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How Much Blood Is Too Much?

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Race Factor Raised in Graphic Images From Kenya

Balta Supports Cho for Unity President, but Won't Vote

Mistaken for Shooter, He Says "Verify Before You Vilify"

Scant Live Coverage of Obama at Black Caucus Affair

NAACP Chair Insists That Women Have Led Organization

English, Spanish Speakers Learning the Other's Language

"Last Real Indians" Confront White Supremacists

Petition Protests Chuck Todd's Health Care Comments

Ann Curry's Exclusive on Iran Called Old News

Short Takes

"I ran over there   and within minutes I could see people who had been shot in t

Race Factor Raised in Graphic Images From Kenya

On Saturday, the New York Times published remarkable close-up photographs by a staff photographer who happened to be near the bloody shopping center assault in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed at least 62 people.

But another Africa-based photographer asked in an open letter the next day, "Would the New York Times run photos of blood-soaked dead white Americans after one of the many mass shootings that occur in the United States? " Both photographers are white.

The Times did not respond publicly to the question on Sunday or Monday, but the issue is not new. Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, to whom the letter was addressed, discussed reader questions about troubling images from Syria twice this month.

"Victors View" cartoon in the Star, Nairobi.

In an interview with Times reporter James Estrin, Tyler Hicks, the staff photographer who lives in Nairobi and was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team that garnered the Times honors for its coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, recounted Saturday:

"I was at a framing shop in an adjacent mall picking up some photographs that had been given to me as gifts by photojournalists who attended my wedding. I was very close. I didn't have all of my equipment, just had a small camera that I always have with me in case something happens.

"I ran over to the mall and I was able to photograph until my wife [Nichole Sobecki], who is also a photojournalist and was at our house, was able to collect my Kevlar helmet and professional cameras before she came to cover the news herself..

"When I left the framing shop, I could see right away that there was something serious going on, because there were lots of people running away from the mall. I ran over there and within minutes I could see people who had been shot in the leg or stomach from what appeared to be small arms fire being helped by other civilians. This went on for about 30 minutes. . . ."

Under the headline, "Witness to a Massacre in a Nairobi Mall," the Times ran Hicks' photos and the interview with Estrin in the Lens blog on its website.

The next day, Michael Deibert, who identified himself as "an author and journalist who has reported from Africa off and on since 2007, having most extensively worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo," objected in an open letter to Sullivan, as Richard Horgan reported for FishbowlNY.

"Quite honestly, as a journalist who has reported on conflict for going on quite a number of years, I was shocked and dismayed by this," Deibert wrote. "Would the New York Times run photos of blood-soaked dead white Americans after one of the many mass shootings that occur in the United States? I doubt it. That they did so after the mass killings in Nairobi yesterday is very troubling, not just to me, but also to many other journalists, academics and analysts who focus on Africa.

"There are ways to depict violence so that people are not immediately recognizable to their loved ones, friends, and so on, and everyone, American, African, or whatever their nationality, deserves some dignity in death. One can show dead bodies without showing their faces, leaving people confronted for the rest of their lives with images of their family members and other loved ones soaked in blood and torn asunder. I've seen plenty of bodies dead through violence over the years, so I am not asking that the end result be sanitized, but rather wondering why some slight restraint was not used in allowing the bodies to be so immediately recognizable. . . ."

In fairness, most of Hicks' photos were not graphic, and the Times accompanied them with a warning that some were. And, as Horgan wrote, "Deibert does not blame Hicks and the photographer's wife for shooting the pictures that they did. Rather, he wonders why the NYT editors failed to show the proper restraint."

The National Press Photographers Association's code of ethics is open to interpretation. It says, "Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see."

[Tom Kent, a deputy managing editor and standards editor for the Associated Press, said by email on Wednesday, "Our general approach is to avoid close-ups of bodies, irrespective of nationality, especially where the faces can be identified. But it's always a judgment call, since precise situations can vary so much."]

Kenny Irby, senior faculty, visual journalism and diversity and director of community relations at the Poynter Institute, responded to the question of showing faces of the dead. He told Journal-isms by email that he does find an apparent double standard with brown faces, but in this case, "The challenge for me is one of balance... thus I did not find the single image 'shocking.'

"Three things:

  • "I do feel that it is the responsibility of the editors to preserve dignity in death for the victims and their families during the coverage of mass murders," he said by email.

