Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Hometown Papers Urge Rep. Conyers to Resign

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  • Congressman Admits Settling Sex-Related Case
  • 3 Women of Color Become Part of Charlie Rose Story
  • Filipina D.J. Adds Franken to Harassment List
  • What of Harassed Women in Less Glamorous Jobs?
  • CNN en Español Sheds Another Longtime Anchor
  • Google, Facebook Oppose Altering Net Neutrality
  • Deggans to Contribute to NBC ‘All Star’ Media Team
  • Poll: Native Americans See Racial Bias
  • How CNN Documented Human Slave Auctions’
  • Short Takes

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, has lost the editorial support of the Detroit Free Press and of the senior editor of the Michigan Chronicle, a black press institution now in its 75th year, in light of reporting that implicated Conyers in sexually inappropriate conduct.

Paul McLeod and Lissandra Villa of BuzzFeed News reported Monday (updated Tuesday) that Conyers paid more than $27,000 to settle a complaint in 2015 from a woman who alleged she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances.

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic,” McLeod and Villa wrote.

“Conyers confirmed he made the settlement in a statement Tuesday afternoon, hours after this story was published, but said that he ‘vehemently denied’ the claims of sexual harassment at the time and continues to do so. . . .”

The Free Press editorial board is led by Stephen Henderson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning black journalist. The board wrote Tuesday (updated Wednesday) of the accusations, “It is the kind of behavior that can never be tolerated in a public official, much less an elected representative of the people.

“And it means that whatever Conyers’ legacy will eventually be, his tenure as a member of Congress must end — now.”

Conyers said through his lawyer Wednesday that he would not step down. Attorney Arnold Reed said that “while these allegations are serious, they are simply allegations,” Phil Helsel reported for NBC News.

Then, on Thursday, the Free Press reported that Melanie Sloan, a well-known Washington lawyer who formerly worked for Conyers, told the Free Press that Conyers verbally abused her, criticized her appearance and once showed up to a meeting in his underwear.

As did the Free Press, Keith A. Owens, senior editor at the Chronicle, acknowledged Conyers’ heroic status.

Am I grateful to Rep. John Conyers, the ‘dean’ of the U.S. House of Representatives and its longest serving member, for all his years of dedicated service to the people of Detroit, the State of Michigan, and the entire United States? Of course I am,” Owens wrote on Wednesday. All of us should be grateful and proud of what this man has accomplished and achieved on our behalf. He is indeed an icon.

“But that is not the point right now. What matters right now, at this very moment in time, particularly in the swirl of this now electric climate where the issue of gross sexual misconduct against women by men of power and influence is finally getting the long overdue attention it deserves, is whether or not Conyers is one of those men. Either he is or he isn’t. There is no in-between. . . .

The editorially conservative Detroit News, the city’s other major daily, did not call for Conyers to step down. On Tuesday, it denounced the practice of keeping settlements secret.

Congress should . . . hold its members to the same standards it demands of the private sector,” it declared.

Columbia Journalism Review: CJR Survey: Reporting Sexual Misconduct in Newsrooms (Staff Journalists)

Columbia Journalism Review: CJR Survey: Reporting Sexual Misconduct in Newsrooms (Freelancers)

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: When Holiday Values Meet Policy, It May Be Awkward

Paul Farhi, Washington Post: Why BuzzFeed teamed with a far-right figure to break the John Conyers scandal

Jason Schwartz, Politico: Media outlets reassess their newsroom cultures

3 Women of Color Become Part of Charlie Rose Story

At least three women of color have been part of the story of Charlie Rose’s downfall this week at CBS, PBS and Bloomberg News over sexual harassment allegations.

Video clips were played repeatedly of Gayle King, Rose’s African American co-anchor on “CBS This Morning,” after the Washington Post reported that eight women told the Post that Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them.

I never in a million years thought that we, Charlie Rose, CBS would be involved in this story in this way,” King said Wednesday, anchoring with Norah O’Donnell but without Rose. “But I also think we’re not shy about reporting it. I think that’s important.”

Yvette Vega, whom colleagues described as Puerto Rican, was Rose’s longtime executive producer. Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, one of Rose’s assistants in the mid-2000s, told the Post that she had complained about Rose to Vega.

“ ‘I explained how he inappropriately spoke to me during those times,’ Godfrey-Ryan said. ‘She would just shrug and just say, “That’s just Charlie being Charlie.” ‘

“In a statement to The Post, Vega said she should have done more to protect the young women on the show.

“I should have stood up for them,” said Vega, 52, who has worked with Rose since the show was created in 1991. ‘I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them. ‘ . . . .”

