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N.Y. Media on Both Sides of "Stop and Frisk"

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Judge Rules Policy Singled Out Blacks, Hispanics

Michele Norris, Husband Host Vacationing Obamas

Networks "Never Seem to Find That Person of Color"

Why Won't Fashion Industry Recognize Its Race Problem?

NPR, Ombudsman Differ on Indian Foster Care Series

CNN's Lemon Responds to Critics of Advice to Blacks

Sanjay Gupta Apologizes for Past Anti-Pot Stance

AOL to Lay Off Hundreds at Patch This Week

Higher Education System Growing More Racially Polarized

Short Takes

In an "Op-Doc" on the New York Times website last year, Tyquan Brehon of Brooklyn, N.Y., said he was stopped by police more than 60 times before age 18. (video)

Judge Rules Policy Singled Out Blacks, Hispanics

The "stop and frisk" policy that a federal judge in New York ruled Monday unconstitutionally singled out blacks and Hispanics was opposed by the New York Times and the black weekly New York Amsterdam News but supported editorially by the city's tabloids, the Daily News and the New York Post, and by the Fox television station, WNYW-TV.

Outside of New York, the policy was portrayed as of a piece with the racial profiling that some say led to the Trayvon Martin shooting death in Florida and countless other profiling incidents around the country.

"For those who doubt scholarship matters, the ruling that found Stop and Frisk unconstitutional specifically referenced Michelle Alexander's book 'The New Jim Crow,' " William Jelani Cobb, the historian, professor and author, wrote his Facebook friends. "It's also worth noting that the ruling included a block quote from [President] Obama's speech regarding the [George] Zimmerman verdict and a footnote referencing Charles Blow's column on Trayvon Martin's death," wrote Cobb, an associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut.

As Colleen Long reported Monday for the Associated Press, "The nation's largest police department illegally and systematically singled out large numbers of blacks and Hispanics under its controversial stop-and-frisk policy, a federal judge ruled Monday while appointing an independent monitor to oversee major changes, including body cameras on some officers.

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would appeal the ruling, which was a stinging rebuke to a policy he and the New York Police Department have defended as a life-saving, crime-fighting tool that helped lead the city to historic crime lows. The legal outcome could affect how and whether other cities employ the tactic.

" 'The city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner,' U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote in her ruling. 'In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting "the right people" is racially discriminatory.'

"Stop-and-frisk has been around for decades in some form, but recorded stops increased dramatically under the Bloomberg administration to an all-time high in 2011 of 684,330, mostly of black and Hispanic men. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 by four men, all minorities, and became a class-action case. . . ."

Overall, "the news coverage has been positive," Dorothee Benz, a spokeswoman for one of the plaintiffs, the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Journal-isms by telephone. By "positive," Benz said she meant "giving credence to the voice of New Yorkers who are testifying over and over again to the experience of being stopped for no other reason than they're black or brown in ways clearly unconstitutional."

The New York Times was "very supportive," she said.

Last year, the Times website featured "The Scars of Stop-and-Frisk," a short documentary by freelance contributors Julie Dressner and Edwin Martinez that focused on Tyquan Brehon, a young man in Brooklyn who said he had been stopped by police more than 60 times before age 18. The Times called the piece an "Op-Doc."

The Amsterdam News had written, "Black and Brown New Yorkers deserve to be treated better. We are all members of this community that we call New York, and for the majority of stops to be of people of color is unjust. What do we tell our children as they leave the house each day? How do we explain to them why they saw their father, brother, uncle or friend spread-eagled against a wall as they were patted down just because they were 'walking while Black'?"

The gay community also weighed in. "In an editorial for Gay City News headlined, 'Why Stop and Frisk Is a Queer Issue,' editor-in-chief Paul Schindler sheds light on the plight of the transgender community, the slice of the 'LGBT' acronym that's perhaps the most vulnerable to police profiling, as we have noted," Jennifer Cheng wrote last year for, a project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Quoting Schindler, she wrote: "Police too often assume that any transgender woman they see is a sex worker. Joo-Hyun Kang, the coordinator of Communities United for Police Reform, said trans women, often fearful when approached by police, are 'tricked' into agreeing to a search that stems from their gender nonconformity. Things can turn ugly fast if the woman is carrying condoms. . . ."

