Van Jones Quits After Right-Wing Drumbeat
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Glenn Beck Led Attack on White House Green Czar
Van Jones, the White House adviser for green jobs who became a target of conservatives after the group he co-founded, Color of Change, launched a boycott of Fox News Channel's "Glenn Beck Program," has resigned, the White House announced early Sunday.
Jones, 41, said the opponents of health-care reform and clean energy had decided to launch "a vicious smear campaign" against him.
The resignation "confirmed that the real opposition party to Obama right now is the conservative grassroots that draws its energy from Fox News, talk radio and the Drudge Report, and often leaves Republican elected officials scrambling to catch up," Ben Smith and Nia-Malika Henderson wrote for Politico.
"They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide," Jones said in his statement of resignation. "I have been inundated with calls - from across the political spectrum - urging me to 'stay and fight.' But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future," he said, according to Charles Cooper reporting for CBS News.
In 2005, Jones co-founded Color of Change, a Bay Area-based group styled after MoveOn.org, formed in the wake of government failure to respond adequately to Hurricane Katrina's devastation. The group also raised public awareness of the Jena 6 case, which involved disparate punishment given fighting black and white Jena, La., high school students, and other causes. The Yale-educated best-selling author moved on in 2007 to found and serve as the executive director of Green for All, an organization that related the Green Movement to low-income communities and the larger issue of climate change.
Jones was a finalist last year to replace Tavis Smiley as commentator on radio's syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show," appeared on Smiley's "State of the Black Union" symposium and in March was listed as one of the "Time 100," "the people who most affect our world." Actor Leonardo deCaprio wrote his tribute.
In March, President Obama named him special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In that role he briefed such groups as the black press on the administration's plans in that area.
Although Jones had long left Color of Change, Beck targeted him after the activist group launched a boycott that claimed 36 companies had pledged not to advertise on Beck's show. The Fox host had said he believed Obama was 'a racist.'
"During a six-minute biographical profile, set to ominous music, Beck said Jones was twice arrested for political protests and has described himself as a 'rowdy black nationalist.' The talk show host cast the piece as part of a broader examination of Obama's 'czars,' special advisers to the president who 'don't answer to anybody,'" Matea Gold reported on Aug. 24 for the Los Angeles Times.
"Why is it that such a committed revolutionary has made it so high into the Obama administration as one of his chief advisers?" Beck asked.
"Jones issued two public apologies in recent days, one for signing a petition that questioned whether Bush administration officials 'may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war' and the other for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration," Garance Franke-Ruta and Anne E. Kornblut wrote in the Washington Post.
Blogger David Roberts, writing on grist.com, concluded, "As a lefty activist fighting a malign administration, he basically signed on to anything that came across his desk, without always reading closely or thinking it through."
It was signing the petition, which an aide said Jones had not fully read, that seemed to seal Jones' fate, but that was not all.¬†¬† On "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace called Jones a "self-professed communist" and declared to his roundtable panelists, "I think we all agree he had to go because of his political baggage."
Conservative commentator William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, said the episode reflected a failure by the mainstream media, which "did not cover this guy," and that Jones' unfitness had to be revealed by "the blogs." Kristol singled out the New York Times, which dropped Kristol as a regular op-ed columnist in January after a year.¬†
Beck said in a statement to Politico that "the American people stood up and demanded answers."
"Instead of providing them, the Administration had Jones resign under cover of darkness," Beck said. "I continue to be amazed by the power of everyday Americans to initiate change in our government through honest questioning, and judging by the other radicals in the administration, I expect that questioning to continue for the foreseeable future."
In the New Republic, however, Kate Sheppard wrote Thursday, "Glenn Beck may have more to worry about with Jones outside the White House than in it."
- Alexander Burns, Politico: Van Jones and the W.H. casualty list
- Michael Calderone, Politico: Van who? Beck, bloggers pushed story
- Jeff Chang blog: Time To Knuckle Up :: On Van Jones' Resignation
- Wayne Dawkins, politicsincolor.com: American Revolution, 21st century style
- FoxNews.com: Obama 'Green Jobs' Adviser Van Jones Resigns Amid Controversy
- Ryan Grim, Huffington Post: Glenn Beck Gets First Scalp: Van Jones Resigns
- Emil Guillermo blog: Van Jones: Latest victim of the Right's Nouveau McCarthyism
- Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP: On the resignation of Van Jones, White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs
- Cliff Kincaid, Family Security Matters: Van Jones Mystery Solved? More on Communists in the White House
- Lisa Lerer, Politico: GOP czar revolt scores its first win as Van Jones resigns
- Lisa Lerer, Politico: More czars on conservative hit list
- Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times: Looking for common ground in Glenn Beck country
- John Nichols, the Nation: Van Jones Exit Isn't Right-Wing Win, It's an Obama Surrender
- David Roberts, grist.org: Will Glenn Beck bring down Van Jones after all?
