The website Fox News Latino abruptly stopped posting original content in December without explanation. In a story Wednesday in the New York Times, Emily Steel provided one possible reason: Fox News Latino founder Francisco Cortés, vice president of Fox News for the website, was terminated.
A former Fox News contributor reported that Cortés sexually assaulted her at company headquarters two years ago, Steel reported, citing people briefed on the woman’s settlement agreement. 21st Century Fox reached an agreement worth more than $2.5 million in late February, Steel wrote.
“The contributor, Tamara N. Holder, has said that the network executive tried to force her to perform oral sex on him in February 2015 when the two were alone in his office, according to interviews with four people briefed on her account, and documents that detail her claims. Ms. Holder did not immediately report the episode to the company or the police, fearing that doing so would ruin her career, interviews and documents show.
“Ms. Holder reported her allegations to Fox News last fall. The network investigated her claims, and the executive, Francisco Cortes, the vice president for Fox News Latino, was terminated, according to two people familiar with the matter. Ms. Holder left Fox News after her contract expired on January 1, 2017.
“Jay Sanchez, a lawyer for Mr. Cortes, said Wednesday night in an email: ‘I am presently considering Mr. Cortes’ legal options.’ Multiple attempts to reach Mr. Cortes by phone, by email, on social media and in person for comment were unsuccessful. . . .”
Cortes was mentored by Roger Ailes, the former chairman and chief executive who built Fox News into today’s conservative cable news powerhouse. Ailes resigned last summer amid a sexual harassment lawsuit and, as Steel wrote, his downfall “exposed a newsroom culture that many women there called hostile and demeaning.”
Cortés was also active in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
In 2014, the celebratory tone of NAHJ’s closing gala was punctured briefly when 84-year-old co-founder Charles Ericksen called it “kind of a farce” for the association to honor Fox News and other media companies when the number of employed Hispanic journalists had declined.
As reported in this space, Hugo Balta, then outgoing NAHJ president, apologized to Cortés, who in October of 2010 launched Fox News Latino and accepted an NAHJ Media Award on behalf of the site.
“I want to personally apologize to you, Fox and the Fox family for what is . . . unacceptable,” Balta said from the stage. “I will not allow any of our guests to be singled out or be insulted in this way. Fox News Latino deserves this award. Frank Cortés was the first Latino to be named VP at Fox. Fox is the reason why we’re here,” Balta said, apparently referring to the participation of Fox News Channel and Fox News Latino as convention sponsors.
In a 2014 interview with Capital New York, Cortés said he was in the first class of the Ailes Apprentice Program, which trains journalists of color at Fox. It launched in 2003.
“CORTES: I remember receiving a call from the newsroom director, her name was Sharri Berg, and she said that Mr. Ailes was going to create this program, the Roger Ailes apprentice program, where they get four individuals of diverse backgrounds from within the company, who are up-and-coming, and give them a mentor for a year. You are paired with a senior executive for a year, and taught the ins and outs of the industry. You are given access by Mr. Ailes to the entire company, to learn from the people that make it what it is.
“But the great thing is that once you graduate, you are not just given a handshake and a pat on the back. You become part of a community, and you continue to be mentored by other executives in the company. Mr. Ailes is very hands-on with the program. It is amazing to see a C.E.O. be so involved in the program, even today.
“For 10 years, he and other executives at the company have opened their doors for me, so once you graduate you are still guided on a path of success. That is what makes the program so unique and successful. . . .”
“The National Park Service on Monday released hundreds of ground and aerial photographs that its staff shot of President Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration,” Lisa Rein reported Tuesday for the Washington Post, which received the photos after the Post and other media organizations filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
“The agency also released photos of the swearing-ins of former president Barack Obama four and eight years ago.
“And it’s pretty clear that the crowd size at the 45th president’s inaugural was smaller than at the swearing-in of the 44th.”
