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Stations Await Fate of Michael Dyson Show

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Celebrity Academic Takes Leave After Just 4 Months

Social critic Michael Eric Dyson hasn't hosted his new public radio show for more than a month, and the originating station, WEAA at Morgan State University in Baltimore, hasn't carried it in at least a week. Michael Eric Dyson

Participating stations have been told there might be a change in hosts, and for the time being, Tony Cox, a veteran of the "Tavis Smiley Show" in its National Public Radio days and of its successor, "News & Notes," has been hosting the program from the NPR West studios in Culver City, Calif. The show is also being produced from there.

"Everybody's waiting to see what's going to happen," Station Manager Candy Capel of WVAS-FM at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala., told Journal-isms on Friday.

Dyson is believed to be in negotiations with the show's creators, the African American Public Radio Consortium, though his program has been on the air only since the spring.

The prolific Dyson, a Georgetown University sociology professor, minister, author, hip-hop aficionado and talk-show pundit, hosted a program syndicated on Radio One until March 2007.

He returned to the airwaves in April as the latest product of the consortium that sparked "The Tavis Smiley Show," "News & Notes" and "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin. The consortium, primarily comprising stations at historically black colleges and universities, was formed amid discontent with the attention NPR was giving African American programming.

As the consortium promised, Dyson indulged his passions, often devoting the entire hour to a single interview.

Oprah Winfrey phoned in from Chicago to become Dyson's first guest, followed by Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, Spike Lee, Hill Harper, Donna Brazile, Samuel L. Jackson and Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America. Dyson hosted the show from XM Satellite Radio studios in Washington.

While "News & Notes" was carried in 64 markets when it went off the air March 20 amid budget cuts at NPR, Dyson's show was carried in only 18.

Still, the stations that carry it say they are satisfied. "We're getting good feedback," said Craig Knight, program manager at KCEP-FM in Las Vegas. "Our listeners like it and it's a good daypart for us," airing at 10 a.m.

"We have seen substantial growth between 6 and 7," the early evening hours when it airs, said Charles Hudson, program manager at KTSU at Texas Southern University in Houston. His station previously broadcast music during that hour.

Right-wing talk-show host Michael Savage airs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in that market, "and that is a welcome change," he said of the Dyson show.

LaFontaine E. Oliver, general manager of WEAA, who produces Dyson's show, did not respond to requests for comment. On Aug. 10, his Web site explained, "Tony Cox is the guest host filling in for Michael Eric Dyson, as Dyson takes a break."

The last show podcast on Dyson's Web site was Aug. 19, with Cox as host.

Neither Dyson nor Loretta Rucker, executive director of the consortium, responded to requests for comment.


  

President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday drew 31.8 million viewers across the broadcast and cable networks, (Credit: Pete Souza/White House)

People of Color Missing from Obama Speech Analysis

The cable news networks were nearly bereft of people of color analyzing President Obama's address on health care to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night.

The absences were attributed to vacations and other coincidences, but they took place after a speech that dealt with a topic— the lack of health care — that disproportionately affects people of color, and a disrespectful shout at a black president from a white Southern congressman — Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.'s "You lie!" — that some saw for its racial implications.

"CNN consistently has more diversity than other networks on a regular basis. Unfortunately, several of our commentators had previous commitments during Wednesday night's special coverage," CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery told Journal-isms. Roland Martin, a regular panelist at such events, wrote on Facebook that he had a speaking engagement.

On Fox News Channel, Juan Williams is usually part of the discussion. Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news for Fox News Channel said, "We change up the panel all the time — Juan remains an invaluable member of all our political coverage and general programming."

On MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson was missing. "Out of town, on vacation. They asked but logistically I couldn't make it work," he told Journal-isms by e-mail. An MSNBC spokesman noted that Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page was a guest during the pre-speech coverage. On CNN, Suzanne Malveaux and Elaine Quijano provided reports during the day.

Even the black-oriented networks were missing in action immediately after the speech. Both TV One and BET were showing sitcoms, though BET televised the address later in the evening.

Obama's address attracted 31.8 million viewers across the broadcast and cable networks, according to Nielsen, Alex Weprin reported for Broadcasting & Cable. "The address was televised on ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, Telemundo MSMNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC and BET," the story said.

Though they might have been missing in the on-air instant analysis, the pundits of color did opine.