Another black journalist, Rebecca Carroll, a former producer for Rose’s canceled PBS show, said that racism and sexism were “inherent” to the behind-the-scenes atmosphere at the show, John Bowden reported Wednesday for the Hill.

Carroll, editor for special projects at WNYC radio in New York, tweeted Wednesday evening that Rose would regularly belittle her and that she was punished for speaking out about ‘casual racism’ at the show.

“ ‘As a young black woman starting out as a producer for the prestigious Charlie Rose show, I had to gauge every day whether to respond to casual racism or sexually predatory behavior,’ Carroll tweeted.

“ ‘I spoke out about racialized or micro-aggressive racism and was punished for it. The predatory behavior was ignored or accepted or laughed off — it was inherent to our daily culture,’ she continued.

“Carroll said in subsequent tweets that she never believed that Rose treated African-Americans as his equals. . . .”

Carroll told Journal-isms by email on Wednesday that she planned to write her own thoughts for NBC’s new opinion vertical, NBC Think.

“It’s a piece on the broader view, which is to say, what constitutes actual change and/or consequences when the behavior is systemically sanctioned? These high-profile, powerful white men should absolutely lose their jobs, but what kind of a loss or consequence is it if you’re in your late 70s and don’t actually need a job? And we’re still centering white men, because the media only ever sees any significant shift in cultural behavior through a white lens.”

Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times: HBO stands by Russell Simmons’ new season of ‘All Def Comedy,’ series will air as scheduled

Eugene Scott, Washington Post: From Lena Dunham to Kellyanne Conway: The powerful women defending powerful men accused of sexual assault

Filipina D.J. Adds Franken to Harassment List

Senator Al Franken ( D-Minnesota), a progressive politician, is in a heap of trouble because of his treatment of a Filipina American deejay during a USO tour,” Ed Diokno wrote Wednesday for AsAmNews.

“Los Angeles radio host Leeann Velez Tweeden tweeted that Franken kissed her without her consent and fondled her breasts while she was asleep during a 2006 USO Tour in the Middle East.

“Inspired by the #MeToo campaign that was launched by the women making public the sexual assaults and harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Tweeden told how Franken wrote a comedy skit that ended with a kiss. During a rehearsal of the skit, Tweeden claims that the senator grabbed her behind her neck and forcibly kissed her, forcing his tongue into her mouth.

“She pushed him off and told him not to do that again. She said she went to the bathroom to rinse the taste of him out of her mouth.

“Franken apparently didn’t stop there. . . . .

“Tweeden is not the first Filipina who has spoken out about sexual assault and harassment. One of the first women to speak out was Ambra Battaliana Gutierrez, an Italian model with Filipino heritage, who told the story of her encounters with Harvey Weinstein. Since an article about her meetings with the Hollywood power broker became public, more than 70 women have come forth to tell their experiences with Weinstein.”

Mi-Ai Parrish, Arizona Republic | Arizona Republic publisher: Rep. Don Shooter made a sexual comment to me, and that’s not OK (Nov. 10)

What of Harassed Women in Less Glamorous Jobs?

The number of women in the entertainment industry coming forward with charges of sexual harassment is starting to feel endless,Alissa Quart and Barbara Ehrenreich wrote Wednesday for the Guardian as part of its Inequality Project. “They include stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie but also heads of tech startups and journalists, gallerists and producers.

“But it is women working in far less glamorous occupations who really bear the brunt of male lechery and assault: the housekeepers, waitresses and farmworkers. A paper in the journal Gender, Work & Organization, based on interviews with female workers at five-star hotels, found almost all experiencing some kind of inappropriate sexual advance from a guest. In another study, 80% of waitresses reported sexual harassment. A mind-boggling 88% of female construction workers did, too.

“If you look at these numbers, you recognize that most victims are not so glamorous.

“And yet, the current conversation about harassment is deeply skewed by social class. There are far too many think pieces about high-level actresses and far too few about the waitress at your local diner.

“Why? For starters, most working-class women don’t hire publicists or lawyers, and they aren’t able to cultivate friends in high places. . . .”

Others have reached the same conclusion, and some have acted on it. USA Today’s Susan Page said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “I’m not sure we’ve yet seen a culture shift for women who work at Walmart or work — clean hotel rooms or work on factory floors who are subject to the same kind of abuses that women who work in law firms and on Capitol Hill are subject to. That would be a real culture shift.”

NPR’s “On the Media,” which originates at New York’s WNYC-FM, last week invited writer Sarah Smarsh to join its discussion to talk about “the sexual harassment accusations that won’t make the news, especially those of the working poor.”

Another NPR show, “1A,” from Washington’s WAMU-FM, Wednesday included Chai Feldblum, commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Bernice Yeung, a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal and author of “In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers.”