  • "There continues to be an apparent double standard which I refer to as the 'exotic rule'. The farther away and the browner the faces, the less sensitive I find the ethical rigor. For instance, I could not find a body in the Navy Yard or Boston Marathon shootings.

  • "The Tyler Hicks coverage was courageous and compelling and of the 23 images in the gallery only one showed a body.

    "Overall, if found the coverage to be balanced and authentic."

The assault on Nairobi's Westlake shopping mall, which kept security forces at bay for more than three days, is considered a terrorist attack. It included several militants from al-Shabab, a group allied with al-Qaeda, and participants from several countries, possibly even the United States.

In discussing two photos from Syria, Sullivan wrote, "Images of war matter. Some highly emotional photographs from Vietnam — the brutal execution of a Vietcong guerrilla, a naked Vietnamese girl burned by napalm — brought home the horror in a way that words never could. The same has been true more recently; think of the charred corpses of American contractors hanging from a bridge in Falluja, Iraq.

"Now Syria. These two images are capable of changing the narrative, possibly affecting the course of history. That's all the more reason to handle them, and others, as thoughtfully and with as much awareness as possible. And to remember that, powerful as they are, they are only pieces of the emerging truth." [Updated Sept. 25]

Balta Supports Cho for Unity President, but Won't Vote

Hugo Balta

Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, told Janet Cho of the Asian American Journalists Association, "I do hope you are elected" president of the Unity: Journalists for Diversity coalition, but told Journal-isms Monday that the four-member NAHJ delegation to the Unity board still does not plan to vote.

Balta made his declaration on the Unity Facebook page. Cho is running against David Steinberg, past president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, which was invited to join the coalition in August 2011 after the National Association of Black Journalists pulled out over governance and financial issues.

Steinberg is the first white presidential candidate for the organization formerly known as Unity: Journalists of Color. The two candidates made their case Saturday to board members from the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association and NLGJA, but not NAHJ. The election takes place among board members.

Balta has said the four NAHJ members on the Unity board "will not participate in any meeting of Unity until the NAHJ board definitely decides" NAHJ's role in the coalition.

He said of Unity on the coalition's Facebook page, "when you take the emotion out of it (and no decision like this should be made by emotion); what you're left with is an antiquated system [whose] time has passed. There is an unwillingness to zero base it and start anew. So it was true for NABJ 2 years, it is now for NAHJ."

However, he said no decision would be made without consulting NAHJ members.

Mary Hudetz, president of NAJA and nominating committee chair, said that electronic voting started Monday and that "the board gets several days to make their decision. Results will be announced by Friday at 4pm" Eastern time.

Meanwhile, Unity released audited financial statements late Monday, part of what NAHJ said it had been waiting for. But Balta asserted in another posting that they "fail to disclose (be transparent) its accounting mistakes that will cost NAHJ, AAJA and benefit NAJA and NLGJA. . . ."

Cho replied, "UNITY is not trying to hide anything, Hugo. When we made the final payments to the alliance associations at the end of 2012, we did so with the caveat that the payments were based on projected registration numbers for UNITY '12. Now that the Audit Committee (including an NAHJ representative) has verified the numbers, the ledger has to be reconciled to reflect reality."

Mistaken for Shooter, He Says "Verify Before You Vilify"

Rollie Chance"Rollie Chance was home in Stafford [Va.], about 40 miles south of Washington, when he began watching the news about the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning," Tom Jackman reported Friday for the Washington Post. "A retired Navy lieutenant, he had worked in Building 197 on the fourth floor and was worried that some of his friends and former colleagues might have been killed.

"Then shortly after noon, he got a phone call from someone who said they were with ABC News. 'They asked me if I knew Rollie Chance,' Rollie Chance said. 'Then they said, "Did you know Rollie Chance was the perpetrator of the Washington Navy Yard shootings?" '

"Chance, 50, thought the call was a joke. He told the caller, 'I guarantee you 100 percent Rollie Chance didn't do it,' and hung up.

"Moments later, FBI agents arrived at his home. Soon after, reporters began piling up at the curb. And on Twitter, reporters for both NBC and CBS named Chance as the now-deceased killer. CBS also identified Chance on national radio. ABC, which called Chance, did not report any connection.

"The two network news outlets quickly retracted their tweets and CBS corrected its radio report. But Chance is wondering how he will ever erase the accusatory Internet trail that led to his door and is trying to work through days of anxiety for his family, including his 9-year-old daughter, whom he held out of school for a day.

" 'Verify before you vilify,' Chance implored in an interview Friday with his lawyer Mark Cummings. . . ."