"One of President Obama’s goals in his speech Wednesday night – unacknowledged, perhaps, but central – must have been to make the [intransigent] Republican opposition to health-care reform look rude, petty, disingenuous, counterproductive and fundamentally dishonest," Robinson wrote Wednesday night for the Post Web site. "My verdict: Mission accomplished, thanks to lots of Republican help."

Williams appeared on National Public Radio on Friday morning. "It was about race," he said of Wilson's comment, linking it to the "birther" movement and the protests of Obama speaking to schoolchildren earlier in the week.

Talk-Show Hosts Going After FCC's Diversity Officer

Mark Lloyd"New Federal Communications Commission chief Julius Genachowski says he wants to promote diversity in media ownership, but his recent decision to hire Mark Lloyd, a civil-rights attorney critical of corporate-owned media, to help with that effort has riled some talk-radio hosts who fear the agency is planning to go after them," Amy Schatz reported Friday for the Wall Street Journal.

"The criticism comes as another Obama administration appointee, environmental jobs adviser Van Jones, resigned over the weekend following an outcry over things he said before joining the government.

"Mr. Lloyd was named in July to the new FCC post of chief diversity officer as part of what agency Chairman Julius Genachowski called an effort to 'expand opportunities for women, minorities and small businesses to participate in the communications marketplace.'

"FCC chief of staff Edward Lazarus said Mr. Lloyd is currently working, for example, on how to increase broadband adoption in minority communities and by small businesses. Through an FCC spokeswoman, Mr. Lloyd declined to comment.

"But Mr. Lloyd in the past has criticized corporate ownership of media outlets, saying it has led to conservative dominance of talk radio, among other things. He has called for a broader range of voices in the media and advocated taxing station owners to subsidize public broadcasters and local media.

"In 2007, while a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank with close ties to the Obama administration, Mr. Lloyd co-authored a report that proposed ways the FCC could change the balance of conservatives to progressives on talk radio by imposing new rules on the radio industry, such as more frequent license renewals and a national radio-ownership cap.

"Mr. Lloyd has no authority to set policy at the FCC, and his appointment has drawn little reaction so far from companies."

Meanwhile, "The fourth annual 'Hold Their Feet to the Fire' talk radio event, urging immigration reform without amnesty, is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, RadioInk reported.

"The event, organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform and Radio America Networks' Roger Hedgecock, will feature 47 talk hosts broadcasting from Washington and taking calls on immigration policy. Hosts will interview members of Congress, media personalities, activists, and experts on immigration." Armstrong Williams is the only talk show host of color to sign up, FAIR spokesman Bob Dane told Journal-isms.

Black Press Cancels Winter Meeting in S. Carolina

"The National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Black Press of America, has announced that it will not hold its mid-winter conference in South Carolina scheduled for January," the organization said on Thursday.

"The organization of more than 200 Black-owned newspapers is joining the NAACP economic boycott of the state that has been in effect since July 1999 when the South Carolina NAACP called for it as a protest of the Confederate flag — a symbol of racial hatred — atop the State House and inside the House and Senate chambers.

"'As African-American newspaper publishers, we stand in solidarity with the NAACP and fully support the economic boycott of South Carolina,' states NNPA Chairman Danny J. Bakewell Sr.

Speaking of Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who interrupted President Obama's speech before Congress Wednesday with, "You lie!'" Bakewell said, "Rep. Wilson's remarks were racist, disrespectful, and a disingenuous violation -— not only of President Obama — but to the institution of the presidency and only solidified our position and the importance in not spending Black dollars where Black people are not respected.

"'The continued public and blatant disrespect of President Barack Obama by members of Congress will not be rewarded with our dollars nor will a state that continues to uphold America's shameful past by flying the Confederate flag.'"

Networks Fail to Respond to Urban League on Diversity

In August, Stephanie Jones, executive director of the National Urban League Policy Institute, wrote to the heads of all three of the major cable news networks and to NBC, urging them to cease giving a one-sided platform for incendiary points of view.

None has responded, Jones told Journal-isms on Friday.

“We wrote to you in October 2008 to urge you to increase the racial diversity of your political and policy coverage in order to meet your obligation to present fair and accurate information to your viewers and to prevent the increasingly frequent dissemination of dangerous myths on your programs,” Jones wrote in the letter addressed to network presidents Roger Ailes of Fox News, Steve Capus of NBC News, Phil Griffin of MSNBC, and Jonathan Klein of CNN.

“Unfortunately, in recent weeks, certain hosts and commentators on your networks have ratcheted up their rhetoric and are actively advancing outright lies, advocating offensive and extremist social agendas and inflaming dangerous elements in our society,” Jones wrote.

