In the course of interviewing young congregants at the Atlanta area mega-church pastored by Bishop Eddie Long, CNN anchor Don Lemon disclosed on a live newscast Saturday night, "I am a victim of a pedophile.
"Let me tell you what got my attention about this, and I have never admitted this on television. I'm a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me, and those are the things that they do," Lemon told the three congregants, who had been unwavering in their support of the bishop during the interview.
"Four people have come up with the exact same stories," Lemon told them. "That's what pedophiles do. The language, 'This isn't going to make you gay if you do this.' "
"When I look at different pedophiles, as you said, I don't see bishop as one," Gabrielle A. Richardson replied. "If you look at the various things he's done for the community and young people in general, no."
Gary A. Foster said, "I support the minister because the minister has supported me. He's my leader and it is our duty to stand behind our prophet, and that's what I will continue to do until he gives me reason not to."
"I'm not saying the bishop is a pedophile, but no one is perfect," Lemon replied, adding that many in the congregation have not even "put into their mind" that "something there might be inappropriate." He concluded with a request that "you should stand behind your bishop but you should all keep an open mind" and concluded, "as I've been saying all week, there are no winners in this situation."
The newscast took place a day before Long, standing before thousands of supportive congregants vowed to "vigorously" defend himself against the accusations of four young men who claim he coerced them into sex, as Gracie Bonds Staples, Shelia M. Poole and Craig Schneider reported for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Long went on to say he has never portrayed himself as a perfect man. 'But I am not the man being portrayed on the television. ... That's not me. That's not me.' "
Later Sunday, Lemon, 44, told Journal-isms in a message, "I've carried this secret since I was 6 yrs old. Didn't tell my mom til I was 30. Too embarrassed. Too ashamed. Too guilty. Personally, I know I've internalized it. Years of therapy, etc. Professionally, I think it's helped me.
"It's made me more curious about who people really are. I learned very early on that people aren't always what they present in public. So while being acutely attuned to that has helped me professionally, it's too bad I had to learn it at such a young age. Just like any other profession, journalists come with a myriad of personal experiences. We shouldn't be afraid to act like human beings."
Lemon's revelations were met with supportive and congratulatory messages to Lemon's Facebook page.
"It was a brave move, absolutely. You are an inspiration to many ... " one said.
"Use your place as our 'go-to' reporter to BREAK THE SILENCE, STOP THE VIOLENCE!" said another.
"Don, you are very brave," said a third. "Thank you for revealing your truth, particularly in the presence of those young adults who needed to know that questioning is more than okay. As 1 Thess 5:21 says, 'Test all things. Hold fast what is good.' May they realize that their first loyalty is to the Word, and not a man."
Lemon replied, "Thank you all for your kind words. I had no idea I'd say that on national tv. It just came out. Sadly, it's the truth for so many young men."
Asked what he thought of one woman's questioning whether such a revelation was journalistically appropriate, Lemon told Journal-isms, "I have no other response to that except what I wrote to you. It was unplanned and I am human. There was no agenda behind it."
*Christian Boone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Aggressive tone in dealing with scandalous allegations
*Shayne Lee, cnn.com: Black church culture makes it hard to embrace homosexuality
*Roland Martin, Creators Syndicate: Bishop Eddie L. Long Must Step Down
*Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Sex scandals expose bias, character flaws
*Goldie Taylor, Facebook: A (not so) Super Hero: The Rise and Fall of Eddie Long
*Wil LaVeist, urbanfaith.com: A Bishop's Scandal
*Craig Washington, theRoot.com: A Sermon for Bishop Eddie Long
ABC News says four of color have become senior producers since 2008.
"The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey finds that the percentage of minority news directors rose in both television and radio. But those were nearly the only positive numbers in the survey. Overall, the percentage of minorities in both radio and television fell for the third straight year, although the drop in TV was small," the Radio Television Digital News Association reported on Wednesday.
"Women in radio news rose slightly, but the percentage of women radio news directors went down, as did both the overall percentage of women in TV news and women TV news directors. The drop in women TV news directors was small, and the percentage of women TV news directors stands at the second-highest level ever.