Yeung’s work for Reveal includes “15 new cases highlight McDonald’s history of sexual harassment issues” from 2016, and “Under cover of darkness, female janitors face rape and assault” from 2015. The latter was part of “Rape on the Night Shift,” an award-winning collaboration between Reveal, “Frontline,” the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Univision and KQED-TV in San Francisco. It helped change California law.

That report said, “Sexual assault can happen anywhere: in the military and on college campuses, in the Catholic church and at world-renowned yoga studios.

“But the way the problem has played out in the workplace largely has escaped public attention. About 50 people a day are sexually assaulted or raped while they’re on the clock, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Any statistic about sexual violence, though, is a farce — only a fraction of victims ever come forward to report the crime. . . .”

Melodie Edwards, NPR: For Native Americans Facing Sexual Assault, Justice Feels Out Of Reach (Nov. 14)

Ann Friedman, Los Angeles Times: What about the sexual harassment stories we’re not hearing? (Nov. 14)

Jennifer S. Hirsch, HuffPost: Your outrage won’t trickle down to help working-class women (Nov.16)

Maura Judkis and Emily Heil, Washington Post: Rape in the storage room. Groping at the bar. Why is the restaurant industry so terrible for women?

Wesley Morris, New York Times: Who We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Weinstein

CNN en Español Sheds Another Longtime Anchor

Barely two weeks after senior anchor Patricia Janiot, “the face of CNN en Español,” announced she was leaving after almost 26 years, the network is confirming that anchor Carlos Montero, who joined the company in 1997, will be departing at the end of the month. Others are said to be following.

“Carlos is a true pioneer of 24-hour Spanish language news, and has been helping our viewers jump start their day in the morning prime slot for over 20 years,” Isabel Bucaram, director of VIP planning production and CNNE US Hispanic marketing liaison, said by email on Wednesday. “We are grateful to Carlos for all his many contributions to the network and wish him the very best.”

Montero co-hosts CNN’s main Spanish morning program, “Café CNN.”

Montero is one of the pioneers of CNN en Español,” according to the Latin American website

Journal-isms asked Bucaram to elaborate on the changes, asking such questions as why Montero is leaving, how many others were let go, who would replace Montero and Janiot, whether the moves represent a transfer of more programming from CNN’s Atlanta headquarters to Miami, and how the changes make CNNE more relevant to Latinos in the United States, as opposed to Hispanics in Latin America who are also served by the network.

“We have no further comments but I would keep you informed as future announcements are made,” Bucaram replied.

Univision announced Monday, “Janiot will co-anchor Univision’s late-night network newscast, ‘Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna,’ alongside Enrique Acevedo. She will also serve as co-anchor for the weekly primetime newsmagazine ‘Aquí y Ahora’ (Here and Now), with Ilia Calderón and Teresa Rodríguez, as well as launch a new Latin America-focused news program on all Univision News digital platforms. Additionally, Janiot will develop content for special programs. . . .”

Google, Facebook Oppose Altering Net Neutrality

Technology giants Google and Facebook have joined forces with start-ups to criticise US plans to alter net neutrality rules,” the BBC reported Thursday.

“The principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally was enshrined in US law in 2015.

“But telecom companies complained an overly regulated net stifled innovation, particularly their ability to roll out broadband services.

“Regulators will vote in December on whether to overturn the rules.

“The changes have been proposed by the Federal Communications Commission, whose chairman Ajit Pai was a fierce critic of the Obama-era changes.

“Facebook said: ‘We are disappointed that the proposal announced this week by the FCC fails to maintain the strong net neutrality protections that will ensure the internet remains open for everyone.

“ ‘We will work with all stakeholders committed to this principle.’

“In its statement, Google said the current rules ‘are working well’.

“Meanwhile, content giant Netflix tweeted: ‘This current draft order hasn’t been officially voted, so we’re lodging our opposition publicly and loudly now.’

“And, in an open letter to the FCC, a group, made up of 1,000 small businesses from around the US, wrote: ‘The success of America’s start-up ecosystem depends on more than improved broadband speeds.

“ ‘We also depend on an open internet — including enforceable net neutrality rules that ensure big cable companies can’t discriminate against people like us. . . .”

Julia Angwin, Ariana Tobin and Madeleine Varner, ProPublica: Facebook (Still) Letting Housing Advertisers Exclude Users by Race

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: ISPs Renew Pledges Not To Block or Throttle

Tim Karr, senior director of strategy for Free Press, with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, “Democracy Now!”: FCC Moves to Gut Net Neutrality, Ignoring Public Support & Laws Upholding Equal Internet Access

Deggans to Contribute to NBC ‘All Star’ Media Team

In September, NBC announced a nine-person “all star” team to cover media, with Jo Ling Kent, an NBC News and MSNBC correspondent “who reports on the business of media, the technology giants, and social media platforms” and is Asian American, the only person of color.

