Critics Say Obama’s State of the Union Speech Didn’t Home In on the Black Lives Matter Movement 

There’s the idea that the speech was too progressive and post-racial and came at the expense of those communities experiencing trauma at the hands of excessive and biased policing.

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Many Wish "State of the Union" Addressed Race Issues

President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night might have been a vision for the future, an exit interview with the American people or a chance to respond to critics of his presidency, but in some quarters the relevant questions were how much the president addressed issues of particular concern to people of color.

"In this year’s speech — which followed a year of protests in such cities as Chicago and Minneapolis and even riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal neck injury in police custody — the president did not directly address race or policing," Wesley Lowery reported Wednesday in the Washington Post.

Alicia Garza, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, said on Pacifica Radio’s "Democracy Now!" on Wednesday, "Ultimately, I think last night’s speech was definitely a vision for where we think the country can go, but certainly I think that many people who have been involved in this movement certainly wanted to hear President Obama, possibly the last black president in our country’s history, really talk about what’s going on in black communities specifically, really address the question of race, racism and structural racism and structural violence, and then, certainly, to talk about what kinds of proposals are on the table to ensure that black people can live full lives in this country like everyone else. . . ."

Elizabeth Elizalde, a New York-based journalist, wrote on theflama.com, "Obama’s presidential clock is ticking, but he still mentioned ‘fixing our broken immigration system’ . . . is a top priority along with protecting ‘our kids from gun violence,’ raising the minimum wage, equal pay, and making college ‘affordable for every American.’

"Still, many Latinos and immigration advocacy groups on social media felt the President’s stance on immigration reform came up short. ‘Did @BarackObama talk little #immigration during #SOTU to avoid raid questions? Tell him to stop deportations!’ tweeted United We Dream, one of the nation’s largest immigration advocacy groups based in Washington D.C. . . ."

Talk-show host Tavis Smiley, appearing with Garza and others on "Democracy Now!" and promoting a new book, told listeners that he would give Obama his due but that "I think where the historians . . . are going to have a very difficult time is trying to juxtapose how, in the era of the first black president — and to Alicia’s point, maybe the last black president — but how, in the era of Barack Obama, did the bottom fall out of black America?

"What this book, The Covenant – Ten Years Later, underscores . . . is that we, black America, have lost ground — and it pains me to say this — we’ve lost ground in every major economic category over the last decade. . . ."

If anything, the criticism underscored how diverse the voices can be among people of color. An instant CNN poll showed that Obama’s speech won the overwhelming view of people who watched. Those people, anchor Wolf Blitzer emphasized, were more likely to be Obama supporters. And among the most loyal Obama supporters are people of color. On call-in shows Wednesday, they defended the president from attacks by left and right.

The African Americans and Latinos who appeared on network television during and after Obama’s speech were largely journalists expressing no political opinions or African Americans in the mainstream of black thought.

"NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt, the first African American permanent solo host of an evening network news program, led his network’s post-speech coverage. He stuck to his neutral moderator’s role.

Fox News had Juan Williams as its commentator of color.

On ABC News, Pierre Thomas reported and Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist, Obama supporter and a television regular, provided commentary.

MSNBC’s panels included reporters Joy Reid and April Ryan, columnist Eugene Robinson; former GOP chairman Michael Steele; Maria Teresa Kumar, founding president and CEO of Voto Latino; and Ali Arouzi, NBC News Tehran bureau chief and correspondent.

Obama supporter the Rev. Al Sharpton, a fixture on such shows during most of Obama’s presidency, was absent. He lost his daily "PolliticsNation" show on MSNBC in October, and is now seen instead on Sundays at 8 a.m.

Van Jones, a CNN commentator who also worked in the Obama administration, appeared on that network’s post-speech panel.

CBS News coverage featured Jamelle Bouie, CBS political analyst and Slate chief political correspondent.

Others of color appeared on the networks’ Internet counterparts.

BET had announced that it would air the president’s State of the Union Address on its Centric channel and stream it on BET.com. BET television planned to air Tyler Perry’s comedy series "House of Payne" at that hour and air the speech at 2 a.m. ET/11 p.m. PT.

Marc Lamont Hill was to host the coverage from New York, not Washington, and be joined on set by political consultants Angela Rye, a former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Paris Dennard, a conservative political strategic communications consultant.