" ... the bigger picture remains unchanged. In the last 20 years, the minority population in the U.S. has risen 9.4 percent; but the minority workforce in TV news is up 2.4 percent, and the minority workforce in radio is actually half what it was two decades ago. Still, TV news diversity remains far ahead of newspaper."
The RTNDA study focused on local stations, not the networks. In a separate development at the network level, ABC News identified four people of color who have been named to senior producer positions since the National Association of Black Journalists met with ABC News President David Westin in 2008: Alvin Patrick, Sarah Amos, Jack Date and Catherine McKenzie.
Patrick, who is at Nightline, and McKenzie, of Good Morning America, are African American. Date works at This Week, and Amos at World News.
Westin announced this month he would step down. "As David mentioned, he has focused on the senior and executive producer positions because they have a strong impact on the editorial content of the programs," ABC spokeswoman Cathie Levine told Journal-isms.
A July 2008 study of network decision-makers by NABJ found that of the executive producers at ABC, six were white, two were Asian American and none was African American, Native American or Hispanic.
In the RTNDA study, survey coordinator Bob Papper noted that the minority population is projected to be at 35.3 percent in 2010, but the minority television workforce is at 20.2 percent and the minority radio workforce at 5 percent. He wrote:
"We end the decade with no gains whatsoever for minorities in TV news, and the percentage of minorities in radio news is down substantially.
"In TV, much of the drop in minority employment -- and Hispanics specifically -- came from a drop at Hispanic stations. Among non-Hispanic stations, minority employment slipped by just 0.3 percent to 19.3, down from last year's 19.6 percent.
"At non-Hispanic stations, the minority break down is:
** "10.3 percent African American (up from 9.8 percent)
** "5.7 percent Hispanic (down from 6.2 percent)
** "2.8 percent Asian American (down from 3.1 percent)
** "0.5 percent Native American (unchanged from a year ago)
"In radio, the percentage of minorities fell substantially. All groups dropped except Native American.
"The overall percentage of minority news directors in TV increased by almost two percent last year. It's still below the all-time high, but it's certainly among the highest percentages I've seen. Much of that was fueled by a jump in Asian American news directors.
"At non-Hispanic TV stations, the percentage of minority news directors rose from last year's 7 percent to 8.9 percent. That's just off the all time high of 9.1 percent two years ago. 3.2 percent were African American; 2.5 percent each for Hispanic and Asian American; and 0.7 percent Native American. That's about the same for African American and Native American and up for Hispanic and Asian American.
"The percentage of minority news directors in radio tripled from last year's paltry 2.2 percent to this year's 7 percent. All minority groups went up except Asian American, which slid slightly. Group-owned stations were less likely to have minority news directors than independent stations.
" ... At 2.7 percent last year, it was hard to imagine that minority general managers (at network affiliates that run local news) could become even more white, but they did. Now, under 2 percent of those GMs are minorities. The overall percentage of minority went up slightly because minorities at independent stations went up. Among the network affiliates, ABC and NBC stations were much higher than CBS or Fox — but all were low."
Papper is the Lawrence Stessin distinguished professor of journalism and chair of the Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations at Hofstra University.
His survey was conducted "in the fourth quarter of 2009 among all 1,770 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 4,000 radio stations. Valid responses came from 1,355 television stations (76.6 percent)," he reported.
Remembering Dr. Ronald Walters, the go-to expert for those writing about black politics.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said she really got to know Ronald W. Walters when they worked on Jesse L. Jackson's 1984 Democratic presidential campaign. "Jesse Jackson would have you join hands in prayer" when there was a problem, "but Ron Walters figured it out," she told more than 700 people Sunday at a Howard University memorial service for Walters.
Then Waters mentioned a front-page story by Nia-Malika Henderson in Saturday's Washington Post that reported, "In the past week, party leaders launched a drive to stoke enthusiasm among black voters, dusting off the president's 2008 campaign logo, lingo and grass-roots strategy to get them to the polls in November." It would call upon black elected officials to help whip up black voter enthusiasm for the fall election.