Defenders of stop-and-frisk have argued that the practice saves lives and effectively fights crime. The New York Post last year called the program "one of the city's most valuable crime-fighting tools: stopping suspicious individuals, questioning them — and, when appropriate, frisking them for weapons.

"The brickbats have been relentless — even though, as Mayor Bloomberg says, the practice has removed some thousands of illegal guns from city streets in the past eight years and helped save the lives of some 5,600 New Yorkers (mostly minority males)," the Post editorialized.

On WNYW-TV, like the Post owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Lew Leone, vice president and general manager, contended, "The bullets are flying in Chicago. In 2012 the Windy City suffered over 500 murders. That's well more than New York City, where the murder rate is at an all-time low. Why is New York safer while Chicago is slowly turning into a war zone? There is strong evidence that the NYPD's practice of stop and frisk is a major component of New York's success. I have a hard time understanding why this program is so controversial. . . ."

To others, stop and frisk is a continuation of surveillance tactics used against blacks since the days of slavery.

David A. Love wrote in June for the Grio, "The slave patrols, consisting of white slaveholding and non-slaveholding men, were designed to prevent slave rebellions. The patrols were ordered to stop the slaves they found on the road, compel the slaves to produce a pass, and have them prove they were not breaking the law. . . ." 

Love took readers through the decades, concluding, "Finally, African-Americans and Latinos are monitored through stop-and-frisk policies that civil rights groups say are unfair and based on race. . . ." 

Michele Norris, Husband Host Vacationing Obamas

Michele Norris, Broderick Johnson (Credit: Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call)

NPR correspondent Michele Norris and her husband, Broderick Johnson, hosted President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for cocktails Monday as the first family vacationed on Martha's Vineyard.

Johnson was a 2012 Obama campaign adviser. Norris took a leave from co-hosting "All Things Considered" in October 2011 when her husband joined the Obama campaign. She never returned to the co-hosting job, instead becoming an NPR host and special correspondent who produces in-depth profiles, interviews and series, and guest hosts NPR News programs. Norris also leads "The Race Card Project," an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America.

In a pool report for the White House press corps, Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal wrote, "Motorcade was on the move again at 5:46 pm. About 10 minutes later POTUS arrived at a cocktail party at the home of Broderick Johnson, who was an adviser on the Obama 2012 campaign, and his wife, Michele Norris Johnson. FLOTUS is also at the cocktail party.

"No sighting of the first couple. Pool vans pulled off on side of the road while the rest of the motorcade turned onto Nat's Farm Lane.

"Holding in vans nearby.

"Motorcade left the Johnson residence at 7:27 pm and arrived at POTUS's vacation spot at 7:34 pm. Uneventful ride back. No POTUS sighting."

When Johnson joined the Obama campaign, Edward Wycliff Williams wrote for The Root, "Johnson — who will work alongside David Axelrod, Obama's senior strategist and longtime adviser, and Jim Messina, the 2012 campaign manager — is a seasoned political operative. He served in senior roles in the Clinton White House, acting as the president's principal liaison to the House of Representatives. He was an adviser to John Kerry's 2004 campaign for the White House and was a partner at Bryan Cave, a prominent national law firm. . . ."

Networks "Never Seem to Find That Person of Color"

"PBS and Al Jazeera America are shaking up the status quo by hiring a diverse group of journalists for key on-air positions. The moves reflect the networks' conscious effort to become more multicultural in their approach, executives tell TheWrap," Sara Morrison wrote Sunday for The Wrap.

"When Gwen Ifill. . . and Judy Woodruff were named the co-anchors of PBS [NewsHour] on Tuesday, it was hailed as a historic advancement for both women and minorities in TV news, where both have been largely underrepresented.

"Along with Ifill and Woodruff, Indian-American Hari Sreenivasan became the show's senior correspondent, adding to his upcoming responsibilities as the anchor of the show's new weekend edition. Behind the camera, Linda Winslow serves as the show's executive producer. Previously Ifill and Woodruff rotated hosting duties on the program long anchored by Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil. . . ."

