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No "Candidate Geraldo" This Time Around

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rivera Is Collateral Damage in Gov. Christie's "Stunt"

At Least 3 of Color Laid Off at New York Post

Chinese Dissident Designs Time Cover

John Noel, WNBC-TV Reporter, Dies of Cancer at 62

Holder: I'll Scrap "Co-Conspirator" Language for Journalists

Mother Accused of Siccing Pit Bulls on "Pushy" Reporter

CBS Reporter Finds Footage of Dad Helping Fallen RFK

Short Takes


Rivera said on "Fox and Friends" Friday that he expects New Jersey's Republican Senate candidate to be richer than he is. (video)

Rivera Is Collateral Damage in Gov. Christie's "Stunt"

Geraldo Rivera wrote Friday that the "electoral stunt" by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — scheduling a special October election to choose a successor to Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday at 89 — was the death knell to any consideration that he would seek the Republican nomination for the seat.

Of course, some considered the idea of Rivera seeking office as a "moderate Republican" a stunt, too, but the Fox News personality said he was serious. It's just that Christie's move forced his hand.

"Before the mocking birds flutter, let me explain," Rivera wrote in a column on Fox News Latino that invoked the novel "The Lord of the Rings."

"In New Jersey, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000 votes, and no Republican has been elected senator since Clifford Case in 1972. Important Republicans have spent millions trying, including former congressman Dick Zimmer, state senators Tom Kean Jr. and Joe [Kyrillos] and Heisman Trophy winning Army general Pete Dawkins. Further, likely Democratic candidate Newark mayor [Cory] Booker is popular, flush with cash and buoyed by Hollywood, Silicon Valley and an adoring press. [Booker declared his candidacy on Saturday.] The electoral clash therefore will be as one-sided as Théoden faced when leading his riders against Mordor.

"But for someone like me whose entire professional life has been a long shot that struggle appealed," Rivera continued. "Importantly, I am convinced that to survive and prosper, the Republican Party must adopt a more centrist view of the world; one that maintains fiscal discipline and promotes personal responsibility, but which also recognizes that draconian policies on everything from gay marriage to abortion rights to immigration reform have no future in a changing America.

"So I was juiced to make a run or at least give the prospect of running every consideration. Then Governor Chris Christie surprised the world by pulling his electoral stunt, scheduling a special October 2013 election that the New York Times correctly called 'expensive, awkwardly timed and unlikely to help Republicans — other than himself.' Suddenly, the election originally scheduled for November 2014 was now just four months away. More urgently, the deadline for collecting signatures and filing the requisite documents of candidacy for the August 2013 primary is a mere four days away, Monday June 10th at 4pm.

"Because of Equal Time and other restrictions, regulations and contractual commitments that would also be my last day as a Fox News correspondent and as a Cumulus Media syndicated radio host.

"Over the last 24 hours I reached out to former GOP candidates, consultants, colleagues and friends frantically testing everything from my ideological viability to prospective budgets.

"Ultimately, I concluded that whatever else it is, New Jersey politics is not a fantasy novel. For one thing, the energetic and engaging Mayor Booker is not the Dark Lord. And while I may be willing to die for the right cause, I'm not willing to bankrupt myself in a vain quest that is more Don Quixote than Lord of the Rings. . . ."

Rivera floated the idea of running for the Senate on Jan. 31. Media critic Howard Kurtz wrote in the Daily Beast then, "I like Geraldo, but this is delusional. And something of a stunt. He'll milk it for a bit and then decide he wants to spend more time with his microphone. . . ."

Polling suggests that Rivera would trail Booker by a more than two to one ratio in a hypothetical general election matchup, Ashley Killough reported Friday for CNN.

At Least 3 of Color Laid Off at New York Post

Rome NealAt least three journalists of color were among 13 New York Post editorial employees who lost their jobs Friday as Editor-in-Chief Col Allen told staffers the paper was continuing "to reduce costs, refocus our priorities, and re-imagine overall how we run as a company."

Newsroom sources identified the three as Darryl Harrison and Rome Neal, who worked in the Post's video department, and staff writer Pedro Oliveira Jr.

