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Friday, November 15, 2013

Updated Nov. 16

Media Missed It: Winning Candidate Served Time for Murder

Raul Ramirez, Reporter, Editor and Educator, Dies at 67

Complaints About Cohen Touch on Gender as Much as Race

4 Radio Journalists Killed, 6 Missing in Typhoon Surge

Michael Wilbon, Charles Barkley Boast of Using N-Word

ESPN Apologizes for "Peanut Oil" Remark About Jeremy Lin

Analysis Compares Health Care Reform With Hurricane Katrina

"Diverse" Comcast Networks Launching, but Will They Last?

"People Behaving Badly" Segment a Worldwide Phenomenon

Short Takes

Wantwaz Davis beat the incumbent Flint, Mich., councilman by 71 votes. He had se

Media Missed It: Winning Candidate Served Time for Murder

"We've been hearing the warnings for years now," Vincent Duffy, chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation, wrote Thursday. "At journalism conferences, in the trades, and amongst ourselves we've heard some variation of this: 'If newsrooms keep cutting reporters, while demanding higher story counts, and measuring story success by web-hits, important news is going to start falling through the cracks.' Admittedly when we say it, it sounds more like, 'With fewer people and more to produce, when are we supposed to cover the news?'

"The election results last week in Flint, Michigan provide a perfect example of what can happen when 'the media' [don't] do their job well. On election day, voters in Flint's fifth ward elected Wantwaz Davis to be their representative on city council. Davis beat the incumbent by 71 votes.

"The day after the election, the Flint Journal reported, for the first time, that Davis was a 'convicted killer' who served 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1991.

"Yes, you read that correctly, a convicted murderer was on the ballot for city council, and the local newspaper/website, and the local ABC and FOX affiliates, never reported his past until the day after Davis won. (Full disclosure — as a nearly statewide radio station, Flint is also in my station's listening area. We do not have a reporter there and have been trying unsuccessfully to raise money to create that position.)

"Newly elected Councilman Davis makes no effort to hide his criminal past. In fact, helping felons who served their time find employment was one of his campaign issues. All a reporter had to do to discover his past was Google his name and scan the items that came up on the first page. Davis also told one of my reporters that he told voters about his past when he canvassed door-to-door, and it came up during a debate sponsored by the NAACP.

"But it never came to the attention of the newspaper or its political reporter. It wasn’t even mentioned in a now comical looking story by Dominic Adams that the newspaper published under the headline: Everything you need to know about the Fifth Ward Flint City Council race. . . ."

The story is not without its racial component. A website called trunewsusa ran the headline, "Colored Flint Michigan voters elect two convicted Negro felons, two others colored folks with bankruptcies to city council."

The Detroit News reported Monday, "Davis has said he discussed his conviction openly with Flint residents.

" 'The council people are elected. They're going to get sworn in on Monday. Nothing you write about it is going to change it now,' Council President Scott Kincaid said. 'It's not something that was hidden or should be a surprise to constituents in the Fifth Ward,' which Davis will represent.

"Davis, who was 17 in 1991 when Kenneth S. Morris was fatally shot at his home, said Morris 'went and reached in his pocket, so I reached in my pocket and I shot him. When I found out he later died, I turned myself in. I never intended to shoot Mr. Morris. To this day, I am very remorseful.'

"Released on parole in 2010, Davis said he does not shy away from his past and that it will help him on the council.

" 'The elders and youth are looking for someone who actually understands what they're going through and who has rebounded and made something of themselves,' he said. . . ."

A former student said of Raul Ramirez, " 'I just don't see the journalism indust

Raul Ramirez, Reporter, Editor and Educator, Dies at 67

"Raul Ramirez, executive director of news and public affairs at KQED Public Radio and a remarkable journalist, teacher and mentor known throughout the Bay Area journalism community and beyond, has died," David Weir and Patricia Yollin reported Friday for the San Francisco station.