"Jones specifically targeted conservative talking heads Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan, Glenn Beck and Michele Malkin in her letter," Pharoh Martin wrote for the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

Jones is the author of "Sunday Morning Apartheid," which surveyed the Sunday talk shows from January 2004 through Dec. 31, 2005, and found, "the percentage of broadcasts with no black guests increased from 60 percent to 61 percent and the percentage of programs with no interviews with black guests went up from 78 percent to 80 percent."

Capus, honored at the 2007 convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in Las Vegas, said then that he had read the report and would act on it.

N.Y. Times Concedes It Lagged on Van Jones Story

Jill Abramson, managing editor of the New York Times, conceded this week that the paper was "a beat behind" on the story of the attack on Van Jones, the White House "Green Jobs Czar" who was forced to resign Saturday after an assault by Fox News' Glenn Beck and by right-wing radio talk-show hosts.

"The Times was, in fact, a beat behind on this story," Abramson said in an online chat with readers.

"Why? One reason was that our Washington bureau was somewhat short-staffed during the height of the pre-Labor Day vacation period. This is not an excuse. Another is that despite being a so-called 'czar,' Mr. Jones was not a high-ranking official. Nevertheless, we should have been paying closer attention.

"We did cover Mr. Jones's resignation on Page One on Sept. 7."

Meanwhile, Gabriel Voiles of Fairness & Accuracy in Media last week called attention to a letter to the Times by Leila McDowell, vice president for communications of the NAACP, that said the Times missed the story in reporting President Obama's speech commemorating the NAACP's 100th anniversary.

"The New York Times distinguished itself from most major media by virtually ignoring the 100th anniversary of the N.A.A.C.P. . . ." she wrote.

"When The Times finally did send a reporter to cover the speech by President Obama, the resulting article ('Obama Gives Fiery Address at N.A.A.C.P.,' July 17) focused on personal responsibility. But that was the least prominent part of Mr. Obama’s speech.

"What was noteworthy was his discussion of racial disparities, the barriers facing African-Americans and the policies to redress social gaps."

Obama himself had complained that some in the media ignored his remarks on government responsibility.

The Times had summarized the speech as, "Obama Tells Fellow Blacks: ‘No Excuses’ for Failure" in a story by the Washington bureau's Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Batten Led Va. Paper Against "Massive Resistance"

Frank Batten in 1994.Frank Batten Sr., who rose from errand boy "to publisher of The Virginian-Pilot and its afternoon sister, then parlayed his newspapers into an adventuresome media company with global reach," also led a news organization that was alone among major Virginia papers in opposing the pro-segregation "Massive Resistance" doctrine of the 1950s, Earl Swift wrote Friday in the Norfolk, Va., paper.

Batten died at 82 on Thursday. "He helped lead the fight for integrated schools in Norfolk, midwifed Old Dominion University into being, commanded The Associated Press and its far-flung correspondents, and defied a legion of doubters to create The Weather Channel," Swift wrote.

"He also lavished endowments on schools and universities and co-founded a scholarship program that guaranteed college educations to inner-city children."

The Virginian-Pilot and its editor, Lenoir Chambers, showed up the Massive Resistance policy "as incoherent in an unflinching series of editorials.

"'Those were pretty rough days,' Batten recalled in a 1987 interview. 'We got a lot of bitter letters. We would have racist things spray-painted on the building rather frequently and occasionally had bomb threats.'

"Gene Roberts, a Virginian-Pilot reporter who went on to become a dean of American journalism in Philadelphia and New York, recalled that Batten initially 'seemed to take pride that the two papers could go their different ways.

"'But ultimately,' he said, 'he felt that the Ledger's position was reinforcing the closing of the schools.' When the Ledger's editorial staff proved unable to effectively change the paper's position, Batten did it himself. . . .

"He also helped organize a full-page advertisement, signed by dozens of Norfolk's social leaders, calling for the schools to reopen.

"Norfolk's schools reopened peacefully in February 1959. Chambers' editorials won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize."

Laid Off, and Her Investigative Work Gets No Byline

Mc Nelly TorresMc Nelly Torres, a consumer investigative reporter and board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, was laid off from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in May with 29 other newsroom staffers. She says one question went through her mind, Bob Norman wrote on his blog for the Broward-Palm Beach Post: What was going to happen to her supermarket food inspection story?

"She told me she spent several weeks on the project, finding evidence of unsafe food handling and other health violations at local stores. . . .