Jackman also wrote, "Chance's name filtered to the media because one of his identification cards reportedly was found near the body of Aaron Alexis, the man actually responsible for the shootings."

Scant Live Coverage of Obama at Black Caucus Affair

President Obama's keynote appearance before the Congressional Black Caucus' Annual Legislative Conference usually warrants live coverage on at least one network, but viewers searched in vain for the Phoenix Awards Dinner Saturday night.

NBC cameras provided pool coverage, but only MSNBC broadcast the speech live — for about six minutes before technical problems aborted the effort. "We had every intention of running the full speech but the live feed quality was poor – we started it but [it] did dip out before the end of the speech," spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski told Journal-isms by email.

C-SPAN showed the speech [video] on Sunday at 12:09 a.m., 3:45 a.m., 6:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. "C-SPAN aired the speech soon as the scheduling allowed for the entire speech to be shown on the network," spokesman Howard Mortman said.

"CNN did not take the President's speech live, but did run parts of the speech during Sunday morning programming," spokeswoman Christal Jones said.

A Fox News Channel spokeswoman did not respond, and the two major black-oriented networks said they covered the speech on the Internet.

Monica Neal, a TV One spokeswoman, said, "Roland Martin was at CBC gathering material for use in his upcoming News One Now daily show which you can see here:"

After Obama's election in 2008, Black Entertainment Television covered the inauguration and even the new president's news conferences. Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee told Journal-isms then that the change in Washington helped prompt her to believe it was "time to sit back with my management team and say, 'where are we going.' What do I want my legacy to be? After 30 years, what do we want to stand for?"

On Saturday, BET remained with its usual programming. "We didn't televise the dinner but had extensive coverage of the conference on," spokeswoman Jeanine Liburd told Journal-isms by email. "Pls check out as it was very comprehensive!"

NAACP Chair Insists That Women Have Led Organization

Roslyn M. Brock

When Benjamin Jealous announced two weeks ago that he was stepping down as president of the NAACP, he set off a string of social media and other chatter decrying the organization's resistance to female leadership.

"When he thinks about the organization's future, he is reminded of a conversation he had with his 97-year-old grandmother, who was a lifelong NAACP member," Krissah Thompson wrote in the Washington Post. "Jealous told her that he had been named president of the organization.

"He said she told him: 'I was hoping the next president would be a woman. But if it has to be a man, I'm glad it is you.'

"Jealous said he agrees with his granny. He is hoping the next president will be a woman."

Roslyn M. Brock, the NAACP's chairman of the board, begs to differ. Receiving a leadership award Thursday in Washington at a reception of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade group of black-press newspaper publishers, Brock said that "the NAACP was started by a woman" and that there had been four female national presidents. She introduced one of them, Hazel Dukes, from the audience.

NAACP spokesman Derek Turner told Journal-isms that there had actually been three female national presidents: Dukes, who served from 1989 to 1992; Enolia McMillan, 1984 to 1990; and Rupert Richardson, 1992 to 1995.

Moreover, four women, including Brock, have been chairman of the board: Mary White Ovington, 1919 to 1932; Margaret Bush Wilson, 1975 to 1983; and Myrlie Evers-Williams, 1995 to 1998. Brock has been chairman since 2010.

Four women also have been executive secretaries. Part of the confusion over the leadership roles has been that the responsibilities of the positions have changed over the years and to some degree depend on who is holding the posts.

Brock put her thoughts in a Huffington Post blog post, "Women of the NAACP: Exemplars of Achievement."

"The NAACP has always been an organization that practices what it preaches," Brock wrote. "Our mission statement is to 'ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons' — not just men. Women have always played a large role in helping us pursue that vision, and we are well positioned to continue doing so in the future."

English, Spanish Speakers Learning the Other's Language

"It's no secret that more and more people are speaking español in the United States, but what you probably didn't know is that in the future more of those Spanish speakers will not be Hispanic," Cindy Y. Rodriguez wrote Saturday for CNN.

"That's right — as immigrant families become more established here, future generations will follow the pattern of previous immigrants from Europe and Asia and stop using their native language.

"But at the same time, non-Latinos will be learning Spanish and helping their kids to grow up bilingual because they want to pass on what they learned in school, take advantage of business opportunities or even because they have a Spanish-speaking spouse.

" 'On the one hand, the number of Spanish speakers is projected to grow to about 40 million by 2020 (from 37 million in 2011.) This reflects Hispanic population growth and a large number of non-Hispanics who will also speak Spanish,' said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic Research at the Pew Research Center.