Neal, a senior video editor, is a "multimedia manager with 12 years of experience as a Web producer, print journalist and videographer," according to his LinkedIn profile. He is a 2010 graduate of the Asian American Journalists Association's Executive Leadership Program and, in 2012, won the award for online spot/general news coverage in the annual contest of the New York Association of Black Journalists.  He previously worked at cbsnews.com and foxnews.com.

Pedro Oliveira Jr.Oliveira joined the Post as a staff writer in March 2012 after working as an editor of Patch, where he started as a bilingual editor, spearheading a Portuguese-language news site in Somerville, Mass., according to his LinkedIn profile.

"Last month, we broke the news that Allan was seeking a 10-percent reduction in the newspaper's headcount, hoping to the extent possible to forestall layoffs by offering buyout packages to selected employees first," Joe Pompeo and Tom McGeveran wrote Friday for capitalnewyork.com.

"A Post spokesperson confirmed that the paper has achieved the 10-percent reduction through a combination of buyouts and layoffs. By our count, that brings the total number of newsroom positions eliminated at the Post to about two dozen. . . ."

Chinese Dissident Designs Time Magazine Cover

"Time's latest issue features one hell of a cover," Chris O'Shea wrote Thursday for FishbowlNY. "The illustration was created by the Chinese dissident/political activist/artist, Ai Weiwei. To produce the absolutely stunning art, Ai used traditional Chinese paper cutting.

" 'The image represents Ai's acknowledgment of the country's centrality in the world, while at the same time challenging China's leaders to make the future a freer and more democratic one,' wrote Rick Stengel, Time's managing editor. . . ."

John Noel, WNBC-TV Reporter, Dies of Cancer at 62

John Noel

"John Noel, an NBC 4 New York Emmy award-winning reporter and Vietnam War veteran, has died after a long illness. He was 62," WNBC-TV, where Noel worked, reported on Friday.

News reports said that Noel had brain cancer. "Although Noel was diagnosed with the illness two years ago, he continued to report the news and cover his Brooklyn beat while receiving treatments. He had been off the air for almost three months, " Leonard Greene reported in the New York Post.

The WNBC story continued, "Noel joined NBC 4 New York in February 1998 as a general assignment reporter. The Brooklyn native was the recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award in 1999 and has also received the Tenants Council of Brooklyn Award for Excellence in Broadcast Television.

"Noel, who studied martial arts, covered hard news and features, and had a particular flair for Brooklyn stories. He also covered the aftermath of 9/11, and traveled to Africa to interview the parents of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed immigrant who was shot by police in 1999.

"City Councilman Jumaane Williams said in a statement that his prayers go to Noel's family, which includes a young daughter.

" 'As a fellow Brooklynite, Grenadian-American and alum of Brooklyn College, I felt a special pride watching John's reporting and the superb character he displayed to those who knew him,' Williams said. . . ."

Holder: I'll Scrap "Co-Conspirator" Language for Journalists

"Addressing the aggressive government leak probes that have angered the news media, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday a better balance needs to be struck between press freedom and safeguarding national secrets," the Associated Press reported.

"The attorney general has been conducting a series of meetings with news organizations to review how the Justice Department treats the media when the government investigates national security leaks."

[Another was held Friday with First Amendment groups and academics, a Justice Department spokeswoman told Journal-isms. In a column published Saturday, Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page disclosed that he attended as a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "If the session really leads to some positive changes and not just a public relations boost for Holder and his boss, President Barack Obama, I think it was worth a try," Page wrote.]

The AP story continued, "The department secretly subpoenaed some phone records of The Associated Press without prior notification. It also obtained a search warrant to secretly gather emails of Fox News journalist James Rosen.

"In an interview with NBC, Holder said the Justice Department will come up with ways in which notice can be given to the media. The attorney general held out the possibility of involving the judiciary in such cases." The remarks were consistent with what Holder said in a meeting Monday with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Unity: Journalists for Diversity. NBC News was among the news organizations that did not attend the sessions because they were originally billed as off the record.

