"Swimmer Ryan Lochte was dubbed 'The Ugly American' on Friday as U.S. media turned on the once beloved Olympic champion, saying his made-up tale of being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro played into the worst stereotypes of Americans abroad," Jill Serjeant reported Friday for Reuters.
But not all in the news media were willing to call out the racial and North-South implications of the episode. Dave Zirin, sports editor of the Nation, appearing on "Democracy Now!" with hosts Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Friday, was one.
"But I got to tell you, having just returned from Rio, the anger about this is not going anywhere, because Ryan Lochte has done the impossible: He’s managed to unite people in Rio who are both against the Olympics and people who are for the Olympics, because it’s very paradoxical down there, because, on the one hand, you know, I spoke to teachers, I spoke to people who depend on Brazil’s ramshackle medical system, and people are, of course, furious about the fact that billions of dollars are being spent to put on these Games at a time when there is so much economic and social upheaval in the country, when the country is mired in its worst recession in decades," Zirin said.
"But paradoxically, there is a lot of pride in the fact that people are kind of holding this together, that volunteers, that low-wage workers are somehow keeping this together and holding the kinds of Games that can have the kinds of events, Amy, that you described, that can create these kinds of moments.
"And to have Ryan Lochte and friends literally and figuratively urinate all over their efforts, and also be the kind of stereotype of the ugly American who believes there is no sin below the equator, who exploits people’s biggest stereotypes about Rio and crime, and attempts to leverage the fact that they’re wealthy and white and Olympians and could somehow just blame it on the brown people, get on a plane and go home, what it manages to do is touch every nerve in Brazilian society right now and create a kind of bizarre unity of Brazilians, who are saying, 'Wait a minute, we deserve a lot better than this for the effort that we have put in to staging these Games under unendurable circumstances.' . . ."
Serjeant wrote, "Lochte, 32, is accused by Brazilian authorities of fabricating a story that made headlines around the world of being robbed by gunmen posing as policemen. Surveillance footage and Brazilian investigations showed that Lochte, and three other U.S. swimmers, vandalized a gas station bathroom and urinated in public on their way home from a party last weekend. . . ."
She also wrote, "Lochte's belated apology on Friday, in a statement posted on his Instagram page, won him few friends. 'Your apology was poor. Try again. Shame on you,' wrote Maria Charles on Friday on Twitter.
On NPR's "Code Switch," Leah Donnella added, "Indeed, to many #LochteGate is but another ill-advised, yet ultimately harmless exploit undertaken by the erstwhile star of the reality TV series What Would Ryan Lochte Do? This is, after all, the same adult man who unsuccessfully tried to trademark the word 'Jeah.'
"But others are taking the opportunity to engage in an interesting thought experiment: How would this have played out if Lochte weren't a white man?" Donnella quoted Britni Danielle, writing for Ebony, and Huffington Post editor Emma Gray.
Danielle wrote, "Can you imagine the level of racially charged outrage about over-paid 'thugs,' 'gangsters,' or worse, racial slurs that would fill up social media had Carmelo Anthony and his boys torn up the bathroom, then claimed to get robbed by fake police? I have no doubt President Obama would be asked to comment, Black Lives Matter would get blamed, and people would probably never let them live it down. . . ."
Joyce Blalock-Thomas, HuffPost BlackVoices: White Privilege Strikes Again
Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star: U.S. swimmers who lied in Rio keep alive image of ‘ugly American’
Emma Gray, Huffington Post: White Male Privilege Is Why We Laugh At Lochte And Vilify Douglas
Marina Hyde, the Guardian: Ryan Lochte: an Olympic tale of gold medals and white privilege
Sally Jenkins, Washington Post: Ryan Lochte’s apology is clear: He doesn’t realize what he has done wrong
Sam Laird, Mashable: Why it matters if Ryan Lochte lied about being robbed in Rio
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: American spirit, through right and wrong
Alex Putterman, awfulannouncing.com: Reporter who broke Pat Hickey story has IOC credential revoked
Sarah E. T. Robbins, Columbia Journalism Review: Has Olympics coverage shortchanged Brazil?
