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Were Blacks, Latinos Dissed or Just Ignored?

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Muted Coverage of GOP Candidates' Posture on Race

No Blacks, Latinos on Time Magazine Political Team

Black Women Contributing to New Washington Post Blog

New Yorker, Miami Herald Join Univision-Marco Rubio Feud

Ken Ward, 44, Dies Before Starting New Job in Tampa

Claudia Pryor Malis, Television Producer, Documentarian

Melissa Harris-Perry Awarded Weekend MSNBC Show

Short Takes


Muted Coverage of GOP Candidates' Posture on Race

Rick Santorum Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' two days before he nearly won the Iowa caucuses.One particular narrative about the GOP presidential campaign thus far has been muted, and John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine, articulated it Tuesday on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!"

Host Amy Goodman played a sound bite of Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, campaigning in Sioux City, Iowa, over the weekend.

"I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families," Santorum said.

Goodman: "John Nichols, your response to former Senator Santorum’s comments just this week?"

Nichols: "Well, it’s an unsettling comment, and it’s a particularly unsettling one because in Iowa there is a significant African American population, not just in Des Moines, but in a number of other cities. These are folks who have really been hit hard by deindustrialization, the shutting down of factories, and a lot of the shifts in our economic system in this country. African Americans have been hit hard in Iowa, and there is a very well-entrenched, very active community. And to have a candidate for president making comments like that, instead of reaching out to the African American community, is unsettling.

"Really, one of the things that’s worth noting, Amy, is that these candidates on the Republican side have made very little, if any, effort to reach out to Iowa’s many minority communities. And I know it’s often said that Iowa is an overwhelmingly white state. It is. But there’s growing African American, Hispanic and Asian American communities here, and they have been largely neglected by the Republican candidates, just as the advertising for the Republican candidates tends to neglect a lot of the core economic issues. You don’t see ads on television talking in the way that you’d expect about unemployment, about real job creation. So many of the ads are just repeating of hard-right, social conservative talking points, obviously aimed at a tiny portion of the population, rather than the whole of even this state."

It's a story line that has been drawn in only a few corners of the news media.

". . . notably absent from the Republican candidates’ campaigning in the lead-up to [Tuesday's] Iowa caucus was any interest in reaching out to Latino voters here," Valeria Fernández reported from Perry, Iowa, Tuesday for the Spanish-language, Los Angeles-based La Opinion.

She quoted Eduardo Diaz-Cárdenas, 32, a former city council member: "The problem is there are very few Latinos who go [to political events] because we know they are going to use Hispanics like a punching bag." In Perry, "one in three residents is Hispanic — compared with the rest of Iowa, where Latinos only make up 5 percent of the state’s population of 3 million."

Dedric L. Doolin, president of the Cedar Rapids branch of the NAACP, told Journal-isms that the African American population in his city had doubled in recent years. The 2010 Census put the number at 5.6 percent, partly as a result of recruiting from the Rockwell Collins aerospace and defense company and emigration from Chicago. Yet, he said, "In talking with African Americans, I heard of no real effort by any of the Republican party [candidates] to reach out to African Americans." Perhaps it might have been different had businessman Herman Cain, who is black, remained in the race, Doolin said.

Wrote Marisa Treviño on her Latina Lista blog, ". . . if it’s that easy to ignore Latinos while campaigning, it’s even easier to ignore them when holding a position that is supposed to represent all the people, regardless of differences.'

If the candidates weren't ignoring African Americans and Hispanics, it seems, they were insulting them.

Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, accused Santorum on Tuesday of pandering to racist elements within his party and called on the other candidates to repudiate Santorum's comments, Suzanne Gamboa reported for the Associated Press.

"Morial pointed out that 84 percent of food stamp recipients in Iowa are white. Nationally, 70 percent of recipients are white, he said. Many people who receive public aid contributed to those programs as workers, Morial said."

Lucy Madison of CBS News reported Monday, "It is unclear why Santorum pinpointed blacks specifically as recipients of federal aid. The original questioner asked 'how do we get off this crazy train? We've got so much foreign influence in this country now,' adding 'where do we go from here?'

"When asked about the comments in an interview with 'CBS Evening News' anchor Scott Pelley, Santorum said he wasn't aware of the context of his remark, but mentioned that he had recently watched the movie 'Waiting for ['Superman'],' which analyzes the American public education system through the stories of several students and their families. (The students and their families portrayed in the movie represent several races.)"

Santorum came within eight votes of winning the Iowa caucuses, coming in second to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, journalists had questioned Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who finished third, about newsletters that had gone out under his name.

As Joan Walsh wrote for, "In January 2008 the New Republic ran the most thorough exposé of the hateful opinions published under Paul’s name – that the Los Angeles riots stopped only 'when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,' that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 'seduced underage girls and boys' and the national holiday to honor him was 'Hate Whitey Day,' plus various screeds blaming crime on African-Americans. . . ."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry had to explain a Washington Post report about "the name of his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance." It was called "Niggerhead."

Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, stereotyped poor children last month when he said, "Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. They literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash,' unless it's illegal."

And critics accused Cain, who suspended his campaign after allegations of sexual misconduct, of playing the role of minstrel character.

All this is part of a story line that deserves more attention as the campaign progresses. Veteran journalist Paul Delaney explained on last month that it actually would extend a narrative in development since the 1860s.

"Over the following decades, code words such as conservatism, small government, intrusive federal power and lower taxes appealed to their fear of losing power or money to those they considered inferior — a fear that was, at its core, anti-black and more recently anti-immigrant," Delaney wrote of certain white voters.

"Finally, the GOP has morphed into the radical politics of Tea Party advocates, a situation from which traditional Republicans are desperately trying to extricate themselves. Racism has always been accompanied by ridiculous denials, such as Donald Trump's declaration that he has 'a great relationship with the blacks,' or Glenn Beck's sponsorship of a march on Washington. Shucking off the ridiculous is part of the task facing GOP leaders if they wish to recapture the White House in 2012."

No Blacks, Latinos on Time Magazine Political Team

Time magazine on Tuesday announced its plans for coverage of the 2012 political season, naming no participating African Americans or Latinos.

Among Time's plans are "Daily Reporting on — Commentary and analysis of the campaign from TIME’s political team led by Michael Duffy and Richard Stengel: Mark Halperin, Joe Klein, Michael Crowley, Michael Scherer, Jay Newton-Small, Massimo Calabresi, David Von Drehle, Bart Gellman, Mark Thompson, Alex Altman, Adam Sorensen, and Katy Steinmetz."

Steven Gray, Time's last remaining black correspondent, who works in the Washington bureau, announced last month that he was leaving.

Ali Zelenko, vice president for communications at Time Inc., told Journal-isms after Gray's announcement, ". . . Here is our response to any future inquiries you have regarding diversity of Time staff: 'There is diversity of all kinds at all levels of Time's masthead. Maintaining and increasing that diversity remains one of our top staffing priorities.' "

Black Women Contributing to New Washington Post Blog

Mary C. Curtis"The Washington Post today introduces 'She the People,' a new women’s blog anchored by veteran political reporter Melinda Henneberger, founder of Politics Daily and its 'Woman Up' blog," the Post announced on Tuesday.

" 'She the People' writers from across the country and the political spectrum will offer news, analysis, and reported opinion, primarily on The Post’s website but also in The Post print edition heading into the 2012 election and beyond.

" 'According to comScore, only 42% of U.S. readers of political news sites are female, compared to 51% of all online adults, suggesting women have been under-represented by political sites and in political reporting,' says Raju Narisetti, Managing Editor. 'The Washington Post believes "She the People" will give a distinct platform to unique female voices who have interesting perspectives to share.' "

The list of contributors includes these black women: Helena Andrews, author, columnist and screenwriter once with Politico; Jamila Bey, who covers health and politics for the Voice of Russia Radio and is a standup comedian; Mary C. Curtis, multimedia journalist in Charlotte, N.C., who is a contributor to the, Fox News Charlotte, NPR and the Nieman Watchdog blog; Nia-Malika Henderson, a political reporter for the Post; and Post reporters Nikita Stewart and Krissah Thompson.

Marco Rubio, R-Fla., fresh off winning his Senate seat in 2010. "'I always knew Univision to be a professional organization until this happened," he said last year.

New Yorker, Miami Herald Join Univision-Marco Rubio Feud

"A feud between America's most prominent Hispanic Republican, Marco Rubio, and America's most popular Hispanic network, Univision, is now a debate between the Miami Herald and the New Yorker, HuffPost LatinoVoices reported on Wednesday.

"Last summer, Univision aired a story about the 1987 drug-trafficking bust of Rubio's brother-in-law. In October, the Miami Herald ran a front page story that Univision executives tried to blackmail Rubio with the information in exchange for his appearance on their 'Meet the Press'-type show.

"As reported in 'The Immigration Story: Univision's War With Rubio Over Immigration, Drug Report,' the Herald states:

"If Rubio appeared on Al Punto — Univision's national television show where the topic of immigration would likely be discussed — then the story of his brother-in-law's troubles would be softened or might not run at all, according to Univision insiders and the Republican senator's staff.

"A New Yorker reporter, Ken Auletta, also saw Rubio's staff's notes from the alleged shakedown conference call and believes the Herald made the wrong interpretation."

Ken Ward, 44, Dies Before Starting New Job in Tampa

Ken Ward, a reporter who left WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C., and was due to start at WFTS-TV in Tampa on Monday, died Wednesday, the Charlotte station announced. Ward was 44.

