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K.C. Star to Fill Jason Whitlock's Slot

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Outspoken Sports Columnist Leaves After 16 Years

"Dr. Laura" Ending Radio Show After N-Word Flap

Accuracy Varies in Describing Site of Proposed Mosque

Fareed Zakaria Jumps From Newsweek to Time

Blagojevich Verdict Attributed to Lack of Smoking Gun

Hispanic Immigrants Found to Hold Idealized Views of U.S.

Ishmael Reed Takes on N.Y. Times, Asian-on-Black Crime

Short Takes

Jason Whitlock, columnist for the Kansas City Star and FoxSports.com, called himself 'Big Sexy.' This photo of him has appeared on several websites. The women were not identified.

Outspoken Sports Columnist Leaves After 16 Years

Jason Whitlock, the controversial and outspoken sports columnist who ended a 16-year career at the Kansas City Star on Tuesday, will be replaced, the Star's outgoing sports editor told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

"That's the plan," said Holly Lawton, the assistant managing editor for sports. She announced earlier that she was leaving the paper, and on Wednesday denied blog reports that conflicts with Whitlock were the reason. The Star has been running one sports columnist, Sam Mellinger, since Whitlock's column last appeared in the paper in May. Since then, according to Star employees, Whitlock has been taking vacation and furlough time.

Lawton said she had agreed to stay until her replacement is named.

In a Twitter message, Whitlock said he expected to elaborate on his departure on Kansas City sports radio station KCSP-AM (610 Sports) on Wednesday, but Program Manager Ryan Maguire told Journal-isms that Whitlock would not appear. On Friday, Whitlock praised Steve Miller, managing editor of FoxSports.com, who edited his more expansive Fox column: "Steve Miller has given me room @ FOX 2 do the full me."

The Star announced Tuesday, "After 16 years of writing thought-provoking and popular columns for The Kansas City Star, Jason Whitlock is leaving the paper to pursue other interests.

"Whitlock joined The Star in 1994 as a general-interest sports columnist after writing for newspapers in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Charlotte, N.C. He immediately struck a chord with local readers and ultimately developed a national audience through his column and work in other media, including radio and television."

By Wednesday morning, the notice had attracted 288 reader comments, though few if any contacted Lawton or Reader Representative Derek Donovan, those two told Journal-isms.

"If I had spent 16 years at a job then read the posts on here and found they were 20 to 1 very happy I was leaving, I think I would wonder if I did a good job. But then Jason will only pick out the good comments and feel as he has done a GREAT job. Ego, ego, ego," wrote one reader, who signed himself tommer.

But rcwilson wrote, "I always enjoyed a Whitlock article and it's too bad he's leaving. I don't know what I'll miss the most - the actual columns or all the outrage generated in the comments section. All of it was entertaining and good for a lot of laughs. I wonder what all the Whitlock haters are going to do with their spare time now? The readers of the Star probably will not be fortunate enough to get another columnist to say exactly what's on his/her mind."

Whitlock drew national attention through a separate column he wrote for FoxSports.com, in interviews on the website The Big Lead and through appearances on ESPN television and the ESPN website. He also once had a local radio show in Kansas City.

A 2007 column landed him on an "Oprah" panel after he commented on the uproar after radio host Don Imus' called the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy headed ho's."

"In my view, he didn't do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should've been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it's only the beginning. It's an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$," Whitlock wrote, referring to coach Vivian Stringer and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Columnist Betty Baye of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal was one of many last year who accused Whitlock of "raw sexism" over a piece he wrote for FoxSports.com about tennis star Serena Williams. "God gave Serena everything, including drop-dead looks. She's chosen to smother some of it in an unsightly layer of thick, muscled blubber, a byproduct of her unwillingness to commit to a training regimen and diet that would have her at the top of her game year-round," Whitlock wrote. Whitlock, 43, describes himself as 6-foot-2 and 360 pounds "on a good day."

The commentator has also called out hip-hop, dubbing some of its elements "the Black KKK."

"You're damn straight I blame hip hop for playing a role in the genocide of American black men. When your leading causes of death and dysfunction are murder, ignorance and incarceration, there's no reason to give a free pass to a culture that celebrates murder, ignorance and incarceration," Whitlock wrote in 2007.

