NBC Stands by Trump Coverage, "Apprentice"
Friday, April 29, 2011
- Obama, Meyers Take it to Trump at White House Correspondents' Association Dinner (Michael Catalini, National Journal) (May 1)
NBC is standing by both "The Celebrity Apprentice" and its coverage of Donald Trump, the show's creator, while others are calling for boycotts of the show and blasting NBC and other networks as enablers of Trump's "birther" accusations.
"NBC's Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice are entertainment shows that have aired for many years," an NBC spokeswoman told Journal-isms by email from New York on Friday. "Mr. Trump, appearing as himself, hosts the series. Mr. Trump has not announced that he intends to run for President, and the show will not become a forum for his political activities."
As for the news coverage, NBC News spokeswoman Lauren Kapp said by email from London, site of the royal wedding: "In a recent poll, half of the Republican electorate believed Trump's assertions — thus it would have been reckless for us to ignore Trump's claims.
"Our coverage of Donald Trump has been appropriate, measured and aggressive when necessary. He has been challenged at every turn, look at Savannah Guthrie's hard hitting interview for instance."
One-fourth of all Americans incorrectly thought President Obama was not born in the United States, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll, those news organizations reported April 21.
Among all Republicans, 45 percent believed he was born in another country, as did 45 percent of tea party supporters, the poll showed.
Trump, a potential Republican candidate for president, has said he will declare his intentions after "The Celebrity Apprentice" ends its season.
On Thursday night at an appearance in Las Vegas, "At one point, a woman in the lavish reception at the Treasure Island casino on the Las Vegas Strip yelled out that Trump should run for president," Cristina Silva reported for the Associated Press.
" 'I think I am going to make you very happy,' the developer said."
Fox News Channel, which has amassed a collection of potential Republican presidential candidates as commentators, has taken a different approach.
In March, Fox announced it had suspended contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for two months as the men explored a possible White House run. Their contracts would not be reinstated unless they notified the network by May 1 that they were not running for president, the Associated Press reported then.
Criticism of NBC's indulgence of Trump has come even from within the organization.
"On his MSNBC show 'The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell' Wednesday night, he accused NBC (another division of his own company) of allowing 'The Celebrity Apprentice' host Donald Trump to spread 'racist' lies against President Obama in demanding that Obama produce his long-form birth certificate," Greg Braxton and Meg James reported Friday for the Los Angeles Times.
"The blast by O'Donnell raises the question of how the network will proceed with Trump, who has said he is considering running for president, as he continues to host one of NBC's highest-rated shows."
O'Donnell did not appear in his MSNBC slot on Thursday, but MSNBC spokesman Jeremy M. Gaines said his absence was not related to his remarks. "He spoke at a UNICEF dinner. He was also off tonight. Long Scheduled," Gaines told Journal-isms Friday by email.
Black journalists were among those questioning whether the news media are enabling Trump.
"How much ink would Fox, NBC, ABC, CNN, et al give to a rich black guy who called press conferences to make absurd, demonstrably false charges against a white president?" veteran journalist Roger Witherspoon, a freelance writer specializing in nuclear energy and the auto industry, asked colleagues in the National Association of Black Journalists on Friday.
Joel Dreyfuss, managing editor of theRoot.com, wrote on his site, "The saddest aspect of this is the news media's role in promoting this line of discussion. Many news organizations have independently verified the president's birth in Hawaii and his achievements, and yet they kept giving Trump a platform to spread his poison. Some of our media colleagues will argue that they had to cover the story, even if Trump was barely plausible as a candidate for president.
"Would they have given the story the same attention if Trump had argued that Obama was an alien from outer space?"
Some news organizations have played down the racial overtones of Trump's attacks, while others, particularly commentators, were clear about the racial element.
On public radio's "The Michael Eric Dyson Show" on Friday, Sophia Nelson, who writes for theGrio.com, referred to Obama's public display Wednesday of his long-form birth certificate in a bid to quell the discussion. "To see the commander in chief humiliated this way," Nelson said. "It was very upsetting and I think many of us felt that way."
Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post, responding to a caller on the "Diane Rehm Show" on Washington's WAMU-FM, an NPR affiliate, acknowledged that the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, father of prospective GOP candidate Mitt Romney, was born in a Mormon colony in Mexico, and that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Yet birthplaces did not become issues in those white Republicans' presidential campaigns. Others have argued that Obama's birthplace is irrelevant, since his mother was American.
The Sea Turtle column in the Daily Kos noted Wednesday that Trump's playing of "the race card" has not ended with the birth certificate issue.
"When the White House produced a birth certificate today, Trump bloviated that 'he was so proud of himself' that he got this done. And then, without missing a beat, Trump then upped the ante and asked how could someone like Barack Obama get into Harvard. (You know, since Obama is black and we all know that 'they' can't do as well as, ahem, 'us' and the only way he could have gotten in is to have stolen a seat from a decent white boy through the racial quota system..........and 'we' know how much we like that.)"
[Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Obama, laughed off the latest challenge, according to Robert "Rob" Redding Jr. of Redding News Review.
["We know this is nonsense," Jarrett said on the "Joe Madison Show" on SiriusXM 128. "He is almost 50 years old. And he is president of the United States, and I don't think anyone would debate his intelligence."]
The Daily Kos column urged a boycott of "The Celebrity Apprentice" and urged readers to "write to NBC and let them know that you demand that they not support the show of a racist host."
Groupon Inc. became one of the first to weigh in, announcing that it won’t let ads appear on the website for 'The Apprentice' after customers complained about Trump's political views, Douglas MacMillan and Andy Fixmer of Bloomberg News reported on Friday.
"While Groupon isn’t a sponsor of the show, its ads occasionally appear on the related site, Julie Mossler, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Groupon, said in a statement.
" 'Enough consumers contacted us to warrant ensuring that we don’t place ads on 'The Apprentice' home page in the future,' the statement said. 'This isn’t a political statement, it’s avoiding intentionally upsetting a segment of our customers.' "
Essence magazine live-tweets "The Celebrity Apprentice," and has a Twitter feed on its home page that features tweets from contestants Star Jones and NeNe Leakes.
Some commentators, such as ABC's Christiane Amanpour on Sunday's "This Week," have let the "birther" charges pass without challenge, but others have not.
Brian Stelter reported in the New York Times, "There was distaste evident in the voices of television anchors while they talked about the citizenship issue on Wednesday; the MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer, reading feedback from viewers, said many were 'angry at the media for even covering the Trump birther nonsense.'
"At the White House," Stelter reported, "the NBC correspondent Chuck Todd wondered aloud if Google and its ilk — which enable instant access to all manner of information — cannot be 'starved,' then how should the media handle 'crazy lies?'
"Mr. Todd said on NBC that 'the ability to get a conspiracy theory into the mainstream, it’s so much easier today than it was even 20 years ago, 10, 5 years.' "
- Mary C. Curtis, Nieman Watchdog: An American Perspective on the Royal Wedding
- Colby Hall, Mediaite: More Backlash: David Letterman Considers Banning Trump For His ‘Racist’ Comments
- Rick Horowitz, syndicated: The latest news from Crackpot Nation
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: More Trump Nuttiness—Now It’s Obama’s Grades
- Judd Legum, thinkprogress.org: Trump To Black Journalist: ‘I Know You’re A Big Obama Fan’
- Steven Loeb, "the Wire," Business Insider: PAT BUCHANAN: President Obama Is "Affirmative Action All The Way"
- Mo'Kelly blog: Birth Certificate or Not…Will Never Be Enough
- Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Obama's birth certificate won't end the madness
- Sonya Ross, Associated Press: Some blacks see racism in 'birther' questions
- Bob Schieffer, CBS News: Trump Guilty Of 'Racism' (video)
- Adam Serwer blog, Washington Post: An embarrassment to the country
- Elyse Siegel, Huffington Post: Donald Trump's Vietnam Draft Claim Called Into Question
- David Swerdlick, theRoot.com: Why Barack Obama Is the Real Donald Trump
- Elon James White, theRoot.com: Let's Call Trump's Language What It Is
Damage in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after tornadoes struck on Wednesday. (Credit: Izzy Gould /Birmingham News)
The Birmingham (Ala.) Times, which calls itself "the Southeast's largest black weekly," finally published at 5 p.m. Friday, publisher James Lewis told Journal-isms. The 10,000-circulation paper was originally scheduled for publication at 5 a.m. on Thursday, but a tornado intervened.