Richard Sandomir, New York Times: Little Is Medal-Worthy About NBC’s Coverage of Foreign Athletes
Shobhan Saxena, Outlook, New Delhi: The Ugly Americans: Lying, Drinking And Pissing On Their Hosts
Dave Zirin and Jules Boykoff, the Nation: One Community’s Resistance Will Be the Rio Olympics’ Longest-Lasting Legacy
Feds to Phase Out Use of Private Prisons
"The Obama administration said on Thursday that it would begin to phase out the use of private for-profit prisons to house federal inmates," Charlie Savage reported Thursday for the New York Times. "The Bureau of Prisons had resorted to such prisons to ease overcrowding as the incarceration rate soared, but the number of federal inmates has been dropping since 2013.
"In announcing the policy shift, the Justice Department cited that decline, as well as a critical recent report by the department’s independent inspector general about safety and security problems in private prisons. . . ."
Journalism also played a part.
"This June, we published a big story — Shane Bauer's account of his four-month stint as a guard in a private prison," Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery wrote Wednesday for Mother Jones. "That's 'big,' as in XXL: 35,000 words long, or 5 to 10 times the length of a typical feature, plus charts, graphs, and companion pieces, not to mention six videos and a radio documentary.
"It was also big in impact. More than a million people read it, defying everything we're told about the attention span of online audiences; tens of thousands shared it on social media. The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR's Weekend Edition picked it up. Montel Williams went on a Twitter tear that ended with him nominating Shane for a Pulitzer Prize (though that's not quite how it works).
"People got in touch to tell us about their loved ones' time in prison or their own experience working as guards. Lawmakers and regulators reached out. (UPDATE: And on August 18, the Justice Department announced that it will no longer contract with private prisons, which currently hold thousands of federal inmates — a massive policy shift.) . . ."
Bauerlein and Jeffery continued, "Shane's prison project took more than 18 months. That included four months in the prison and more than a year of additional reporting, fact-checking, video production, and legal review, including work by more than a dozen other people on the MoJo staff. And that was the only way we could have gotten that story. . . .
"And we had to take considerable financial risk. Conservatively, counting just the biggest chunks of staff time that went into it, the prison story cost roughly $350,000. The banner ads that appeared on the article brought in $5,000, give or take. Had we been really in your face with ads, we could have doubled or tripled that figure —but it would have been a pain for you, and still only a drop in the bucket for us.
"MoJo did have support from three foundations for our criminal justice reporting. That’s amazing —but foundation grants only go so far. They are typically limited in time (a few years, tops) and scope (focusing on a particular issue or initiative). And they are finite: All of our foundation support put together accounts for roughly 15 percent of MoJo’s annual revenue. . . ."
The magazine appealed to readers for continued financial support.
Mother Jones: Shane Bauer Talks About His Four Months Working in a Private Prison (June 23)
David A. Love, the Grio.com: Why the federal government is getting out of private prisons
Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project: End Prisons-for-Profit (Aug. 12)
“Code Switch” Leader to Head D.C. Newsroom
Alicia Montgomery, a longtime NPR editor and producer for the network's "Code Switch" initiative, which reports on race relations, has been named editorial director at Washington's WAMU-FM, an NPR affiliate that tops D.C.'s commercial stations in the ratings.
"Alicia, a fifth-generation Washingtonian, comes to us from partner and neighbor NPR," the station announced Thursday. "She will lead WAMU’s regional news strategy, as the station deepens its local focus, increases its emphasis on digital platforms, and significantly expands the newsroom over the next five years.
"Alicia impressed the search committee because of her experience leading high quality news teams. Some of her accomplishments include:
"Supervising Senior Producer of Code Switch, NPR’s cross-platform reporting initiative focused on race, ethnicity, and culture. Montgomery led the development of the team’s successful podcast, connecting with 185,000 unique downloaders each week.
"Production leader for Tell Me More with Michel Martin, where she edited Michel Martin’s Murrow Award-winning essay series, Can I Just Tell You and orchestrated the Michel Martin: Going There event series.
"Reporter for Salon.com, covering the 2000 presidential race and its aftermath. There, Alicia created Trail Mix, one of the first daily political blogs. . . ."
The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey, released in June by Bob Papper of Hofstra for the Radio Television Digital News Association, reported,"Non-commercial stations were more likely to have minority news directors than commercial stations."
"Overall, 6.6% of commercial stations had minority news directors, while 10.6% of non-commercial stations had news directors of color," Papper emailed Journal-isms on Friday.
Montgomery starts Oct. 3. NPR spokeswoman Isabel Lara told Journal-isms by email Friday, "There will be a search for a new code switch lead, in the meantime Keith Woods will step in." Woods is NPR vice president for diversity in news and operations.
