Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Journalist: Sharpton Is Not the Enemy

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Activist: "We Cannot Let Them Play Us Off One Another"

NABJ President: "The Issue Is Not Whether Rev. Sharpton Gets a Show"

Jose Antonio Vargas Loses Washington Driver's License

Obama Does Steve Harvey, "Tell Me More," 2 Hispanic Shows

Postal Service Unveils John H. Johnson Stamp

FCC Commissioner Calls for Teaching Online News Literacy

Chicago Station Admits Mistake in Airing Video of 4-Year-Old



The Rev. Al Sharpton has been guest hosting in MSNBC's 6 p.m. time slot for the last three weeks. (Credit: National Action Network)

Activist: "We Cannot Let Them Play Us Off One Another"

Freelance journalist Jeff Winbush wants it known that he is not hatin' on the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Winbush is a blogger in Columbus, Ohio, a former editor of the black newspaper the Columbus Post and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. More to the point, he was the source of a quote in Thursday's "Journal-isms" about MSNBC's reported readiness to hire Sharpton for its 6 p.m. slot.

"When rumors surfaced this week that Sharpton was under consideration for the MSNBC job, one NABJ member told colleagues without challenge, 'This would still be just another non-journalist media "celebrity" receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent,' " the column read.

Winbush's quote reverberated around the Internet and was even shown, with the column, on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" show on Current TV. Olbermann was fired by MSNBC, where his show was also called "Countdown," in January. On Thursday, Olbermann gave a platform to Cenk Uygur, the former MSNBC host whose slot has been filed temporarily by Sharpton.

"MSNBC Set To Hire Sharpton; Black Journalists Slam Impending Hire," one headline read.

" 'Slam?' I did no such thing. I said nothing of the sort," Winbush told Journal-isms by email. "I was not attacking him personally. I bear him no ill will. I simply want to see Black journalists get a fair shot as well."

Sharpton reacted in an interview with Lynette Holloway published Friday on

"We can't get into a crabs-in-the-barrel mentality," Sharpton said. "We cannot let them play us off one another. There is a history here. Kweisi Mfume had a talk show. Jesse Jackson Jr. had a talk show. If someone can advocate nationwide, we need to do that given the pain of our people. We need to do that on television, in newspapers and magazines. And all of us need to be united."

Holloway wrote, "Sharpton emphatically stated that he is an advocate, not a journalist. If he accepts the offer, he said, it would be in that role. The format under consideration at MSNBC is not for news but for opinions and advocacy, he said."

A news release Thursday from the National Association of Black Journalists cast the issue as pro-journalist, not anti-Sharpton. Sharpton's prospective hiring does not diminish the need to hire black journalists, NABJ said.

"Currently, there are no African American anchors hosting prime time news hours for any major cable network. While MSNBC is reportedly on the verge of offering civil rights activist Al Sharpton his own prime time slot, there are no black journalists who can tout a similar promotion."

NABJ began its release by announcing, "In reaction to an ostensible trend in cable news to pass over African American talent for prime time programming, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) continued discussions this week with several civil rights organizations to address the matter and direct a definite course of action."

Near the conclusion, it said, "Prominent civil rights organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, as well as the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have all pledged their support for a drastic course of action should this matter continue to be overlooked."

. . . "The Issue Is Not Whether Rev. Sharpton Gets a Show"

Journal-isms asked Kathy Y. Times, president of the National Assocation of Black Journalists, for comment on the prospect of a show on MSNBC hosted by the Kathy Y. TimesRev. Al Sharpton. Her reply:

"While we acknowledge Rev. Al Sharpton's accomplishment and wish him well, we remain true to the principles, goals and objectives of our organization. The issue is not whether Rev. Sharpton gets a show.

"More than thirty-five years ago, it was the unfavorable conditions for black journalists in mainstream media that led to the creation of NABJ. Today, those conditions sustain our struggle.