- David Sirota, Open Left blog: Taking the Movement Out of the Obama White House
- Ben Smith, Politico: Trutherism-lite, and a second Jones tie
Stephen A. Smith Wins Arbitrator's Ruling
September 4, 2009
Inquirer, Fired Columnist Ordered to Negotiate Redress
Stephen A. Smith was fired improperly by the Philadelphia Inquirer last year, an arbitrator ruled, ordering the two sides to negotiate how to appropriately compensate the sports columnist, a Newspaper Guild official told Journal-isms on Friday.
"We are absolutely thrilled that we were correct," said the Guild's Bill Ross. "We're looking forward to getting him back to work." Ross is administrative officer of the Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America of Greater Philadelphia Local 38010.
The Guild and Smith sought the commentator's reinstatement as an Inquirer sports columnist and asked that he receive full back pay over his "unjust termination." Ross said the two sides would be back at the negotiating table on Tuesday.
The ruling came in what has been a mixed year for Smith, who lost his ESPN radio show on May 1. He had appeared on the morning show "First Take," had written for ESPN: The Magazine and was part of news shows across ESPN platforms, a spokesman said then, primarily discussing the NBA.
Smith also threatened a court suit against the Inquirer, retaining the Stuart, Fla.-based Willie E. Gary law firm. One of his lawyers, Johnine Barnes of Baker & Hostetler, told Journal-isms, "due to ongoing legal matters, we do not have any comment regarding Stephen Smith's employment with The Philadelphia Inquirer, nor does Stephen on the advice of counsel. . . . Stephen loves to write and it is his desire to continue to do so in print media."
In the Guild Reporter, a national publication of the Guild, Andy Zipster gave this account of the ruling by arbitrator Richard R. Kasher:
"Smith, a columnist with an unblemished disciplinary record for 13 years, was regarded so highly by the Inquirer that he became its best-paid staffer and was featured in its advertising campaigns. Eventually he became a sought-after radio and television commentator, and when ESPN offered him a daily show in 2005, he approached management to negotiate an arrangement allowing him to continue his column on a more limited basis.
"The result was an agreement, signed by Anne Gordon, the Inquirer's managing editor, and Amanda Bennett, the executive editor, stipulating that Smith would write a minimum of 75 columns a year for an annual salary of $125,000. The arrangement was to run for one year, until February of 2006, at which time Smith had the option of resigning, of extending the agreement ‚Äî or of returning as a full-time columnist, at a salary of $190,000. Moreover, if he returned as a full-time employee would receive a salary increase to $205,000 that June and to $225,000 in June of 2007.
"But that was before the roof caved in on the newspaper industry. Bennett was out and William Marimow was in, as the editor responsible 'for overall news coverage,' when the Inquirer began the first in a series of newsroom layoffs in January, 2007. When Gordon told him a few months later that it was time to give Smith ‚Äî who by that time was back on a full-time basis ‚Äî a $20,000 raise, he was nonplused."
"'At the time that Anne [Ms. Gordon] told me we had to give Stephen a raise and I looked at the contract, I said to myself ‚Äî I hadn't really known how much he was paid. And I said boy, we should really be getting better work," Marimow testified in the arbitration hearing, held April 24 and May 14 this year. Under cross-examination, he further explained: "I thought that it would be wrong to give a raise of that magnitude after all these layoffs, and I didn't want to do it because of the trauma that the newsroom had experienced."
"Company witnesses maintained that Smith was simply 'reassigned' in August, 2007, and denied that being bumped from a position as a featured columnist to a general assignment reporter was a demotion. Yet Marimow ‚Äî described by the arbitrator as 'extraordinarily candid, credible and fair-minded' ‚Äî conceded that Smith's reassignment was a demotion. And as the arbitrator added, Marimow's testimony persuaded him that Smith's subsequent treatment was 'motivated, at least in part if not substantial part, because Mr. Marimow believed that Mr. Smith was being overpaid.'