That posed a dilemma, Waters said, because when she raised with party leaders the need to target African Americans' specific problems, "I was told that what was good for white America was good for black America."
And yet African Americans were hit by the economic downturn in ways exponentially harder than was white America.
"I'm looking for Ron's voice," Walters said. "If I don't hear from Ron, I'm not doing anything."
Walters, author, scholar, professor, activist and political scientist, died Sept. 10 at age 72 from lung cancer. In addition to politicians such as Waters, many black journalists wondered who, if anyone, could take Walters' place as the "go-to guy" on black politics.
"There is no replacement," Robert C. Smith, a professor of political science at San Francisco State University, told Journal-isms during the repast at Howard's Blackburn Center. But when asked what issue Walters would want journalists to follow, Smith had an answer: He pointed to Waters' remarks.
"Can you mobilize people to do for you when you have done very little for them?" Smith said. The issues are, he repeated, "The effort to mobilize the black vote and a party that has been unwilling to address the concerns of black people."
Smith was one of about 20 people chosen to speak at the Sunday service, where it was announced that Walters, most recently at the University of Maryland, had agreed to return to the Howard campus to teach in the fall semester.
Smith told the gathering that although Walters had produced books on politics from a black perspective, he had declined to write about himself. Therefore, Smith, who had worked closely with Walters and first met him 37 years ago, planned to do so.
"I've been trying to get him to do that for 20 years," Smith said of his friend. "A political biography. Using his biography to trace the last 30 years of black politics. It is the story of post-civil rights-era black politics in America."
One of the traits he most admired about his mentor, Smith told Journal-isms, was that "he knew how to help the reporters shape the story the way he wanted to. He knew how to give the appropriate media quote. Over the years, he developed that. That's a skill."
Walters was on both sides of the media line. He wrote political analyses for the Black Scholar and the old Black World/Negro Digest, and, later, weekly columns for the Washington Informer and the Richmond (Va.) Free Press that eventually were syndicated to other black newspapers through the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service. And he wrote "for free," Denise Rolark Barnes, publisher of the Informer, told the crowd. "He believed in the black press."
Barnes added that when she contemplated seeking a doctorate, perhaps in theology or African American studies, Walters advised remaining in her field and studying the media. "This new media is going to need someone like you to reach the new generation," Barnes said Walters told her.
Along with Barnes, Joe Madison, the radio talk show host, represented the media during a three-hour program that featured speakers from various segments of Walters' life. "Ron Walters was everybody's political science professor," Madison said. "TV, radio, print. He was erudite and simplistic. He taught us how to read with a third eye and listen with a third ear."
Few knew Walters had been ill, Madison reminded the audience. Five days before he died, a Washington Post reporter called and those caring for Walters turned the reporter away. "He grabbed the phone and took the call and did the interview," Madison said.
Asked where reporters could find a substitute for Walters on political questions, Mack H. Jones, professor emeritus at Clark Atlanta University, recommended the Web site of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, of which Jones was founding president and Walters a founding member.
Jackson, who delivered Walters' eulogy on Monday, said at the repast that the message of Walters' life for journalists is that "scholarship matters.
"We focus often on results. Results are the continuation," he told Journal-isms. The facts have to be organized and have a framework and a context. The big picture counts, he said.
Walters was "a scholar-activist," Jackson continued. Many people are one or the other. But "when you combine the two, you have a Martin Luther King," he said, "or a Ron Walters."
*Ruben Castaneda, Washington Post: Civil rights activist Ronald W. Walters remembered as 'understated, but an overachiever'
*Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Condolences
*George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Ron Walters was a One-Man Civil Rights Movement
*Wayne Dawkins, PoliticsinColor.com: Another warrior with data departs, Ron Walters, 72
*Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: Ronald Walters — a pioneer on the politics of race
*Julianne Malveaux, Washington Informer: Ron Walters — A Scholar and a Gentleman
*Rep. Bobby Rush, the Hill: Dr. Ronald Walters: The W.E.B. DuBois of our time
*WRC-TV, Washington: Funeral Held for Civil Rights Pioneer Dr. Ronald Walters
The new management team at Johnson Publishing Co. plans to "take a minute" to develop a new strategy before moving in its chosen direction at the beginning of the year.
UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 11
An impassioned President Obama declared Friday that treating Muslims with respect was in the national interest as he responded to one of four questions asked by black journalists in a nearly 1 hour and 20-minute news conference.
"All men and women are created equal," Obama said to a question from Wendell Goler of Fox News, who asked about the controversy over the planned construction of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan. "If you could build a church on a site, if you can build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on the site, you should be able to build a mosque on a site."
Obama said he understood the pain of the relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but added:
"We are not in a war against Islam. We are in a war against terrorist organizations.
"If we're going to successfully reduce the terrorist threat," he said, "we're going to need all the allies we can get." The terrorists are "a handful of a tiny minority who are engaging in horrific acts and have killed Muslims more than anybody else."
Muslims in America, he said, are "going to school with our kids. They're our neighbors. They're our friends. They're our coworkers. And when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them? I've got Muslims who are fighting in Afghanistan in the uniform of the United States armed services. They're out there putting their lives on the line for us. And we've got to make sure that we are crystal clear for our sakes and their sakes - they are Americans. And we honor their service. . . .
"We don't differentiate between them and us," he added. "It's just us."
Goler's question was the final one of the news conference and one of four by black journalists, a fact celebrated on the e-mail list of the National Association of Black Journalists.
"The White House sisterhood just hit the trifecta. I don't ever recall a time when there were that many of us in the room, let alone posing questions," wrote Sonya Ross, a Washington editor at the Associated Press and a former White House reporter. She wrote after Obama called on a third black woman, Helene Cooper of the New York Times.
"This is a very proud day."
(None was on Politico's list of "Five reporters POTUS should call on.")
Martha Joynt Kumar, a political science professor at Towson University in Maryland who has written books about the presidency and the media, told Journal-isms that calling on four black journalists out of 13 "is definitely high. I don't remember an instance where the percentage was that high."
She said it showed "some maturing of news organizations," because the journalists were called on because of the news organizations they worked for rather than their ethnicity.
The news conference opened with a black journalist chosen to ask the first question, as Obama, reading from a prepared list, chose Darlene Superville of the AP, the news organization that traditionally goes first.
Superville asked "about his comment in an interview earlier this week that the Democrats will not do very well in the fall midterm elections if they are a referendum on how the economy is doing," Peter Baker of the New York Times wrote in his live blog. Obama used the query "to pivot and continue his attack on Republican economic policies that he said led to the worst financial crisis of decades. 'For 19 months, what we have done is steadily work to avoid a depression, to take an economy that was contracting rapidly and make it grow again,' he says."
April D. Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks asked Obama about the "poverty agenda" of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr., and about the lawsuits by farmers of color against the Agriculture Department. Black farmers from around the country have said they will park their tractors and travel to Washington this month to demand $1.2 billion that the government owes them for past discrimination in farm loans, as Deborah Barfield Berry reported for Gannett Newspapers.
The departments of Agriculture and Justice agreed to pay the farmers $1.2 billion, but Congress must approve legislation to fund the payments.
"It's important for Congress to fund the settlement. I will continue to make that a priority," Obama said.
On the question about the poverty agenda, the president restated his belief that "if we can grow the economy even faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up," adding, "That doesn't mean there aren't targeted things we can do." He reminded the journalists that he got his start in public life as a community organizer. He also noted his education initiatives.
From Ryan, Obama went to Cooper, a former State Department correspondent at the Times who referenced the president of Afghanistan in asking how Obama could "lecture Hamid Karzai on corruption" when many corrupt Afghans are on the U.S. payroll. She also asked about the Mideast peace talks.
"We're going to try to make sure that as part of helping President Karzai stand up a broadly accepted, legitimate government, that corruption is reduced," Obama said. "And we've made progress on some of those fronts."
He said that if the Palestinian and Israeli leaders are "going to be successful in bringing about what they now agree is the best course of action for their people, the only way they're going to succeed is if they're seeing the world through the other person's eyes," and said he had communicated that to the leaders of each side.