Last month, Whitlock unloaded on the Associated Press Sports Editors, an organization of which Kansas City Star Editor Mike Fannin is a past president, one of many ties between APSE and the Star.

Whitlock criticized APSE's decision to award Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press its highest honor, the Red Smith Award.

"Associated Press Sports Editors, the political, ass-kissing organization that pretends to be sports writing's selfless guardian, built King Myth Albom's throne, celebrating his money-quote-filled narrative schmaltz year after year with enough plaques to build an ark," he wrote on theBigLead.com.

Fannin did not respond to requests for comment.

If there were any relationship between that column and Whitlock's departure, it wouldn't be the first such cause and effect.

"Whitlock's history with this site is a fun one," theBigLead.com wrote. "Back in 2006, this memorable interview he did with us ended up with him losing his side-gig at ESPN (PTI on the TV side; Page 2 on ESPN.com)."

"I feel energized actually — stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country," Laura Schlessinger told Larry King. (Credit: CNN)

"Dr. Laura" Ending Radio Show After N-Word Flap

"Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the conservative talk radio commentator under fire for repeatedly using a racial epithet, announced on Tuesday that she was ending her long-running radio show," Anahad O'Connor reported for the New York Times.

"Dr. Schlessinger made the announcement on Tuesday night on 'Larry King Live,' saying she made a decision not to renew her contract when it expires at the end of the year and suggesting that she did not want her opinions and language, however provocative, to be muzzled.

" 'I want to regain my First Amendment rights,' she said. 'I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.'

"But she stressed that she was not retiring, only ending her show, and would continue to write books and appear at speaking engagements.

“ 'I’m not quitting,' she told Larry King. 'I feel energized actually — stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.'

"No stranger to controversy, Dr. Schlessinger has been under intense pressure in recent days following an exchange with a caller on her radio show last week in which she used the racial epithet — the so-called 'N-word' — 11 times. The caller, a black woman, was complaining that she was married to a white man whose friends and family members frequently made racist comments in her presence. Dr. Schlessinger responded by arguing there was a 'confusing' double standard — that blacks could use the epithet freely while whites could not."

On Monday, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Media Matters for America, the Women's Media Center and Unity: Journalists of Color said jointly: "It's clear the airwaves are no place for Dr. Laura's hate speech. By choosing to sponsor her, Dr. Laura's advertisers are not only funding her offensive radio show, but are implicitly endorsing its content. This week, we will hold these advertisers accountable and find out exactly where they stand."

Media Matters reported that Motel 6 announced Tuesday that it was severing its relationship with the show and, quoting the Associated Press, that General Motors would do the same.

Accuracy Varies in Describing Site of Proposed Mosque

"There is no mosque being built on the site of Ground Zero. It's a simple fact, but one that news consumers can be forgiven for missing," Michael Calderone wrote Monday for Yahoo News.

"In covering the growing controversy over the proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, the national media, led by the big cable networks, have by default shaped the increasingly heated debate by repeatedly referring to the project as the 'Ground Zero mosque.'

"An MSNBC spokesman said that describing the project is a 'show-by-show decision,' while a CNN spokesperson said the network guides anchors in written copy to refer to the project as 'an Islamic center that includes a mosque that is near Ground Zero, or is two blocks from Ground Zero.' Of course, political pundits may stray from the network's phrasing and inaccurately describe the location of the planned building at the center of the furor.

"But Phil Corbett, the New York Times' standards editor said, 'Given how politically volatile this discussion has been, we think it's important to be accurate and precise,' in explaining the paper's consistent references to the planned structure being two blocks from the Ground Zero site.

"The 'Park51' project, as it's officially dubbed, is in fact planned for a site two blocks from where the World Trade Center towers fell, amid other lower Manhattan establishments whose names have never featured the words 'Ground Zero.' If built, the 13-story community center and mosque project will be one of hundreds of buildings located within blocks of Ground Zero — a densely populated area that already includes a couple of mosques, along with less 'hallowed' institutions, like strip clubs, bars and Off Track Betting operations."

[Calderone reported Thursday, "The Associated Press, one of world's most powerful news organizations, issued a memo today advising staff to avoid the phrase 'Ground Zero mosque.' "]

Fareed Zakaria Jumps From Newsweek to Time

Fareed Zakaria

Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria will join Time as editor at large on Oct. 1. He will have a regular column and contribute cover stories and features in the magazine and on Time.com, Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel announced on Wednesday.

