NRA: Inspired by Black Panthers?
The black Oakland, Calif., group brandished guns in public in the 1960s, resulting in laws that scared rural whites.
The National Rifle Association was inspired by the Black Panthers?
Yes, according to Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA School of Law and author of "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America."
Winkler said over the weekend on NPR's "On the Media":
"One of the surprising things I discovered in writing 'Gunfight' was that when the Black Panthers started carrying their guns around in Oakland, Calif., in the late 1960s, it inspired a new wave of gun control laws (audio). It was these laws that ironically sparked a backlash among rural white conservatives, who were concerned that the government was coming to get their guns next.
"The NRA mimicked many of the policy positions of the Black Panthers, who viewed guns not just as a matter of protection for the home, but something you should be able to have out on the street, and also protection against a hostile government that was tyrannical and disrespectful of people's rights. . . . "
Winkler wrote about the connection more expansively in "The Secret History of Guns," a September 2011 article in the Atlantic that preceded the book's publication.
"The eighth-grade students gathering on the west lawn of the state capitol in Sacramento were planning to lunch on fried chicken with California's new governor, Ronald Reagan, and then tour the granite building constructed a century earlier to resemble the nation's Capitol," the article began. "But the festivities were interrupted by the arrival of 30 young black men and women carrying .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns, and .45-caliber pistols.
"The 24 men and six women climbed the capitol steps, and one man, Bobby Seale, began to read from a prepared statement. 'The American people in general and the black people in particular,' he announced, must
" 'take careful note of the racist California legislature aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless. Black people have begged, prayed, petitioned, demonstrated, and everything else to get the racist power structure of America to right the wrongs which have historically been perpetuated against black people. The time has come for black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late.'
"Seale then turned to the others. 'All right, brothers, come on. We're going inside.' He opened the door, and the radicals walked straight into the state's most important government building, loaded guns in hand. No metal detectors stood in their way.
"It was May 2, 1967, and the Black Panthers' invasion of the California statehouse launched the modern gun-rights movement.
". . . The new NRA was not only responding to the wave of gun-control laws enacted to disarm black radicals; it also shared some of the Panthers' views about firearms. Both groups valued guns primarily as a means of self-defense. Both thought people had a right to carry guns in public places, where a person was easily victimized, and not just in the privacy of the home.
"They also shared a profound mistrust of law enforcement. (For years, the NRA has demonized government agents, like those in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal agency that enforces gun laws, as 'jack-booted government thugs.' Wayne LaPierre, the current executive vice president, warned members in 1995 that anyone who wears a badge has 'the government's go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens.') For both the Panthers in 1967 and the new NRA after 1977, law-enforcement officers were too often representatives of an uncaring government bent on disarming ordinary citizens. . . ."
Despite the Black Panther Party posture in the 1960s, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has found that today's African Americans support gun control.
As reported last week, when asked whether gun ownership does more to protect people from crime or puts people's safety at risk, 54 percent of whites said gun ownership protects people from crime, but only 29 percent of blacks did. Fifty-three percent of blacks said it puts people's safety at risk. Only 33 percent of whites did.
Monroe Anderson, the Root: Why I Get Obama's Response to Newtown
David Bauder, Associated Press: Film & TV Industries Cancel Premieres & Screenings In Tragedy's Wake
Heather Berkman, Quartz: What the US can learn now from Latin America's fight against gun violence
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Guns, Smoke and Mirrors
Esther J. Cepeda, Washington Post News Media Services: Breeding grounds of destruction
Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Violence and the Social Compact
Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: The NRA and the 'Positive Good' of Maximum Guns
Eric Deggans blog, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: Does NRA press conference mark moment gun industry turns into cigarette industry?
Editorial, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.: A nightmare before Christmas: Violent day in Webster reinforces need for change
Adam Clark Estes, the Atlantic: Even Israel Is Fact-Checking the NRA Now
Keli Goff, the Root: What the NRA Should Have Said
Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: This country still can't get it right on guns
Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: Gun violence in cities must be addressed
Timothy Johnson, Media Matters for America: Will Media Fact Check Misleading Claims From NRA's Question-Free Press Conference?
Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Tragedy may loosen our grip on guns
Douglas C. Lyons, South Florida SunSentinel: History shows ending gun violence will take time
Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: The common refrain of local gun violence
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media Services: No easy answers
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Shootings deserve our attention every day
Nestor Ramos, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.: Let's focus on the fires worth saving
Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Proposal would be funny -- if the NRA didn't mean it
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: The NRA's insane idea about more guns in schools
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: 'Arm the teachers' isn't best way to protect kids
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Newtown shines spotlight on mental health
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: The tears keep coming -- for victims and the nation
Jesse Washington, Associated Press: Urban advocates say new gun control talk overdue
David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Let's not let NRA's LaPierre misdirect us with ignorance, lies about media
Public editors evaluated their news outlets' coverage of the Newtown, Conn., shooting tragedy, with the New York Times' Margaret Sullivan declaring over the weekend that the Times must be a counterweight to the often-inaccurate information proliferating on social media.
"The Times can't get pulled into the maelstrom of Twitter-era news," Sullivan wrote.
"It has to stand apart from those news sources that are getting information out in a fast, piecemeal and frequently inaccurate way. That process has its own appeal and its own valuable purpose. But The Times should be its authoritative and accurate counterbalance."
Others came at the issue of misinformation supplied by authorities - and in most cases passed on to news consumers - in other ways.
"While I have found that coordination of news information and language use sometimes falls between the cracks among NPR's many news teams and shows, the pitfalls were avoided this time," ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos wrote for NPR. He shared internal messages. "The memos are a virtual classroom lesson. Note the specificity, the caution and the instructions on what cannot be reported. Note also further down the concern for ethics and grieving families."
At the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, reader representative Ted Diadiun noted the regional focus of his organization. "When the news is hundreds of miles away . . . the only thing the paper can do is repeat what trusted organizations report, seek corroboration when possible - and correct it if it's wrong," Diadiun wrote Sunday.
Terry Eberle, executive editor of the News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., reminded readers that journalists are human beings with emotions.
"Do the media spend too much time on the story? Maybe," Eberle wrote. "Do the media invade people's privacy at this very private time? Maybe. Did the media report bad information? Definitely. Should they have confirmed the information before reporting it? Without question.
"Do viewers and readers want every detail? Yes. To some, it may be part of their grieving process. To others, they just want to know everything.
"I get discouraged watching the herd of journalists run to press conferences, make mistakes and stick microphones in the face of shocked people.
"This time, however, I saw some subtle differences. There were no cameras in the faces of the parents as they gathered to listen to President Obama on Sunday.
"There were no journalists asking questions and pushing cameras in the faces of people as the first young children were laid to rest. They shot from a distance with a long lens respecting the privacy of a breaking news event.
"I don't know how much is too much. I don't know that magic moment when we must move on to something else.
"I do know that showing a little emotion is not necessarily a bad thing for a journalist. I do know that we can show some feelings and still be objective reporters. . . ."
The New York Times called Sunday for North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue to pardon the Wilmington 10, "a group of civil rights activists who were falsely convicted and imprisoned in connection with a racial disturbance in the city of Wilmington more than 40 years ago.
"The convictions, based on flimsy evidence and perjured testimony, were overturned by a federal court in 1980. But by then, the lives of the convicted had been broken on the wheel of Jim Crow justice," the editorial said.
" . . . Newly discovered notes attributed to the prosecutor paint an even more sordid picture of how the case was pursued. The notes suggest, for example, that the prosecutor used racial profiling and other unethical tactics to disqualify black jurors, while searching out racist jurors who would endorse the case against the defendants without question. In some instances, for example, he appears to have written 'KKK' (for Ku Klux Klan) next to names of prospective jurors, occasionally commenting that this was 'OK' or 'Good.' Taken together, the notes and court documents offer a window into a time when many Southern prosecutors and courts saw it as their mission, not to administer justice, but to preserve the racial status quo. . . .
"Anger over this case has continued to fester in the black community. At a 40th anniversary commemoration last year in Wilmington, civil rights leaders rightly decided that the wrongly convicted warranted a pardon from Ms. Perdue. By providing it, she can finally bring a close to one of the more shameful episodes in North Carolina history."
Jessica Jones, NPR: Pressure Mounts To Free 'Wilmington Ten'
Cash Michaels, Wilmington (N.C.) Journal: Support Swells For Wilmington Ten Pardons (May 24)
Wayne Moore, Triumphant Warriors: The Story Of The Wilmington 10
News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Wilmington 10 member takes pardon petitions to governor (Dec. 8)
Leigh Owens, Huffington Post: Wilmington 10: NAACP Unveils New Evidence Seeking Pardon (Nov. 29)
Bruce Siceloff, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer: Four decades later, Ben Chavis and the Wilmington Ten seek a declaration of innocence (May 18)
"CNN commentator Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s recent column chastising Dreamers who he says sometimes act like 'spoiled brats' who are 'drunk on entitlement' has sparked angry reactions from the movement's supporters," Roque Planas wrote Friday for Huffington Post.