"Now the two sides have two months in which to negotiate whether Smith will regain his coveted columnist's slot, how much he should be paid ‚Äî and how much back pay he's due. And that latter sum could be quite a bundle."
Marimow referred questions to Michael Lorenca, vice president for human resources, who was not available.
Hispanic, Black TV Homes Growing Faster Than Others
"The growth of Hispanic TV homes continues to outpace the general market," Katy Bachman reported for Mediaweek. "The number of Hispanic TV homes grew 2.3 percent to 12.9 million compared to a 0.3 percent increase among total U.S. TV homes, according to Nielsen's new universe estimates for the 2000-10 TV season, released Friday," she wrote.
"African-American TV households also grew moderately, up only 0.8 percent . . .
"The number of persons age two and older in Hispanic TV homes grew 2.4 percent to 44.3 million. The number of persons two and older in African American TV homes grew 1.3 percent to 37.5 million, while persons two and older in Asian TV homes was virtually flat at 14.5 million.
"Nielsen released universe estimates for TV households last week."
Obamas Take Health Care Case to Rodale Magazines
"President Obama is taking his argument for a health care plan to a new place: Rodale magazines, where he or his wife appear on coming covers of Prevention, Men‚Äôs Health, Women‚Äôs Health and the new publication Children‚Äôs Health," Stephanie Clifford reported Wednesday in the New York Times.
"Michelle Obama talked about her family‚Äôs diet in Children‚Äôs Health.
". . . The president has been pitching his health care plan without total success in Congress and in town hall meetings nationwide. Now, he makes the argument in the pages of the Rodale publications. Peter Moore, editor of Men‚Äôs Health, who wrote a cover article on Mr. Obama in November, approached the White House in the spring with the idea of doing articles focused on health care in four Rodale magazines. Three will run in the October issues, while the Prevention cover is appearing in November.
"The Men's Health and Women's Health articles publicize the Obama health care plan, with Men‚Äôs Health strongly endorsing it. A sidebar to the president's interview there lists 'five reasons you should care' about the health care plan, and each point is positive ‚Äî your premium may go down, your emergency room care would improve."
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by school children at the Seed school in Washington after he signed the Kennedy Service Act for National Service in April. (Credit: Pete Souza/White House)
Columnists Hold Forth on Latest Sniping at Obama
"The White House and federal education officials scrambled Thursday to reassure school leaders that President Barack Obama's national speech to schoolchildren next week will touch on important educational goals, despite criticism from some conservatives that the president is planning to use the speech to 'indoctrinate' children with his political views," Dakarai I. Aarons wrote for Education Week.
‚ÄúThe president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning,‚Äù the U.S. Department of Education said in an e-mail urging schools to participate in what it called a 'historic moment,' to be broadcast live Sept. 8 on C-SPAN and the White House‚Äôs Web site.
"But the planned 15- to 20-minute noontime speech ‚Äî and, especially, a menu of classroom activities (for younger and older students) suggested by the White House in connection with it ‚Äî continued to draw denunciations, leading some school officials to say they would let parents opt out of having their children watch."
Meanwhile, "Obama's plan to make his case for healthcare reform in an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday is forcing the broadcast television networks to upend their prime-time schedules yet again, much to their consternation," as the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Obama‚Äôs speech has been billed as the White House‚Äôs last and best chance to regain the upper hand on the roiling healthcare debate. But not all the networks are willing to cooperate. It appears unlikely that Fox, which is debuting the season premiere of 'So You Think You Can Dance,' followed by its much-anticipated new comedy 'Glee,' will carry the speech. Instead, the network‚Äôs sister channel Fox News will air the address" on cable.
- Betty Winston Bay?©, Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal: An ugly outburst that defines a moment in history
- Donna Britt, Politics Daily: Michael Jackson's Surprising Health Care Lesson
- Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News: Until smart equals sexy, U.S. kids will lag on SAT scores
- George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Spineless Democrats Should Borrow a Page from Ted Kennedy
- Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times: Nation again awash in 'Wirtism'
- Eugene Kane blog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mommy, why can't I hear the president's speech?
- Douglas C. Lyons, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Reader vents over debate hyperbole
- E. Ethelbert Miller, ebonyjet.com: Obama‚Äôs War and God's other Eden
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., San Diego Union-Tribune: Problems money won't solve
- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Chilly fall in polling, health-care debate
- Les Payne blog: What Do You Want, Hitler?