"Therefore, we remain committed and dedicated to waging an uncompromising fight to ensure that black journalists who have dedicated their lives to the profession of journalism — first by preparing themselves educationally and then by spending years honing their skills — be given an opportunity to pursue such opportunities as these." [Added July 24]

Jose Antonio Vargas Loses Washington Driver's License

"The state of Washington has canceled the driver's license of a journalist who, in a New York Times Magazine article last month, Jose Antonio Vargas revealed that for 14 years he kept a secret from his U.S. employers: He is an illegal immigrant," Lornet Turnbull reported Thursday for the Seattle Times.

"While illegal immigrants can still obtain [driver's] licenses in Washington, licensing officials said they canceled Jose Antonio Vargas' driver's license because he could not prove that he lived in the state when he obtained it, as required by law."

Vargas wrote Thursday on his website that the revocation was "not unexpected, given how I laid out in detail how I've been able to live, work and survive as an undocumented immigrant in our country. Still, it's a sad feeling. In some ways, my driver's license has been my life line.

". . . Losing that privilege is part of my facing up to what I've done. However, I believe it is a small price to pay relative to the big things we're going to do, together."

He urged readers to contribute to the group he founded, Define American, "which will allow us to find and share the stories of immigration that the rest of the country needs desperately to hear."

President Obama tapes one of four radio interviews on Thursday. (Video) (Credit: White House)

Obama Does Steve Harvey, "Tell Me More," 2 Hispanic Shows

President Obama taped four radio interviews with broadcasters of color on Thursday in a bid to present his side in the tug of war with Congress over raising the debt ceiling.

Obama talked with the syndicated "The Steve Harvey Morning Show," Michel Martin of "Tell Me More" on NPR; Ricardo Brown on "Actualidad 1020" a talk radio station in Miami; and the "Dr. Isabel Show" on Univision Radio, according to Kevin S. Lewis, White House director of African American media, and Luis Miranda, director of Hispanic media.

(On Friday night, House Speaker John Boehner sent efforts to compromise on the debt-ceiling issue into instant crisis, abruptly breaking off talks with Obama on a deal to make major cuts in federal spending and avert a threatened government default, NPR reported.)

The radio appearances were part of a broader media strategy. "In the past two weeks Obama has done 10 interviews with local television stations, bringing his case to voters across the country, including in critical states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, and made three appearances in the White House briefing room," Victoria Pelham and Roger Runningen reported Friday for Bloomberg News. "In a July 21 interview with NPR and in an op-ed in USA Today, Obama urged lawmakers to do 'something big and meaningful.' "

NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher told Journal-isms, "We had a long-standing request in with the White House for an interview with Michel Martin for Tell Me More."

On the "Dr. Isabel Show," Isabel Gomez-Bassols went beyond the debt-ceiling discussion to ask a question "very dear to my heart. I travel all around this country, and I have many students that have followed my advice, study, buckle in, and do the work. However, they finished their college and they have nowhere to go, because they were brought in when they were 1 or 2 years old.

". . . I know that a comprehensive reform is not on your plate right now, I do understand that But when would you be able to exercise your leadership in terms of pursuing the enactment of the DREAM Act? It is my dream to have that."

Under  the DREAM Act, qualifying youths who are in the United States illegally would be eligible for a six-year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service.

Obama agreed with his host and added, ". . . I’ve consistently said, that I am a strong supporter of the DREAM Act. My administration has lobbied repeatedly to get the DREAM Act passed. I'll be honest with you; we’ve had problems with Republican members of Congress, some of whom previously supported... the DREAM Act but for some reason because of politics have pulled their support from it. And so we need to rebuild that support and put pressure for members of Congress to do the right thing on this issue."

Postal Service Unveils John H. Johnson Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service Thursday previewed a 2012 Black Heritage stamp honoring pioneering publisher John H. Johnson by using social media outlets.

Customers may preview the stamps on Facebook, through Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf, the Postal Service said. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site "for the back story on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news."

The Johnson image will appear on a "Forever" stamp, which is to remain equal in value to the current rate for first-class mail, regardless of future price increases.