"In the end, Mr. Obama takes questions for more than 75 minutes, an unusually long marathon session for any president," Baker wrote. "It's almost as if to say to cranky reporters who often complain about how few news conferences he holds, Fine, you want a news conference? Bring it on."
Earlier Friday, Obama called in to the syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show," taking questions from Joyner and his radio sidekicks about his efforts to shore up the economy and African Americans' lack of excitement about the midterm elections.
Obama said that he is a longtime listener of the show and that "one of the things I mentioned to my team was we've got to make sure that we're not only talking to television, and especially in the African American community, Tom Joyner and black radio is what people listen to.
"If African-Americans aren't fired up right now, you better be fired up because you could end up in a situation where we could have more of the same from a Republican Congress that's not willing to move our infrastructure, that's not committed to investing in people and job training and not committed to investing in our education system. And we could end up slipping back into the same situation that we were in before this recession hit, only worse," Obama said.
Johnson Publishing Co. Expects New Strategy in January
The new management team at Johnson Publishing Co. plans to "take a minute" to develop a new strategy for the company, evaluating its personnel and the content of Ebony and Jet magazines before moving in its chosen direction at the beginning of the year, the company's new marketing director said on Wednesday.
"I need to pull together an overall strategy for all the pieces,"Rodrigo A. Sierra, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, told Journal-isms.
Sierra was the first person hired by Desiree Rogers, the business executive and former White House social secretary, when she became the new CEO last month. He spoke after the departure of four executives in recent weeks: Eric Easter, who left a week ago as as vice president - digital and entertainment; Wendy E. Parks, assistant director - corporate communications and PR; Lisa M. Butler, assistant vice president - licensing & consumer products; and Tanya Hines, senior vice president - integrated sales and marketing.
Sierra, 49, worked with Rogers at Peoples Gas in Chicago when she headed that company and was a board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in the early 1990s. A former radio reporter for Chicago's WGN and a manager with ABC Radio in New York, Sierra chaired the 1996 NAHJ convention in Chicago, where then-first lady Hillary Clinton spoke.
In a telephone interview, Sierra pledged that Jet and Ebony would be "recharged and reenergized," topical and relevant, and would provide journalists with "unique content that will help them think through local stories they are writing and developing." For example, he cited the October issue's twin pieces on "Is black leadership dead?" by social commentators Kevin Powelland Michael Eric Dyson. September's issue featured an interview with President Obama and a series on education, to be continued in partnership with NBC.
Writers will be paid, he said, responding to an observation that some had been asked to write for free. "The company has to survive, but you've also got to take care of your employees," he said. They "have to get paid and get the right benefits."
Asked how Rogers is operating as CEO, Sierra said she "pays attention to everything. She watches details very closely. She asks a lot of questions" and wants to create a workplace where "people do their absolute best work every time."
The new strategy for the company "may or may not" involve new people, he said. "A lot of people on the staff may or may not be in the right role." It might be necessary to bring in "a different kind of talent" or to contract out some work out, he added.
A key piece of the company's strategy will be its digital efforts, which he now supervises. Easter's arrival in 2007 signaled an effort to enter the digital arena in a serious way, but the four-member digital unit was consistently understaffed and underresourced.
"Digital has not been where it needed to be for the company," Sierra said. "I don't think that Johnson Publishing Co. has done a good enough job" with the digital efforts "to move the brand forward and monetize that side of the business." He said he also wanted to consider how deeply to become involved in social media.
Sierra also said he wanted the publications, which launched after World War II, to get "back to basics" yet remain relevant to new generations. He pointed to the September issue's perennial feature on campus queens at historically black colleges and universities, noting that this year the queens had to submit videos of themselves.
Atlanta's Creative Loafing Caught Napping on Diversity
The Atlanta alternative newspaper Creative Loafing, published in the city often called a mecca for the black middle class, ran a cover and story showing "8 Artists to Watch," with none of them African American.
Asked how she hoped to prevent a recurrence, she told Journal-isms:
"I think one of the most valuable lessons, for me personally, is that diversity must be reflected not just in a single issue. The 'Artists to Watch' issue as a whole was actually incredibly diverse. Diversity should be reflected story by story, page by page.
