Media Debate Significance of Beck Rally
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Some in the crowd at Glenn Beck's Lincoln Memorial rally on Saturday dressed in patriotic garb. Estimating the crowd size was left to the news media and to organizers. (Credit: Susan Melkisethian)
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, having assembled thousands at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday for his "Restoring Honor" rally, seemed almost as conscious of what the media would report as the message he was delivering.
"Beck, early on, joked about just getting 'word from the media that there is over 1,000 people here today,' " Michael Calderone wrote Monday for Yahoo News.
"The conservative crowd ate up the line. A couple hours later, Beck told the audience about media reports of 300,000 to 500,000 people, which he said means the real number is even higher." (A crowd-counting expert hired by CBS News put the figure at 87,000.)
Among his complaints was that ABC quoted him as saying that "blacks don't own Martin Luther King," without adding that he also said that "whites don't own Abraham Lincoln" and that both men are "American icons."
On his radio show on Monday, Beck said that at the last minute he dropped a remark he had planned, "We are 40 days and 40 nights away from fundamentally changing the United States of America," a reference to midterm elections, because he did not want to be accused in the media of being political. Yet, he said, "nobody is covering the challenge I made to the American people, and that is what it is."
On "Fox News Sunday," Beck said he regretted his statement that President Obama was a racist with a "deep-seated hatred for white people," one of the lines most repeated in media descriptions of Beck's stance on racial issues.
When host Chris Wallace asked Beck whether he regretted the remarks, Beck said, "Of course - of course I do. I don't - I don't want to retract the - I want to amend that I think it is much more of a theological question, that he is a - a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor and victim.
" 'Racist' was - first of all, it shouldn't have been said. It was poorly said. It was - I have a big, fat mouth sometimes and I say things, and that's just not the way people should behave.
"And it was not accurate. It is liberation theology that has shaped his worldview."
On CNN's "Reliable Sources" media show on Sunday, Jane Hall, associate professor at American University's School of Communication, said of the rally, "to call it non-political and not be called on that is something journalists need to look into."
The Christian Science Monitor wrote, "A day after the Glenn Beck rally in Washington, the media was stumped by who the real Glenn Beck was and how he had motivated thousands of Americans Saturday."
If any group that was clear about who Beck was, it was commentators of color.
"Make no mistake, this cry of 'take our country back' by the tea partiers is about race, skin color and discrimination," Elizabeth Cook-Lynn of Rapid City, S.D., a Santee-Yankton member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and a retired professor of Indian studies, wrote Monday in the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal.
"Since no one can credibly claim that the Mayans, Aztecs, Yakima, Sioux and the Hopi are illegal immigrants, it is about erasing their histories and substituting them with a new cry [to] all non-white settlers of the country: 'Show me your papers'."
"One crucial element of the American subconscious is about to become salient and explicit and highly volatile. It is the realization that white America is within thinkable distance of a moment when it will no longer be the majority. . . .
"Until recently, the tendency has been to think of this rather than to speak of it - or to speak of it very delicately, lest the hard-won ideal of diversity be imperiled. But nobody with any feeling for the zeitgeist can avoid noticing the symptoms of white unease and the additionally uneasy forms that its expression is beginning to take."
DeWayne Wickham, writing for USA Today, wrote about the competing rallies led in Washington by the Rev. Al Sharpton and in Detroit by the Rev. Jesse Jackson commemorating the 47th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.
"More long lasting, I hope, will be the reawakening of this nation's civil rights movement. The King anniversary demonstrations were a call for national action that organizers say will be followed up with other efforts between now and Election Day to rally blacks and their white supporters to the polls," Wickham wrote.
As for Obama, the president told Brian Williams of NBC News that he did not watch any of Beck's rally, though he said the gathering was an appropriate exercise of First Amendment rights.