For Spanish-speakers, "Instead of giving the presidential address primetime coverage, Univisión aired the telenovela Pasión y poder, and Telemundo aired Bajo el mismo cielo, opting to live-stream the address online," Tyler Cherry and Cristina Lopez reported for Media Matters for America. "NBC Universo — an NBC Universal-owned Spanish-language Telemundo affiliate — did broadcast the speech, but the channel is only accessible to cable-TV viewers. . . ."

The strongest critiques appeared online. On The Root, Todd Steven Burroughs wrote, "The Obama administration has been a great education for Black America. It’s not just we relearned that old Frederick Douglass adage about power conceding only with a demand; we now reunderstand what we did 50 years ago: that there is no polite way for black people to ask for, and get, real political and social power that is in any way relevant to us. . . ."

Whether Obama has done enough for African Americans and other people of color would not be resolved Tuesday night. For its part, the White House has created web pages touting its efforts for African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans.

And as Jason Johnson seemed to be saying on The Root, addressing specific racial concerns in such a speech was not Obama’s style.

"Having vicariously experienced all of the stress, racism and abuse the president has suffered over the last eight years, many were waiting for him to just get brolic onstage  — to call out everybody who’s ever given him a hard time in Washington and top it off by walking with Michelle out of the Senate like Django and Broomhilda," Johnson wrote, referring to characters in the Quentin Tarantino movie "Django Unchained."

"I’m not privy to the president’s inner thoughts, but that kind of rage, scorn and invective has never been his political style.

"Instead he has been more inclined to lecture or simply to try, ever so desperately, to persuade the nation away from paths that he feels will ultimately lead to our ruin. And that is essentially what President Obama did in his final State of the Union address. He gave an exit interview: He told the nation how much he loved the job, and he pleaded with his successor not to make mistakes that will cost us all. . . ."

Chris Ariens, TVNewser: 2016 State of the Union Ratings; CBS Wins Broadcast, CNN Tops on Cable

Susana G. Baumann, latinasinbusiness.us: NALEO Responds to President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address

Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, Anderson Cooper, David Axelrod, Gloria Borger, Michael Smerconish, Amanda Carpenter, Paul Begala, Mike Rogers, Van Jones: CNN post-speech coverage (partial transcript)

Todd Steven Burroughs, The Root: The End Equals the Beginning: There Is No Black America, Says the President

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: The sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan Obama

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Here’s my response to the response to the State of the Union

Tyler Cherry and Cristina Lopez: Why Didn’t Telemundo Or Univision Air Obama’s Final State Of The Union?

Jason Easley, PoliticusUSA: Obama Destroyed Trump’s Entire Campaign With 4 Sentences At The State Of The Union

Elizabeth Elizalde, theflama.com: OBAMA TALKS LATINO ISSUES LIKE IMMIGRATION & ECONOMY AT LAST #SOTU

Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News: Analysis: Are Latinos Feeling the Optimism Obama Preached in SOTU?

Alicia Garza, Washington Post: Obama has ignored black women. Will his last State of the Union change that?

Jason Goldman, medium.com: Meeting People Where They Are

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez with Tavis Smiley, Medea Benjamin, Donna Edwards, Alicia Garza and Claudia Palacios, "Democracy Now!" Pacifica Radio: An Alternative State of the Union: Progressives on Obama’s Legacy & Their Hopes for His Final Year

Emil Guillermo blog, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Obama’s one last appeal for a United States that works — together

Jason Johnson, The Root: The State of the Union Was Obama’s Exit Interview With the Nation

Michael A. Lindenberger, Dallas Morning News: Thinking back on the tears that flowed when America elected its first black president

Wesley Lowery, Washington Post: In his final State of the Union, Obama did not directly address race or policing

Ed Morales, National Institute for Latino Policy: Let’s Give Latinos Credit: Why New Theories About Latino Political Power Must Emerge

Geraldo Rivera, Fox News Latino: Will Latino voters be an empty piñata in 2016? (Jan. 4)

Roberto Suro, New York Times: Whatever Happened to Latino Political Power? (Jan. 2)

Tyler Tynes and Julia Craven, HuffPost BlackVoices: Obama Believes Black Lives Matter, But He Didn’t Say It At His Final State Of The Union

Vanessa Williams, Washington Post: Black millennials consider a post-Obama world

Damon Young, verysmartbrothas.com: Exactly How Black Was President Obama’s Final State Of The Union Address? (satire)

Trump Rejects White Nationalists but Embraces "Anger"

"Donald Trump is rejecting the support of a white nationalist group backing him in Iowa, but embracing what he called the ‘anger’ that has come to characterize his campaign and its followers," Gregory Krieg reported Wednesday for CNN.