"Arguing that aggressive protests may undermine comprehensive immigration reform, Navarrette criticized undocumented activists for demanding citizenship and likened their protests to 'public tantrums' in a piece published Wednesday.
"That opinion didn't sit well with DREAMers or Latino bloggers and journalists who sympathize with their movement.
"Univision reporter Jaime Zea pounced on Navarrette, with this tweet:
"The blog Latino Rebels slammed Navarrette on its Facebook, saying 'Dreamers don't care what you think. And they shouldn't.' . . . "
"Dreamers" illegally entered the country as children with older relatives. The name is taken from the DREAM Act, legislation stalled in Congress that would put them on a path to U.S. citizenship. DREAM is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.
President Obama said last summer that immigrants up to age 31 who entered as children would not face deportation under certain conditions and can work and go to school.
For the last print issue of Newsweek, Andrew Romano compiled an oral history of the newsmagazine. The issue includes a remembrance by Mark Whitaker, now executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide, who in 1998 became the first African American to edit a major newsmagazine.
In the words of the headline writer, the former Newsweek editor wrote about, "How a band of idealistic journalists changed the civil-rights movement."
That band included correspondents Karl Fleming, Peter Goldman and Joe Cumming and editor Osborn Elliott. In 1967, these white journalists produced "a groundbreaking cover called 'The Negro in America: What Must Be Done' that won Newsweek its first National Magazine Award.
". . . A lawsuit filed by female staffers unable to advance beyond secretarial and research jobs had exposed its inconsistent zeal for equal rights," Whitaker wrote of the newsmagazine.
"But an African-American news editor, John Dotson, and his boss, Rod Gander, had finally gotten serious about integrating the magazine's ranks, and I was soon working with a rising generation of talented black journalists like Vern Smith, Sylvester Monroe, and Dennis Williams. They schooled me in Newsweek's ways, but also warned about limits to advancement. After two successful summer stints, Dotson predicted that I might become a section head some day if I accepted a full-time job. 'What about editor?' I asked. 'Newsweek isn't ready for a black editor,' he replied somberly.
As editor, Whitaker said he ". . . championed fresh, provocative black voices like Ellis Cose, Allison Samuels, Veronica Chambers, Lynette Clemetson, and Marcus Mabry. Together with our white colleagues we did covers on the hidden rage of successful blacks, the rise of black women, the future of affirmative action, the complexities of multiracial identity, and the relationship between African-Americans and Hispanics. We even dared to publish an issue called 'The Good News About Black America' . . ."
Mark Whitaker Cites His Diversity Bona Fides (March 26, 2010)
"Apparently making sweeping generalizations about athletes using ethnic stereotypes is still something people do when covering sporting events," Adrian Carrasquillo wrote Sunday for NBCLatino.
"During a game between Kansas State and Florida, ESPN announcer Mitch Holthus blamed a foul by Angel Rodriguez of Kansas State on the fact that he has a 'Puerto Rican temper.'
". . . Humor and culture site, Latino Rebels reached out to Holthus on Twitter asking for an apology for his comments and he quickly followed through. . . . "
NAHJ President Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer at ESPN, wrote to members, "One executive vice president told me that both Holthus and a producer accepted accountability for their actions and that they will be disciplined. . . . In the last 24 hours I have spoken to several ESPN managers about how to prevent future incidents."
"Judging by news coverage of the nation's fastest-growing ethnic minority, you'd think that 'the Hispanic condition' was a pathology. With the exception of growing power in the voting booth, the news makes it seem as though we're all poor, sick and generally unable to cope with life as well as others," Esther J. Cepeda wrote Friday for the Washington Post News Media Services. ". . . The steady diet of bad news about segments of the Hispanic population drives a myth that all Latinos are downtrodden, at-risk or simply not as able as others."
In the Bay Area, " . . . veteran anchor/reporter, Don Sanchez, is retiring after more than four decades at KGO-TV," Rich Lieberman reported Thursday for his Rich Lieberman Report. ". . . Sanchez was a part of the legendary time at KGO in the 1970's and 80's when KGO's newscasts were the dominant #1 program in the market. He did just about everything: sports, news, entertainment and multi-faceted features. Truly one of a kind."
The Asian American Journalists Association is mourning the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died Dec. 17 at age 88. ". . . AAJA especially appreciates Sen. Inouye's support of the Honolulu Advertiser's 600 employees and 150,000 daily readers in April 2010, when he wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for a thorough review of the newspaper's impending sale, in the interest of 'preserving the diversity of voices in the media and protecting jobs.' "
In the Twin Cities, "Black voices are barely heard on local mainstream radio. It's even worse in local sports radio," Charles Hallman reported Wednesday for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. "There is no Black talent on the air in the Twin Cities except at KMOJ," KTWN-FM's Brandon Wright, a nine-year veteran, said in the story.