"It's not surprising that somebody like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion of the country. That's been true throughout our history," Obama said. But "what I'm focused on is making sure that the decisions we're making now are going to be not good for the nightly news, not good even necessarily for the next election, but are good for the next generation"
- Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Obama on Beck. Beck on Obama
- Charles M. Blow, New York Times: I Had a Nightmare
- Michael Calderone, Yahoo News: Glenn Beck compares ABC report to Nazi propaganda
- Carl Chancellor, Gannett News Service: Dissension, tension marked backdrop of 1963 March on Washington
- Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Rapid City (S.D.) Journal: Tea party cry ironic given history of ancestors
- Mary C. Curtis with Jill Lawrence, Sarah Wildman and Bonnie Erbe on "Woman Up!" Politics Daily (video)
- Mary C. Curtis, Politics Daily: Glenn Beck 'Restoring Honor' Rally Draws Vast Crowd to National Mall
- Mary C. Curtis, Politics Daily: Ronald Reagan Honored While Conservatives Wait for Glenn Beck
- Mary C. Curtis, Politics Daily: Glenn Beck: Making Sense of the Man and the Movement
- Eric Deggans blog, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: The genius of Glenn Beck: Pushing competitors to restore his ratings and media influence
- Bob Herbert, New York Times: America Is Better Than This
- Cord Jefferson, theRoot.com: Not Much Talk About MLK at Glenn Beck Rally
- Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: King's 'Dream' Was a Radical Economic Equality Message
- Deborah Mathis, BlackAmericaWeb.com: What Did Beck Prove? Misery Loves Company
- Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: Beware the wolf and its twisted call
- Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Boorish Glenn Beck makes mockery of King's dream
- Naomi R. Patton, Detroit Free Press: 5,000 march in downtown Detroit, urge rebuilding nation
- Gregory Stanford blog: Is Glenn Beck reborn in the image of King?
- DeAngelo Starnes, ebonyjet.com: Glenn Beck: The white man's burden
- Avis Thomas-Lester, Hamil R. Harris and Krissah Thompson, Washington Post: Sharpton's 'Reclaim the Dream' event brings thousands to honor MLK
- Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Glenn Beck and white self-pity
- DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Jackson, Sharpton rallies carry more influence than Beck's
- David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Glenn Beck's Rally: Stealing King's moral authority
An exhibit at the Newseum on Hurricane Katrina includes a clip in which Robin Roberts of ABC's 'Good Morning America' reports on damage to her native Mississippi. She is from Pass Christian. (Video)
Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast, and journalists were part of the reflection.
On a panel Thursday at the Newseum in Washington, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, "who produced some of the most memorable and emotional reporting from the region five years ago, is no less emotional five years later. 'Every level failed and everybody lied to us,' he said," Steve Krakauer of mediaite reported.
" 'Help Us, Please,' 'Under Water,' 'Ground Zero,' 'Our Tsunami,' The Times-Picayune and the Sun Herald cried out in the heady days that followed the hurricane," Lucile Malandain reported for Agence France-Presse.
"'. . . About a quarter of our journalists lost their homes,' recalled Stan Tiner, [executive editor] of the Sun Herald, whose team kept reporting as best it could, camping in Biloxi, along Mississippi's hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast.
" 'But what was important is that we all had something to do ‚Äî to tell the story to people who had survived and to tell the world what was happening in Biloxi.'
"He noted that despite it all, the Sun Herald and The Times-Picayune never missed a paper edition" for their local readers, and kept their websites refreshed for readers across the country and around the world.
"Katrina and its aftermath 'exposed something we don't like to think about in the US,' New Orleans' Times-Picayune [Editor] Jim Amoss added during a press conference at the Newseum, which is hosting an exhibition on 'Covering Katrina.'
"Both men and their teams received the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the events."
A year after the storm, Anzio Williams, then news director of New Orleans' WDSU-TV, told the Radio-Television News Directors Association, "A third of our photographers lost everything. They continued to work despite so much personal loss. They inspired the remaining staffers to work hard and count our blessings."
Williams, now news director at KCRA-TV in Sacramento, Calif., elaborated later for RTNDA: "The biggest challenge in covering Katrina for me was keeping my co-workers safe before, during and after the storm, and continuing to provide live updated information around the clock.
"We developed a plan to evacuate many employees to our sister station, WAPT-TV in Jackson, MS. Field crews of four to seven journalists were paired and positioned in areas believed to be safe from winds and high water. My last message to all of the crews, 'It‚Äôs better to come back alive than be live on the scene.' We had to resist the urge to be in the elements. Plans changed fast and often.
"When the roof of the Superdome started to peel away, we had nine people on the football field. A second crew was forced to the roof of an Emergency Operations Center, and a third crew became trapped inside a local hospital. Our sister station, WESH-TV in Orlando, FL, was able to take over our coverage within an hour of the first phone call.