"Ramirez had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late July and died this morning at age 67 at his home in Berkeley. He was born in 1946 in Havana. In April 1962, more than three years after the Cuban revolution overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, Ramirez's parents — disillusioned by what they perceived as Fidel Castro's failed promises — sent him and his sister to live with relatives in South Florida. He first started to explore journalism as a student at the University of Florida in Gainesville; he once told a colleague that he had studied it to improve his English. In the process, he discovered his calling.

"Ramirez's newspaper days began in the tumultuous 1960s and '70s, when he reported for the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner. He gained a reputation for immersing himself in the subjects that he covered, always seeking to gain in-depth understanding before publishing. In 1970, he wrote a prize-winning series for the Wall Street Journal about farmworkers in Michigan after working in the fields alongside them. At the Miami Herald, he accompanied undercover agents on raids of suspected heroin dealers. And for a San Francisco Examiner article on jail conditions, he worked several days as a deputy sheriff. . . ."

Ramirez also held lecturer positions in both UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and San Francisco State's Journalism Department for more than 20 years, Katie Nelson added in the Oakland Tribune.

"Former student Jackie Backman said Ramirez's influence on his students' writing and journalism skills were unparalleled. While he was intimidating and expected the best of his students, she said, he never wavered in doing anything he could to help them achieve what he expected of them. " 'I just don't see the journalism industry having another Raul. Ever,' she said."

Nelson also wrote, "The Raul Ramirez Diversity in Journalism Fund has been established at San Francisco State. Ramirez's family has requested that donations in his memory be made to that fund. Tax-deductible donations may be made by check or online.

"Checks should be made out to The San Francisco State University Foundation with a notation that the donation is for 'The Raul Ramirez Diversity in Journalism Fund.' Please mail to Office of University Development, ATTN: Andrea Rouah, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., ADM 153, San Francisco, CA 94132. To donate online, go to Select 'Other' from the drop-down menu of I Would Like to Support and type into the text box If Other, Enter Designation: 'The Raul Ramirez Diversity in Journalism Fund.' " [Added Nov. 16]

Richard Cohen (Credit: Goodale/YouTube)

Complaints About Cohen Touch on Gender as Much as Race

When the subject of Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen comes up among those who have worked with him over the years, the conversation is as likely to turn to his treatment of women as about what he has written about race.

Cohen, 72, a columnist at the Post since 1976, landed in hot water this week after a column about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took a detour with a paragraph about the interracial family of New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

"Today's GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde," Cohen wrote. "People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn't look like their country at all."

Some readers and activists demanded Cohen's firing, saying the sentiment was part of a pattern of anti-black statements over the years.

However, others pointed to behavior of the kind discussed by Warren St. John, writing for the New York Observer in 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal was hot news.

"In its editorials on the Monica Lewinsky matter, The Washington Post has repeatedly urged President Bill Clinton to explain his relationship with the young White House intern, calling his silence 'harmful, not just shifty,' " St. John began. ”Such sentiments have been echoed by Post columnist Richard Cohen, who has suggested that Mr. Clinton should 'fess up and move on.'

"But when Mr. Cohen himself was accused of engaging in 'inappropriate behavior' toward Devon Spurgeon, a 23-year-old editorial aide at the paper, Post management went into its own form of crisis mode: Staff members are forbidden to discuss the matter, the participants in the dispute have been frozen out by superiors, and Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. is refusing to comment. The episode has increased tensions between the sexes at the paper, Post staff members have said, and has exposed a rift between a salty old guard and younger colleagues grappling with the complicated issues of interoffice gender politics. . . ."

A former Cohen co-worker who did not want to be named because she is a newsroom supervisor elsewhere told Journal-isms privately that Cohen was "a walking lawsuit." She wondered why he hadn't been fired long ago. But Cohen remained at the paper; it was Spurgeon who left. Cohen maintained that "it was a personality dispute [that] had nothing to do with sexual harassment as the term applies today." A friend, New York writer Ken Auletta, was quoted as saying, "He's being accused of saying things that are insensitive. Well, grow up.… This is Dick Cohen being Dick Cohen, and politically correct people being wusses."