"We are proud to immortalize John H. Johnson as our latest inductee in our Black Heritage stamp series,” Stephen Kearney, manager, Stamp Services, said in a release.

"He was the trailblazing publisher of Ebony, Jet and other magazines as well as an entrepreneur. In 1982, he became the first black person to appear on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in America. His magazines portrayed black people positively at a time when such representation was rare, and he played an important role in the civil rights movement. President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996.”

FCC Commissioner Calls for Teaching Online News Literacy

"FCC Commissioner Michael Copps told the National Newspaper Association Thursday that they needed to train the next generation of news consumers to distinguish between news and infotainment online, and suggested their future and that of other news outlets hangs in the balance," John Eggerton reported Friday for Broadcasting & Cable.

" 'If Americans learn the value of hard-hitting journalism at an early age, it will not only translate into a sharper-eyed electorate — but it might also drive profits for quality content providers as consumers demand more reliable, less-biased information,' he said.

"Copps proposes a K-12 online news media literacy curriculum to teach kids how to distinguish among the barrage of information coming at them, rather than take the easier route of 'picking the opinion narrative that best suits their ideologies, reading nothing else, and just shouting it from the roof-top.'

"As an example of good work already being done, he cited the News Literacy Project that puts students together with journalists who can demonstrate skills like seeking the truth, gauging bias and determining accountability." He also said that public, educational and governmental access channels, libraries and community media centers — "which the President's stimulus program has invested in — local businesses and others could be recruited to the cause."

Chicago Station Admits Mistake in Airing Video of 4-Year-Old

Chicago television station WBBM has acknowledged it was mistaken in using video of a 4-year old African American boy saying he did not fear violence and wanted his own gun, Bob Butler reported in a column Wednesday for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

The CBS station reported the shooting of two teenagers and "raised concerns with journalism educators and others," Butler wrote.

"We have long been worried" about the ways in which the media help "perpetuate negative stereotypes of boys and men of color, but this appears to be overtly criminalizing a preschooler," Dori J. Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute, said in the column.

Dr. Gabriel Crenshaw, a clinical psychologist with Los Angeles Southwest College, said, "The first thing I thought of was where were his parents? Reporters shouldn’t be interviewing a four-year-old about something this serious without the parents being there," Butler wrote.

Butler reported that "Shawnelle Richie, director of communications for CBS 2, admits the video should not have aired.

" 'We made a mistake,' she said. 'The story only ran once. We immediately took it off and addressed the issue with the producers.'

"Richie said the station took some unspecified corrective steps against the people who were responsible for editing and writing the story but that action was deemed insufficient by the people who saw the video."

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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 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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Al Sharpton fits the MSNBC mold

I like Al Sharpton as an MSNBC evening host, and I hope he gets the job. I think the critics miss the point that all of the evening anchors on MSNBC are advocates, not journalists. Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow are all advocates, not journalists. Al Sharpton would be a welcome addition to the mix!

NABJ: Finally Makes News

The model for MSM outlets is infotainment. Clearly, Rev. Sharpton meets that objective. Nevertheless the objectives of MSM are not the objectives of the Black Community.


Sharpton vs. NABJ??

Although I agree with Kathy Times, head of NABJ that we should continue to advocate for more black journalists and not just black personalities in these slots, I do believe that NABJ is at a crossroads of Change. Could this be a flashpoint where NABJ has to evolve? I wonder how the Asian, Hispanic and LGBT Journalism associations would react if they were represented on a branded show.  Would they bark and cry foul that although an Asian, Hispanic or LGBT person is helming a show in cable prime time, they really shouldn't be there because they aren't a journalist??

Is it time for NABJ to evolve, grow and expand its mission as our society correspondingly evolves, grows and expands in scope.  I am grateful to see a black person helming their own show and if it's a personality can't they not be assisted by NABJ member producers, journalists and the like to make up for any deficiency in hard core journalism?  So the real question should be is it time for NABJ to reassess who and what it is going forward?