" 'I'm a little concerned that things have gotten a little out of whack," Holder said. "I think that we can do a better job than we have. We can reform those regulations, reform those guidelines, to better reflect that balance,' " the AP story continued.

"The attorney general also spoke out against a legal requirement that arose in the Fox News case."

"In addressing the requirement for obtaining a search warrant for Rosen's emails, the government characterized the journalist as a probable co-conspirator of a State Department contractor who was suspected of leaking classified information to Rosen.

"Holder said he doesn't like that requirement because it means that Holder is in the position as a government official of branding a journalist as a criminal.

" 'I'm just not comfortable with that and we're going to change that,' he told NBC."

"Holder signed off on the search warrant application for the emails of the Fox News journalist. . . .

In a subsequent controversy, the Washington Post and Britain's Guardian newspaper separately revealed on Thursday the existence of a secret National Security Agency program code-named PRISM, which reportedly allows the U.S. government to tap directly into the servers of several major Internet companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Google.

In tracing the development of the Post story, Michael Calderone of the Huffington Post said reporter Barton Gellman first met with Managing Editor Kevin Merida.


Melissa Lawrence, accused of attacking inquiring journalists, was ordered to have no contact with them. (video)

Mother Accused of Siccing Pit Bulls on "Pushy" Reporter

"The mother of a teenage girl who was shot on Sunday was arraigned Wednesday afternoon on two felony charges accusing her of assaulting a reporter and a photographer for WLNE-Channel 6 television," W. Zachary Malinowski reported for the Providence Journal.

"Melissa Lawrence, 35, of 365 Public St. appeared before District Court Judge William Clifton and not guilty pleas were entered on her behalf. Clifton released her on $50,000 personal recognizance, meaning that she was free to leave provided that she appears for her next court date on Aug. 8.

"Lawrence, who was handcuffed, wore a pink t-shirt with the message, 'My Attitude is Your Problem.'

"Clifton ordered her to have no contact with the reporter, Abbey Niezgoda, 24, and photographer, Marc Jackson, 43. She is accused of siccing two pit bull terriers on Niezgoda, who suffered a puncture wound to her arm, and striking Jackson with a rock. They had stopped by Lawrence's house on Tuesday to do a story on her daughter, Ny' asia, who was shot on Sunday night.

"The incident was caught on tape."

How reporters deal with grieving families is a subject of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. "Minimize harm," it begins. "Journalists often advance their 'right' to seek information and record events, and stories of grief and tragedy are a staple of community news. The SPJ Code underscores the accompanying 'responsibility' with common-sense principles. . . ."

Cultural issues can come into play. At the 2011 convention of the Native American Journalists Association, SPJ President Hagit Limor gave the example of a television station that became indignant when a crew was chased away by African American mourners in a public space. The Native journalists responded that grieving is regarded in their communities as too private for television cameras.


Dr. Ross Miller, a trauma surgeon, helped Robert F. Kennedy after he was shot on June 5, 1968. Kennedy died 26 hours later. Miller is shown in CBS footage retrieved by his daughter, CBS correspondent Michelle Miller. (video)

CBS Reporter Finds Footage of Dad Helping Fallen RFK

"Forty-five years ago, on June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shorty after claiming victory in the California and South Dakota presidential primaries. Sen. Kennedy was gunned down as he walked through the hotel kitchen and died 26 hours later at Good Samaritan Hospital," read the introduction to a story Wednesday on CBS News.

"Decades after the assassination, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller finally found proof to back up her late father's claims that he rushed to the fallen senator's side, minutes after the shooting took place. Prompted by her son to find evidence of his grandfather's role in history, Miller discovered that her father, Dr. Ross Miller, was indeed at the Ambassador Hotel that night as a delegate from Compton and was interviewed by CBS News about his efforts to save Kennedy and five others injured in the shooting. . . ."

Michelle Miller told the story Wednesday on "CBS This Morning." "Finding that CBS archival footage was liquid gold," she said.