Cohen's critics say his attitudes are reflected in his columns, as when he argued in 2010 that Anita Hill's sexual harassment charges against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas should be put to rest. "When it comes to his alleged sexual boorishness, he stands condemned of being a man," Cohen wrote.

Cohen is not the only journalist of his generation alleged to have conducted himself on the job in ways that would be considered inappropriate.

In a lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in New York, former New York Post editor Sandra Guzman charges that "higher-ups at the Post had fostered a hostile work environment for minorities like herself — a black, Puerto Rican female," as Sam Stein and Michael Calderone reported last month for the Huffington Post. Editor-in-Chief Col Allan, Guzman said, "showed her and other colleagues a cell phone picture of a 'naked man lewdly and openly displaying his penis,' while other editors and colleagues repeatedly used misogynistic or racist language."

Legendary New York columnist Jimmy Breslin, inducted this week into the New York Journalism Hall of fame and now 82, once was so infuriated by criticism of his New York Newsday column by a Korean-American colleague that he "promptly scurried into the newsroom and threw a tantrum, calling the offending woman a 'yellow cur' and a 'slant-eyed ---- ,' " as recalled by Chicago Tribune columnist Stephen Chapman in 1990.

Breslin was suspended without pay for two weeks after he followed his public apology with a radio appearance in which he joked about the controversy and said, "All my apologies, however, are carbons," according to Robert F. Keeler's 1990 book "Newsday: A Candid Hstory of the Respectable Tabloid." "The guy doesn't get it; he just doesn't get it," Editor Anthony Marro said.

Is this behavior that we can chalk up to the outdated mores of a generation that is fading from the scene?

Not so fast.

"It's a tough question, and one that also may make some think you're protecting older men if you say it is generational," Bernard Lunzer, president of the Newspaper Guild-Communication Workers of America, told Journal-isms by email.

"What is safe to say is that what is acceptable behavior on the part of those that file complaints does seem to have become less tolerant. I have seen things that were ignored, or where a woman would tell you should . . . handle it, change to something where a younger woman just simply won't. Is this a change in broader education on the issue? Likely.

"Let's say that the behavior was never welcome and that it's now more likely that someone will file a complaint or a charge.

"It is clear that things have changed, and I think that's a good thing. Younger men are also coming to understand that they need to speak up when they see another man act inappropriately — it's no longer just considered a women's issue, but is a workplace issue."

What's changed most significantly, said Brooke Masters of the Financial Times, a former Washington Post journalist, is the attitude of management. "There is a difference in what's acceptable," she said by telephone Friday. "There's no more 'boys will be boys' anymore." She, too, was reluctant to call the differences generational. "It's not going away any faster if we're somehow giving people a pass" because they're older, she said.

The shattered studios of radio station dyVL Aksyon Radyo-Tacloban, where two wor

4 Radio Journalists Killed, 6 Missing in Typhoon Surge

"Four journalists were killed and six others reported missing in the typhoon that struck the central Philippines on November 8, according to news reports and local press groups," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Friday.

The press freedom group also said, "Ronald Vinas and Allan Medino, a reporter and technician for dyVL Aksyon Radyo-Tacloban, were killed when a storm surge inundated their seaside radio station office in Tacloban City's coastal Poblacion area, according to local reports. Their news program went off the air while they were providing news updates on the typhoon, the reports said.

"Archie Globio and Malou Realino, both reporters for dyBR Apple Radio Tacloban, were also killed while covering the storm disaster, according to local reports and information compiled from the National Union of Journalists Philippines, a local journalist group.