"The departure of Mr. Zakaria, a well-known columnist and television presence, is another blow to Newsweek, which was sold to Sidney Harman, an audio equipment mogul, at the beginning of the month. Several prominent writers and editors have left the magazine recently, including the editor, Jon Meacham; a columnist, Evan Thomas; and an investigative reporter, Michael Isikoff," David Carr wrote Wednesday in the New York Times.

Zakaria has also been the editor of Newsweek International since October 2000.

"In addition to his new role at TIME, Mr. Zakaria has renewed his association with CNN, where he will continue to work on his weekly show, 'Fareed Zakaria GPS,' and, in addition, will produce several special reports a year. He will also serve as a consultant for HBO’s documentary unit. TIME, CNN, and HBO are all owned by Time Warner, and the company plans to utilize Mr. Zakaria’s expertise across these platforms," the announcement said.

Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. said in the release, "Fareed has brought unparalleled insight to CNN’s Sunday morning programming, and his voice will now resonate like that of no other journalist in the world — globally, in print, online, and in longform — thanks to the unmatched resources of Time Warner. We're looking forward to continuing to blaze new trails with Fareed and our partners at Time and HBO."

Zakaria said: "I'm excited at the prospect of writing for TIME's vast and important audience. Rick Stengel has a compelling vision for the magazine and website and I'm delighted to be a part of it. I will also be doing more at CNN as well as HBO, where I have had wonderful experiences already. This is a unique opportunity to bring together on a common platform, my work on television, print, and the web. I'm grateful for the vote of confidence and look forward to getting to work," the release said.

Dorothy Tucker of WBBM-TV followed former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to his Ravenswood Manor neighborhood in Chicago after the verdict. She interviewed residents. (Video)

Blagojevich Verdict Attributed to Lack of Smoking Gun

The Chicago media generally received good marks for their coverage of the jury verdict Tuesday in the case of disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was found guilty of lying to federal agents. The jury was deadlocked on the other 23 counts, including a charge that he tried to sell President Obama’s former Senate seat.

The verdict "was surprising to some, it was not surprising to me," Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell said on NPR's "Tell Me More." "I must say, all along I've said that the problem here was going to be no smoking gun. You know, 500 hours of wiretap information, tapes that people can listen to that clearly show the governor, if nothing else, had a very foul mouth and said some pretty damaging things.

"But, no, you couldn't connect that to anything that he received. He didn't get an ambassadorship. He didn't get any money into his campaign coffers. He didn't — the government could not show what he got for the corruption. So I think that . . . was very critical in his case because it was so complicated. Juries had to see what did he get? And they could not find it. And I think that was the major problem here."

Media critic Robert Feder wrote, "While the jury of Rod Blagojevich‚Äôs peers may have left a lot of people disappointed, Chicago‚Äôs big five television news organizations performed their duties admirably, blanketing the airwaves with live, compelling and, for the most part, commercial-free coverage for close to three hours Tuesday afternoon." 

The Chicago Defender, the city's historic black newspaper, had nothing about the verdict on its website on Wednesday, continuing to spotlight last weekend's 81st Bud Billiken Day parade.

"Those who attended the 81st Annual Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic Saturday said it lived up to its reputation as being fun and exciting," it told readers.

Hispanic Immigrants Found to Hold Idealized Views of U.S.

"An Associated Press-Univision poll of more than 1,500 Latinos finds that Hispanic immigrants, many of whom faced huge problems in their homelands, have more idealized views of the United States than Hispanics who were born in America do," Ileana Morales and Nancy Benac reported Tuesday for the Associated Press.

"It's an oft-told story in U.S. history, one of immigrants drawn to the land of opportunity and happy with the contrast to their old life. But it's also one of ethnic groups that settle in only to confront social and economic hurdles that persist from one generation to the next.

"The poll, also sponsored by The Nielsen Co. and Stanford University, turned up stark differences between the hopes of immigrant parents and U.S.-born Hispanics for their children: 77 percent of foreign-born Hispanic parents believe it will be easier for their children to find a good job, compared with 31 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics. Likewise, far more Hispanic immigrants believe it will be easier for their children to buy a house and for their children to raise a family than do Hispanics born in the U.S. . . .