"Rising waters submerged our transmitter, knocking us off the air. Millions of people watched our live streaming coverage on WDSU.com. There was ongoing dialogue between station management and Hearst executives looking for ways to reach those who evacuated. We started off as a local station, now we are a regional network broadcasting in Houston and Jackson, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and other cities throughout the state."
- Sandy Breland, executive news director WWL-TV, New Orleans; Bob Noonan, news director, WGNO-TV, New Orleans; John Seigenthaler, NBC anchor; John Snell, anchor WVUE-TV, New Orleans; David Vincent, news director, WLOX-TV, Biloxi, Miss.; Anzio Williams, news director, WDSU-TV, New Orleans; Gary Wordlaw, general manager, WUPL-TV, Metairie, La.: National Press Club forum with television news directors from New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss. (C-SPAN video, March 10, 2006)
- Jarvis DeBerry, New Orleans Times-Picayune: Despite the storm, New Orleans is still here
- Marisa Guthrie, Broadcasting & Cable: News Orgs Reflect on Lessons from Katrina
- Julie Hollar, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting: Brian Williams Rehashes Katrina Violence Myth
- Kathleen Koch, Radio-Television Digital News Association: "Rising from Katrina" Tracks Journalist's Personal Journey Through Stormy Gulf
- Errol Louis, New York Daily News: Katrina ‚Äî a man-made disaster: A new movie reveals how the flooding could have been prevented
- Pew Research Center for People & the Press: Five Years After Katrina, Most Say Nation is Not Better Prepared
- Robin Roberts, ABC News: Robin Roberts' Diary: Five Years After Katrina, 'Life Does Go On'
- Alessandra Stanley, New York Times: 5 Years On, Katrina Dampens Coverage
- Stan Tiner, the Sun Herald, Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss.: We will never forget, even as we move ahead
- Keith Woods, NPR: Five Years Later: A Letter To New Orleans
Writing about the new Tribal Law and Order Act, designed to curb sexual violence on reservations, became personal for Mary Annette Pember, an independent journalist and a former president of the Native American Journalists Association.
"I‚Äôve come to Minnesota to attend a full moon ceremony that is being offered by an ad hoc group of advocates to help women in the healing process," Pember wrote for the September issue of the Progressive magazine. "Before the ceremony, I visit a spiritual leader from my lodge who lives in the area. She cautions me that I must first work on healing myself before working on this story. Presciently, she predicts I will soon hit a wall in my project that will challenge me deeply.
"The next day I learn that the full moon ceremony has been canceled due to a family emergency for the elder who was to have led the event. In the days that follow I find myself face to face with my personal demons and begin the journey of confronting the long-buried trauma of my own sexual assaults. No longer an observer, I become a participant when my own people later invite me to a traditional Ojibwe sweat lodge.
"As I enter the dark door to the lodge, hands and knees on the ground, I surrender my professional journalistic control. I am struck that this assignment is no longer simply about the history and data surrounding the rates of sexual assault for Indian women; it has become deeply personal. I begin to tremble.
". . . . I have been raped several times, all before the age of sixteen. I have to pause for some time to enumerate them. I am able to remember seven rapes. Six assailants were white; one was African American. A white neighbor boy also repeatedly sexually molested me beginning at the age of four.
"My introduction to intercourse consisted of rape at the age of thirteen at a drunken house party in the small Wisconsin town of my youth. There were quite a number of older white boys and young men at the party who made much of my being American Indian. 'Oh, hey, she‚Äôs Indian, you know,' someone said. Several men laughed loudly at the remark; it seemed to be an enormously funny secretly shared joke. It was only later that I came to know the punch line. For the white men of my town, Indian women were sexually available and could be raped with impunity."
For 40 years, speculation and controversy have swirled around what happened at the Silver Dollar bar in East Los Angeles, where Ruben Salazar, a Los Angeles Times columnist and news director for KMEX-TV, was struck by a tear-gas missile fired by the deputy during a massive riot, Robert J. Lopez wrote Sunday in the Times.
"Through his death, Salazar became an iconic figure. Parks, schools, scholarships and a U.S. Postal Service stamp bear his name.