Ken WardAccording to Bill Fish, an investigator with the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office, the cause of death was not immediately known, Michaela L. Duckett reported for

" 'This should have been a great day for him, and it’s sad that this has happened,' said Ken Lemon, president of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists.

" '. . . When I found out this morning, it was a low blow,' said Dedrick Russell, an education reporter for WBTV. 'I was in disbelief.'

Davida Jackson, a member of the Charlotte area association, was quoted saying the couple, who have one son together, celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve.

"Ward was a graduate of Hampton University and The College of New Rochelle with degrees in journalism and communications."

The reporter previously worked for WTVD in Raleigh, N.C.

"According to a short bio Ken wrote for us during his tenure here, he actually began his career in journalism as a teacher. For several years, he taught television and radio at Ossining High School in New York. From there, he branched out into the world of radio news working as an on-air reporter and then moved on to television," WTVD said.

Claudia Pryor Malis, Television Producer, Documentarian

Claudia Pryor Malis, an ABC producer from 1984 to 1995 who went on to become president of Diversity Films, her own production company, died on Wednesday, according to a blog by David Guilbault, a colleague. She was 58 and was being treated for lung cancer, her husband, Howard Malis, told Journal-isms.

Claudia Pryor MalisIn 2009, the couple debuted "Why Us? Left Behind and Dying," a feature-length documentary about HIV/AIDS in the black community. She was its producer and director. The film follows a group of high school students in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh for four years as they learn in their classes about sex from some of the country's top AIDS researchers.

The students do much of the interviewing.

Claudia Pryor Malis told Journal-isms then that the research project took five years and was primarily funded by the Science Education Partnership Award program within the National Institutes of Health. Her husband was editor/co-investigator. Guilbault was producer/co-investigator.

A bio on the film's website says, "Claudia Pryor has more than 30 years of television experience. She has produced and directed documentaries for ABC News, NBC News, PBS 'Frontline,' and other PBS programs. Pryor has won a George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. DuPont/Columbia Gold Baton, as well as 11 Emmy nominations. Ms. Pryor is a graduate of Harvard University and New York University."

Her husband added by email, "Claudia grew up in Springfield, MA. worked at KGO in SF, We met when she was an ABC News Bureau producer in Chicago and then she moved to ABC World News Tonight in NYC." They lived in Stamford, Conn.

Melissa Harris-Perry Awarded Weekend MSNBC Show

Melissa Harris-Perry, professor, author and MSNBC contributor, has been given her own weekend morning show, MSNBC announced on Wednesday. It debuts Feb. 4 and airs Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern time.

Melissa Harris-Perry"Melissa’s thoughtful analysis has been an incredible addition to our primetime programs and I’m thrilled to have her join our expanded weekend line-up," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a news release.

Alex Witt has led our weekend programming for many years and will continue to be our chief weekend anchor, kicking-off and wrapping up our live coverage each day. Weekend mornings are a time when our audience wants intelligent political conversation, as the success of Chris Hayes has shown, in addition to coverage of all the headlines. As the political year gets underway, there’s no better time to build up our weekend coverage, which Alex has helmed so well for years.”

The release continued:

" 'This is an extraordinary opportunity,' said Harris-Perry. 'All I've ever wanted to be is a teacher. Phil Griffin and MSNBC are giving me the chance to have a much bigger classroom. I'm particularly excited to join the growing weekend lineup where we have a chance to take a longer and broader view of the week's political news.'

"In addition to her role at MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry is also columnist for The Nation magazine, and will continue to write her monthly column, titled Sister Citizen. Harris-Perry is also a Professor of Political Science at Tulane University, where she will continue to teach, and is the Founding Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. . . ."

Short Takes

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site 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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Perils of Black Students


The disproportional rates of suspensions between Black and white students in the DC area of course is not a newsflash to many interests including of course Black parents contempt for Black students is similar to what their parents encounter. The soft bigotry of low expectations shares the lesson plan with disparate rates of expulsion and suspensions for Black students. The landscape of academic success in our nation for Black students is full of obstacles navigation is perilous in all levels of education in our nation from kindergarten to the university venue for Black students.

The more important issue now is how can Black families and their students navigate around these inequities and obstacles. Black parents must develop their own lesson guide to disarm educational officials , teachers and even students who discount the educational goals of Black students. We must embrace our own self worth that we are worthy of respect and our offspring deserves superior educational efforts and outcomes. Black parents must develop strategies that equipped them to combat , reject and influence educational systems that have contempt for our offspring.

Instead of lamenting the horrors of a destructive pathological educational system that has contempt for Black students now is the time to developed our own lesson plans that produce motivated students and students who can themselves defeat the waves of contempt for them that exist in our classrooms across the DC region and our nation.

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