"At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured as severe weather barreled through Tuscaloosa Wednesday afternoon, and that total is expected to grow as rescuers continue to dig the city out of the rubble today," the Birmingham News reported on Thursday.
The Birmingham Times' graphic designer and its printer are in Tuscaloosa, Lewis said. "They were not hurt, but much of the power was out." The power resumed Friday morning.
"It is bad. Many people don't have power. Bodies are stacked up. A large part of the devastation is in the black community," Lewis added. Radio stations lost their signal, he said, and many homes have no power to hear the stations anyway. Trees block many streets, so listeners are unlikely to use their car radios.
Still, he said, "we're delivering wherever we can." Lewis said the website would be updated when the Internet technician is able to return to work.
The Alabama Press Association reported that the Huntsville Times, the Hartselle Enquirer, the DeKalb Advertiser, the Fort Payne Times-Journal and the Madison County Record were without power. Some staffs were working out of hotels and using the facilities of other newspapers. The Huntsville Times, for example, was printing at the Birmingham News. The Tuscaloosa News building was on backup power, and also being printed at the Birmingham News.
- Andrew Gauthier, TVSpy: As Tornado Ripped Through Alabama, ABC 33/40's Weather Coverage Extended Well Beyond TV
- Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable: Southern Stations Cover Tornadoes' 'Total Devastation'
- Andrea Morabito, Broadcasting & Cable: Weather Channel Airing Tornado Specials
Reporting that the percentage of sports editors at websites and newspapers who were women or people of color fell 2.3 percentage points — from 11.7 percent in 2008 to 9.42 percent in 2010 — Richard Lapchick, the report's primary author, called Wednesday for a news media version of the "Rooney Rule."
He told the Associated Press Sports Editors, "My primary new recommendation to the APSE is that it adopts a Ralph Wiley Rule, named after the late African-American writer. The Wiley Rule would be like the Rooney Rule in the NFL and would call for a diverse pool of candidates including men and women for each opening of these key positions.
Lapchick's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida conducted its survey at APME's request. It is the third biannual edition of the Racial and Gender Report Card, covering more than 320 websites and newspapers, up from 281 APSE members a year ago.
"This report shows that in 2010, 97 percent of the sports editors, 85 percent of the assistant sports editors, 86 percent of our columnists, 86 percent of our reporters and 90 percent of our copy editors/designers were white. In the 2008 report, those numbers for the same positions were 94, 89, 88, 87, and 89 respectively.
"The percentage of males in those positions this year are 94, 90, 90, 89, and 84. In 2008, the percentages were 94, 90, 93, 91 and 84, respectively.
"The 2008 report showed a terrible lack of opportunity for people of color and women. In spite of that, there was actually a decline in 2010 for opportunities for people of color as sports editors (from 6 percent to 3 percent) and copy editors (from 11 percent to 10 percent). The percentages of people of color increased for assistant sports editors (11 percent to 15 percent), columnists (12 percent to 14 percent) and reporters (13 percent to 14 percent).
“. . . As with the 2008 APSE Report Card, ESPN’s record formed a substantial part of the totals for sports editors and columnists of color. ESPN has two African-American sports editors and 23 African-American men and women as columnists.
". . . For 2010, the APSE Web sites and newspapers improved with a grade of C+ for racial hiring practices, up from a C in 2008."
Kathy Y. Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a statement, "It is critical that media companies take steps to right the ship and promote and hire editors of color who can offer a unique perspective when covering sports and African-American players who dominate the rosters of the NFL and NBA."
- Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel: Study: Newspapers show improvement in racial hiring practices in sports
"Meredith Vieira will exit NBC's Today show in June, nearly three months before the end of her contract, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation," Marisa Guthrie reported Tuesday for the Hollywood Reporter.
"An official announcement could come as early as next week.
"Vieira took the seat next to co-host Matt Lauer in 2006, replacing Katie Couric. Since then, Today has extended its run as the top-rated morning news program to more than 800 weeks. The show is critically important to NBC News' bottom line, pulling in half a billion dollars in ad revenue last year for the weekday morning hours alone.
"By elevating Curry and Morales, Today executives have the benefit of personalities who are familiar to viewers at a time of pronounced tumult in television news in general."
Curry, 54, has been a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and is a two-time AAJA National Award winner.
Edward Schumacher-Matos, a career award-winning journalist, educator and columnist, has been named ombudsman for NPR, succeeding Alicia Shepard, NPR announced on Friday.
Schumacher-Matos, ombudsman for the Miami Herald since 2007, begins a three-year term on June 1. Shepard told Journal-isms he had been chosen by former NPR CEO Vivian Schiller before her forced resignation in March.
The Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicates Schumacher-Matos, says in its bio of him: "He is an immigrant, born in Colombia. He was in the U.S. illegally from age 14 until age 21, when he went to court, was allowed to declare his citizenship, and joined the Army to serve in Vietnam. He has worked for newspapers as ideologically diverse as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has lived in four different continents comprising a cultural smorgasbord of cosmopolitan cities, Third World countries and the United States' Deep South."
The NPR announcement said, "As Ombudsman, Schumacher-Matos will serve as the public’s representative to NPR, responsible for bringing transparency to journalism decision-making processes. He will pen a regular column at NPR.org, appear on NPR and public radio programs, visit member stations and consult with stations about journalism practices."
"At the Philadelphia Inquirer, he was part of the team that won a 1980 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Three Mile Island accident. Earlier in his career, Schumacher-Matos reported from Japan, South Korea and Boston for the Washington Post."
"Lara Logan feared she would die a 'torturous death' during a sexual assault and beating she suffered at the hands of a violent mob in Egypt’s Tahrir Square.
"In her first television interview since her ordeal two months ago, the CBS News chief foreign correspondent and 60 MINUTES reporter reveals what happened to her for the first time in an interview conducted by Scott Pelley. Logan’s story will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, May 1 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network," "60 Minutes" announced.
Logan told Brian Stelter of the New York Times, "For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands." She estimated that the attack involved 200 to 300 men.
". . . What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence."
"After being rescued by a group of civilians and Egyptian soldiers, she was swiftly flown back to the United States," Stelter wrote. " 'She was quite traumatized, as you can imagine, for a period of time,' Mr. Fager said," he continued, referring to Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and the executive producer of '"60 Minutes."
"Ms. Logan said she decided almost immediately that she would speak out about sexual violence both on behalf of other journalists and on behalf of 'millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse.' "
Gregory Lewis, a veteran journalist and senior reporter at the South Florida SunSentinel, is battling cancer and has been in the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital for about a month, Metro Editor Dana Banker told Journal-isms on Thursday.
"He’s going through an especially tough time now, and could use everyone’s prayers," she said.
"His wife Chandra says friends from California and New York have arranged for meals to be sent to the family, which has been a huge help. She says Greg also appreciates cards, which can be sent to their home at 4139 Open Way, Cooper City, FL 33026. (She discourages flowers, as they are not allowed in the ICU)."
Lewis, 57, worked at San Francisco's daily newspapers from 1987 to 2001. In 2007, he started a blog at the SunSentinel, "Strictly Old School: Gregory Lewis on Black Culture and Politics."
He described himself on the blog this way: "Gregory Lewis has worked in newspapers since 1976. He attended both segregated and integrated schools, back when a parent's word was law and neighborhood men made sure kids didn't get lost in the streets.