"Flash-forward to Sunday. The story was published on the newspaper's front page, but there was no byline on the story at all, which is highly unusual for an investigative piece. At the bottom of the text, it was noted that the article was written by another staff writer (and it had been rewritten, with essentially the same content). Torres was given only a contributing line on the story she'd birthed. Adding insult, the newspaper got her name wrong, leaving out the space between Mc and Nelly. After Torres wrote for the newspaper for four years, you might think they'd remember how her name goes.

"She was disappointed but sent what she said was a respectful email asking about the decision to Sentinel Executive Editor Earl Maucker, Managing Editor Phil Ward, and Metzger," a reference to her editor, Cyndi Metzger. "She didn't hear back from any of them but did talk with Metzger on the phone. Torres, who is now working freelance, says that Metzger, who didn't answer questions submitted from the Pulp, apologized but offered no explanation.

"'That story was a labor of love. What happened to giving credit where credit's due?' Torres asks rhetorically."

Afghan Journalists Blame West in Colleague's Death

Sultan Munadi (New York Times) "A group of Afghan journalists blamed the international coalition Thursday for the death of a kidnapped colleague during the British commando rescue of a New York Times reporter and accused the troops of having a 'double standard' for Western and Afghan lives," the Associated Press reported.

"The accusation came as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said that troops had carried out the raid Wednesday in an attempt to recover both British-Irish reporter Stephen Farrell and his Afghan translator Sultan Munadi and that the mission was authorized as the 'best chance of protecting life.'

"The newly formed Media Club of Afghanistan — set up by Afghan reporters who work with international news outlets — also condemned the Taliban for abducting both journalists last week in northern Afghanistan as they investigated reports of civilian deaths in a German-ordered airstrike.

"More than 50 Afghan reporters, wearing cameras and carrying notebooks, laid flowers Thursday at the Kabul cemetery grave of Munadi, 34, who died in gunfire as British commandos launched the rescue operation in northern Kunduz province. Farrell survived and was taken away in a helicopter. One British commando was also killed in the raid."

Short Takes

  • The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has selected Denver as the site of its 28th Annual Multimedia Convention and Career Expo, June 23-26, 2010, at the Colorado Convention Center.
  • Thomas George, a senior columnist at NFL.com, has been hired as a news columnist at AOL Sports, becoming the 10th African American at the AOL division. George, a pro football writer for nearly 27 years, worked at the New York Times from 1988 to 2004 and the Denver Post from 2004 to 2006. At the NFL, he was at first managing editor of the NFL Network. AOL Sports last week said it had hired two other African Americans, boxing writer Lem Satterfield, formerly at the Baltimore Sun, and David Steele, former Sun sports columnist, as enterprise/takeout writer and reporter.
  • "When Lisa Snell left her job as a graphic artist in 2007, she didn't expect that a year later she would become the managing editor and owner of a Native American paper," the Native American Times, Fanua J. Borodzicz wrote Wednesday for the Poynter Institute. "In addition to writing articles herself, Snell publishes stories from the Associated Press and from three freelance writers. She collaborates with other small-town newspapers and tribal publications by sharing the stories she publishes in the Times and republishing theirs. And she uses community writers ‚Äî people who are gifted in telling a good yarn and willing to do it for free. She is also the online editor/publisher of the paper's Web site, which was included in the purchase."
  • KHOU-TV's video report on El Dia's closing."El Dia, Houston‚Äôs Spanish-language daily newspaper, quietly folded last week, leaving thousands of Spanish-speaking residents without a daily voice," Alex Sanz wrote Monday for KHOU-TV. "Its absence, in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods, has been felt widely."
  • "Former CBS 'Early Show' personality Mark McEwen is moving on with his life after a massive stroke nearly four years ago that abruptly ended his TV career. He's written a book about his experiences and is trying to raise awareness about stroke warning signs and recovery," the Associated Press reported this week. "But McEwen, 54, is now dealing with a fresh setback ‚Äî the abrupt end to a court battle against the doctor who told him he had the stomach flu when he showed up at a Maryland hospital emergency room with stroke-like symptoms." McEwen said he did not know whether he would appeal, the Orlando Sentinel said.
  • "Detroit's Dropout Factories" are the subject of the premiere Saturday of BET's "Heart of the City" series, airing at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. Grant Clark is the producer of the Detroit installment; Jason Samuels is the senior series producer; and Detroit native Chris Webber, former NBA All-Star, narrates. It re-airs at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.
  • The Washington Times is running a weeklong expose, "The Lost Story of the Lost Continent: How Rape Is Used as a Tool of War in Congo," Matt Dornic wrote for MediaBistro. "The Times dispatched its U.N. correspondent Betsy Pisik and award-winning photojournalist Mary Calvert for six weeks . . . Their work was funded in part by a grant Calvert obtained from the White House News Photographers Association."
  • The Viet Herald Daily News is the newest paper to hit the stands in an ethnic enclave of Orange County, Calif., My-Thuan Tran wrote Tuesday for the Los Angeles Times. "At a time when most U.S. newspapers are struggling to survive, Vietnamese-language news media here are flourishing."
  • Lama HasanLama Hasan, who was based in London and anchored "World View" on ABC News Now, has been named an ABC News correspondent based in Cairo, Egypt, Kevin Allocca reported for MediaBistro.
  • Does Matt Drudge still have juice? "As Mr. Drudge retreats to sunny landscapes like Tel Aviv, Geneva and Las Vegas, some reporters that spoke to The Observer wondered if he would soon leave behind the dark world of Washington for good," Gillian Reagan wrote Tuesday for the New York Observer. "Several reporters and editors who previously touted Mr. Drudge‚Äôs influence in profiles and books replied that they had 'no comment' or did not return several phone calls by deadline."
  • "Tyra Banks has produced a reality TV show about a fashion magazine, and now she‚Äôs launching a fashion title of her own. The former model-turned-media personality is taking her brand into the online publishing world with the Web-only magazine Tyra: Beauty Inside & Out," Amy Wicks wrote Tuesday for Women's Wear Daily.
  • In Buffalo, "Channel 4 anchor-reporter Mylous Hairston will be returning to work on Sept. 14, which is about a month after he originally said he would be back after suffering a heart attack on June 30," Alan Pergament reported last week in the Buffalo News. "Hairston also will be returning to the negotiating table as the president of the Buffalo chapter of the union that represents the station's on-air talent, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)."
  • "Reporters Without Borders notes the rapid progress apparently being made in the investigation into the 3 September murder of Franco-Spanish filmmaker Christian Poveda," the press-freedom group said on Thursday. "The Salvadorean police announced yesterday that three gang members and a police officer suspected of being a gang ally have just been arrested for his murder."