Short Takes

  • "To be sure, advocacy is still a dirty word for legacy journalists, unless it's an editorial-board crusade," Jan Schaffer wrote Tuesday for Nieman Journalism Lab. "But activating examples are rising from both inside and outside mainstream media." Schaffer also said, "If one shifts the periscope from new business models for journalism to new journalism models for news, I see the convergence of several trends that are beginning to provoke a new conversation about whether journalists can — and should — craft a more deliberate suite of tools that inspire movement and action. . . ."

  • "The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has been awarded the country's National Journalism Prize even though he was accused of persecuting the press during his 14 years in power," Jorge Rueda reported Friday for the Associated Press. Hernando Montoya reported Thursday for International Press Institute, "Numerous recent incidents suggest press freedom remains under threat since President Nicolás Maduro officially took office."

  • "A U.S. filmmaker jailed in Venezuela since April on trumped-up charges of espionage has been freed and deported from the country, news accounts reported today," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday. The committee welcomed the release of Timothy Hallet Tracy, "and calls on Venezuelan authorities to allow all journalists to work without interference. . . ."

  • When asked to speak at predominantly black schools, Atlantic magazine blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote Friday, "What I generally try to do is avoid messages about 'hard work' and 'homework,' not because I think those things are unimportant, but because I think they put the cart before the horse. The two words I try to use with them are 'excitement' and 'entrepreneurial.' I try to get them to think of education not as something that pleases their teachers, but as a ticket out into a world so grand and stunning that it defies their imagination. My belief is that, if I can get them to understand the 'why?' of education, then the effort and hard work and long study hours will come after. I don't know how true that is in practice, but given that I am asked to speak from my own experience, that is the lesson I have drawn. . . . "

  • The 10th annual Oklahoma Institute for Diversity in Journalism at the University of Oklahoma in Norman ends eight days of training on Sunday. Twelve high school students, including four Native Americans, one African American and one of Vietnamese-Chinese parentage, participate. They are publishing the Red Dirt Journal newspaper and will post at reddirtjournal.ou.edu stories, photos and video, including an emphasis on the two EF5 tornadoes that struck nearby on May 20 and May 31, reports Bill Elsen, one of the instructors. The students include Faith Mutiri of Sand Springs, Okla.; Candace Hinnergardt of Bartlesville, Okla.; Patience Knox of Miami, Okla.; Elizabeth Lindley of Oklahoma City; Chandler Vessels of Moore, Okla.; and Huong Truong of Moore, Okla. Ray Chàvez, a University of Oklahoma instructor, is the director.

  • "For more than three years, lawmakers in Kansas, Missouri, and a host of other states have been pushing bills to prohibit the use of Islamic law — commonly referred to as Sharia — in US courts," Deron Lee wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "There are a lot of serious questions one might ask about this anti-Sharia campaign, but among journalists, the bills have most often provoked incredulous, derisive, and sardonic responses: Is this really happening?" He added, " 'I don't think there is sufficient awareness of the consequences of these bans,' Amos Toh, a fellow at the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice, told me in an interview. . . ."

  • "Maybe Oprah's OWN network should be renamed Tyler TV," Claire Atkinson wrote Friday for the New York Post. "Thanks to two new series from prolific producer Tyler Perry, the 2-year-old network is not only finding its audience but is challenging Viacom's BET, which has had a near-monopoly on African-American audiences for 30 years. . . ." R. Thomas Umstead added for Multichannel News, "Comedian Wanda Sykes will host two summer comedy specials for OWN. . . ."

  • "Sudanese authorities have banned the publication of at least three newspapers in the past two weeks despite statements by government officials to curtail censorship practices, according to news reports," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

  • "The Angolan government has brought criminal charges against journalist Rafael Marques de Morais for his book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, published in Portugal in 2011, that documented allegations of homicides, torture, forced displacement of civilian settlements, and intimidation of inhabitants of the diamond-mining areas of the country's Lundas region," Sue Valentine reported Thursday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

  • In Kenya, "Members of Parliament have today ruled to block journalists from covering proceeding at the National Assembly," Eugene Okumu reported Wednesday for the Star in Nairobi. "Journalists will from now on require an invitation from the clerk of national assembly to cover proceedings at the National Assembly. . . ."

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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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