(ProPublica/YouTube)

The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening,” Ginger Thompson wrote Monday for ProPublica. “Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’ over and over again, as if those are the only words they know. . . .”

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The audio reported on by Thompson can be credited with helping to move the outrage over the family separations past the breaking point. In just one example, a reporter turned on the audio recording as Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. secretary of homeland security, defended the administration’s policies at a White House briefing.

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Thompson, who joined ProPublica in 2014 after 15 years at the New York Times, explained in her Monday story how she came to obtain the recording.

“It was recorded last week inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility. The person who made the recording asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. That person gave the audio to Jennifer Harbury, a well-known civil rights attorney who has lived and worked for four decades in the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border with Mexico.”Harbury provided it to ProPublica. She said the person who recorded it was a client who ‘heard the children’s weeping and crying, and was devastated by it’,” Thompson wrote.

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“The person estimated that the children on the recording are between 4 and 10 years old. It appeared that they had been at the detention center for less than 24 hours, so their distress at having been separated from their parents was still raw. Consulate officials tried to comfort them with snacks and toys. But the children were inconsolable. . . .”

Obama Separated Families, but Difference Is Scale

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President Barack Obama separated parents from their children at the border,” Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar wrote Thursday for the McClatchy Washington Bureau.

“Obama prosecuted mothers for coming to the United States illegally. He fast tracked deportations. And yes, he housed unaccompanied children in tent cities.

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“For much of the country — and President Donald Trump — the prevailing belief is that Obama was the president who went easier on immigrants.

“Neither Obama nor Democrats created Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which calls for every illegal border crosser to be prosecuted and leads to their children being detained in separate facilities before being shipped to a shelter and eventually a sponsor family.

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“But Obama’s policy helped create the road map of enforcement that Trump has been following — and building on. . . .”

Ordoñez and Kumar also wrote, “Obama took other controversial steps as well, including fighting to block efforts to require unaccompanied children to have legal representation and barring detained mothers with their children from being released on bond.

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“The administration also deported a teenage mother and her son back to Honduras soon after she attempted suicide at Texas family detention center.

“Her lawyer, Bryan Johnson, finds [it] difficult making comparisons saying they were both tough on enforcement. But he worries comparing what Trump did to Obama makes the crisis today look less significant.

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“’Obama was bad. . . . I think the main difference is scale here with Trump.’

“While Obama downplayed his enforcement, Trump has embraced and made it a signature issue of his presidency.

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Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization, said the difference between Trump and previous presidents is in his language.

“ ‘No previous administration has referred to immigration as an infestation,’ he said, referring to a tweet by Trump on Tuesday. ‘No president has ever spoken of immigrants and refugees in the awful way that President Trump has.’ . . .”

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[Philip Rucker, Washington Post White House bureau chief, went further Wednesday, writing, “Echoing the words and images of the white nationalist movement to dehumanize immigrants and inflame racial tensions has become a defining feature of Donald Trump’s presidency and of the Republican Party’s brand. . . .”]

Meanwhile, “Several former Obama administration officials took to social media and news outlets last month to explain a gallery of years-old photos that showed immigrant children sleeping in shoddy conditions at a government-run holding facility in Arizona,”Michelle Mark reported Thursday for businessinsider.com.

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Mark also wrote, “A number of prominent liberals — and even a former Obama administration official — shared the photos, mistakenly believing they depicted the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrant children who were forcibly separated from their parents. . . .”

NAHJ President Says Role Is to Support Journalists

Some members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists have taken to social media to criticize its leadership for its “silence” on the controversy over the separation of families, but the group’s president says its role is to support the journalists who are covering the issue.

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“The national board is focused on newsrooms being fair and accurate while reporting on this humanitarian crisis at the border,” NAHJ President Brandon Benavides said in a statement provided Wednesday to Journal-isms.

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“Part of that is working to ensure we have as many voices at the table as possible and keeping this coverage front and center. This is when journalism matters most and we are here supporting our journalists who give a real voice to our communities.”

Anita Bennett, writing Wednesday for Urban Hollywood, reported the restlessness among some NAHJ members.

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Despite the public outcry, a check of NAHJ’s website Wednesday showed no mention of the family detentions,” Bennett wrote. “The group’s verified Twitter feed included tweets of news stories about the issue, but there was no official statement.