" 'But, even though the number of Spanish speakers is projected to grow, among Hispanics, the share that speak Spanish is projected to fall from about 75% now to 66% in 2020,' Lopez said. . . ."

"Last Real Indians" Confront White Supremacists

In Leith, N.D., protesters decry white supremacists who plan to take over the to

Over the weekend, the Last Real Indians, who describe themselves as freelance journalists, "mostly lawyers, masters, PhDs and non western educated highly effective communicators," joined Lakotas and Dakotas in Leith, N.D., near the Standing Rock Indian Nation, to defend the town from an invasion and takeover by white supremacists.

"Lakotas and Dakotas led by Standing Rock and Last Real Indians delivered powerful words during the rally," Brenda Norrell wrote Sunday for the blog Censored News: Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights. "They were joined by non-Indians of many races from the Dakotas who arrived by caravan. Hundreds rallied against the white supremacists known for violence and hate crimes."

Lauren Donovan reported Sunday for the Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune, "Two angry protesters were hauled out and others walked out of the Leith City Hall, where hundreds more gathered outside the old wooden building in a stand against a white supremacist commander holding a meeting inside.

"The atmosphere was tense and confrontational in Leith on Sunday afternoon, when some 350 people traveled by car and bus, mostly to show support for the town of 24, which has been in shock mode since last month when Craig Cobb, an extremist with neo-Nazi views, said he planned to take over the town with others like him.

"Cobb has lived in town since last year and quietly bought up 12 other lots he plans to populate with enough people to take over town government. . . ."

Last month, New York Times reporter John Eligon, a black journalist, described his interview with Cobb.

Petition Protests Chuck Todd's Health Care Comments

"NBC's Chuck Todd just can't escape the backlash over a stray comment he made about the media earlier in the week," Jack Mirkinson wrote Saturday for the Huffington Post.

"The background, briefly: Todd was speaking with former governor Ed Rendell about Obamacare on Wednesday's 'Morning Joe.' Rendell said that the White House had not sold the program successfully, and that most Americans opposed to Obamacare had probably been given incorrect information about it.

"Todd replied that, 'more importantly,' that incorrect information 'would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it.' He continued, 'They don't repeat the other stuff because they haven't even heard the Democratic message.'

"Then came the fateful words:

" 'What I always love is people say, "Well, it's you folks' fault in the media." No! It's the President of the United States' fault for not selling it.'

Mirkinson continued, "Unfortunately for Todd, the controversy isn't going away. The latest salvo: a petition on the website Credo Mobilize, which had drawn 50,000 signatures by Saturday afternoon, a day after it was posted online. The petition's author, Nicole Belle, accused Todd of having 'completely abdicated his responsibility as a journalist.' "

Ann Curry's Exclusive on Iran Called Old News

"On last night's NBC Nightly News (9/18/13), correspondent Ann Curry had a big exclusive: a sit-down interview with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani," Peter Hart wrote Thursday for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. "The newscast kicked off with anchor Brian Williams announcing:

"Our NBC News exclusive: Ann Curry in Iran with that nation's new president. His first interview tonight, big revelations about nuclear weapons.

"How big? Curry came on to explain that Rouhani was 'clearly trying to send a message' that 'there is a different Iran.'

Hart also said, "If the big news here is that the president of Iran is saying the country is not developing nuclear weapons, and does not ever intend to do so, that's not really news. In fact, the last Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said essentially the same thing almost exactly one year ago. And to an American journalist, no less! . . ."

Short Takes

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MSM Carnage Fetish

The MSM continues to wreck havoc on our values and sense of humanity when decency should be the standard as such is the case with the recent publication of photos of the dead in the Kenya Mall terrorist event still unfolding.

Of course for Black americans such a display of media depravity is not new for years offensive photos of lynchings of Black people was the rule.

We must register our objections with these media outlets whenever tabloid driven photos of Black deaths are exploited by the media any where on the planet.

Scant Live Coverage of Obama at Black Caucus Affair

I cry foul over this post. It's inference is that big bad evil white media networks won't cover Obama's CBC speech.  In actuality the inference should be that lazy black newtworks doesn't air Obama's CBC speech.  Or perhaps once again black networks with no on-air news divisions push political coverage to websites while continuing to air re-runs of 1970s sitcoms like Sanford and Sons on it's networks.