Enumerating further progress, Morrison's story continued, "But it's hardly enough for Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

" 'I've been in the business quite a while and I have watched with chagrin as the cable companies and the broadcast networks never seem to find that person of color to be an anchor,' Butler told TheWrap.

"Butler said the NABJ has met with networks several times over the years about the issue, often to hear that they're just looking for the 'right person,' so he or she will have every chance to succeed. But, he said, 'it is 2013 and you'd think that there'd be some kind of movement.'

"Ifill agreed: 'We haven't come as far as we should. The fact that it's news in 2013 that Judy and I are doing a broadcast together shows that.' . . . "

The New York shows are as dominated by white models as they have been since the

Why Won't Fashion Industry Recognize Its Race Problem?

"Has outrage over the lack of diversity and racial insensitivity within the fashion industry reached its peak?" Julee Wilson asked Friday in HuffPost BlackVoices. "If not, Thursday's New York Times article entitled 'Fashion's Blind Spot' will certainly ring the alarm.

"The powerful feature, written by NYT editor Eric Wilson, explores the blatant whitewashing of fashion runways, ads and companies, ultimately begging the question: why doesn't the industry recognize it has a race problem? Wilson makes a strong argument that despite efforts to combat the issue, the industry is still in denial and 'nothing has changed.'

"That sentiment is shared by Bethann Hardison, a former model and modeling agency owner, as well as supermodel-turned-mogul Iman. These two ladies are leading the charge to inject some much needed diversity into fashion.

"Hardison, who founded the advocacy group Black Girls Coalition in 1989, told the Times that part of the problem is that 'no one in power slaps these designers around.'

"Taking it a step further, Iman suggested that a boycott might be in order. 'It feels to me like the times need a real hard line drawn like in the 1960s, by saying if you don’t use black models, then we boycott,' Iman said. 'If you engage the social media, trust me, it will hurt them in their pockets. If you take it out there, they will feel the uproar.' . . ."

NPR, Ombudsman Differ on Indian Foster Care Series

"After an extensive investigation lasting well over a year, NPR's ombudsman has concluded the network's series on South Dakota's efforts to put Native [Americans] in foster care was fundamentally flawed," David Folkenflik reported Monday for NPR.

"The network and the ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, who is paid to critique NPR's news coverage, have split sharply over his findings.

"The series, which appeared in October 2011 on All Things Considered and was published on, alleged that the state of South Dakota took Native American children and separated them from their families and tribes at an alarming rate. The series won national awards and helped inspire federal and state reviews of such policies. . . . "

CNN's Lemon Responds to Critics of Advice to Blacks

"CNN anchor Don Lemon created quite a stir two weeks ago when he expounded on Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's assessment of the black community, and reaped a whirlwind of criticism in response," Jon Nicosia reported Saturday for Mediaite.

"In particular, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons wrote several scathing tweets, and an open letter to Don Lemon. The heated reaction has not caused Don Lemon to shy away, as evidenced by his revisitation of the topic Saturday night, in which he re-framed his remarks within the context of black leaders like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President and Mrs. Obama, and Bill Cosby, rather than as agreement with Bill O'Reilly.

"Following several lengthy clips of these leaders speaking about black empowerment and personal responsibility, Lemon responded directly to Simmons' open letter. . . "

Nicosia continued, "Lemon then delivered a point-by-point rebuttal to Simmons' letter, and concluded with another clip of President Obama, saying 'Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination. and, moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured, and they overcame them, and if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.' . . . "

Josh Stanley, right, of the Realm of Caring Foundation, a nonprofit organization

Sanjay Gupta Apologizes for Past Anti-Pot Stance

"Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called 'Weed,' " Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, wrote Thursday for CNN. "The title 'Weed' may sound cavalier, but the content is not.

"I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

"Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled 'Why I would Vote No on Pot.'

"Well, I am here to apologize.

"I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis. . . ."

"Weed" aired on Sunday.

AOL to Lay Off Hundreds at Patch This Week

"We reported yesterday that AOL's hyper-local news service would lose hundreds of employees today," Darrell Etherington reported Friday for TechCrunch, "and now we have confirmation from a well-placed Patcher privy to the call that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong did indeed confirm to employees that hundreds would be laid off, with notifications of who will be let go coming throughout the coming week. (Disclosure: AOL owns TechCrunch). 

