, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Who to Believe: Lying Liars or Lewis?
Va. Governor Calls Black Publisher to Apologize
" 'I apologize': This call came at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday [April 7] ‚Äî right at the Free Press deadline," Raymond H. Boone, editor and publisher of the Richmond (Va.) Free Press, a black weekly, wrote for the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
"The caller: Gov. Bob McDonnell. After exchanging pleasantries, the governor immediately told the editor/publisher the reason for his call.
"Unsurprisingly, his urgent communication on this occasion was about his Confederate History Month Proclamation ‚Äî the despicable decree that he issued honoring false heroes who fought to preserve the cruel system of slavery and to annihilate the United States of America and its promise of freedom.
"We listened patiently. The governor immediately acknowledged that he had made a mistake and had amended his proclamation ‚Äî a proclamation that ignored the atrocities of slavery in an on-going attempt to sanitize the brutalization and degradation inflicted on Black people. The proclamation was an outstanding example of how Confederate 'scholars' use the sin of omission to justify their flimsy racist arguments.
‚Äú 'I apologize for the mistake,' he told the editor/publisher. 'I want you to know I made a mistake ‚Äî (and) to confirm I condemn slavery.'‚Äù
- Mary C. Curtis, Politics Daily: McDonnell's Virginia Proclamation a Skirmish in Ongoing Un-Civil War
- Melissa Harris-Lacewell, National Public Radio: Virginia's Split Personality On The Confederacy
- Deborah Mathis, BlackAmericaWeb.com: How to Truly Celebrate Confederate History Month
- Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer:¬†A Confederate Traitor by Any Other Name
- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: It‚Äôs not hate, it‚Äôs hateful history
- Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: The South fought to keep slavery, period
- Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Haley Barbour's 'diddly' sense of slavery's history
- David Squires, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.: Fort's future should include past
Eduardo Fernandez Named GM of WXYZ in Detroit
Eduardo Fernandez has been named vice president and general manager at WXYZ-TV Detroit, the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate. He succeeds Bob Sliva, who announced his retirement in January, Scripps announced on Friday.
Fernandez comes from Telemundo outlet WSNS Chicago, where he was president/general manager.
"Fernandez's departure appears linked to Ron Gordon's ascension to the presidency of the Telemundo Station Group just a couple of months ago," Lewis Lazare had written in July for the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Ed is known throughout the industry for his commitment to a high-quality on-air product, his strong record of sales success and his passion for community enrichment," said Scripps TV Senior Vice President Brian Lawlor in the news release. "More than any other market in America today, Detroit needs a local television voice that will be a passionate advocate for its citizens and businesses, and no TV executive is better suited for that task than Ed Fernandez."
Mary Mitchell, Hermene Hartman Duel in Chicago
The April 3 story by Maudlyne Ihejirika in the Chicago Sun-Times began, "Citing vengefulness on the part of his new boss, Chicago literary and civil rights icon Haki Madhubuti on Friday resigned as an educator at Chicago State University after 26 years."
The resignation prompted, amid other fallout, a war of words between Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell and Hermene Hartman, publisher of the N'Digo community newspaper and magazine.
"In her column supporting Chicago State University President Wayne Watson's handling of Haki Madhubuti, Hartman accused me of deploying what she dubbed as 'friendship journalism,'" Mitchell wrote this week.
"That's pure bull.
"Madhubuti is not a personal friend.
"But for whatever reason, Hartman is intentionally trying to mislead people about why I believe it was wrong for Watson to force Madhubuti out at Chicago State University.
"If anyone is showing bias, it is Hartman. In fact, she is Watson's hired gun.
"She admits to being Watson's friend. And as recently as July, Hartman had a $19,000 no-bid short-term public relations and marketing consulting contract with Chicago State University. Yet nowhere in her April 7th column did she disclose she had been on the University's payroll."
Hartmann fired back Wednesday on the Huffington Post and in N'Digo:
"Really, must we fight to sell newspapers now?" she wrote.
"One way to sell newspapers is to get two columnists fighting.
"I don't pick fights. But I don't run from one either.
". . . Mitchell is critical that I did not disclose the contract in my article or blog. I did not discuss the expired contract because it was not pertinent to the issue at hand ‚Äî that Professor Madhubuti, no matter his iconic status, should teach a full course load ‚Äî as his colleagues do ‚Äî if he expects to draw a full year's salary.
"Dr. Wayne Watson became the official President of Chicago State University on October 1, 2009. I had a short-term marketing contract with CSU in the amount of $19,000, for July 15 to August 30, 2009. Watson was not yet president when I worked with the CSU team."
Pacifica Urges Programming on Mumia Abu-Jamal
"Last week, the Pacifica Radio Network recommended that show hosts at all Pacifica stations 'produce special programming on April 24th, the birthday of Mumia Abu-Jamal, in order to highlight and bring attention to his case,' " according to an e-mail circulated by Abu-Jamal supporters.
"The resolution came before the National Board, which is the governing body of the Pacifica radio network and includes stations WBAI (New York), KPFA (Berkeley, California), KPFK (Los Angeles), WPFW (Washington D.C.) and KPFT (Houston).