"The country's economic downturn has taken an especially harsh toll on Hispanics, according to the poll, with 6 in 10 saying it's hard for them to get ahead financially and nearly half or more expressing intense worry over losing their jobs, paying bills or saving for college."

Ishmael Reed Takes on N.Y. Times, Asian-on-Black Crime

Ishmael Reed, the novelist, poet and media critic, is criticizing the Bay Citizen, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, "public media organization" that Ishmael Reedsince June has been providing local news content to the New York Times for its weekend Bay Area pages.

"You'd think that with its classy reputation that The New York Times would be different from the trashy representation of Oakland favored by the local press, whose marketing strategy seems to be that of coddling and entertaining its targeted sales demographic by embarrassing blacks," Reed wrote on his sfgate.com blog. As an example, he cited a new farmers market that has gone uncovered by the Bay Citizen. "The only food stores available to me and my neighbors are liquor stores disguised as grocery stores.There is an important urban farming movement happening in Oakland," Reed wrote.

Jonathan Weber, editor of the Bay Citizen, replied, "We report news. A nice farmers market is not news. With all due respect your criticism comes off as the standard type of complaining . . . journalists always hear when they don't report on things the way a particular interested party would like them to. The perception that there is a lot of crime in Oakland is a function of the fact that there is a lot of crime in Oakland. Sorry, but we did not create that fact. And we certainly report lots of news out of Oakland that has nothing to do with crime. If you want to critique The Bay Citizen that's great but please save your stereotypes."

In a subsequent post, Reed replied to bloggers who criticized him on racial grounds. "I'm a bigot for pointing out that some Asian American criminals operate in Oakland's black neighborhoods?" Reed wrote. "The leader of a gang that terrorized my neighborhood for four years was a Vietnamese kid whose activities not only erupted occasionally into gunfire, but he went about calling black middle class women, members of our Neigborhood Crime Watch, by the B word. He was murdered around the corner last year. Do some Asian American criminals bring drugs onto our block? Yes. Do I cast collective blame on the entire Asian American community, 38 culturally distinct groups, for the actions of a few as Oakland's black American community was blamed for the actions of four blacks, who have been accused of assaulting Chinese Americans, ACTIONS THAT I CONDEMNED IN PRINT!! No! . . . "