“The discrepancy is clear in the two photos displayed here, which show the Mall shortly before Obama and Trump were sworn-in around noon eight years apart. The 2009 and 2017 photos were taken one hour — and eight years — apart, with Obama’s crowds massing in the photo about one hour earlier than Trump’s audience.
“A Park Service official said four of the images were forwarded to the White House after Trump made an unusual call to Acting Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds the day after his inauguration. The newly minted president demanded that Reynolds produce the images taken by agency photographers, The Washington Post reported in late January. Trump believed the photos might prove the media lied in its reporting. . . .”
As Lori Robertson and Robert Farley of FactCheck.org reported in USA Today on Jan. 24, “The crowd-size controversy began on Saturday, Jan. 21, a day after the inauguration, when President Trump claimed the media had misrepresented the number of people attending his inauguration. Trump spoke at CIA headquarters and said that ‘one of the networks’ had shown ‘an empty field,’ while he saw a crowd that ‘looked like a million-and-a-half people’ and ‘went all the way back to the Washington Monument.’ . . .”
On Wednesday, “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley posed this question to Leon Panetta, former president Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, CIA director when Osama bin Laden was killed and defense secretary under President Obama:
“In the last few weeks, the president has told his military that there are terrorist attacks no one knows about because the press covers them up. He’s described the news media as the enemy of the American people. He has likened his own intelligence agencies to Nazis. And now we have the wiretapping charge against President Obama. Is it appropriate to ask whether the president is having difficulty with rationality?”
Panetta replied, “Scott, the coin of the realm for any president is trust. Trust of the American people in the credibility of that president. And when he says the things that he says, in particular this allegation about wiretapping that has no bit of evidence to support it, it raises concerns about trust in the president.
“Because there are one or two conclusions you draw. One is that he says these things knowing that they’re not true in order to divert the public. And if he’s doing that he’s misusing the powers of the presidency. Or he truly believes that they are true when, indeed, they’re not true. And, he hasn’t tried to find out the truth which then shows a real lack of judgment. Either way I think it undermines and weakens the strength of the presidency in this country.”
Panetta said “the most serious danger” would come if the president had to take military action against a foreign country. “He’s gotta stand up and tell the world and this country, that that’s required when, indeed, his credibility is now subject to question.”
Domestically, on Capitol Hill, “if he’s dismissed because somehow he’s not relevant because people don’t think he’s really in touch with kind of reality and what’s going on, then that could damage his entire agenda on the domestic front. . . .”
David Bauder, Associated Press: NBC Chief to Trump: We Won’t Be Intimidated
David Bauder, Associated Press: CBS’ Pelley noted for blunt evaluations of Trump
Ed Diokno, AsAmNews: Critics Lambast Trump’s New Muslim Ban
Editorial, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: Who’s telling the truth about Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped him?
John Fritze, Baltimore Sun: Elijah Cummings tells President Trump his language has been hurtful to African Americans
Catalina Gonella, NBC News Latino: Visa Overstays Outnumber Illegal Border Crossings, Trend Expected to Continue
Alex Griswold, Mediaite: Trump Administration Hires WND Columnist Who Accused Obama, Clinton of White Genocide
Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Sanitized travel ban 2.0 has database provision to criminalize Muslims in America; PODCAST — Deepa Iyer says immigrant communities “already living in fear”
Annie Karni, Politico: White House official terrorizes network green rooms
Andrés Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Trump’s office of anti-immigrant propaganda will hurt all immigrants
Tara Palmeri, Politico: In the White House, former TV villain Omarosa is one of the ‘blessed’
Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald: Trump blames wrong president for most Guantánamo ‘back to battlefield’ releases
Alicia Shepard, USA Today: Trump has already made America great again
Kelsey Sutton, Politico: Former top Trump aide Jason Miller joins CNN
James Warren, Poynter Institute: What would happen if Obama sued Trump for libel?
Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Can President Trump outlast the White House press corps?
“Is that what we’re calling it now?” Leonard Greene asked Monday in the Daily News of New York. His column on Ben Carson’s calling enslaved Africans “immigrants” was accompanied by a front page rebuke by the News.
