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Media Chase Jesse Jackson Jr. Mystery

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Whereabouts Prompt Speculation, Denials

Joe Williams Says Boos for Romney Vindicate Him

NAHJ Panel Asks ESPN if Balta Still Works There

Ebony Responds to Anger Over Sex-Crime "Insensitivity"

Coverage Overlooked Ann Curry's Role-Model Status

"Black Snob" Joins Clutch; BlackVoices Gains Clicks

Employment in Local TV Newsrooms Grew 4.3%

Juan Williams Returns to Nation He Fled as 4-Year-Old

Short Takes

Brian Williams introduces a report on Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., on "NBC Nightly News" on Wednesday. Andrea Mitchell reported an allegation of addiction that Jackson's wife denied. (Video)

Whereabouts Prompt Speculation, Denials

Less than 24 hours after a veteran Chicago television critic scolded the Chicago media for not solving "the summer's biggest mystery" — the whereabouts of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. — Jackson's office issued a statement Wednesday saying, "The Congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment."

"In the statement, Jackson's office noted: 'In addition, the rumors about him being treated for alcohol or substance abuse [are] not true,' " Abdon M. Pallasch reported for the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The brief, carefully worded statement was released after NBC News reported that Jackson was being treated for alcoholism and addiction at an Arizona facility.

"The network's Andrea Mitchell, citing unnamed friends, reported the allegation of addiction Wednesday evening. But the network also quoted Jackson's wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), denying he was in rehab."

Mitchell's was not the only report relying on unidentified sources. "ABC News also reported that Jackson 'will likely not return to Congress until after Labor Day,' citing an unnamed source," John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman reported Tuesday for Politico.

Also, WLS radio in Chicago cited "two high-ranking people on the Democratic side of the aisle, in both fundraising and in the legislative branch," saying that Jackson, 47, had attempted suicide.

Both the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and an aide to the congressman told Politico the WLS report was inaccurate.

Jackson Sr. "refused to talk about his son's condition during the annual conference of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition today," Katherine Skiba reported Wednesday for the Chicago Tribune.

"When a reporter said it was the first time in 42 years he had found Jackson at a loss for words, Jackson responded, 'My words are not lost, it's inappropriate. This is a business dinner.'

"While the son's absence at the gathering was notable, the elder Jackson tried to keep the focus on the PUSH event. He told reporters who approached the dais in a hotel ballroom that it was 'inappropriate' for them to ask him about his son.

" 'Inappropriate, no discussion, please,' Jackson said as he paused between photos with dignitaries. He sat with [Gov. Pat] Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and others."

". . . Before the PUSH luncheon, former U.S. Sen. Roland Burris told the large media contingent to leave Jackson Jr. alone.

" 'You all aren't here to cover this convention, you're here to cover Jesse Jr. That is ridiculous.' "

Robert Feder, veteran television critic, scolded the media Wednesday in his column for Time Out Chicago headlined, "Why are Chicago media failing us on Jackson?"

". . . For years the knock on Chicago media — print and broadcast — was that it was too eager to do the Jackson family’s bidding," Feder wrote. "(How else to explain the continued presence of Jesse Jackson Sr. as a Sun-Times columnist? Or his power to broker contracts for on-air talent?) But what good is that cozy relationship when the family can blatantly stiff-arm journalists' questions and engage in a conspiracy of silence at a time like this? Granted, the ultimate responsibility is on Jesse Jackson Jr. to level with his constituents and his colleagues. But the longer the truth about him goes unreported, the worse it's looking for Chicago’s vaunted news media, too."

Joe Williams Says Boos for Romney Vindicate Him

"The Politico reporter who resigned amid controversy last month after claiming that Mitt Romney was only comfortable speaking to 'white folks' watched the Republican get repeatedly booed during his NAACP speech Wednesday — and he has a simple message: Told you so," McKay Coppins reported for BuzzFeed.

" 'The speech was another example of what I'd tried to say that day on TV,' Joe Williams e-mailed to BuzzFeed. 'He's obviously uncomfortable with voters who aren't like him, and he struggles to relate.'

"Williams compared Romney's remarks to a trip the candidate took to a poor, mostly-black neighborhood in Philly in the spring, saying that, like then, 'Romney didn't seem to know what he wanted to accomplish or why he was there.'

"Williams added: 'But vindication is cold comfort that I'd trade for a job at the moment.'