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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Comments

President Obama insulted by Joe Wilson

To term a confrontational insult of a black President by a racist white South Carolinian "disrespectful" is laughable. Had a Black member of Congress done such a thing to George Bush, there would have been demands for Censure, expulsion, etc., et al. Wilson was not "disrespectful." He was outright insulting to the President, the Office of the Presidency, the Chamber, and the American people. He deserves to be drummed out of office. If Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus don't demand Wilson unequivocally apologize to President Obama on the House Floor before the entire Body AND Censure him, they also deserve to be drummed out of office.

President Obama

I agree with you. The slap on wrist given to joe wilson is an example of how biased conditions in this country are, even after the Presient's incredible victory. We wear the "right" clothes, go to the "right" schools, get the "right" job, and even become President of the United States but still there are far too many white americans who feel they have the god-given aurhority to treat us and speak to us like we're children. Even worse this offense was commited by an elected representative. I'M SICK OF IT!!!!! Joe wilson MUST be made to apologize in public on the house floor. If he can disrespect the President publicly, then HE MUST BE MADE TO RESPECT HIM publicly.

joe wilson, michael dyson, race

To Eric: You are amazing in what you hear and believe. liberals called Bush a Monkey and chimp. No one said a word. Liberals have called the part of the country who disagree racist and terrorists. How about the 15% of this country who live racism to it's fullest? Yes that group who use the race card, whine about race and use it to get whatever they want. Unfortunately for you most Americans have had it with blacks and how they cry "racism" all the time. Having liberals support your racist ways does not make it the way of the country. So from what I read you are either black or a liberal. But most assuredly you are a RACIST!!!!!

MIchael Dyson

Michael Dyson is what he says he is. A RACIST!!! Did I hear him say it. Well no but I knew he was persecuted by all the whites of the country. He slave owner abused him. He sat in the back of the bus and was beaten down. I could hear all this in this speech. Actually what I heard was " I have no substance as a human. I am a loser but want to use race to get more and more from whites." Yes Michael Dyson you are a RACIST!!!!!! You need to also know what you are talking about. NO one has called Obama a monkey. A loser a facist, a marxist, but no monkey in there.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is dealing with negative press as well. It is very discouraging how Fox news treats the Obamas

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