Nikita Stewart of the Washington Post, who broke stories about
District of Columbia government scandals, is becoming one of the few
journalists of color working in a newspaper's investigative unit.
Stewart will continue to report on the D.C. government as a member of
the Post's Investigative Unit, Investigative Editor Jeff Leen said, according to Will Sommer, reporting
Dec. 18 for the Washington City Paper. Leen also announces another
opening in the Investigative
The San Jose Mercury News is being challenged over a story reported Nov. 30 by Dan Nakaso that said, "Asian-Americans make up half of the Bay Area's technology workforce, and their double-digit employment gains came from jobs lost among white tech workers, according to an analysis by this newspaper of Census Bureau data . . . " Sylvie Barak wrote Friday in the EE Times, ". . . While that may or may not be true, the entire piece leaves a bad taste and stirs up sentiments perhaps better left well alone. After all, is the Mercury News implying it would rather the Bay Area start using affirmative action in the engineering space? And would that make things more fair? Is the Asian-American community to blame for seemingly having found a better way to channel children into science?"
Columnist Ruben Rosario of the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn., writing about his treatment for multiple myeloma, noted that, "For reasons scientists have not been able to discern, blacks have twice the per capita diagnosis and mortality rate as whites and more than twice that of Latinos." He quoted Barbara Davis, co-leader of a multiple myeloma support group in Stillwater, Minn.: " 'Even those black support group leaders lamented the difficulty they have in reaching other black patients,' she said, adding that the disparity of medical care in less affluent populations and people of color is a concern of hers and others."
"Four Ethiopian journalists have received the prestigious Hellman/Hammett award for 2012 in recognition of their efforts to promote free expression in Ethiopia, one of the world's most restricted media environments," Human Rights Watch reported Thursday. "Eskinder Nega Fenta, an independent journalist and blogger; Reeyot Alemu Gobebo of the disbanded weekly newspaper Feteh; Woubshet Taye Abebe of the now-closed weekly newspaper Awramba Times; and Mesfin Negash of Addis Neger Online were among a diverse group of 41 writers and journalists from 19 countries to receive the award in 2012."
"The Baton Rouge Advocate is making a run at a weakened Times-Picayune in New Orleans," Ryan Chittum reported Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "The paper, which started a daily New Orleans edition in October as the Newhouse family slashed the Times-Pic's newsroom and went to a three-day-a-week paper, has already picked up a circulation of 23,500, publisher David Manship told me yesterday. About 16,000 of those are daily subscribers."
"It hasn't been smooth sailing for Cristina Radio since its launch on Sirius XM 11 months ago," Veronica Villafañe reported Thursday for her Media Moves site. "National Latino Broadcasting (NLB), which programs and produces shows for the Cristina Radio and En Vivo channels on Sirius XM, this week has had to cut almost half of its staff. . . . An inside source tells me Cristina Saralegui is still going to the NLB studios to tape her weekly show."
A Boston Globe reconstruction of how the Mitt Romney campaign unfolded "shows that Romney's problems went deeper than is widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured the candidate's defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and tactical smarts of President Obama's operation," Michael Kranish reported in Sunday's print edition.
"Newark Mayor Cory Booker pushed back . . . against a front page New York Times story suggesting that his mayorship hasn't lived up to its promise and that he appears more concerned, at times, with his public persona than with running the city, Michael Calderone reported Dec. 17 for the Huffington Post.
Retiring editor Wanda Lloyd of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser " 'has had her hands full during her eight years in Montgomery, instituting a digital-first approach and as well as what she calls the new Montgomery plan,' shaped by a process in which the 55,000-circulation paper set out to define the 'passion topics' of its audience," Jason Ruiter wrote for the December/January issue of AJR. ". . . They came up with three distinct audiences - young professionals, families and what Lloyd called the 'legacy' group - and tried to tailor their coverage accordingly."
The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council is teaming with the National Association of Black Journalists on Jan. 17. The MMTC's Fourth Annual Broadband & Social Justice Policy Summit, to be held Jan. 16-17 at the Westin Georgetown in Washington, is being paired with the NABJ's Hall of Fame Induction and Reception, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Newseum. NABJ members are encouraged to register for the conference as press, bloggers, or general registrants and MMTC attendees are urged to purchase discounted tickets to the NABJ event. This columnist is among the honorees.
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.