“Meanwhile on Facebook, former Chicago Tribune reporter, Ray Quintanilla wrote on the NAHJ page: ‘This is likely my final year in NAHJ because the group has lost its advocacy voice. What a shame.’

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“As of Wednesday afternoon, his comment had generated more than 250 reactions.

“ ‘I hear you. I hope the next leadership can lead better,’ wrote NBC Los Angeles reporter-anchor and former NAHJ president, Mekahlo Medina.

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“ ‘Look, it’s clear to me that NAHJ has reverted back to this idea of a journalists club instead of an organization with a mission these last two years. It’s lost some of its bite, fight and vision,’ Medina said in a second comment.

“Freelance Dallas reporter and TV commentator, Rebecca Aguilar stated: ‘Sad that not one NAHJ board member, NOT ONE got on here to engage. Very sad that the president Brandon Benavides kept silent. When you are leader of an organization and people vote you in, they trust you will say something even if it is “no comment.” ‘

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“However, Houston Chronicle narrative writer Mónica Rhor countered: ‘As a journalism organization, NAHJ should not be taking sides in a political issue or news event. That would end up damaging the credibility of Latino journalists in the field.’ . . .”

In 26 States, Whites’ Deaths Now Outnumber Births

Deaths now outnumber births among white people in more than half the states in the country, demographers have found, signaling what could be a faster-than-expected transition to a future in which whites are no longer a majority of the American population,” Sabrina Tavernise reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

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“The Census Bureau has projected that whites could drop below 50 percent of the population around 2045, a relatively slow-moving change that has been years in the making. But a new report this week found that whites are dying faster than they are being born now in 26 states, up from 17 just two years earlier, and demographers say that shift might come even sooner.

“ ‘It’s happening a lot faster than we thought,’ said Rogelio Sáenz, a demographer at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a co-author of the report. It examines the period from 1999 to 2016 using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the federal agency that tracks births and deaths. He said he was so surprised at the finding that at first he thought it was a mistake. . . .”

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Mike Allen, Axios: 1 big thing: The biggest blunder of the Trump presidency

Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times: It’s time to deport la migra from California

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Thi Bui, the Nib: Refugee to Detainee: How the U.S. is Deporting Those Seeking a Safe HavenSince the 1994 Crime Bill signed into law by Bill Clinton, refugees have been deported in droves. And Southeast Asians are being targeted. (June 13)

Jelani Cobb, New Yorker: Juneteenth and the Detention of Children in Texas

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: Trump May Have American Carnage, but Biden Has American Corny

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Editorial, Boston Globe: Stephen Miller is the architect of family separation at the border. He must go.

Paul Farhi, Washington Post: Propaganda or news: Should media publish government’s child-detention photos?

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R. Andrew Free, Latino Rebels: A Critical Thread About Why Separation of Families in Border Is Not Just a Trump Admin Issue

Luis Gomez, San Diego Union-Tribune: What Laura Ingraham got wrong about detention centers in calling them ‘summer camps’

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Shaun King, the Intercept: Separating Migrant Families Is Barbaric. It’s Also What the U.S. Has Been Doing to People of Color for Hundreds of Years.

Anita Kumar and Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy Washington Bureau: Trump’s immigration order replaces one crisis with another

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Alexis C. Madrigal, the Atlantic: The Making of an Online Moral Crisis

Debbie Nathan, the Intercept: An Abused Woman Came to the U.S. Seeking Asylum. The Government Took her 5-Year-Old Son. This Is How She Got Him Back.