“Let’s see if I have this straight. When men and women and children were kidnapped from their villages and separated from their families and packed into rickety ships for months at a time to be traded for tobacco and cotton and cloth and grain, that was immigration?” Greene wrote.
“When people were branded with hot irons like cattle on a ranch so that ownership of one human being by another human being would not be in dispute, that was immigration?
“When women were raped for no other reason than that it was Tuesday, or Friday or whenever a property owner felt the urge to exert his dominance on another man’s wife or mother or daughter or sister, that was immigration?
“That is what the new secretary of housing and urban development, and the token African-American in President Trump’s cabinet, would have us believe. . . .”
The Miami Herald headlined Leonard Pitts Jr.’s Tuesday column on the subject, “Ben, you’re a fool — slaves were not immigrants.”
Renée Graham noted Tuesday in the Boston Globe, “This comes less than a week after Education Secretary [Betsy] DeVos claimed Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are ‘pioneers’ of school choice,” although DeVos later backtracked.
Graham concluded, “Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history.’ So what becomes of us when our history is systematically unmade? The first step in erasing history is to slowly erode our understanding of it. This isn’t just carelessness; it’s an act of contempt.
“That’s why pushback to correct this revisionism must be as vigilant as efforts to thwart ongoing assaults on civil rights by this caustic presidency. Otherwise we may soon hear another member of this administration rhapsodizing about that wonderful era when African and African-American workers enjoyed nearly 250 years of prosperity and happiness, complete with free housing and zero unemployment.”
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Ben Carson has an immigrant problem.
Julia Craven, Huffington Post Black Voices: Enslaved Africans Do Not Count As Immigrants
Leonard Greene, Daily News, New York: Ben Carson has history of clueless comments about slavery before being sworn in as HUD secretary
Demetria Irwin, thegrio.com: Someone bless Ben Carson’s ‘gifted hands’ with a textbook
Donna Owens, NBCBLK: Sworn in as HUD’s Newest Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson Vows to Heal America
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, Ph.D., Ebony: Gaffes Aside, What Ben Carson Could Do With the Keys He Holds
Armstrong Williams, the Hill: Like Carson, Obama made the same ‘immigrant’ comparison
Robert (Bobby) Sengstacke, “a member of the Chicago Defender Sengstacke family and a long-time photographer for the paper — died Tuesday following a long respiratory illness,” Chicago’s WLS-TV reported Wednesday. He was 73.
Journal-isms asked Ethan Michaeli, author of last year’s critically acclaimed “The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America,” to place Sengstacke in the context of the paper’s history.
“As the sole surviving son of John Sengstacke, the longtime publisher of The Defender, Robert ‘Bobby’ Sengstacke was the guardian of the newspaper’s august legacy,” Michaeli said by email.
“He was named for his great uncle, Robert Sengstacke Abbott, who founded the newspaper in 1905, and by the time he was a teenager, Bobby’s photographs were appearing in its pages. Bobby’s camera captured all the great moments and great figures of the second half of the 20th Century, and his photos of Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr.,
James Brown and many others have become iconic images which appeared in major magazines and museums.
“But as the scion of the family which created The Defender, he remained connected to the newspaper throughout his life, serving in various roles over the years. In the mid-’90s, I was lucky enough to work for him when he was managing editor, and I recall writing an essay to accompany photographs of a neighborhood called ‘The Valley.’
“To most people, this was just another dilapidated section of the mid-South Side just north of Provident Hospital. But to Bobby, who knew every family on some of the blocks, it was a community of artists and revolutionaries, famous as well as unknown, to which he had returned periodically to document its residents as well as its murals.
“That generous, egalitarian spirit was evident to his many friends and associates, and it was also on display when he secured his family’s archives and then ensured that those priceless documents, letters and photographs which reveal The Defender’s inner workings were deposited in the Chicago Public Library, where they are available to the public.