Short Takes

  • "As we arrive at the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this month, the news nets are prepping special coverage to mark the occasion," Kevin Allocca wrote Wednesday for TVNewser, offering preliminary plans by NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and PBS.
  • ABC News veteran Portia Robertson is joining NPR's "Tell Me More" in September as supervising senior editor, NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher confirmed on Wednesday. Robertson spent "24 years at ABC, where she worked on ABC Radio, World News Tonight, 20/20 and ABC News NOW. During her time at ABC, she contributed to the network's duPont-Columbia and Peabody Award-winning coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks," Christopher said.
  • "AOL's Patch network, which started with news websites in three communities when it was launched in 2009, added a Patch site in Morristown, N.J., this week, its 100th site. AOL says it will expand the Patch network to more than 500 neighborhoods in 20 states by the end of the year and hire 500 journalists to serve as local editors. Patch will be the largest hirer of full-time journalists in the United States this year, AOL says," Jeff Clabaugh reported for the Washington Business Journal.
  • Ebony's September issue Ebony magazine, under new editor-in-chief Amy DuBois Barnett, focuses on education in its September issue, which went on sale on Monday. Barnett and Senior Editor Kevin Chappell sat down with President Obama to talk about America‚Äôs challenged public educational system and his $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" education reform plan, the magazine said. Also, " 'Should We Forgive Chris Brown?' CNN‚Äôs Roland Martin and award-winning journalist Farai Chideya weigh-in on whether the R&B star should be forgiven or held accountable for his actions," the magazine's announcement said.
  • "Jack Marsh, vice president of the Diversity Institute, was named president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute. Before joining the Freedom Forum in 1998, Marsh had been executive editor of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D.," Charles L. Overby, chairman and chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, announced last week amid other changes. "The Diversity Institute was established and funded by the Freedom Forum as a school dedicated to teaching journalism skills and First Amendment values by advancing news media diversity, fairness and excellence."
  • The newspaper and magazine industries could potentially realize $3 billion in revenue by 2014 if they produced interactive periodicals, according to the digital publishing consortium Next Issue Media, Jason Fell reported for Folio magazine.
  • "Business journalists in the United States make a median salary of $65,000 to $70,000, according to an informal poll of nearly 400 business reporters and editors conducted by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers," Chris Roush, who conducted the survey, wrote for Talking Biz News. "The median salary for a business reporter was between $60,000 and $65,000, while the median salary for a business section editor was between $75,000 to $80,000. An editor of a business print publication makes a median salary between $95,000 and $100,000."
  • "Gannett today announced HighSchoolSports.net . . . launching hyperlocal, co-branded high school sports microsites across its network of more than 100 local media websites and the national high school sports pages on USATODAY.com," TVNewscheck reported on Wednesday. "HighSchoolSports.net is a subsidiary of Gannett and part of the Gannett Digital Network. Leveraging the depth and breadth of Gannett's sports content for consumers and advertisers, the HighSchoolSports.net microsites are expected to collectively reach approximately 9.4 million unique monthly visitors."
  • Lisa Guerrero "Lisa Guerrero returns to 'Inside Edition' as its Chief Investigative Correspondent. She previously worked for the newsmagazine from 2006 to 2008 as West Coast Correspondent," Veronica Villafa?±e reported on her Media Moves site. "Lisa worked one season as a sportscaster for Monday Night Football in 2003. Before that, she also covered sports for Fox Network and KCBS-2 and KTTV-11 in Los Angeles. She has also hosted the weekend edition of 'Extra.' "
  • Sarah Gonzalez of San Diego, a graduate of Mills College in Oakland, Calif., who produces "Morning Edition" on KPBS in San Diego, and Hansi Wang of Glen Mills, Pa., a native Chinese speaker who worked as a refugee housing coordinator in Philadelphia and attended Swarthmore College, are among three Joan B. Kroc Fellows at NPR. Now in its sixth year, the program selects three to participate in an intensive, yearlong training program at NPR and member stations.
  • In Mexico City, "Hundreds of Mexican journalists conducted a silent protest to demand that the federal government do more to protect journalists from increasing violence," Mexico's La Jornada reported on Wednesday. "The journalists, from diverse media, also called for investigations into the homicides of more than 60 reporters and the disappearance of 12 others."
  • Former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who died in an Alaska plane crash last week at age 86, "was just Uncle Ted in Western Alaska, where his work led to development of the Native corporations that help power Alaska's economy today, and the Denali Commission, that has poured $1 billion into rural Alaska in a dozen years, building tank farms, clinics and other facilities," Alex Demarban reported Tuesday for Alaska's Tundra Drums.
  • DeWayne Wickham of USA Today and Gannett News Service was among journalists at a two-hour, off-the-record luncheon Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department. Other attendees were David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, Christiane Amanpour of ABC News and Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek. 
  • In India, A.S. Mani, the publisher and editor of the Tamil-language magazine Naveena Netrikkan, is being held on trumped-up charges, including one of attempted murder, and has been physically and psychologically tortured, Reporters Without Borders said on Tuesday. "His persecution by the police is unacceptable and the proceedings initiated against him seem to be an act of revenge. The government must free him at once and punish those responsible for these crimes against the press."

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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 BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Comments

Jason Whitlock's departure from KC Star

If sportswriting is the toy department of journalism, Jason Whitlock was it's biggest elf.  He has had a mad-on against ESPN since they fired him from "The Sports Reporters" and has decided to recast himself as the "shock jock" of the field.  It's a pretty pathetic act as some of his recent ravings and droolings on Fox Sports.com against LeBron James have marked his laziest and worst writing yet.  

Whatever Whitlock does next in his career, I sincerely hope it does not include posing as a knowledgeable observer on sports.  That would be perpetuating a sick fraud. 

 

Christmas in August: 2 Bigots have left the stage

What was always so ugly and offensive about Jason Whitlock and Dr.Laura was the reality that both were always depositing their bigoted and offensive body of work on the soil of Black folks and neither expressed any shame or regret ,in fact they were both proud of their collective ignorance.

Both of course acknowledged that ignorance, bigotry exists in every culture in our nation including Black venues as well as Jewish venues . At least their body of work provided that truth...

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