" ‘I would disavow’ the group’s robocalls to voters, Trump told CNN’s Erin Burnett Wednesday night on ‘OutFront,’ after being asked about the American National Super PAC, which is urging Iowans in recorded phone messages to ‘vote Trump’ because ‘we don’t need Muslims.’ . . . "

Krieg also wrote, "For several days, the Trump campaign had declined to comment on the super PAC’s robocalls.

"The 50-second recording is voiced by Jared Taylor, founder of the New Century Foundation and its American Renaissance magazine, and two others.

" ‘I urge you to vote for Donald Trump,’ Taylor says in the calls, ‘because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America.’ . . ."

Talk-show host Tavis Smiley is among those who have criticized the news media for not calling out Trump on his white-supremacist backers.

Smiley said Wednesday on Pacifica Radio’s "Democracy Now!": "The only point I was trying to make was — is that it’s not just about Trump. I’m just sick and tired of the media for giving him the pass. As I’ve said before, he’s being covered, but he’s not being challenged. He’s being covered, but he’s not being condemned. And we just titillate.

"I mean, the mainstream media is just so excited — and I get this part — they’re so excited . . . to have a race where the establishment is not in control of anything. And this is making money, it’s getting ratings, it’s selling newspapers. So Trump is — Trump is — he’s entertaining to a lot of people in this business. But there’s a price to pay for that kind of xenophobia, long-term. And I wanted to challenge Trump to stop that nonsense, but also challenge the media to be more honest in their coverage of him. . . ."

Gabriel Arana, Huffington Post: NBC Exec Says Outrage Over Trump’s ‘SNL’ Appearance Worth The Ratings

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Can Ted Cruz be president? Two constitutional scholars disagree

Dom DiFurio, Dallas Morning News: Here’s why Ted Cruz’s natural-born citizenship is more complicated than it seems

Jim Mitchell, Dallas Morning News: Does Ted Cruz have any friends left in Washington?

Evan Osnos, New Yorker: The Far-Right Revival: A Thirty-Year War?

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Standing up to the language of hatred

Dennis Romero, LAWeekly: Saturday Night Live Vows to Work on its Latino Problem

Rick Sanchez, Fox News Latino: Ted Cruz is not a natural born American, and neither am I

Al Jazeera America, Praised for Reporting, to Close in April

Al Jazeera America, which attracted journalists of color with its promise of a diverse staff and pledge to cover stories ignored by the mainstream media, is closing at the end of April, the network announced on Wednesday.

"In a memo to the staff, Al Jazeera America’s chief executive, Al Anstey, said the ‘decision by Al Jazeera America’s board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace,’ . . ." John Koblin reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

" ‘I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future,’ he continued. ‘The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job. Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled.’ . . ."

Among the journalists of color at the network are Ray Suarez, who came from the "PBS NewsHour"; Randall Pinkston and Joie Chen, both formerly at CBS; Kim Bondy and Michael Okwu, formerly of NBC; and Sarah HoyeAli Velshi and Tony Harris, all formerly of CNN. In addition, Soledad O’Brien, who also left CNN, produced documentaries for Al Jazeera through her production company.

In 2014, the National Association of Black Journalists gave Al Jazeera its "Best Practices" award.

The NABJ announcement said, "The NABJ board of directors took particular note of the network’s launch of its Al Jazeera America channel last summer highlighting an array of diverse managers and journalists. Combined with its flagship Al Jazeera Satellite (Arabic) channel, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera.net (the English and Arabic web sites), the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Centre, Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live), and Al Jazeera Mobile, the network boasts one of the most diverse news staffs in the world broadcasting to millions of viewers.

"NABJ believes that the network which was established in 1996 is committed to creative, compelling, character driven storytelling which provides a depth and breadth about the news of the day, but also stories which have until then gone untold."