"Or, as he put it on Twitter: 'Can I have my job back now?' "

Meanwhile, "After getting booed at the NAACP convention in Houston this morning, Mitt Romney turned to a friendlier audience — the TV networks of Fox — to explain the remarks that earned him an extended negative reaction in Texas," Richard Dunham reported Wednesday for the Houston Chronicle.

" 'I think we expected that,' the Republican presidential candidate told Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto.

"The former Massachusetts governor defended his decision to call for repealing the federal health-care plan approved by the Democratic Congress and signed into law two years ago by President Obama.

" 'I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country, which is that Obamacare is killing jobs, and if jobs is the priority, we are going to have to replace it with something that actually holds down healthcare costs, as opposed to something that causes more spending for the government and more spending for American families,' Romney said in an interview taped for 7 p.m. CDT airing on FOX Business Network's Cavuto program.

"Romney noted that boos were not the only crowd reaction — or the dominant response to his address.

" . . . Romney's use of the word 'Obamacare' evoked ten seconds of boos from the audience in Houston. The word 'Obamacare' has been used as a derisive description of the health-care law by many Republicans and conservatives. President Obama only recently warmed to the idea of calling his health-care overhaul 'Obamacare' but rarely uses the term.

"Romney did not use the word 'Romneycare' to describe his health-care plan enacted in Massachusetts. Republican rivals dismissed the former governor's health-care law as 'Romneycare' or 'Obamneycare.' "

Meanwhile, "Rush Limbaugh said Mitt Romney's speech Wednesday to the NAACP fell flat because it was 'over these people's heads' and that the group booed the Republican candidate, who 'sounded like Snow White with testicles,' simply because he's white," Kevin Robillard reported for Politico.

Hugo Balta, candidate for president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, is surrounded by moving boxes in a campaign video. He later released an updated version (Video).

NAHJ Panel Asks ESPN if Balta Still Works There

A third nonincumbent candidate for office in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has described a questionable encounter with the NAHJ's elections committee. This time it's Hugo Balta, candidate for president.

Balta told Journal-isms by email Wednesday that a member of the committee, failing to reach him immediately, called the human resources department of ESPN, his employer, "and asked if I was still w ESPN bc it was her understanding that I had accepted another job," Balta said. "I quickly informed Leslie [Cummings] (who admitted she was embarrassed at asking me the question) that it wasn't true. That if I were to be interested in another company/job [let] alone had accepted a job — she, along w my direct superiors would have known (from me). It was an unpleasant experience for me to say the least. I couldn't imagine how this false information could have happened!? We spoke some more and cleared the air."

Balta went on, referring to Nadine Arroyo-Rodriguez, an elections committee member and member of the NAHJ board:

"I then called Nadine, who told me that she had reached out to me and Leslie because of a video I had sent out (I send a video message once a week to NAHJ members [and] friends on the upcoming elections): http://vimeo.com/45356650 where I am in front of boxes and I say, in part 'moving my family to a new market for a good job opportunity.' I reaffirmed to Nadine that I was still employed by ESPN and explained that portion of the video.

"I dont understand how they (whomever made leap) went from Hugo mentioned he moved to a new market for a good job opportunity to he accepted a new job? [Neither] Elaine nor anyone else has answered that question," he said in a reference to Elaine Aradillas, the elections committee chair.

Neither Arroyo-Rodriguez nor Aradillas responded to an inquiry from Journal-isms.

Russell Contreras, NAHJ vice president for print and financial officer, is running for president on the HalftimeInNAHJ slate.

Last week, supporters of television reporter Sal Morales of NAHJ's South Florida chapter said the NAHJ elections committee discouraged him from running for the general at-large seat, leaving only a member of the HalftimeInNAHJ candidate in the contest.

Then Mekahlo Medina, a tech/social reporter at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and non-slate candidate for vice president/broadcast, wrote that "I [received] a call from an election committee member WARNING me that my boss was 'unsure' if my organization would support my run. The problem here, my boss was on vacation and NEVER talked to her!"

Rebecca Aguilar, a Balta supporter who is an at-large NAHJ board member and non-slate candidate for vice president-online, told Journal-isms by email on Wednesday, "I had no idea that the same person who called Mekahlo Medina had called Hugo Balta's employer. As an NAHJ Board member it was my duty to address Nadine Arroyo-Rodriguez via email. She also happens to be a NAHJ Board member. I told her 'What you did to him was just plain WRONG. You could have jeopardized his job at ESPN.'