"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is considering releasing thousands of pages of official documents that could shed light on Salazar's slaying. But LAPD records obtained by The Times and interviews with Salazar's friends and colleagues show that the newsman had clashed repeatedly with the department as the Mexican American civil rights movement roiled L.A.'s Eastside." Salazar was criticized for his reporting by then-LAPD Chief Ed Davis, but Salazar stood his ground.
" 'The system didn't like what he was reporting,' said Philip Montez, 81, the Western regional director for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at the time and a Salazar confidant."
Meanwhile, former L.A. Times staff editor Frank O. Sotomayor called Friday for releasing all local, state and federal law enforcement files relevant to Salazar's shooting. In a piece in LA Observed, Sotomayor argued that the release of files should go beyond the Sheriff's Department.
It's been about 10 weeks since Ruben Navarrette Jr., the most widely syndicated Hispanic columnist in the mainstream news media, got word that he was being laid off from his job as editorial writer and columnist at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
He tells Journal-isms that things are looking up.
"I'm blessed to have lots of opportunities ‚Äî in print, TV, radio and Internet," he said Monday via e-mail." Ironically, with the immigration issue so hot right now, there is interest nationally in the same voice that tends to get me into trouble locally. As I have learned in 10 years of writing a syndicated column AND trying to hold down a local editorial board job ‚Äî first in Dallas, then in San Diego, it's very difficult to simultaneously have a national voice and a local one. You might get praised at one level but blasted at another.
"As one of the few Latino syndicated columnists in the country, one thing you never get away from is the accusation from readers that you're some kind of secret agent for the Mexican government. A kind of Dos XX-7," the Mexican version of 007.
"Yet, there is interest nationally. Ideally, my family and I would like to stay in San Diego, where I'd continue to build the Ruben Navarrette brand with columns, a book, a TV contract, speeches around the country, NPR commentary, etc. But there are a few cities that I also find appealing and livable. I met with the editorial page editors at a couple of well-regarded newspapers in the Southwest, and I've been informed that I'm also being considered for a spot on the editorial board of one of the nation's top newspapers. It's great news, all around.
"In addition to ongoing work for CNN, NPR, and the Washington Post Writers Group, I'm also being considered for a spot on the Board of Contributors for USA Today, where I've written op-eds for the last five years. I'm going on a national speaking tour this fall debating conservative Bay Buchanan on immigration. I'm featured prominently in the new documentary about the immigration debate, 'Panic Nation,' being shown in theaters all over the country. I'm expanding my work for CNN.com with more roving commentary on issues around the Southwest, and talking to my friend, Soledad O'Brien, about contributing commentary to her production unit at CNN. I'm also interested in helping NPR develop English-language programming for Latino listeners in advance of the soon-to-be-released results of the 2010 Census, which will reportedly reveal that the United States is now home to 60 million Latinos.
"So, how's this for poetry? The same demographic reality that terrifies some Americans also represents a tremendous opportunity for US media companies ‚Äî one that I'm anxious to help them take full advantage of."
"The speedboat is about three miles offshore when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent cuts the engine to drift on the current in quiet darkness, hoping for the telltale signs of immigrant smuggling ‚Äî a motor's whirr or sulfur exhaust fumes," Elliot Spagat reported last week for the Associated Press.
" 'It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and the haystack is the Pacific Ocean,' agent Tim Feige says, minutes before sunrise.
"This is a new frontier for illegal immigrants entering the United States ‚Äî a roughly 400-square-mile ocean expanse that stretches from a bullring on the shores of Tijuana, Mexico, to suburban Los Angeles.
"In growing numbers, migrants are gambling their lives at sea as land crossings become even more arduous and likely to end in arrest. Sea interdictions and arrests have spiked year-over-year for three years, as enforcement efforts ramp up to meet the challenge.
"While only a small fraction of border arrests are at sea, authorities say, heightened enforcement on land, and a bigger fence, is making the offshore route more attractive."
- Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News: Bloody Mexico drug war boosts U.S. gun shops, banks
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., USA Today: Immigration ire unites Mexicans, Mexican Americans
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Politics Interrupts a Dream
- Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News: Immigrant students deserve to live the DREAM
- Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News: Pols and anti-immigration activists use lies to demonize immigrants
"Still upset about that lack of gender equality in book reviews?
"Consider this more frightening and fundamental imbalance: so far in the month of August, the NYT has published 78 obituaries. And only six of them were for women," the NYTpicker website, which reports anonymously about the New York Times, said on Sunday.