Glenn Greenwald reported Wednesday for the Intercept, "AJAM has been losing staggering sums of money from the start. That has become increasingly untenable as the network’s owner and funder, the Government of Qatar, is now economically struggling due to low oil prices. The decision was made recently to terminate AJAM, which allows the network to terminate all of its cumbersome distribution contracts with cable companies, and re-launch its successful Al Jazeera English inside the U.S. . . ."

Scott Pelley noted the closure on the "CBS Evening News" with a terse report that said without elaboration, "Al Jazeera English has a reputation for being anti-American."

Joe Pompeo, Hadas Gold and Peter Sterne, Politico: Al Jazeera America shutting down

David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Why Al Jazeera America is going off the air April 30

Report Finds Temp Agency Caters to Clients’ Racism

"By all accounts, Automation Personnel Services Inc. aims to please its customers," Will Evans reported Jan. 6 for revealnews.org, website of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

"For just over a quarter-century, the Alabama-based temp agency has provided temporary workers to industrial companies and warehouses in the South, and its dedication to clients shines through its motto: ‘We built our success helping you succeed.’

"But that focus on customer service can be treacherous. When its clients wanted to hire temp workers based on race, sex or age, Automation was happy to oblige, according to dozens of former employees.

"Often, the practice was blatant. A manager at a Georgia manufacturing plant asked Christie Ragland not to send him ‘any black thugs,’ she said. Ragland, a former Automation office manager until early 2015, said her boss told her to give the client what he wanted. And in Memphis, Tennessee, Josie Hernandez said her branch manager would comment, ‘Don’t hire that damn nigger,’ and ordered her to send only Latinos to a flower delivery company.

"Other times, Automation staff members used veiled language. At the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, branch, a request for white men was known as an order for ‘country boys,’ according to three former employees.

"Whether it was a preference for Latino workers or for whites only, the people on the losing end usually were black, according to former employees at branches in six states. . . ."

Reveal: Decoding the language of discrimination (audio)

Muslim Reporters Perceive Uptick in U.S. Colleagues

"Rummana Hussain was one of those children whose Muslim parents envisioned her in a white coat with a stethoscope around her neck," Lauren Markoe reported Tuesday for Religion News Service.

"Instead, she became a metro editor and reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, where she covers criminal courts and remains the only Muslim member of the editorial staff. She knows ‘a couple’ more Muslims at the Chicago Tribune, the state’s largest paper.

" ‘Blame it on the parents,’ jokes one prominent American Muslim when asked to explain the dearth of Muslims in the U.S. media. Many Muslim-Americans are immigrants who see medical school — maybe law school, but not journalism school — as the key to their children’s success, said Ibrahim Hooper, a former television news producer who is now the national spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"Well-represented in medicine, Muslims account for a sliver of the mainstream American media. Many Muslim reporters take heart in what they see, at least anecdotally, as a recent uptick in the number of Muslim colleagues: With Islamophobia on the rise and Islam-related stories — particularly on Islamic extremism — dominating the headlines, the need for more Muslim journalists seems all the more pressing to them."

"News organizations should strive for diversity in their staffs, including religious diversity, said Richard Prince, a former Washington Post journalist who now writes a column on diversity for the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, Calif. ‘When we want to cover communities accurately it helps to have people from those communities in our newsrooms, and in leadership positions as well,’ Prince said.

"He draws what he says is an imperfect analogy between Muslims in journalism today and black journalists who began pursuing reporting careers during the civil rights movement. ‘The news media found it could not get into the black community without them,’ he said.

"At the Sun-Times, Hussain has never explicitly been assigned to cover Islam. But she has enhanced its coverage of Muslim Americans by drawing on her knowledge of her faith and the Chicago religious community of which she is a part. . . ."

N.Y. Cabbie Fined $500 for Passing Up Al Roker

"A New York City taxi driver accused by black NBC ‘Today’ show weatherman Al Roker of passing him by in favor of picking up another fare for racial reasons has pleaded guilty to a service refusal violation and has been fined," WNBC-TV in New York reported Monday.

"The Taxi and Limousine Commission says driver Mahabur Rahman made his plea last month and was fined $500.

"Roker had filed a complaint in November and wrote on social media he and his son had been ignored for racial reasons. He said the driver picked up a white man a block away.

"The commission says it was the driver’s second refusal violation. The driver hung up a phone Monday when called for comment. . . ."

On Tuesday, Dan Good of the Daily News in New York quoted Roker saying after the incident, "This happens to folks of color every day. And while most cabbies do their job, there are those ignorant, racist ones who hurt the others."