Granted if Pres. Obama were to deliver a speech with the intent of introducing new domestic policy or a significant move in foreign policy, it would have run live across all the cable networks except Fox News.

But no "new" news means no live coverage. Just a simple fact of the news business. Oh and the bit about BET now covering White House press conferences etc.. What good does that do when it doesn't air on television but gets pushed to remote corners of their gawdy overcrowded website which promotes first music videos and candy coded black Hollywood Gossip.

On TV One on Sundays we only have (2) 30 minute shows that cover Politics and business.  On BET we have no Sunday shows that cover Business and Politics.  And over at Bounce... well you get the point. Let's start at home first before we start bashing evil white media over the lack of coverage of the CBC and Pres. Obama's speech.

Editor's note: Just to clarify, BET hasn't covered presidential news conferences in some time. My point was that when the Obama presidency was new, the network made a commitment to cover such events, but that fell away.

Graphic photos.

Our memories are short. The NYTimes published a similar photo when a shooter killed his former boss outside the Empire State Building.

NAACP National Presidents

I used to work at the National NAACP. Yes, Brock is right that the NAACP has had female national presidents, but back then that post was mostly an honorary position. When I worked at the NAACP (1993-1994, during Rupert Richardson's tenure), the real power was the Board Chairman and the Executive Director (now President).

Cross-Postings from The Root

Stonewall J

I tell you WHY, they showed those BRUTAL PICTURES...

TO prove AFRICANS are savages...SAD but the MEDIA is BIAS to BLACK PEOPLE around the world.

Nobody took pictures like that and showed them when the GUY shot up the MOVIE THEATER, and they had plenty of GRUESOME PICTURES.


No, but think about all the bloody images of people from 9/11. We saw people, of all races, walking bloody and covered in dust. We saw some jumping to their deaths to get release from whatever hell they were experiencing in those buildings.

This is really not about race, but rather about society's desire to witness the images of other people's misery.

Stonewall J

Sorry but those pictures were not GRAPHIC...

Graphic is when you see a BULLET HOLE in a person's LEG and they are exhibiting PAIN and blood is everywhere.

IMA Human Being

Sounds like the photographer was doing his job, right place/right time. Does Getty Images own "all" photographs ? Good article Richard!


I don't know if I saw the photos in question, but I did see photos over the weekend of a bloody woman screaming in fear into the camera. I was appalled by the image. Here was a woman who was in obvious distress, and instead of immediately helping her, somebody snapped a picture of her in what must surely have been one of her life's worst moments. And then sold it to a newspaper, to be distributed for the world's greedy consumption. It was disgusting. It was difficult to tell the identity of the woman, but she was neither obviously black nor obviously white.

Regardless of race, this desire for images of other people's suffering is disconcerting and contemptible. Something to mull over once everyone is done venting their racial bigotry.


Wow, I didn't see them as Blacks, I saw them as Kenyans.

Stonewall J

Well you are BLIND, BALD AND DUMB.

Do you see EUROPEANS as WHITE...Humm


No J, you and the like minded are obsessed with color instead of content, you need to get well. You guys are so easily played and manipulated to anger by the overseers of racial politics, the race hustlers; White progressives and Top Hats (e.g. Sharpton. J.J., Obama, Oprah, etc)..

The Kenyans don't see themselves that way, they are not infested with the victim-hood and bitterness that many American blacks have and are always looking for a reason to gripe, even when there isn't one; Booker T spoke of it.

"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public.

Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances because they do not want to lose their jobs.

There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well. "

..... Booker t. Washington



P.S. Excerpt of Dr. James David Manning, preaching to his church folk...

“The only reason why you think that way is because you’re black,” Manning preached. “You see the world, not through the blood of Jesus, you see the world through your black eyes. You have not changed yet.”

He went on: “You’re black before you’re anything. You’re black before you’re Christian, you’re black before you’re holy ghost, you’re black before you’re anything. You’re blackness is greater than your religion.


Stonewall J

YOU could write a BOOK, about racism, but the FACT is WHITE FOLKS don't care about BLACKS.

They are and WILL portray, BLACKS as sub-human every OPPORTUNITY THEY GET.

It's doesn't take writing a BOOK to explain the TRUTH!

Stonewall J

Lets be HONEST...

The world was trying to say it was BLACK terrorist and then found out it was WHITE and BLACK terrorist. Now they are making a mockery of the plight of these Kenyans in a time of HURT.

SAD but the Media Run by we know who... doesn't care about BLACK PAIN or SUFFERING the same as when it's them.

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