Re: Rev. Sharpton & MSNBC vs. Black journalists

Oh boy here we go again! I'm quite surprised that many people DO NOT understand the difference between news and commentary! MSNBC does not and I repeat DOES NOT do "news" during the hours between 4PM to 11PM EST. It is all OPINION or COMMENTARY! That means that typically the person who is hosting that particular hour voices their OPINION about the topic at hand! There is no impartiallity or neutrality towards a guest who may have a varying opinion than those of the host! A credible journalist would have to refrain from expressing his or her opinion.  
I have been watching Rev Sharpton since he has been in his time slot on MSNBC and he has torn many "republicants" a new one just as I expect him to when they try to push their GOP agenda and bullsh!t! Yes there should be more Black journalists however there should also be more Black commentary or opinionated hosts on tv as well..and the last time I checked...Rev Al is the only one.  
So as usual, we Black folks are always seen fighting each other over the few crumbs that are available...and eventually in the end no one is in a better position because of the divide & conquer strategy that seem to work oh so well on us Negroes! It happened in 2010. Black folk sat out the election because they were mad at Obama or indifferent. Now in my state of North Carolina, the republicants who were overwhelmimgly voted into office, are re-drawing district maps to prevent us (Black folk) from having the political power we had in 2008! Sadly this will probably happen again in 2012, which would be the death blow to this country as we know it! Continue on with this divisive tatic and see which group will be more devastated than EVER by the policies put in place by a majority GOP in office. Y'all think it's bad now....wait and see! SMH!


Your articles miss the central point and complaint of Cenk Uygur, the Young Turk canned by MSNBC.

MSNBC, according to Uygur, has dumped him because they did not like his "tone" --i.e. they did not like his constantly ripping President Obama as not being a true progressive.

Now, MSNBC is making overtures to hire Al Sharpton--after already having placed the partisan Sharpton in a substitute host spot evenings. Sharpton is an admitted Obama booster as he also functions as a Democratic Party operative; in fact, Sharpton has vowed "not" to criticize President Obama. What kind of TV news talk host--especially one who is a self-styled "advocate"--hired to give his opinions, as claimed--commits to "not" criticizing an elected official?

And why is President Obama to be spared the withering or soft criticism that his record warrants, especially in light of his backtracking on so many campaign promises and in light of his demonstrated record of flip-flops on core civil liberties and civil rights issues? 

If the decision "not" to criticize Obama is based on Obama's being the "first African American" President then the pledge not to criticize Obama is more racial posturing and idiocy on Sharpton's part. Moreover, the decision to hire such a person as a TV talk show host--who is in purpose and effect--in the tank for Obama, represents on MSNBC's executives' parts sheer paternalism (which is itself a mainfestation of the crudest kind of racism).

A journalist would never make such a concession to shill for any elected official, no matter their individual party or political affiliation or their skin color/race.

In a world where TV viewers look in vain for fairness and objectivity in reporting and analysis of public policy issues, the networks are increasingly offering fare and hosts with either partisan agendas or personal opinions about public officials and newsmakers, about whom they are supposed to be skeptical if not critical. THAT was and is Cenk Uygur's point...a point obscured and diminished by the penchant of so many adherents of racial identity politics, racial rhetoric, and knee-jerk solidarity behind the "first African American President", Barack Obama, who has proven not to be, so far, either progressive or faithful to the base (progressives and liberals and independents of every party and with no political affiliation) that elected him to the highest office of our land on a promise of his making a radical break with the status quo.

Michael Meyers, New York Civil Rights Coalition

New York, New York

Sharpton is doing a good job on MSNBC

Sharpton is doing a good job on MSNBC

He's well prepared for his guest.

He is not a news writer, he is a news maker.

His presence on MSNBC will likely open up more opportunities for Black journalists, if they don't listen to the crabs in the barrel 



I like Cenk and Sharpton.

One day Cenk will look back and realize his problems with management started months ago when Comcast took over MSNBC. The deal was brokered by a former News Corp. exec. Olbermann was the first casualty.
Comcast used to make viewers pay extra to receive MSNBC. Notice how many more Republicans you see interviewed on MSNBC

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