"Rahman has said that he didn’t see Roker — and called the situation a mistake," Good reported.

Black Actresses Say Media Has Warped Images of Women

"Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson are in Elle Magazine’s ‘Women in TV’ issue, and they aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to talking about how media has warped our images of women, especially women of color," theGrio.com reported on Wednesday.

"Davis said that television and media [have] warped our perception of female sexuality, saying that TV ‘lies about women.’

" ‘If you are anywhere above a size 2, you’re not having sex,’ Davis said. ‘You don’t have sexual thoughts. You may not even have a vagina. And if you’re of a certain age, you’re off the table.’

"Henson said that it is hard for black characters to be taken seriously, and that perception is something she has had to fight when she plays the character of Cookie Lyon on Empire. . . ."

Demetria Lucas D’Oyley, The Root: Elle, You Just Don’t Understand #BlackGirlMagic

Julee Wilson and Lilly Workneh, HuffPost Black Voices: Why Elle.com’s #BlackGirlMagic Article Totally Misses The Mark

NPR TV Critic Challenges CBS on Stereotyping

"Things got testy during the ‘Rush Hour’ panel at CBS’s Television Critics Association press junket on Tuesday," Tony Maglioreported for TheWrap.com

"When NPR [television critic] Eric Deggans, a high-profile member of the National Association of Black Journalists, criticized the TV adaptation’s pilot for what he saw as perpetuating racial stereotypes, executive producer Bill Lawrence blasted the ‘very negative’ question.

"Deggans noted the criticism the ‘Rush Hour’ movies received for their stereotypical lead characters — ‘the wise-cracking black guy and the Asian guy with kung-fu skills’ — and said, ‘Watching the pilot, I see that you haven’t done much to change those archetypes. And at a time when we have shows that are really trying to have a nuanced discussion about race, these characters still feel very stereotypical to me.’ "

"Deggans concluded: ‘Tell me whether you agree, what you think about that — and if you’re going to try to change these archetypes a little bit.’

"The first ‘Rush Hour’ panelist to answer was Justin Hires, who plays the Chris Tucker role from the movies. Hires stated that the character essentially reflects his own stand-up act anyway, and he doesn’t believe the result is negative or disingenuous.

"Deggans then clarified his stance, comparing and contrasting the upcoming show’s pilot with the more-evolved plot of ‘Empire,’ a show focused on minorities that is obviously much further along and in its second season. That’s when the always-outspoken Lawrence jumped in. . . ."

Lynn Elber, Associated Press: New CBS entertainment chief vows more prime-time diversity

Where to Draw the Line on Confederate Monuments?

"Those driving or even flying here this week for the American Historical Association’s annual meeting might have glimpsed Stone Mountain out their car or airplane window," Colleen Flaherty wrote Friday from Atlanta for Inside Higher Ed.

"The massive, Mount Rushmore-style tribute to Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson is hard to miss and — for many — hard to stomach. But what can and should be done about the thousands upon thousands of Confederate memorials and other symbols throughout the American South, many of which are on college and university campuses?

"The topic was the subject of a plenary session for the first time open to the public here Thursday at the AHA’s gathering.

"James Grossman, executive director of the AHA, and a panel of noted experts on the American South all said the evening’s discussion was precipitated by the June massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, S.C., which prompted debates about state-sanctioned Confederate iconography due to the shooter’s interest in such symbols, as well as the recent student protest movement.

"But speakers also said that the history of the Confederate flag and other symbols is long and fraught, and that another national conversation over their value and rightful place was already overdue.

"For David Blight, the Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University, the Confederate symbol question is, in part, about where one’s ‘line’ is. For some, he said, the line between what is historically valuable and not is drawn at that which does not promote maximum unity. For others, the line leads to maximum knowledge, and the ‘troubled wisdom’ that comes with it.

"Others still draw it at healing justice, if such a thing can be achieved, he said, and yet others at maximum pleasure or pain. Blight said he was pushed by a reporter earlier this year in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting — which he called the past ‘exploding’ into the present — to draw his own line. Without realizing it, Blight named the Davis and Lee figures in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol as Confederate monuments he found unacceptable. . . ."