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Aaron Payment, indianz.com: Innocent children victimized again by our government

Troy Patterson, New Yorker: At the Border, TV Networks Find Eloquence in Starkness, Speechlessness, and Disbelief

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Julia Preston, Marshall Project: What You Should Know About Family Separations

Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds and Rev. Dr. Keith Magee, TriceEdneyWire.com: Hate Thy Neighbor Colors Sessions’ Immigration Practices

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Albor Ruiz, Al Dia, Philadelphia: Trump’s Cruel Child Snatchers

Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel, TVSpy: NY1 Reporter Gets Exclusive Video of Children Being Escorted Into Foster Facility

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Matt Smith and Aura Bogado, Reveal, Center for Investigative Reporting: Immigrant children forcibly injected with drugs, lawsuit claims

R. Thomas Umstead, Multichannel News: Hollywood Speaks Out On Migrant Children Crisis

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Omar Villafranca, CBS News: Treacherous journey to U.S. a last resort for some fleeing violence in El Salvador

Julia Waldow and Emily Kohlman, CNN: This is why there are so few pictures of migrant children

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Calvin Woodward and Elliot Spagat, Associated Press: AP FACT CHECK: GOP now blames court for family separation

Black-Press Group Won’t ‘Censor’ Raynard Jackson

The National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade association of publishers of black newspapers, does not take responsibility for errors made by columnist Raynard Jackson, whose work it distributes, the NNPA chairman told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

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“We don’t censor anyone” whose work is distributed with “their byline on it,” Dorothy R. Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader and Gary (Ind.) Crusader, said. She said she does not run the column in the Crusader, but that within NNPA, “that is a decision to be made by the publisher.” However, she said she would look into the matter.

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As reported in this space this week, Jackson, a Republican operative and regular columnist with the NNPA News Service, flayed the White House Correspondents’ Association and the National Association of Black Journalists in his latest column, using arguments that were inaccurate or betrayed a misunderstanding of how the groups operate.

Jackson asserted, for example, that in the correspondents’ association, black journalists have had “little to no significant involvement in the organization or its leadership,” when in fact Bob Ellison, who is African American, has been president of the organization and two other black journalists have been board members. Another column claimed that Martin Luther King Jr. did not advocate “special treatment” for black people, when King had answered in the affirmative when asked whether he favored “a multibillion-dollar program of preferential treatment for the Negro.” News organizations often edit opinion columns for accuracy, as they do news stories, or they simply may choose not to publish them.

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Leavell is leading an African American group of investors who are buying the Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly that covers the arts, culture and politics, the Sun-Times, the Reader’s current owner, announced on Friday. She said by telephone Wednesday that while she still could not disclose the names of the investors, they are business people who approached her about leading the effort.

Leavell said she visited the Reader Wednesday morning and spoke with staff members, adding that she did not know what changes in personnel would take place. “Some may not want to stay,” she said. “We want people who have a passion for that newspaper.” The Reader will have multicultural appeal, she said.

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Theo Caviness, Art Director, Dies at 42

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Graphic artist Theo Caviness, who was art director at the Daily News before moving to ESPN, died Friday after suffering a massive heart attack,” Leonard Greene reported Monday for the Daily News in New York. “He was 42.

“Caviness, whose family had a history of heart problems, died on his way from his Bristol, Conn., job to his home in the Bronx, said his wife, Bunmi.

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“Caviness worked at the New York Post before moving over to The News in 2012, where he led the newspaper’s design team for three years.” The Post also published an obituary of Caviness Monday, but did not mention the Daily News.

“ ‘Theo made his career in two of the most intense tabloid newsrooms, where tempers and personalities clash often,’ said News Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich. ‘With that said, I’ve never heard anyone from either of those newsrooms have a bad thing to say about him. He was impossible not to like and respect. I’m devastated by his death and my heart aches for his family. . . .”

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Caviness was one of several newsroom staffers whom the News laid off in September 2015.

I’m not sure what is next. I need a few days to process and plan,” he told Journal-isms at the time. Caviness landed at the Wall Street Journal as a graphic designer in December 2015 and joined ESPN as associate manager in October 2016 and then senior digital designer in May 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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A GoFundMe page in Caviness’ memory had surpassed $50,000 in a $25,000 goal on Thursday. Over three days, more than 400 people had contributed.

Short Takes

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Traditional journalistic structures were used against our democracy, and we were the tools by which those efforts were rendered most effective,” Issac J. Bailey wrote Monday for Nieman Reports, discussing the Justice Department Inspector General’s June 14 report about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Bailey also wrote, “How to handle such an event if it reoccurs? Put it on A20 under a small headline instead of A1 above the fold and in the segment after the weather on TV news, unless the law enforcement official making the announcement proves the newly discovered evidence is important as he suggests. . . .”.

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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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Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.