Media Focus on His Past Threatens Filmmaker’s Success
"Nate Parker's 'The Birth of a Nation' was supposed to be one of the most important movies of this year and next — if not of the decade," Lisa France reported Thursday for CNN Money.
"At Sundance, the screening was greeted with tears, an extended standing ovation and wins for the audience and jury prizes.
"Fox Searchlight snapped up the distribution rights for a record $17.5 million. There was going to be a companion curriculum, so that the movie could be taught in schools. And you could already count the statues — Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Oscars — that the film was bound to win.
"But that was before the national media took notice of a disturbing part of Parker's past: as a college student in 1999, he and his Penn State roommate, Jean Celestin, were charged with rape. Parker was acquitted; Celestin, who co-wrote 'Birth of a Nation,' was convicted. (His conviction was later overturned on appeal.)
"It was before sites began sharing links to court documents laying out a harrowing tale of what the accuser said happened, including what she called 'an organized campaign' to harass her.
"And it was before the revelation that their alleged victim had taken her own life in 2012, when she was just 30 years old. Her family has said she struggled after the event, and Variety reported that her death certificate said she suffered form "major depressive disorder with psychotic features, PTSD due to physical and sexual abuse, polysubstance abuse…."
"Now, the fate of the movie — the attention and distribution it was supposed to get, the accolades it was going to earn — is up in the air. . . ."
Richard Horgan, FishbowlNY: Nate Parker Eclipses Nat Turner
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley, Huffington Post: We Need To Discuss Nate Parker’s Past Rape Charge
Spanish-Language Networks Getting Out the Vote
"We’ve heard it said over and over again: The Hispanic vote could swing this election," Media Life reported Friday.
"The Spanish-language broadcast networks are too politically savvy to tell their audiences who they should be voting for. But they’re trying to make sure those viewers get to the polls.
"This year all the big broadcasters, from Univision to Estrella, have get-out-the-vote efforts underway, encouraging their viewers to register, educate themselves on the issues, and make it to the polls on election day.
"This isn’t new. For the past few campaign cycles, the networks have been engaging in similar civic activism.
"What’s interesting is you don’t see the same thing with the English-language networks, for a variety of reasons. Two decades after MTV urged young people to 'rock the vote,' voter drives are now largely confined to Spanish-language networks. . . ."
Lechelle Barron, metrolatinausa.com: 2016 Presidential Election, Both Parties Exclude Afro-Latino Voters In The Hispanic Vote
Rekha Basu, Des Moines Register: Trump's new campaign chair makes living off distortions
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Why Blacks Loathe Trump
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Red alert, Democrats. Donald Trump might be poised to make a comeback.
Editorial, Native Sun News: Donald Trump wages war on the Indian gaming industry
Mike Green, medium.com: Disrupting Donald Trump’s African American Outreach
Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer: 'Spiritually rich' voters, who Clinton once defended, prefer Trump
Ezra Klein, vox.com: The media vs. Donald Trump: why the press feels so free to criticize the Republican nominee
Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News Latino: Obama approval among Latinos at all-time high despite deportations, disappointments
Ken Meyer, Mediaite: Ex-Breitbart Spokesman: Bannon Ran Meetings Like a ‘White Supremacist Rally’
Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Poor Whites Need a Booker T., Not a Donald J.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Could things get any worse for the GOP? Trump’s campaign shake-up says yes.
Jon Stewart surprises Larry Wilmore Thursday on his last "Nightly Show."
Stewart Says Wilmore Raised 'Underserved Voices'
"When the final 'Nightly Show' aired on Thursday, Jon Stewart showed up to bid farewell to host Larry Wilmore," Ed Mazza reported Friday for the Huffington Post.
“ 'Your last show?' Stewart said. 'Oh my God! What did you, piss off Peter Thiel?'
"Stewart was referring to the Silicon Valley billionaire who bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s $135 million privacy lawsuit that caused Gawker.com to shut down.
"The ex-'Daily Show' host then gave some sage advice to his former correspondent: 'Do not confuse cancellation with failure.'
“ 'What you, my friend, were tasked to do, you have done and done beautifully,' Stewart said. 'You gave voice to underserved voices in the media arena and you did it ― it was a show that was raw and poignant and funny and smart and all those things.'
"After paying tribute to Wilmore, Stewart tapped his chest and said, 'You did it, my…' but Wilmore tried to stop him from finishing that sentence.
“ '…my mishpocheh,' Stewart concluded, using a Yiddish term for family and not the word Wilmore was fearing.