"In the same email, I addressed Elections chair, Elaine Aradillas. I told her 'Elaine, you know everyone says there is some dirty politics going on with this Elections Committee. Look if you guys want Russell Contreras to win, I get it. But do not abuse the power of your positions on the Elections Committee.'

"Aradillas responded by email. She says they have been 'neutral' and she doesn't even plan to vote. I just find it interesting that no one on the slate with Contreras has had any problems with employers and the elections committee."

Ebony Responds to Anger Over Sex-Crime "Insensitivity"

Ebony.com Wednesday posted a lengthy response to criticism of its interview with Genarlow Wilson, who was convicted on child molestation charges at age 17 in 2005. To the outrage of some readers, the interview was headlined, "Notorious to Glorious: Genarlow Wilson is No Child Molester and Never Was."

Genarlow Wilson

In addition to posting the response, "they changed the [title] to remove 'Glorious' and their claim that he is not a child molester," according to the Facebook page of What About Our Daughters?, where readers challenged the Ebony piece.

Ebony wrote, "Less than 48 hours after our interview with Genarlow Wilson went live, it is clear to us that this story and subject remain highly controversial.

"For those unfamiliar, in 2003, Wilson was a 17-year-old high school senior convicted on child molestation charges for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old female classmate. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the state of Georgia. After serving nearly three years, he was released early due to what that state admitted had been 'cruel and unusual punishment.'

"We have read every email, tweet and note regarding your concerns. We understand that many of you were seriously angered by three main things: our implicit support of Wilson; the story's title, 'Notorious to Glorious: Genarlow Wilson is Not a Child Molester and Never Was'; and a perceived lack of compassion towards the two young women who were involved in the case.

"Regarding the title, we sincerely apologize for what was clearly viewed as insensitivity by EBONY.com about issues related to sex crimes against women and girls.

". . . Many of you took issue with the word 'glorious,' others felt that stating that 'Wilson is not a child molester' was misleading, as he was convicted on a child molestation charge. It is the spirit of the title that has been lost in translation and what we deeply regret — and apologize for.

". . . In hindsight, by providing only a brief glimpse at the case and not offering any answers from Wilson about that night or any reflection about how the (now) women involved may feel, one could conclude that we were absolving him of responsibility. . . ."

Coverage Overlooked Ann Curry's Role-Model Status

"In the run-up and aftermath of Ann Curry's messy break with the 'Today' show, there was one matter that didn't get much attention: that television's most prominent Asian-American news anchor lost a plum spot on the national stage," Alissa Krinsky wrote Wednesday for TVNewser.

"During Curry's tearful goodbye June 28, she reflected on her role as role model: 'For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line, but man, I did try.'

"For many young Asian-American journalists, anchors like Curry, and Connie Chung before her, have been 'inspiring', says Doris Truong, National President of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). 'Their success is our success,' says Truong, who likens community pride for Curry and Chung to that felt for pro basketball's Jeremy Lin earlier this year. . . ."

"Black Snob" Joins Clutch; BlackVoices Gains Clicks

Danielle Belton, creator of the pop and politics blog blacksnob.com, has been named editor-at-large of clutch, an online magazine that bills itself as "the digital magazine for the young, contemporary woman of color."

Belton, who appears frequently on NPR's "Tell Me More" and PBS' "To the Contrary," will be "acting as the site's public face and taking on a more expanded role as a columnist, content editor and contributor. Belton will consult on editorial content, expand her role as a weekly contributor, and assist in recruiting and mentoring new writers for the site. The partnership was several months in the making as Belton began freelancing for CLUTCH fall of 2011," according to a news release.

Danielle Belton

Clutchmagonline had 127,000 unique visitors in June, according to the comScore Inc. research company.

ComScore figures for June show HuffPost BlackVoices with the highest number of unique visitors among 15 African American sites, succeeding BET.com, which was in the No. 1 spot in the February rankings, when Journal-isms last checked.

HuffPost BlackVoices and theRoot.com were the only two of the 15 to show an increase from the February figures.