“Those archives were invaluable to me as I conducted research for my book on the newspaper, as was Bobby himself, who guided me to important files in the archives, arranged interviews with people essential to the story, and encouraged my efforts all throughout.”
Real Times, which also owns the Michigan Chronicle and the Detroit FrontPage, the Tri-State Defender in Memphis and the New Pittsburgh Courier, acquired the Chicago Defender in 2003.
The HistoryMakers: Robert Sengstacke
University of Chicago Collections: Browse Robert Sengstacke Photography Archive
“By now we’re sure that you are aware of this, but if you aren’t, then let us hip you to game: The Root is run and managed by righteous black women,” began a post Wednesday by “The Men of The Root.”
“Managing Editor Danielle Belton, Deputy Editor Genetta Adams, Senior Editor Yesha Callahan, Associate Editor Kirsten West Savali, News Editor Breanna Edwards, Social-Content Producer Danielle Young and Multimedia Editor Felice León are all viciously pro-black and intrinsically pro-women.
“So when word came down that the women of The Root were participating in the ‘A Day Without a Woman’ protest, the men knew this was our opportunity to really stretch out and take up two seats without thinking about how grossly male that is. We also knew that it was an opportunity to get through a day of work without women.
“Look, we love the ladies of The Root. They are ambitious and courageous and work tirelessly at their jobs. They are also pro-Ciara in many arguments and sometimes turn group work calls into brief moments about natural hair. It happens. So, while the women are off securing the homefront, we men are doing what we do best, and that’s looking for the remote to the big TV.
“Here is a list of all the things Social Media Manager Corey Townsend, Original Video Content Creator P.J. Rickards, staff writer Michael Harriot and Senior Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. could never get away with saying or doing on a normal workday at The Root. . . .”
On Monday, Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke wrote for WWD that women’s media outlets, which “have been actively writing about women’s rights, are divided in their plans for how to approach the strike, known as ‘A Day Without a Woman.’ While some are planning to publish content about it, others have decided to participate by going on strike themselves. . . .”
Megan Burbank, Portland (Ore.) Mercury: A Note to Our Readers On A Day Without a Woman: Or, Why There Are No Men in This Issue
Helen Cooper, New York Times: How Liberian Women Delivered Africa’s First Female President
Aliya Khan and Stephanie Zhou, Angry Asian Man: Asian American Women Are Also Angry... And Underpaid
Catherine Pearson and Emma Gray, Huffington Post: Here’s What ‘A Day Without A Woman’ Looks Like Across The Country
Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post: Yes, ma’am. Here are 21 women running U.S. media organizations now.
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, NBC Asian America: Six Asian-American Memoirs to Read for Women’s History Month
In noteworthy contrast to a past in which at one time it upheld Jim Crow and “massive resistance” to integration, the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch editorial board declared on Sunday that the city’s signature lineup of huge Confederate statues should no longer stand unchallenged.
Richmond, the capital of the old Confederacy, “has begun to address its roots,” the editorial said. “Before reconciliation can occur, truth must be told. Statues and memorials to Confederate heroes mocked and insulted black aspirations. The [Robert E.] Lee statue did not simply say ‘Lee’ but emphatically asserted ‘No!’ “
The editorial board also wrote, “The Times-Dispatch does not support dynamiting tributes to the past. But leaving them as they are equals tacit consent to the glorification they convey — and to the sometimes dubious motives that inspired their erection in the first place.
“The best course entails adding to the city’s Confederate statuary, with historical markers that tell the stories behind both the monuments and the individuals they honor. The markers should make clear that history is complex: Good — even great — individuals still can do things that are wrong, and in fact terrible, even though many thought they were doing what was right at the time.
“The past does not change, but contemporary understanding of it does. Unless the monuments themselves are placed in a museum, they convey a message about the city’s view of itself. At present, that message says our city is trapped by its own mythology. The time has come to make clear that Richmond now knows better.”