"The joke was a reference to Wilmore dropping the n-word on President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last spring. . . ."
Renée Graham, Boston Globe: A Sad Night for Late Night
Yvonne Leow, an editorial project manager at Sequoia Capital, was introduced to members of the Asian American Journalists Association Friday as their national president-elect. "Most recently, she was the senior Snapchat editor at Vox.com, and a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University," an announcement said. Leow, who is AAJA's national vice president for journalism programs, ran unopposed in recent elections.
The board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists voted Friday to join a friend of the court brief filed that day by 58 national media organizations and press rights groups defending New York Times reporter Frances Robles. A state judge ruled Aug. 4 that Robles "must testify at a trial this fall about her jailhouse interview with a man accused of killing the toddler known as Baby Hope," James C. McKinley Jr. reported then for the Times. The brief, by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, asks the First Department Appellate Division to reverse the decision ordering Robles' personal appearance. The New York County District Attorney's office said in an email to Courthouse News that reporters' testimony will "provide critical evidence" to their case, Les Neuhaus reported Friday for Courthouse News Service.
"When former news reporter and professor Sree Sreenivasan lost his job as the chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he took advantage of a tool he knows very well: social media," Jaclyn Didaz and Kristen Doerer reported Wednesday for the "PBS NewsHour." ". . . In a recent Making Sen$e report, NewsHour special correspondent Roben Farzad traveled to New York City to meet with Sree Sreenivasan and see what job seekers could learn from him. .. . " Sreenivasan was subsequently appointed chief digital officer for the city of New York.
The board of directors of Emmis Communications Corp. has authorized Emmis to look into selling WLIB-AM, which calls itself "New York's Gospel, inspiration and information station," RadioInk reported Friday. "In February 2014 Emmis purchased WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM for $131 million in cash from YMF Media."
"We, ESPN/The Undefeated, have decided to host our own town hall in Chicago on Aug. 25 . . . It's being billed, 'An Undefeated Conversation: Athletes, Responsibility & Violence,' hosted by Jemele Hill," Kevin Merida, editor-in-chief of the Undefeated, said Friday in a q-and-a with James Warren of the Poynter Institute. "We will have a mix of athletes, police, community leaders and others on panels in front of an audience at the South Side YMCA. We’ll tape it that afternoon and air it on ESPN that night. . . ."
Jennifer Berry Hawes, religion reporter at Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., when a June 17, 2015 shooting left nine black churchgoers dead, is writing about about the churchgoers' lives, Adreana Young reported Aug. 11 for Editor & Publisher. Glenn Smith, the paper's watchdog and public service editor, is doing the preliminary editing. Herb Frazier, a former Post and Courier columnist, has co-written "We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel," which looks at the tragedy from a historical lens. Published in June, it earned five stars in customer reviews on Amazon.
"In a commanding new book, Benjamin Madley calls California’s 19th-century elected officials 'the primary architects of annihilation' against Native Americans in the state," reads a headline in the Nation above a review by Richard White of "An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe." "Reading it is like watching bodies being piled on a pyre. . . ."
"An award-winning journalist with a passion for advocacy and the environment has joined the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as an information officer in the Parks and Trails Division," the Pine Journal in Cloquet, Minn., reported Monday. "Former Fond du Lac Reservation newspaper editor Deborah Locke will work with the media to improve the division’s outreach to culturally diverse and underserved populations, with the goal of connecting more citizens with the outdoors.. . . Locke spent 10 years as an editorial writer, columnist and influential member of the Editorial Board at the Pioneer Press" in St. Paul, Minn. . . ."
"Book TV will be LIVE at the Mississippi Book Festival, held at the state capitol in Jackson, on Saturday," C-SPAN reports. Starting at 11 a.m. ET and concluding at 6:15 p.m. C-SPAN2 plans to cover panels on race, education, civil rights history, Mississippi history, civil rights history II, and the presidential year, in that order. The "race" panel features contributors to "The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race."
Diane R. Williams, a dictationist and news aide at the Washington Post in the late 1960s who went on to become a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and a undertake a 30-year career as a lawyer, died of cancer Aug. 12, her son, Kyle White, told Journal-isms on Friday. She was 68 and lived in Fort Washington, Md. White noted that his grandfather, Dr. Jack White, established the Howard University Cancer Center in 1980. In 1976, Williams prevailed in a sexual harassment case against the Justice Department, where she worked in 1972 in the Community Relations Service. Services are scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Pope Funeral Home, 5538 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, Md.
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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