On Tuesday, the network announced that the team’s diversity will have a little more heft.

Eric Deggans, television critic for NPR and author of 2012's “Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation,” has signed as a media and television contributor for NBC News and MSNBC, the network announced in an email.

Deggans, who is African American, “will report across NBC News and MSNBC platforms, including for the new media team, which is led by former New York Post business reporter Claire Atkinson. . . .”

Poll: Native Americans See Racial Bias

More than half of Native Americans living on tribal lands or other majority-Native areas say they have experienced racial or ethnic discrimination when interacting with police (55 percent) and applying for jobs (54 percent),” Joe Neel reported Nov. 14 for NPR. “That’s according to new poll results being released Tuesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Location appears to have a big influence on whether Native Americans experience discrimination because they are Native American. In the example above, discrimination in police encounters was reported three times more often by American Indians living in majority-Native communities than by those living in more mixed areas.

“Even disregarding where people live, our poll found Native Americans reported significant discrimination in their everyday lives — jobs, health care, education and other areas.

“ ‘The poll is important because it allows Native Americans to speak to a broad range of Americans about the serious personal problems they face in dealing with employers, police and the courts,’ says poll director Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School. ‘It shines a light on the very high level of slurs and personal insults this community faces in their day-to-day interactions with others.’

“Indeed, the level of these negative interactions was significant in our poll. Nearly 4 in 10 experienced insensitive or offensive comments or negative assumptions because of their race or ethnicity. The number reporting being slurred was only slightly lower. . . .” Newspaper apologizes to Mississippi Choctaws for ‘derogatory’ story on casino referendum

Savannah Maher, NPR: For Many Native Americans, Fall Is The Least Wonderful Time Of The Year

Gyasi Ross, HuffPost: Native American Child Gunned Down By Ashland County Sheriff Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich: #JusticeForJason

David Sommerstein, NPR: Native American Students Fight Discrimination By Celebrating Their Heritage (Nov. 16)

Julie Turkewitz, New York Times: Thanksgiving for Native Americans: Four Voices on a Complicated Holiday

Shankar Vedantam, NPR: An American Secret: The Untold Story Of Native American Enslavement

‘How CNN Documented Human Slave Auctions’

Nima Elbagir knew what might happen to her if her attempt to document human slave auctions in Libya went badly,” Al Tompkins reported Tuesday for the Poynter Institute. “Her mother and father were newspaper publishers in Sudan. Her father, Abdullah Elbagir, spent the first three years of her life in jail because of his reporting.

“Elbagir has made a living covering dangerous stories that could cost her life. As a young journalist, she covered the war in Darfur for Reuters in 2002. She reported on international arms sales in Darfur, and her reporting on the kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls for CNN was awarded a Peabody, one of broadcast journalism’s highest honors.

“ ‘I grew up in an environment where there was a very good sense inculcated in risks that were managed and risks that matter,’ she told Poynter. It would be hard to imagine a topic that matters more.

“ ‘You are watching the auction of human beings,’ Elbagir said in her CNN report Nov. 14. The undercover video supplied to CNN by a source showed a young man described by the ‘auctioneer’ as ‘big strong boys for farm work.’ The bidding begins, ‘400, 700, the numbers roll in, these men are sold for 1200 Libyan pounds.’ That would be about $400 U.S. The sellers called the men ‘merchandise.’

“The video of the slave auction was the product of months of building trusted sources while covering the migration of refugees from Syria and across Africa into Libya. . . .”

Short Takes

  • After the Asian American Journalists Association in July, writer Jay Caspian Kang piqued interest on Asian American message boards and elsewhere after he disclosed that he was working on a piece about the white nationalist group Storm Front recruiting Asian men who seem to be concerned about their lack of identity. “My story is coming out next week. I’m also doing a podcast,” Kang said. Plans have changed, reports Shawna Thomas, D.C. bureau chief of Vice News. “ I talked to Jay and he says this is the topic of a chapter of a book he’s working on,” she messaged Journal-isms on Monday. “So we may have to wait a little bit longer to see what he cooks up.”
  • Latino journalists were in evidence on the Thanksgiving edition of ABC-TV’s “World News Tonight.” Tom Llamas anchored, handing off stories to Gio Benitez, Cecilia Vega and Alex Perez.

Cedric Thomas has been promoted to vice president and general manager of WSOC-TV and WAXN-TV in Charlotte, N.C., Cox Media Group announced on Monday. Most recently, Thomas was director of sales for WPXI-TV, CMG Pittsburgh.

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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.

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