"At least six other journalists were reported missing as of November 15, according to information compiled by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a Manila-based press freedom organization. They include dyBR Apple Radio Tacloban news anchors Babay Jaca, Jun Estoya, and Lulu Palencia; dyDW Radyo Diwa Tacloban reporter Jasmine Bonifacio; and Leyte-Samar Daily Express newspaper reporter Sarwell Meniano.

"Several local radio stations and newspaper bureaus in Tacloban City were destroyed by the storm, according to news reports. An estimated 2,300 people have perished and over 11 million have been adversely affected, according to reports citing official government and United Nations statistics."

Michael Wilbon, Charles Barkley Boast of Using N-Word

Charles Barkley (left) and Michael Wilbon.Sports journalist Michael Wilbon, cohost of ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption," said Thursday that he uses the N-word "all day, every day of my life" and that others have no right to tell black people how to use it.

Charles Barkley, the former NBA player who cohosts TNT's "Inside the NBA," "told fellow TNT commentators Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal, 'I'm a black man. I use the N-word. I'm going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends, they are my friends. … Hey, Ernie, in a locker room and with my friends, we use racial slurs. I understand he should not have made it public,' " Ben Golliver reported Thursday for Sports Illustrated.

The admissions were prompted by the NBA's decision to fine Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes $25,000 Thursday after his ejection from L.A.’s 111-103 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. Officially, Barnes was dinged for "failing to leave the court in a timely manner … and using inappropriate language on his Twitter account."

"I love my teammates like family, but I'm DONE standing up for these n—–!" Barnes wrote, using a racial slur to refer to his fellow Clippers, Golliver reported. "All this s— does is cost me money."

Wilbon's and Barkley's defense of the word agitated Jason Whitlock, an ESPN columnist.

"This is what I was referring to last week when I wrote that black American culture has been turned upside down and corrupted by mass incarceration, the destruction of the traditional family unit and commercial hip-hop music," Whitlock wrote Friday. "The impact of these corrosive forces can be seen in the values and perspective of African-Americans across economic and class lines. We have a new normal. As it relates to the N-word, Barkley and Wilbon, like many African-Americans, have adapted to the new normal. The N-word is a cherished possession.

"We have bought the false narrative promoted by rappers and the corporations that pay rappers to make black-denigration music that the N-word has been stripped of its power to denigrate. We foolishly believe that religiously using the slur given to us by enslavers who saw us as subhuman is a righteous act of defiance against The Man.

"Think about it. Imagine Kunta Kinte in 'Roots' hanging from a tree being beaten by the overseer for refusing to take the name Toby. Fast-forward 200 years and imagine a well-intentioned white person counseling a young black man to avoid adopting the slur given to him by a white bigot. A fight would break out.

" 'Give me the N-word, or give me death!' . . ."

ESPN Apologizes for "Peanut Oil" Remark About Jeremy Lin

"Jeremy Lin didn't start tonight in his return to Madison Square Garden, but he had 21 points as the Rockets beat New York in overtime, 109-106 (James Harden had 36, Carmelo Anthony 45 for the Knicks). It was Lin's first sub-30 point performance in the past three games (31, 34), so we have to ask, is Linsanity a thing again?," Rick Chandler wrote Thursday for SportsGrid.

"We would have said no, until we heard this. From Deadspin:

" 'Here’s SportsCenter anchor Jorge Andrés on tonight's 9 p.m. episode making a much more pointed reference to Lin's race, claiming the Rockets star is "cooking with peanut oil." We've included his apology that came 40 minutes later, one that makes it sound as if everything on ESPN's flagship program is ad-libbed and not, you know, written out beforehand.' . . ."

Jackson Davis, ESPN's director of diversity & inclusion, told Journal-isms in August that in the wake of embarrassing racial and cultural gaffes by some of its journalists, ESPN had begun cultural sensitivity sessions.

Analysis Compares Health Care Reform With Katrina

"It didn't take long for Michael Shear's news analysis on Friday's front page to cause what he termed 'an email and Twitter explosion' for the White House correspondent," Margaret Sullivan, public editor at the New York Times, wrote Friday.