"His blog is where R&B meets rap; red Kool-Aid meets Red Bull; P.F. Flyers meet Air Jordans. Where old school meets new school."
His wife told Journal-isms, "Please let others know they can pray as well."
Elyse Tanouye, corporate editor at the Wall Street Journal, has been named deputy managing editor, the Journal announced on Friday.
"Tanouye will be charged with the Journal’s efforts to maintain and extend the paper’s unparalleled reputation for accuracy and fairness.
"Elyse transformed the Marketplace section of the Journal and is a beacon of integrity for all at Dow Jones. Her promotion to Deputy Managing Editor is recognition of both her achievement and her important role in overseeing standards and ethics," Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Company and managing editor of the Journal, said in a news release.
Tanouye, a Honolulu native, shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 in the national reporting category for the Journal’s AIDS coverage.
Tanouye's appointment was one of several shifts announced, including the appointment of Francesco Guerrera of the Financial Times as editor of Money & Investing.
- "Responding to restrictions and attacks on its staff, Al-Jazeera has suspended its operations inside Syria indefinitely, the Qatar-based news network told the Committee to Protect Journalists today," the press freedom group said Wednesday. "Damascus has subjected Syrian employees of Al-Jazeera to sustained pressure to resign from the widely viewed satellite news channel, the station's Public Liberties and Human Rights Section told CPJ today. Authorities have also prevented the channel's correspondents, among others, from entering the city of Daraa, where the Syrian uprising began on March 15."
- Bonnie Newman Davis, an associate professor of journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications, was named Journalism Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ said on Friday. "For several years, Davis served as academic director of the University’s Urban Journalism Workshop, an intense two-week journalism program for high school students that is co-sponsored by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Inc."
- "Ashley Michelle Williams, a student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is the recipient of its Student Journalist of the Year Award," the National Association of Black Journalists announced on Friday. "Williams, 22, is a broadcast and digital journalism major, and double minors in international relations and Spanish."
- Stephen L. Carter, Yale law professor, novelist and author of "Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby," is among those named to Bloomberg News’ forthcoming editorial section, Bloomberg View, Michael Calderone reported Friday for the Huffington Post. Bloomberg View plans to launch in late May.
- Univision will cover Sunday's beatification of Pope John Paul II live from San Pedro Plaza in Vatican City, the network announced. Special programming is to be hosted by Satcha Pretto and Ernesto Laguardia.
- "Its no surprise to anyone that Huffington Post and Aol News will be merging, but what surprised us, is that in the days to come, Aol News will no longer be producing any original content, and will instead be entirely serviced by Huffington Post," Colby Hall wrote Thursday for Mediaite.
- "The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office will not file charges against two people who allegedly were involved in an assault on a Fox40 news crew outside a Natomas International House of Pancakes in late February," Matt Kawahara reported Tuesday for the Sacramento Bee. "The altercation occurred Feb. 20 outside the restaurant in the 2900 block of Advantage Lane. Mourners had gathered for a vigil for 27-year-old Chester Jackson, who had been shot to death in the parking lot of the restaurant about 13 hours earlier."
- "The media in developing countries have been asked to be more proactive to prevent Western dominance in the global information flow," Kenya's Daily Nation reported Tuesday. " 'For decades, developing countries have fought what appeared to be a hard battle against Western dominance in global information flow. China and Africa have to have their voices heard and tell the true stories happening in their parts of the world,' read a statement from the Xinhua news agency." The statement was issued during a China-Africa Media Conference in Nairobi.
- Allan Wolper, ethics columnist for Editor & Publisher, deconstructed the decision by the Society of Professional Journalists to "retire" its Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement because of remarks attributed to her that were said to be anti-Semitic. "This is a column about politicizing journalism, alleged anti-Semitism, the Israeli-Palestinian land dispute, the Holocaust, freedom of speech, hate speech, the power of the Israeli lobby in Washington, D.C., the future of the Society of Professional Journalists' Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the legacy of Helen Thomas herself," Wolper wrote on Wednesday.
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