The editorial appeared a day before a federal appeals court ruled that New Orleans officials can begin the process of removing a statue of Lee and three other monuments at the center of a long-running, city-led effort, Kevin Litten reported for NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune.
“The ruling comes as litigation surrounding the monuments continues to play out in U.S. District Court. Although the case is still being litigated there, Judge Carl Barbier had ruled the city could take down the monuments because there is not a strong likelihood that the groups opposing the removal will prevail. . . .”
In 2015, the Times-Picayune editorially urged the city to remove its Lee statue and “take a hard look at other Confederate monuments across the city.”
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: George Wallace’s daughter: From segregation to ‘making things right’
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times Picayune: Confederate monuments shouldn’t have gone up, must come down
John Drescher, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: These journalists stayed on the story, even when it wasn’t popular
Frank Hyman, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C., via Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: The Confederacy was a con job on whites. And still is.
Adam Johnson, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Shotgun Pointed at Black Children Trivialized as ‘Confederate Flag Incident’ (Feb. 28)
Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: If you think Confederate flag apparel is noble, wear it — but it’s not (March 1)
Patricia Sullivan, Washington Post: Not so fast: Alexandria’s Confederate symbols will stay put for now (Nov. 30)
Bill Turque, Washington Post: New spot for Confederate statue: site of historic ferry (Feb. 28)
Michael Paul Williams, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: Tell the story behind Richmond’s Confederate monuments (Feb. 27)
“Once again, Kansas is horrified by a murder that surely was precipitated by hate,” the Kansas City Star editorialized Tuesday.
“And yet, the state does not have a hate-crime law.
“It is a lapse that, sadly, has been highlighted by the murder of an India-born engineer who was shot by a man who reportedly screamed, ‘Get out of my country’ before pulling the trigger. . . .”
The Star also wrote, “By definition, hate crimes terrorize more than the intended victim. Crimes motivated by bias target a broad group of people. The death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla sent a chilling message to others who are also foreign-born, particularly immigrants from India.
“That’s why Kuchibhotla’s widow asked, ‘Do we belong?’ A hate-crime law would have helped to answer her poignant plea.”
“Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America, today announced the return of popular radio personality, Luis Jimenez, to New York’s airwaves with a new morning drive show debuting on March 13,” the company said on Feb. 27. “The program will air on Univision New York’s hit radio station La X 96.3 FM Monday through Friday starting at 6:00 a.m. . . .”
In 2007, Univision Radio suspended Jimenez for a month after GLAAD complained that he and his colleagues used homophobic slurs on the air.
It was the first time that a Spanish language radio company suspended one of its own due to homophobic comments, GLAAD’s Mónica Taher told Journal-isms at the time.
In 2015, Jimenez told Veronica Villafañe for her Media Moves site, “I’m not a family program and Univision sees itself as a family company. I was too risky for them. Unfortunately, nowadays, radio programming is controlled by corporations and lawyers.”
That year, Jimenez began an online radio venture, the Luis Network. Villafañe wrote then for Media Moves, “Luis has been off the airwaves since July, when he parted ways with SBS, only 6 months after starting ‘Sin Censura con Luis Jiménez’ at the radio network’s 93.1 FM in New York. He previously spent 14 years at SBS’ La Mega 97.9 in New York, which aired his hit show ‘El Vacilón de la Mañana’ from 1994 to 2008. In between SBS gigs, he was with Univision’s WXNY 96.3 FM. . . .”
The Advocate reported at the time, “Prior to his stint for Univision Radio, Jimenez spent 13 years as a DJ for New York City station WSKQ-FM, where he was well known for making homophobic comments. . . .”
“All across Indian Country, Native Americans are being evicted from their tribes, with little warning and little legal recourse,” Cecily Hilleary reported Friday for the Voice of America. It was the site’s most viewed story for the week of Feb. 27-March 3, a VOA spokesman told Journal-isms.
“Take, for example, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, a federally-recognized tribe of Luiseno Indians living on a reservation in Temecula, California, part of the territory where their ancestors lived for 10,000 years.