"In a call Armstrong held with the Patch team today, he explained that 'AOL is going to be running the show' at the restructured Patch along with new CEO Bud Rosenthal. Rosenthal replaces outgoing CEO Steve Kalin, who was reported to be getting the boot earlier this week.

"400 Patch sites will be closed or partnered with outside sites over the coming week as part of the changes being made at Patch to try and turn things around, Armstrong explained on the call, but also reassured the Patch staff that the company is behind the initiative and told them not to 'worry about what [they] read in the press,' calling it 'bullshit.' Nonetheless, he encouraged any Patch non-believers still remaining at the company to get out now, emphasizing that there's no room for equivocation in turning the effort around. . . ."

Higher Education System Growing More Racially Polarized

"The nation's system of higher education is growing more racially polarized even as it attracts more minorities: White students increasingly are clustering at selective institutions, while blacks and Hispanics mostly are attending open-access and community colleges, according to a new report," Michael A. Fletcher reported July 31 for the Washington Post.

"The paths offer widely disparate opportunities and are leading to widely disparate outcomes, said the report released Wednesday by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

"Students at the nation's top 468 colleges are the beneficiaries of much more spending — anywhere from two to five times as much as what is spent on instruction at community colleges or other schools without admissions requirements. And students at top schools are far more likely to graduate than students at other institutions, even when they are equally prepared, according to the report. In addition, graduates of top schools are far more likely than others to go on to graduate school.

"The financial implications of those differences are huge. . . ."

Short Takes

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Cross-postings from The Root (Networks never seem to find . .)


I don't understand the comments. I watch local news and listen to NPR. My local lead anchors are both of color...and have been lead anchors for more than two decades. The same thing with the other station, which has an older white guy and a plump and attractive middle-age black woman as lead anchors and a youngish black weatherman (not a typical ditzo blonde). My favorite NPR hosts are Audie Cornish (love her voice!). Neal Conan, Guy Roz, and Michel Martin (although the barbershop has been challenging of late to listen to). If anything, the Latino population is under-represented in my market.


  Dan Baker The networks are a ruthless for profit business not some kind of idealistic socialist do good agency or place of higher learning. People vote for what's on TV with the ratings and they adjust to what sells in their offerings accordingly.



Except for Fox, television networks are run by liberals. But I suppose there is just as much racism among liberals as among conservatives. People who deliver the news on-air must themselves _read_ the news. So one might expect the percentage of news anchors who are black to correspond to the percentage of print-news readers who are black. Considering the number of black people who read books, that might be somewhat lower than the black percentage of society overall.


LogicalLeopard I


Boy, I wish I would have read books as a child. Then I wouldn't be illiterate like the vast majority of black people, as Fsilber seems to imply above.

DP likes this.

  icantrememberallofmyaliases Go Swen, with your bad self. This is magnificent. The smartest and yet conservatively-liberal people watch that show. They are well read in what they want to read and know but they need pushes to cultivate involuntarily through conditioning that they won't take on themselves voluntarily. Having Gwen's dark face in lead will start to recondition them. I love how she looks like me--very Negroid and not brown with Caucasoid features. This is a tremendous boost to show that she is trusted and that her company and peers trust her. It means the viewers so far trust her and of that type of audience, that means they are capable of acceptable more involuntary conditioning to cultivate them to things they don't usually seek out in diversity in their lives. The news companies have done more damage since I can remember with their machinations on who to hire that is Black and of color. So many of their hires were compromised, schizophrenic news people. But as well it has taken so long for NABJ to catch a clue that they were themselves going along with. To hear Bob Butler admit what he just admitted, it lets me know he isn't afraid to tell the truths his colleagues were too timid to admit from decades ago.


 Le' Faux Jew They need to do a better job of picking diverse people who critically think (which there is not to many in the younger generations), not use a very primitive archaic method of picking people of a certain color. icantrememberallofmyaliases likes this.


  Frank Griffin It will happen some day but there is so little to choose from. First you need to bring in ratings and then you need to be good. With blacks being only 12% of the population and many of the black population neck deep in crime, drugs or welfare the chances of finding the right person are just incredibly slim.

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