- James Ragland, Dallas Morning News: A few loudmouths turn Obama's positive message into poison
- Dr. Tyeese Gaines Reid, thegrio.com: For too many blacks, end-of-life care is taboo
- Elmer Smith, Philadelphia Daily News: Cling to current health care & you'll pay dearly
- Marisa Trevino, Latina Lista blog: Objections over Obama's education speech unleashes a new version of McCarthyism
- Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ‚ÄòPolitical Brain‚Äô author: Obama sounds like Dukakis
Hometown Mayor to Give Glenn Beck Key to City
"As dozens of companies pledge not to advertise on Glenn Beck's Fox News Channel show after he called President Obama a racist, and as his controversial on-air behavior draws more scrutiny, the mayor of Mount Vernon ... is presenting him with a key to the city," Mark Rahner reported Thursday in the Seattle Times.
"Mayor Bud Norris announced that Beck, who grew up in Mount Vernon, will be on hand to accept the award Sept. 26, which Norris will also proclaim 'Glenn Beck Day.' Tickets for the Saturday evening event are $25.
". . .Norris, mayor since 2004, said he'd been planning the Beck event for 'six months to a year.' Beck also has a Seattle speaking engagement that day."
"'The timing is probably unfortunate with everything that's going on," said Kristen Whitener, director of Mount Vernon's Chamber of Commerce. Her phone had been ringing, too.
"'We've gotten phone calls from people who are very upset. People are threatening not to shop here, things like that,' she said. 'I think it's unfortunate that some of the phone calls we're getting from people are being negative to Mount Vernon because of it. I hope they would understand that one decision by one person doesn't reflect everybody.'"
- Jeff Winbush blog: MSNBC ignores Pat Buchanan‚Äôs Hitler mancrush
Mom of Captive Cuban Writer Awarded $27.5 Million
"A federal judge ordered the Cuban government and the ruling Communist Party on Wednesday to pay $27.5 million in damages to the mother of a journalist jailed since a 2003 crackdown on dissent," Curt Anderson reported from Miami for the Associated Press.
"U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold ruled in the case of Omar Rodriguez Saludes, who is serving a 27-year sentence in Cuban prisons that the judge described as 'deplorable and degrading' in his 13-page order.
"'During his imprisonment, he has been beaten, starved, given poor food, placed in solitary confinement and deprived of medical treatment,' Gold wrote, quoting from allegations in the lawsuit. 'I have no doubt that the acts of the Cuban government are intended to oppress those in Cuba who seek to freely voice their opinions.'
"The judge said the family deserved to be compensated for 'the intentional infliction of emotional distress' it has endured because of the son's mistreatment by Cuba.
"The lawsuit was filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act and the Alien Tort Claims Act, which allows non-U.S. citizens access to courts to challenge violations of international laws or treaties."
N.Y. Daily News Corrects Roxanne Shante Story
The New York Daily News has corrected its Aug. 23 story that reported, "Twenty-five years after the first queen of hip-hop was stiffed on her royalty checks, Dr. Roxanne Shante boasts an Ivy League Ph.D. ‚Äî financed by a forgotten clause in her first record deal."
"It has come to the attention of the Daily News that a number of statements in this article written for the Daily News by a freelance reporter are, or may be, false," a correction appended to the Web version of the story begins. "Cornell University has told us that Shante did not receive any degree from it under either her birth or stage name. We have confirmed that prior to the article, at least four publications on Cornell's own website reported that Shante had earned a Ph.D. from the university. Those references have now been removed. And in response to an inquiry today, Marymount College stated that Shante attended there for less than one semester.
"Numerous e-mail and telephone inquiries by the freelance reporter to Marymount during the preparation of the article to confirm Shante's account were not responded to. Finally, there have been recent media reports that there never was an education clause in Shante's recording contract. When the reporter contacted Warner Brothers Records about the contract before the article, its only response was that it was having difficulty finding someone within the company who could 'talk eloquently' about it."
Ben Sheffner of Slate magazine wrote a story Wednesday poking holes in the original account, saying, "Virtually everything about the Daily News' heartwarming 'projects-to-Ph.D.' story appears to be false."
- Wayne Marshall and Jeff Chang blog: The Story Behind The Story Behind The Roxanne Shante Story
- Mike Masnick, TechDirt blog: Reporter On The Roxanne Shante Story Chimes In... Sorta
"Copy Editors Are Essential - Even Online"
Of the stories written for the student newspapers covering the journalism conventions this summer, this one has the most resonance as one scrolls the Internet, even reading the work of veteran journalists:
"Copy editors are essential - even online."
