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N.Y. Post's Lightning-Rod Cartoonist Exits

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Critics Said Sean Delonas Showed Obama as Chimpanzee

First Lady and Her Heckler: Oppressed Groups in Conflict?

Univision Anchor: Coverage "Clearly Pro-Latino or Pro-Immigrant"

Study: Few Immigrants in Networks' Immigration Coverage


Blacks Prefer Androids to iPhones in Smartphone Survey

Holder Offers Email Addresses for Journalists' Comments

Original Short Story on Evers' Killing Finally Published

Retired Black Anchor: You Want to Talk About Racism?

Short Takes

The infamous 2009 cartoon on the economic stimulus bill. It was cited in a lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment.

Critics Said Sean Delonas Showed Obama as Chimpanzee

A buyout offer from the New York Post accomplished this week what years of complaints could not: Remove cartoonist Sean Delonas from its ranks.

Delonas is best known for his 2009 drawing that some said compared President Obama with a chimpanzee — a charge Delonis denied. But that wasn't the only time Delonis has caused offense. "With the support of the editor in chief, the cartoonist Sean Delonas has published numerous vile cartoons tinged with racism," Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, said during the 2009 uproar. Lawsuits accusing the Post of newsroom discrimination and citing that cartoon are still pending.

1999 cartoon depicts Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Last year, Delonas weighed in on a controversy over WNBC-TV's failure to renew the contract of its longtime anchor Sue Simmons.

His creation showed the NBC peacock smoking a cigarette after emerging from the bedroom of Simmons' soon-to-be successor, Shiba Russell, who is shown topless in bed. Simmons, in the doorway, begs for her job back.

During last year's presidential campaign, another cartoon depicted GOP candidate Mitt Romney as an angry white man on horseback chasing down a terrified skinny black man fleeing on foot — and the Romney figure aiming an assault rifle and attached bayonet at the Obama figure's backside.

"The cartoon clearly evokes an image from the Old South of an overseer or slave catcher chasing down a runaway slave," Dennis King and Geraldine Pauling, described as interpreters of code language and political cartoons, wrote for a Lyndon LaRouche website.

Sean Delonas (Credit:  Express-Times, Easton, Pa.) Gawker compiled what it considered Delonas' most outrageous cartoons in 2009, but blogger Erica C Barnett declared, "they didn't dig deep enough, so I came up with a list of my own.

"So, for the record, here's a (presumably noncomprehensive) noncomprehensive list of groups Delonas hates/considers worthy of mockery," Barnett continued, naming "the womenz, the gays, the blacks, the fatties, the handicapped, the oldsters, and the blind. Given that list, I'm thinking Delonas' only audience is, what, angry white male misanthropes with body anxiety and mommy issues? . . ." Barnett wrote for a feminist blog.

Delonas and Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allen, to whom Delonas reported, did not respond to requests for comment, so it could not be learned whether Delonas would continue to work as a freelancer. His cartoons appeared on the "Page Six" gossip page.

The New York Post aimed to reduce its headcount by 10 percent through the buyout packages, Joe Pompeo reported May 9 for capitalnewyork.com. "Allan also indicated the paper could achieve the 10-percent reduction through 'other measures if necessary,' suggesting that layoffs are possible if not enough employees accept the buyouts, Pompeo wrote. He added on May 16 that "A list of around 10 Post journalists who are said to have been offered buyouts has been circulating among veterans of the tabloid. Those on the list are mostly older, longtime reporters and editors. . . ."

Delonas joined the Post in 1990 and was 46 when he said in a 2006 Post profile by Bill Hoffmann, "This enraged woman once said to me, 'You are the biggest sleazebag,' and I just started laughing, and the more I laughed, the madder she got. I can't believe anybody gets upset at what I do."

The 2009 chimp cartoon attempted to create a punchline out of Obama's economic stimulus package and a 200-pound chimp that went berserk in Stamford, Conn., and was shot by a police officer after attacking a woman. The police officer says, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Critics linked the cartoon to historic attempts to associate black people with monkeys, but Delonas said in a brief comment read by anchor Kyra Phillips on CNN, "Do you really think I'm saying Obama should be shot? I didn't see that in the cartoon. It's about the economic stimulus bill. If you're going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, which it's not."

Many were not mollified. After demonstrations and protests, media baron Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Post, issued a statement that called the cartoon "a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted."

Activists said they would proceed with plans to use government agencies to challenge Murdoch's company on media consolidation and diversity issues. But those challenges failed, and Delonas kept drawing.

First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students from Chicago's William R. Harper H

First Lady and Her Heckler: Oppressed Groups in Conflict?

Was first lady Michelle Obama right to face down a heckler at a Democratic Party fundraiser Tuesday night? [video] The commentariat was not of one mind on Wednesday.

Peter Wallsten reported in the Washington Post, "Obama was addressing a Democratic Party fundraiser in a private Kalorama home in Northwest Washington when Ellen Sturtz, 56, a lesbian activist, interrupted her remarks to demand that President Obama sign an anti-discrimination executive order.