“If you want to be a member, you must prove direct lineage to one or more of the original ancestors forced onto the reservation in the early 1880s.
“Pechanga Indian Rick Cuevas traces his ancestry to a woman named Paulina Hunter, who was granted a lot of land on the Pechanga reservation in the late 1800s. He and his family have lived on the reservation as full tribal members for decades.
“But in the early 2000s, the tribal council decided to posthumously disenroll Hunter and, by extension, about 180 of her descendants.
“ ‘They have desecrated the memory of our ancestors,’ Cuevas said. ‘The Pechanga tribal chairman has ripped our history from us, without evidence. And yet his ancestor, back in the day, called my ancestor “Aunt.” ‘ . . . “
The story also said, “Disenrollment is an epidemic in reservations across Indian country. . . .”
Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press; Michigan Radio; and a team from Fusion were among Scripps Howard Award winners announced Tuesday, each eligible for a $10,000 prize. Henderson “brought weighty perspective to 2016’s major issues through the lens of historical narratives — American, racial, literary and his own,” the Scripps Howard Foundation said. Vytenis Didziulis, Catalina Gómez Ángel, Mikhail Galustov and Keith Summa of Fusion “ventured into Syria, the deadliest country in the world for journalists, to follow several Western volunteers.” Michigan Radio “continued to pursue the problem of unsafe drinking water in Flint, Michigan” after others had moved on.
“For the current TV season starting in September, sports TV on national media is down slightly — 1%, according to Pivotal Research Group,” Wayne Friedman reported Wednesday for Television News Daily. He also wrote, “For 2016, Walt Disney TV networks — primarily ESPN, accounted for 32% of total sports viewing. NBCUniversal channels generated 20% of viewing — with more than one-third coming from the Olympics. Fox, 16% of total viewing; CBS, 13%. . . .”
Cheryl Smith, Dallas-based publisher and editor of the IMessenger News Group, a multiplatform news organization that comprises two print newspapers, one digital news magazine, an online radio show and a television program, has been appointed secretary of the National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ announced Wednesday. Smith, a former board member, started her new position at the January board meeting. Sherlon Christie left the post for family reasons, NABJ said.
Shari Noland has been hired as executive editor of the Chicago Defender and as a content strategist for its parent company, Real Times Media, Hiram E. Jackson, chief executive officer of Real Times Media, announced March 2, Roz Edward reported that day for the Michigan Chronicle. “With 20 years of experience in the publishing world — including stints with publishing giant Meredith — Noland was previously chief content officer for Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) where she was responsible for developing, designing and providing content strategy for UMI’s app and 10 websites. Noland also worked for iVillage as the lead editorial producer for GoodHousekeeping.com . . . .” Jackson confirmed in December that Publisher Cheryl Mainor and Executive Editor Kai EL’ Zabar had resigned.
“Several foundations working in Detroit have teamed up to launch a $900,000 fund that will invest in quality journalism and in efforts to ensure coverage and the pool of journalists reporting on it is reflective of the Detroit community,” Sherri Welch reported Wednesday for Crain’s Detroit Business. “And in a related move, the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has committed another $1.48 million to support five local nonprofit media outlets. . . .”
“The Asian American Journalists Association’s Muslim American Task Force (MATF) is accepting source submissions to the Diverse Muslim Sources (DMS) database, a tool to help journalists covering Muslim and Muslim American issues,” AAJA announced on Monday.
“The possibility that Richard Prince’s ‘Journal-isms’ will discontinue is indeed a blow to those of us who believe that the media give a one-sided view of black life and traditionally have served as the mob leader against unpopular groups. . . .
“Almost single-handedly, like a one-man think tank, Richard Prince has kept an eye on the racism and lack of diversity in the nation’s newsrooms and the negative consequences for unpopular groups — blacks, Muslims, Hispanics — in everyday life.”
— Ishmael Reed, author, poet, essayist, novelist, media critic.
Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.