"The article compares President Obama's recent troubles over health care reform with President George W. Bush's travails after his handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. That comparison provoked strong objections from both the left and the right, he told me by phone.

" 'There's a lot of vitriol,' said Mr. Shear, one of The Times's four White House correspondents. 'I'm getting it from both sides.'

"I had been hearing from readers, too. To put it mildly, nobody seemed to like the comparison. . . ."

Sullivan concluded, "I often hear from readers that The Times is too easy on Mr. Obama and his administration, and too willing to see things from his point of view.

"That may have been true at various times in the past, and it may be again. But with one article comparing health care with Katrina, and another implicitly asking if the president was a liar or a fool, it certainly doesn't seem to be the case over the past two days."

For November, Native American History Month, Comcast is offering access to a sto

"Diverse" Comcast Networks Launching, but Will They Last?

"Rapper and producer Sean 'Diddy' Combs, director Robert Rodriguez, and basketball legend Magic Johnson each now has his own new cable TV [network]," Mandalit del Barco reported Tuesday for NPR. "Their channels were part of a merger deal Comcast made with the FCC to give a shot to new networks owned by African Americans, Latinos and others.

"Last month, Combs threw on his classic Puff Daddy alias to welcome millennial viewers to his new music network, Revolt.

" 'This is really happening, people,' the rapper said at the launch. 'A boy from Harlem is really standing on a stoop in Brooklyn launching a network worldwide. The revolution is now being televised.'

"Next month, Rodriguez will introduce young English-speaking Latinos to El Rey, on which he's partnered with Spanish-language network Univision to produce an action-packed lineup, including a new Latino James Bond-style series.

" 'El Rey is going to be the king of content,' he says. 'Iconic, addictive, exciting, visceral television.'

"El Rey and Revolt are Comcast's latest moves on diversity. For years, civil-rights groups have pointed to the dearth of programming for and by African Americans, Latinos and Asians. So when media giant Comcast announced plans to merge with NBC Universal, it was a chance for regulators to demand more cable networks owned and run by people of color. . . ."

Del Barco also wrote, "Washington insiders who were close to Comcast's FCC deal say no one expects these networks to survive. But Comcast's vice president [and general manager] of multicultural services, Ruben Mendiola, disagrees. In fact, he says Comcast plans to host a total of 10 independent channels over the next few years. . . ."

Stanley Roberts

"People Behaving Badly" Segment a Worldwide Phenomenon

"The cops are waiting when he steps, blinking, out of the confines of Gunter's Family Restaurant and into the sizzling parking lot," Joe Eskenazi wrote Wednesday for SF Weekly. "They lean on the black-and-white cruiser, arms crossed in front of their oversize, flak-jacketed chests. The older of the two uncurls himself at a leisurely pace and ambles over at an even more leisurely pace before, with a touch of the showman, whipping off his sunglasses.

"The words ooze out of his mouth: 'Staaaaaaaaaanley Robertsssssssss.'

"And then he smiles. A bouncy, even goofy energy overtakes him: 'At last! I get to meet you!' He bounds over to shake the hand of the stocky cameraman in the red flannel shirt. 'I heard 'KRON' on the dispatch. I just knew it had to be you.

"It turns out the aggrieved manager of the adjacent Pacific Market on El Camino Real wasn't merely phoning a heated complaint to the South San Francisco Police Department. He was making dreams come true. Any Bay Area police officer harboring a desire to meet Stanley Roberts need only pine away by the radio and await the inevitable.

"Per the complaint, Roberts, creator of the five-time-a-week Channel 4 news segment People Behaving Badly, 'refused to leave the premises.' This was untrue, but a somewhat milder variant of the standard dubious report relayed to police when Roberts inserts himself where he's not wanted: A suspicious black man with a camera is filming children! Or: A suspicious black man with a camera is casing our store!