"April 24th will be the 56th birthday of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the award-winning journalist who has spent the last 28 years of his life on death row in Pennsylvania. Abu-Jamal was convicted for the shooting death of a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, in December, 1981 ‚Äî a crime Abu-Jamal insists he did not commit."
Richard Uzzell, a Pacifica board member who is its unofficial recording secretary, confirmed the contents of the e-mail.
Journal-isms Joins Roster on theRoot.com
"Richard Prince's Journal-isms" this week joined the roster of content available on theRoot.com, the Washington Post Co. site featuring items of African American interest edited by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.
"We are pleased that the Maynard Institute has allowed us to co-host Dick's column on The Root; it's already a must-read for journalists of color," Managing Editor Joel Dreyfuss said on Friday. "We think that the column will find an additional audience among readers of The Root who want to keep a close eye on the news media and their impact on our community."
The arrangement marks the first time since its debut online in 2002 that Journal-isms has been available on a second Web site.
- "Telemundo, a leading producer of high-quality content for Hispanics in the U.S. and audiences around the world, announced the launch of 'Enfoque,' a Sunday morning public affairs show hosted by Emmy Award-winning news anchor Jose Diaz-Balart. 'Enfoque' will be broadcast from Washington, D.C. and begins airing Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 11:30am ET/10:30am Central," the NBC-owned Spanish-language network announced on Thursday.
- "Managing editor Nicole Saunders is leaving Uptown Magazine, the bimonthly lifestyle mag for affluent African-Americans. She had been at Uptown for two and a half years. She started there as a freelancer in December 2007," Mike Taylor reported Thursday for MediaBistro. "Saunders tells FishbowlNY she's taking a job with Kaiser Family Foundation out in California. . . . The magazine is currently looking for a replacement."
- The Asian American Journalists Association Thursday wrote Jerry Tarde, editor-in-chief of Golf Digest, that it was "disappointed by your statement on Dan Jenkins'¬†tweet from the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament: 'Y.E. Yang is only three shots off the lead. I think we got takeout from him last night.' The remark was not funny or clever. It could not have been taken any other way than as an offense. As it is, Yang is Korean, not Chinese. As Yang points out, the comment smacks of racism."
- "Priya David, who KOIN hired from The Early Show on CBS, has left the station as both she and the show she's been hosting are headed in new directions, sources at the station tell OMC," Mitch David of the Oregon Media Center reported on Thursday, referencing the Portland station. "David, meanwhile, is getting married this weekend, as has been discussed on the show. Her absence has been planned as she'll be going on her honeymoon, but she won't be coming back." David is a member of the South Asian Journalists Association.
- TV One is offering live coverage Saturday of the leadership forum sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton‚Äôs National Action Network "designed to determine and commit to significant and measurable goals that will advance the standing of African Americans over the next 12 months in the areas of political power, economic power and social/cultural influence," the network announced. Moderated by Roland Martin, TV One‚Äôs "Washington Watch" host and CNN contributor, and hosted by syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, the forum airs live on TV One Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time, repeating on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. "Washington Watch" will be pre-empted.
- "Six New York City officials have delivered a letter expressing their full support for claims filed before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking the federal agency to look into homophobic language used on Puerto Rican television," according to the Latino Commission on AIDS. "The television show in question is the popular Puerto Rican gossip show 'Super Xclusivo' on Wapa Am?©rica which repeatedly used the anti-gay derogatory term 'pato' on segments that aired April 5, 6 and 7 by co-hosts Hector Travieso and 'La Comay,' a large puppet with whom Travieso gossips. The less than hilarious duo were discussing the coming out of singer Ricky Martin who is from Puerto Rico."
- "Notwithstanding accusations by Willie Herenton's campaign manager of political chicanery, the congressional earmark Steve Cohen's office requested to preserve the work and legacy of photographer Ernest C. Withers may be creating a furor of another sort ‚Äî a family feud," Zack McMillin reported Thursday for the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Herenton, former Memphis mayor, is challenging Cohen, D-Tenn., in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary. "Withers, who died in October 2007, had a 60-year body of photography work. His subjects included everything from Elvis Presley to Beale Street to the civil rights movement," as the Memphis Business Journal put it.
- "A new Daily News weekend edition will debut starting in October," Brian Tierney, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, announced to staffers on Tuesday, a day after the Daily News won a Pulitzer Prize. "This new edition is the result of reader research which identified an underserved audience of 20 to 30 'somethings.' These new readers are not now core Sunday Inquirer readers and are looking for more entertainment, gossip, sports and political stories. The style and 'attytood' of the Daily News fits them perfectly."
- In a blog Friday for LAObserved, writer David Cay Johnston offered this anecdote about the tenure of L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates, whom he once covered: "At a meeting in South Central that has been used by TV and many screenwriters, a gathering of blacks upset about LAPD violence erupted into demands from one person after another in the audience to attack LAPD officers and division buildings. The leaders at the actual meetings told these people to shut up. Year[s] later court documents showed that the calls for violence all came from undercover LAPD officers, one of whom stole hundreds of dollars from the organization he infiltrated and served as treasurer." Gates died Friday of cancer at 83.
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