"To me, it seems obvious that copy editors are essential in the production of solid journalism," wrote Audrey Kuo for the AAJA Voices of the Asian American Journalists Association. "And yet, as I was working on Voices stories about the shifting media landscape, I was shocked to hear just how many newsrooms are bypassing copy desks to post directly online," she wrote.
"It‚Äôs just not possible to read your own copy objectively.
"I wonder what lawsuit or catastrophic error it will take for news organizations to figure out how essential copy editors are ‚Äì and I worry that we ask too much of readers when we seek forgiveness for our sloppiness."
- "Like It Is," an Emmy-award winning public-affairs show on New York's WABC-TV that has analyzed the social, political and cultural life of the black community since the early 1970s, can now be viewed online ‚Äî but only shows broadcast this season. Already posted are a 1977 interview with the late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and a 1983 interview with the late Robert L. Haggins, Malcolm X's personal photographer. Host Gil Noble's lawyer, Joseph Fleming, told Journal-isms that Noble, 77, holds the copyright to all shows prior to his current contract, which took effect in October and which extends to 2011. After that, the shows produced under the current contract revert to Noble. Noble's show is not syndicated. He is wary of relinquishing control of his product, which he also says could be used to bolster black history in schools, which he told Journal-isms is sorely needed.
- "Six of the most important journalism groups, including the Radio-Television News Directors Association, the Online News Association and the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), are protesting new restrictions on the media's coverage of college football," Al Tompkins wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute. "The restrictions would limit the media's photo, video and blogging coverage of sports games, among other things." The groups sent a letter to the Big Ten Conference on Friday,
- Don Imus' move to the Fox Business Network on Oct. 5 is official. "We have now learned the statute of limitations on a racial slur," media writer Eric Deggans wrote for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. "I said repeatedly when the Imus controversy first exploded ‚Äî speaking both as a media critic and as head of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists ‚Äî that Imus' problem wasn't just slinging the term 'nappy headed hoes.' The more troubling issue, was his long history of making similar jokes on air, just before welcoming world class journalists and politicians into his massive radio salon."
- Ron Jones, vice president of programming with Chicago Public Radio, has been named program director of WDET-FM in Detroit, the Detroit station announced on Thursday. Jones "will oversee WDET's broadcast and editorial operations. In Chicago he managed programming including news, music, engineering and other initiatives, for WBEZ-FM as well as affiliates WBEQ-FM in Chesterton, Ind., and WBEW-FM in Morris, Ill. He also developed new programming."
- Lem Satterfield, an award-winning boxing writer during his 18 years at the Baltimore Sun, has joined AOL Fanhouse as its new boxing editor/writer. "In addition to boxing, he also produced a number of investigative and feature pieces. Lem co-authored a critically acclaimed series . . . on Baltimore's Edmondson High School, a tale about an inner city football team which eventually won a state title," the editors said. "He comes to FanHouse from his most recent role as a senior content editor for digitalsports.com."
- In Hawaii, "KHNL news anchors Stephanie Lum and Mari-Ela David and reporter Minna Sugimoto will be among the on-air journalists who will be part of the merged KHNL-KGMB9 news team," Rick Daysog reported Friday for the Honolulu Advertiser. "But well-known anchors Howard Dashefsky and Diane Ako and Chief Meteorologist Sharie Shima, all at KHNL, will lose their jobs once the merger of the two news operations is completed, sources familiar with the station said."
- In the Gambia, West Africa, six journalists who were given two-year jail sentences on sedition charges on Aug. 6 were released Thursday evening from the prisons where they were being held after receiving a pardon from President Yahya Jammeh, the press-freedom groups Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists reported. However, "One journalist remains missing in the Gambia since he was detained by a Gambian National Intelligence Agency officer in July 2006. Former Daily Observer reporter Ebrima Manneh has not been heard from since despite repeated calls to the government to disclose his whereabouts," CPJ said.
- "A year after his arrest by U.S. forces in Iraq, freelance Reuters cameraman Ibrahim Jassam remains imprisoned without charge, and has not been told what evidence ‚Äî if any ‚Äî is held against him," the International Freedom of Expression Exchange said.
- "The bullet-ridden body of journalist Christian Poveda, whose new documentary on a violent Salvadoran street gang was scheduled for wide release this month, was discovered Wednesday afternoon just north of the capital, San Salvador, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Salvadoran authorities to thoroughly investigate the slaying," Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday.
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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