"And for the year 2010 to date, the NYT has chronicled the deaths of 606 men, and only 92 women.
"Bear in mind that the population of women in the U.S. exceeds that of men, and is nearly neck and neck worldwide.
"This disparity in coverage has gone on for years, virtually unnoticed in a society that decades ago granted full equality to women, and has seen huge strides in the prominence of women in virtually all fields of endeavor.
"And not only does it show no signs of getting better ‚Äî it's actually getting worse."
- NYTPicker: NYT #1 Bestselling Author Jodi Picoult Blasts NYT For Giving Rave Book Reviews To "White Male Literary Darlings."
News media in Des Moines, Iowa, appear to be backtracking on assertions that black-on-white assaults on visitors to the 2010 Iowa Stgate Fair were racially motivated, according to Herb Strentz, writing for Nieman Watchdog.
"Press coverage and public controversy were driven by several black on white assaults in or near Iowa‚Äôs state fairgrounds and a soon open-to-question report that a gang of 30 to 40 black youths roamed the fair on its closing day, Sunday, Aug. 22, declaring 'It‚Äôs beat whitey night,' " Strentz, professor emeritus of journalism at Drake University in Des Moines, wrote on Friday.
"That report was headline news, of course, and continues to fuel press-related issues as well as community concerns. The press-related issues include source credibility, racial identification of people in the news, and the anonymity of people who post comments on newspaper and TV station websites. All help fuel criticism of the press for being the mouthpiece of the liberal elite or the city hall bureaucrat ‚Äî take your pick."
The "Beat whitey" revelation apparently surfaced at Des Moines' Mercy Hospital from conversations with victims and their companions and law enforcement and state fair people, Strentz wrote.
"But police spokespersons say they cannot nail down the 'Beat whitey' account to the extent of, say, having the evidence needed to warrant charging someone with a hate crime and convicting him.
"So on Wednesday, KCCI-TV in Des Moines reported 'Des Moines police said they do not believe fights near the state fairgrounds were racially motivated or connected.' A Register headline said, 'Views shift on fights at fair, D.M. police now say they can‚Äôt confirm race friction was a factor.' ‚Äù
Strentz is skeptical.
- "Radio/TV Mart?? director Pedro Roig resigned Friday after more than seven years at the head of the often controversial U.S. government stations that broadcast to Cuba," Juan O. Tamayo reported for the Miami Herald. " 'We have, most certainly, achieved the goals of bringing the news and information denied by the communist regime to the Cuban people,' Roig, a 69-year-old lawyer, wrote in his resignation letter."
- Clint Hendler, a reporter for the Columbia Journalism Review, is suing New York Gov. David Paterson to obtain e-mails between reporters and the governor's former communications director and former press secretary from earlier this year, NY1 News reported on Friday. "Between January and March, rumors were swirling that the New York Times was pursuing a story that threatened to force the governor from office. According to the lawsuit, the governor's office declined to provide the e-mails citing, in part, confidentiality under the state's Shield Law that typically protects reporters," the story continued. CJR published its own explanation for filing suit.
- Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Philadelphia-bred cultural anthropologist. is the new host of the news magazine series 'Our World With Black Enterprise,' Jawn Murray reported Thursday for AOL Black Voices. "The 30-minute weekly program airs in national syndication on weekends, as well as on the TV One cable network. . . . 'Our World With Black Enterprise' premiered in 2006. The show was previously hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Ed Gordon, who left the series this year to return to BET Networks' news division."
- "What would happen if, instead of spare change, you handed a person in need the means to shop for whatever they needed? What would they buy? Can you spare your credit card, sir?" Jim Rankin of the Toronto Star asked on Saturday, saying he had done just that. "Some were unbelieving at first. All were grateful. Some declined the offer. Some who accepted didn‚Äôt come back, but those that did had stories to tell."
- In Ghana, the general manager of the Daily Graphic newspaper, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, has tasked the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences with collaborating with the media "by developing programmes and activities that will empower the media and also expose journalists to the dynamics of evidenced-based health research," Public Agenda reported Friday. Boadu-Ayeboafo was quoted as saying, "The reality is that the media on its own do not have scientists working as journalists, therefore the assumption that the media on its own would and must devote space to evidence-based research could be assuming too much and taking issues for granted."
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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