"As far as my role, with very few exceptions, my preference generally has been that our writers and editors - a diverse group - come up with suggestions for what lands in the paper. I like for that process [to] remain as organic as possible, and I think the process has served us well. We by and large do a great job reflecting the diverse community in which we live - this one, glaring incident aside. That said, do I need to further involve myself in such matters as the selection of subjects for '8 Artists to Watch' - and do I need to do a better job impressing upon the editors the fact that diversity is essential in those features? Definitely."
Creative Loafing claims a circulation of 112,000 and has an editorial staff of 30, including contributing writers, of which eight are minorities, Shalhoup said. "Also, two of the four staffers at the top of the editorial department's masthead are minorities."
From March 2007 to March 2009, the annual flow of illegal immigrants into the United States was two-thirds smaller than it was from March 2000 to March 2005.
"The annual inflow of unauthorized immigrants to the United States was nearly two-thirds smaller in the March 2007 to March 2009 period than it had been from March 2000 to March 2005, according to new estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center," Jeffrey Passel and D'Vera Cohn wrote Wednesday for the Pew Hispanic Center.
"This sharp decline has contributed to an overall reduction of 8% in the number of unauthorized immigrants currently living in the U.S. - to 11.1 million in March 2009 from a peak of 12 million in March 2007, according to the estimates. The decrease represents the first significant reversal in the growth of this population over the past two decades.
". . . The Pew Hispanic Center's analysis also finds that the most marked decline in the population of unauthorized immigrants has been among those who come from Latin American countries other than Mexico. From 2007 to 2009, the size of this group from the Caribbean, Central America and South America decreased 22%."
FAIR SAYS MEDIA DIDN'T ASK RIGHT QUESTIONS AFTER BEATING
The progressive media-watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting has reviewed the April incident in which a Seattle news director failed to air a video of a police beating and found the coverage wanting.
The news director at KCPQ-TV, known as Q13, resigned, and an assignment manager was fired after freelance photographer Jud Morris offered the station footage of Seattle police officers stomping on a Latino man's head and body. When Q13 did not air the footage, Morris posted a video of the beating on YouTube and sold the footage to competitor KIRO-TV for $100.
"Fewer reports took note of the fact, also recounted by Morris, that a "key [Q13] staffer was talking to the police as she was viewing' the tape, which he found 'kind of odd' (Seattle Times, 5/8/10)," Janine Jackson wrote in FAIR's "Extra!." "The Stranger alt-weekly (5/19/10) published claims by an unidentified Q13 employee that management was bowing to 'friends at SPD,' " the Seattle Police Department, "in not airing the footage, but it doesn't sound as though pressure was required.
"(Indeed, in SPD's version, the station staffer who called 'didn't think the video constituted a major issue. But [Interim Police Chief John] Diaz said it was up to police commanders to decide if an incident rises to the level of possible misconduct' - Seattle Times, 5/21/10.)"
The video showed gang unit detective Shandy Cobane standing over 21-year-old Martin Monetti. who was lying on the sidewalk, telling Monetti, "I'm going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homey. You feel me?" and kicking him in the head.
"Journalists seemed genuinely not to understand that what was disturbing was not the 'language' Cobane used with Monetti, but the casually violent racism it evinced in combination with physical abuse. How might such an attitude affect all aspects of Cobane's policing? Is this racism reflected in gang unit policy? Is it OK for police to 'beat the piss out of' people, or to threaten to? Media overwhelmingly declined to pull back from the incident to ask the questions it suggested about law enforcement's approach to communities of color."
The Seattle Times reported in May that Seattle police said they opened an internal investigation April 26, "which was put on hold when the case was referred Monday to a Seattle police detective for a criminal investigation.
"Seattle police said May 14 that the conduct of other officers, including a supervisor, who were present but did not intervene also was the subject of an internal investigation. . . . The FBI has launched a preliminary investigation to determine if Monetti's civil rights were violated.
"Cobane has since apologized for his words that night. Diaz has said racial and ethnic slurs are unacceptable in the department."