The sites are HuffPost BlackVoices, 3,874,000, up from 2,761,000; BET, 2,851,000, down from 2,919,000; MediaTakeOut, 2,256,000, down from 2,595,000; theRoot, 1,697,000, up from 1,459,000; Bossip, 1,692,000, down from 1,700,000; theGrio, 1,646,000, down from 2,067,000; Hello Beautiful, 996,000, down from 1,034,000.

Also, NewsOne, 988,000, down from 1,175,000; Essence, 986,000, down from 1,372,000; MadamNoire, 815,000, down from 1,151,000; Black Planet, 581,000, down from 699,000; EURWeb, 529,000, down from 846,000; BlackAmericaWeb, 294,000, down from 467,000; Concrete Loop, 248,000, down from 293,000; and ebony, 42,000, down from 55,000.

Employment in Local TV Newsrooms Grew 4.3%

"With the hiring of 1,131 additional anchors, reporters, producers and other news staffers, employment in local TV newsrooms in the U.S. grew 4.3% to 27,653 in 2011, the second highest total on record, according to the latest annual survey by RTDNA and Hofstra University," TVNewsCheck reported Wednesday.

However, the survey does not indicate whether the number of journalists of color also grew, the survey's author, Bob Papper of Hofstra University, told Journal-isms. ". . . I can't give out any numbers ahead of when RTDNA releases them. I assume that the numbers will be out in a week or two," Papper said of the diversity figures.

"The top year for station news staffing was 2000, according to RTDNA/Hofstra records," TVNewsCheck continued.

"However, because the number of news producing stations had fallen to 725 in 2011, the average staffing for the newsroom for the year — 38.2 — is an all-time high, RTDNA/Hofstra said.

"News staffing could get even bigger this year. More than a third of the stations (36.7%) said they expected to increase their staff in 2012, while only 2.4% expected to decrease it. About half (54.6%) expected it to stay the same.

"Because of duopolies and other news sharing arrangements between stations, the 725 newsrooms produce news for 967 stations, RTDNA/Hofstra said."

Juan Williams, left, his son Rafael ("Raffi"), center, and with sons Antonio and Rafael on "Fox and Friends." (Video)

Juan Williams Returns to Nation He Fled as 4-Year-Old

Fox News commentator Juan Williams returned to his Panamanian birthplace with his wife and sons this spring, and the trip reinforced his belief that the United States should not embrace dictators. Such policies "have real consequences on people like me," Williams said on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" last week. He also wrote about the trip as a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.

"I was born in Panama, in a poor city, Colon," Williams explained in the Journal. "For my birthday this year, I walked around there for the first time since my mother brought three children, including me (as a 4-year-old), to Brooklyn, N.Y. No joke, we came to this country as added freight on a banana boat.

"I was never quite sure why I waited so long to go back to Colon. My wife and sons also accompanied me and, ever wiser than his old man, my youngest son, Raffi, said my reluctance to visit might have had something to do with the fear of the intense, ugly poverty that eats up people.

". . . The reason my father insisted that my mother take the children out of Panama in the 1950s was fear of a Castro-like, populist dictator, Arnulfo Arias. A Nazi supporter during World War II, Arias later took businesses away from U.S. and European investors by insisting on Panamanian ownership. He profited from stoking racial antagonism against Asian and black immigrants who built the canal and made Panama a center of international trade. Arias even tried to divest black West Indians, such as my father, of Panamanian citizenship.

"Panamanian dictators Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega followed Arias's phony populist politics to enrich themselves. Noriega's corrupt regime encouraged the drug trade even as he denounced capitalism."

Williams concluded his "Fox and Friends" appearance, with Raffi, by saying that another lesson from the trip was "what a land of opportunity America is. I could see it in my family."

Short Takes

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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

NAHJ Panel Asks ESPN if Balta Still Works There

I've been following Richard Prince's reporting on the National Association of Hispanic Journalists election and what's taking place there is nothing short of embarrassing--- NAHJ members' unprofessional behavior, not Prince's reporting. 

This reflects poorly on us all, no? 

The past antics in recent history not withstanding, how can someone in leadership with that journalism association jeopardize a member's employment and get away with it? Especially when there are so many journalists of color who are out of work. Over an association election???? 

Words fail me. And though I am not a member of that organization (at one time I had considered joining but not any more), I am still pained by what I see happening.

I do pray key parties at NAHJ are reading these words. 

And thank you Richard Prince for holding professional journalists accountable the same way we're supposed to hold others in authority accountable. 

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