"Roberts, however, is anything but suspicious. . . ."

Eskenazi also wrote, "He receives missives from viewers in Asia, Europe, Australia, even Greenland. A Scottish man told him that weekly People Behaving Badly parties are held there, in which the three-minute, jauntily narrated clips of societal misconduct are consumed in marathon sessions. One aficionado matter-of-factly informed Roberts that he watched every People Behaving Badly segment on YouTube. He did this in alphabetical order, from 'AC Transit vs. Stop Signs' to 'You Should Never Grab a Reporter!' — and all the 1,197 videos in between. . . ."

Short Takes

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Cross-Postings from The Root


Meet Boise Republican State Rep. Mark Patterson.

Mark Patterson website used to say he attended USC, he was a petroleum engineer and a professional road-racing cyclist.

Well he didn't attend USC, he was never a petroleum engineer. And he was once licensed, in the 1990s, in the second-lowest amateur road division of USA Cycling.

Well you can blame the website designer for the errors. But who does Mark Patterson blame for his guilty plea to assault with intent to commit rape in 1974?

Well it seems Mark has plenty of folks to blame. According to Mark Patterson, " I do know that the cops lied. And, you know, that’s one of the reasons I went ahead and took the deal because I shouldn’t even have been arrested.". Mark Patterson says he was a 21 year old KID.

Is this the part where I mention Patterson agreed to a polygraph. And the examiner’s report said Patterson "was untruthful" when questioned about Thor and concluded that he "did threaten the young lady in question with his dog and caused her to be fearful for her safety if she had not submitted herself to him sexually."

Who is Thor? His 17-month-old, 85-pound Doberman.

I'll just note, 3 years after leaving Florida for Ohio, Mark Patterson was charged with rape "by means of forcibly choking and threatening" the life of a woman in Cincinnati. But a judge acquitted him.

So now Mark's applying for a concealed weapon permit. And on the questionaire he's asked if he's ever been convicted of a criminal offense. And Mark Patterson says NO, TWICE. And now the Sherriff wants to revoke his CC permit for lying.

And Mark Patterson? Well Mark says the Sheriff is out to get him because he sponsored legislation that requires police to ignores federal guns laws. And Mark Patterson says the reporter who broke the story is also out to get him.

But that could change at any moment. See Mark Patterson has memory problems.

After his initial arrest, Patterson claimed that the sex was consensual, as evidenced by the fact that “she was even on top for a while” and “did not resist.” But as recent as Monday, Patterson denied he and the woman ever had any sexual contact to begin with, saying he only pled guilty because he was getting beaten up in jail and wanted to get out ASAP, so he could be with his family. He added, somewhat contradictorily, that some chemotherapy he underwent ten years ago made it hard for him to remember exactly what happened.

“Listen, you gotta understand,” Patterson said. “I did chemotherapy, a double dose every week for six months back in ‘03. A lot of my memory is gone.”

And the demographics of Boise? 89.0% White.

See all kinds of folks make stupid election choices.


Black people would elect a sack of crap if it promised to give them free!

The thing about my fellow blacks that steams my veggies is how stupid we are as a people...damn we're dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Frank Griffin

We did re-elect Obama after he let our people die in Benghazi, so I guess this is no big deal really.

Frank Griffin

It's fine to serve your time but it is another issue to represent a community after murdering someone.

l heard

Democracy at work , good for Flint , the man served his time and paid his debt and the press has to much influence on elections as is , and if a person has bankruptcies in their past or is in bankruptcy now that shouldnt stop them from running or serving public office as I'm sure part of the people they represent have or had the same woes ......Remember Mandela served time for murder , treason etc , Malcolm and MLK The Great all did time ... Black man please remember that their ways are not our ways they never will be ....


Newsroom sexism

The problem of  sexism or racism in the workplace is not generational, it is legal. Management gets the message when they lose lawsuits.  That forces cultural change. Tort reform that conservatives demand is a threat to equality.

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