Flaherty also wrote that John Coski, an historian with the American Civil War Museum and author of "The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem," said historians can help explain the difference between the facts of history and the "glorifying" of it and "should demand a more sophisticated conversation about what it means to ‘erase’ history, and whether that’s really possible. . . ."

Matthew Clavin, Daily Beast: When Florida Men Overcame Our Racists (Jan. 1)

Matt Novak, gizmodo.com: Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia (Jan. 21, 2015)

Estelle Shirbon, Reuters: Oxford University Leader Won’t ‘Rewrite History’ To Remove Cecil Rhodes Statue

Southern Poverty law Center: Here’s why the Confederate monuments in New Orleans must come down

Short Takes

"There is much to celebrate on the 20th anniversary of my Graduation Gap Bowl," Derrick Z. Jackson wrote Wednesday in the Boston Globe. "A record number of 33 university football programs scored a ‘Touchdown,’ for having National Collegiate Athletic Association Graduation Success Rates of at least 50 percent for black and white players and no major racial disparities. It will not surprise anyone that four elite private colleges — Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Stanford — plus the Air Force Academy, led the way, with black graduation rates ranging from 88 percent to 98 percent. But many football-crazy powers I once criticized for having horrible graduation rates now score Touchdowns in the classroom. . . ." He named Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, UCLA, Pittsburgh, Texas Christian, Arizona State and Boise State.

Mervin Block, a broadcast coach and author, is onto how television newscasts hype "breaking" news. Block wrote Tuesday for his writing workshop, "Lester Holt sure knows how to make news seem exciting. He does that by introducing a story on the newscast he anchors, NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ as ‘breaking news.’ But often the story has already been broken, even shattered. ‘Breaking news tonight,’ Holt began his newscast on Jan. 8, 2016, ‘officer ambushed. Horrifying images, a gunman firing 11 shots at a Philadelphia cop in his patrol car, the officer firing back, hitting the suspect, who police say pledged allegiance to Isis.’ Breaking news? Tonight? In fact, the policeman was shot shortly before midnight the previous night. And the shooter was caught in a few minutes. So all the action took place about 18 hours before Holt called it breaking news tonight . . ."

"WCBS anchor Maurice DuBois has been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy and will be leaving the air for the foreseeable future," Don Kaplan reported Tuesday for the Daily News in New York. "The newsman broke the news on his Facebook page Tuesday. ‘I’m taking some time off because I’ve been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a temporary condition which has caused weakness on the right side of my face,’ " he wrote. DuBois is an occasional substitute anchor on the “CBS Evening News.”

"While everyone deserves their day in court, if Bill Cosby has done the things he admitted in a 2005 deposition — having sex with women while they were under the influence of quaaludes — not pleading guilty will prolong the inevitable," Tom Joyner wrote Tuesday for BlackAmericaWeb.com. Meanwhile, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote Tuesday for the Atlantic, "Only tribalism and power can explain the theory put forth by Cosby’s defenders — that some 40 women have joined together in a wide-ranging conspiracy to bring a powerful black man down."

"The New York Times has named magazine writer Jim Rutenberg as the paper’s next media columnist, filling a prominent perch that was left vacant nearly a year ago following the death of David Carr," Michael Calderone reported Tuesday for Huffington Post.

In Washington, Derek McGinty, who left an anchor job at WUSA-TV in September, "is one of many guest hosts who will be sitting in" for longtime radio talk-show host Diane Rehm "over the next several months," Benae Mosby, communications and community relations manager at WAMU-FM, messaged Journal-isms on Tuesday. McGinty hosted on Tuesday and Wednesday [and Thursday]. Rehm, whose show is distributed via NPR, plans to retire. WAMU welcomes names of candidates "to lead a national daily conversation about important issues," Mosby said. [updated Jan. 14]

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday that it "condemned a Cairo court’s sentencing of three journalists and one press freedom advocate to three years in prison each on charges of ‘publishing false news’ and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Cairo’s Sayeda Zeinab Criminal Court on Sunday sentenced Mohamed Adly, a correspondent for the independent newspaper Tahrir; Hamdy Mokhtar, a photojournalist for the opposition news website El-Shaab el-Jadeed; freelance journalist Sherif Ashraf; and Aboubakr Khallaf, the head of an electronic media syndicate, to three years in prison each. Khallaf was the only one of the four defendants present in court. The others were sentenced in absentia, according to news reports. . . ."

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