"Obama showed her displeasure — pausing to confront Sturtz eye to eye, according to witnesses.

" 'One of the things that I don’t do well is this,' she said to applause from most of the guests, according to a White House transcript. 'Do you understand?'

"A pool report from a reporter in the room said Obama 'left the lectern and moved over to the protester.' The pool report quoted Obama as saying: 'Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.'

"Obama's suggestion that she would leave was not included in the official White House transcript.

"The audience responded by asking Obama to remain, according to the pool report, which quoted a woman nearby telling Sturtz, 'You need to go.'

"Sturtz was escorted out of the room. She said in an interview later she was stunned by Obama's response.

" 'She came right down in my face,' Sturtz said. 'I was taken aback.' . . . "

Sturtz said she paid $500 to attend the fundraiser and gave $5,000 to the Democratic Party and Obama's campaign in 2008, Wallsten added.

On theRoot.com, Keli Goff wrote of Sturtz, "I can only assume that she doesn't own a television or have access to the Internet, because if she did, she would know that President Obama has done more to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights than any president before him . . . . "

But LZ Granderson, who is gay, wrote for CNN.com, "Heckling Mrs. Obama wasn't fair to her. But taking the LGBT community for granted isn't fair to us either."

Jim Downs, an associate professor of history and American studies at Connecticut College, wrote for HuffPost BlackVoices and HuffPost GayVoices, "As a historian of African-American history and gay liberation, this moment gives me serious pause.

"On one level, I recognize how this is a highly charged political throw down between two oppressed groups that rarely get the national microphone. I then worry about activists, regardless of their political stripes, disrespecting Mrs. Obama more than other first ladies." He added, "But then I also worry about Ellen Sturtz who tried to have her voice heard when it seemed like no one was listening," and that "heckling formed a crucial, if ill-mannered, form of political discourse since the founding of the nation. . . ."

A year ago, Washington Monthly magazine called Jorge Ramos the broadcaster who w

Univision Anchor: We're "Clearly Pro-Latino or Pro-Immigrant"

A fixture behind Univision's anchor desk for 26 years, the silver-haired, blue-eyed Jorge Ramos has been called the Spanish-language Walter Cronkite, a trusted source of news. But he is more than that for his viewers, including some of the 11 million immigrants who have entered the U.S. illegally or overstayed their visas, Meg James wrote Monday for the Los Angeles Times.

"Ramos makes no apologies for his or Univision's forceful stance.

" 'Our position is clearly pro-Latino or pro-immigrant,' he said. 'We are simply being the voice of those who don't have a voice.'

"Supporters say Ramos is continuing a long tradition in ethnic media of fighting to correct social unfairness. . . ."

Study: Few Immigrants in Networks' Immigration Coverage

"Immigration policy was on the national agenda in February as the political system responded to a reform plan released by a bipartisan group of eight senators, and President Barack Obama highlighted immigration in his February 12 State of the Union address," Eunji Kim wrote Friday for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

"The month's media coverage gives us a glimpse of what to expect from the public debate as the immigration issue takes center stage — and it's far from reassuring.

"Extra! analyzed immigration reform coverage in the Nexis news media database for all ABC, CBS and NBC news programs, as well as the PBS NewsHour, CNN's Situation Room, Fox News' Special Report and MSNBC's Hardball for the full month. The study found 54 reports pertaining to immigration policy, featuring a total of 157 sources.

"The majority of sources from all networks were white male politicians born in the United States without personal ties to immigration. The voices of immigrants or activists were mostly absent. . . ."

Blacks Prefer Androids to iPhones in Smartphone Survey

Blacks and Hispanics own smartphones in greater proportions than whites, with blacks sharply preferring Androids over iPhones, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reported Wednesday.

"For the first time since the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project began systematically tracking smartphone adoption, a majority of Americans now own a smartphone of some kind," Aaron Smith wrote for Pew. "Our definition of a smartphone owner includes anyone who says 'yes' to one—or both—of the following questions:

  • 55% of cell phone owners say that their phone is a smartphone.

  • 58% of cell phone owners say that their phone operates on a smartphone platform common to the U.S. market.

"Taken together, 61% of cell owners said yes to at least one of these questions and are classified as smartphone owners. Because 91% of the adult population now owns some kind of cell phone, that means that 56% of all American adults are now smartphone adopters. One third (35%) have some other kind of cell phone that is not a smartphone, and the remaining 9% of Americans do not own a cell phone at all. . . ."

Pew surveyed 1,571 non-Hispanic whites, 252 non-Hispanic blacks and 249 Hispanics. Fifty-three percent of whites, 64 percent of blacks and 60 percent of Hispanics said they owned smartphones.

Twenty-five percent of all respondents said their phone was an iPhone, and 28 percent said it was an Android.

Among whites, the figure was 27 percent iPhone, 26 percent Android; blacks, 16 percent iPhone, 42 percent Android; and among Hispanics, 26 percent iPhone and 27 percent Android.

Holder Offers Email Addresses for Journalists' Comments

Reporting on Monday's meeting between Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and representatives of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Unity: Journalists for Diversity, Walt Swanston, interim executive director of Unity, said in a statement Wednesday:

"Holder said he is open to journalists weighing in on how best to update" the guidelines his office uses to gather information about media outlet leaks  "and encourages members of the media to send comments and suggestions to his office by the end of June. Anyone wishing to submit comments may send them to Ms. Nanda Chitre, deputy director, Office of Public Affairs at nanda.chitre@usdoj.gov or to Margaret Richardson, Counselor to Attorney General, Executive Branch Relations, U.S. Department of Justice, at Margaret.Richardson@usdoj.gov. . . . "

NAHJ President Hugo Balta, who was present along with Swanston and Anna Lopez Buck, NAHJ executive director, told his members, "NAHJ accepted [Holder's] proposal for members to submit ideas on policy changes. I hope many of you take advantage of this opportunity. We will provide more details later this week. . . ."

The hour-long meeting at the Justice Department took place without the National Association of Black Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, all of which declined an invitation because it was presented as off the record.

"Although originally billed as 'off the record,' Mr. Holder quickly agreed to have the meeting on the record," Balta wrote.

On Facebook, a member of NAJA commented, "I also respect the UNITY administration's decision to be there, though I do believe some explanation is overdue for the reasoning since the majority of the groups [that are members of Unity] did not attend."

Asked about that, Swanston referred Journal-isms to this statement in the Unity release: "Although other journalism groups turned down Holder's invitation, we felt it was important as a historic coalition representing diverse and underrepresented journalists to hear his explanation for the actions we had previously criticized."

[Janet Cho, a Unity representative from AAJA, responded Thursday on Facebook, "UNITY is a coalition of journalism associations, yes. But it is also a separate 501(c)3 organization that exists to promote greater media diversity. As a journalist, I agreed with UNITY's position that if we criticize someone's actions, we should also give that person a chance to respond to those criticisms and explain those actions. And as Walt and Hugo Balta have pointed out, what started out as an off-the-record meeting became a candid and open conversation."]

Original Short Story on Evers' Killing Finally Published

Medgar EversReferring to Mississippi writer Eudora Welty, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., published this editor's note Saturday:

"Eudora Welty was so angry about Medgar Evers' assassination in Jackson on June 12, 1963, that she wrote a short story ultimately titled, 'Where Is the Voice Coming From?' and published it in the July 6, 1963, New Yorker. Here, a half century later, is an early draft of that story, prepared before Byron De La Beckwith was arrested, before the New Yorker requested that names of real people and places be changed, and before Welty decided upon many other revisions to the text.

"This version has never been printed in any magazine or newspaper. The story's narrator-assassin assaults readers with repugnant language, revealing the deep hatred that has deformed his soul and made him a killer."

Eudora Welty

And then the story begins: "I says to my wife, 'Just reach and turn it off. And be quiet. You don't need to set and look at a black nigger face no longer than you want to or listen to what you don't want to hear. It’s a free country.' . . ."

Julius Hunter in 2002. He spent 28 years at St. Louis' KMOV-TV. (Credit: Chris Doane/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Retired Black Anchor: You Want to Talk About Racism?

Julius Hunter, St. Louis' first African American anchor, responded in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Monday to fired KMOV-TV anchor Larry Conners' allegations of age, race and gender discrimination in a claim for damages from KMOV-TV and its owner.

Conners, who is white, said he was unfairly paid less than a recent co-anchor, Vickie Newton, who is black.

Conners had also posted comments on Facebook suggesting that the Internal Revenue Service began targeting him after he asked a tough question in a 2012 interview with President Obama.

Hunter wrote, "First of all, what's all this stuff about racial discrimination directed at an anchor? Seems like I survived some heavy-duty, Grade-A Large racism being the first African-American reporter/anchor in a regular St. Louis prime time TV slot. Survived it unscathed for 33 years.

"Some hateful slurs were written to me over the years … letters with every other word misspelled. Phone calls from people with obvious IQs the same as room temperature. Rip up. Hang up. An Overland-based chapter of the Ku Klux Klan used to come to the station lobby every year to threaten me. Called the FBI. No need to call the EEOC.

"I developed a taste for flying directly into the face of the nastiest racial hatred instead of whining about it. . . ."

Short Takes

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Comments

The Other Suspects

Michelle Obama 's abrasive encounter with racism from an alleged ally was instructive and once again provides a real time narrative of the range and wide scope of the pathology of racism towards Black folks in the new century .

The assault comes in faces of color to those speaking foreign languages even folks from traditional religious beliefs to those with new age rituals all hold on to a common contempt for Black folks in America even those in the White House .

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