• ‘Give Me Your Tired English-Speakers Only’
  • Justice Department to Seek Out Bias Against Whites
  • K.C. Editorial: We Don’t Want to Be the New Miss.
  • Alternative Press Tackles Deportation, Black Arrests
  • Adams Simmons Joins National Geographic
  • Short Takes
Stephen Miller, senior adviser to the president on Aug. 2, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

How strange was Wednesday’s White House press briefing?Callum Borchers asked Wednesday for the Washington Post. “Put it this way: Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs — who set a pretty high bar for weirdness when he was body slammed by a congressional candidate just 10 weeks ago — found the scene in the briefing room so strange that he joked about unwittingly ingesting a hallucinogenic. . . .”

Jessica Estepa reported for USA Today:

White House adviser Stephen Miller sparred with CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday, heatedly debating the immigration proposal backed by President Trump just hours before.

“Following Trump’s touting of a plan from two Republican senators that would slash legal immigration, Miller took questions from the press corps. The final question of the afternoon came from Acosta, who brought up the poem on the Statue of Liberty.

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“ ‘What you’re proposing and what the president is proposing does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration,’ Acosta said. ‘The Statue of Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being...a computer programmer.’ “

“Acosta then asked if the White House was trying to change what it means to be an immigrant.

“That kicked off a debate between the two that lasted several minutes.

“ ‘The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty enlightening the world,’ Miller replied. ‘It’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually a part of the Statue of Liberty.’

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“ ‘You’re saying it does not represent what the country has always thought of as immigration coming into this country?’ Acosta retorted. He then charged that it was ‘national park revisionism.’

“The two continued to argue, with Miller demanding at one point, ‘Do you seriously at CNN not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration?’

“At that point, Acosta pointed out that he is the son of a Cuban immigrant.

“When Acosta continued to question whether immigrants would have to know English before coming to the United States, charging that people would have to come from Great Britain and Australia, Miller fired back.

“ ‘I am shocked at that statement,’ he said. ‘It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree... The notion that you think this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting.’

“Their exchange led to a lot of mixed buzz on Twitter. . . .”

David Crary, Associated Press: White House admits no phone calls from Boy Scouts or Mexican president

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Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: Trump’s Ratings Hold Steady, but Is He Losing Key Groups He Needs to Stay on Top?

Editorial, Sacramento Bee: Who’s really to blame for fake news? It may be President Trump

Neil Foote, commpro.biz: Chasing Squirrels: Tweet Storms & ‘Weapons of Mass Distraction’

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Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News Latino: Latinos, Including Conservatives, Blast Immigration Bill As Discriminatory, ‘Nativist’

Renée Graham, Boston Globe: Dear Republicans: You know you can shut this mess down, right?

Solomon Jones, Philadelphia Daily News: GOP should apologize to white, working-class voters for trying to take away their health care

Jake Lahut, Politico: Trump hits new low in polls

Laila Lalami, New York Times Magazine: What Does It Take to ‘Assimilate’ in America?

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Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Trump, broadcast media must drop election talk

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The rapid rearrangement of White House deck chairs

Charles P. Pierce, Esquire: The Historical Significance of ‘Cosmopolitan’ as an Insult

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Ivanka Trump is part of the problem

Emily Steel, New York Times: Lawsuit Asserts White House Role in Fox News Article on Seth Rich

Mike Thompson/Detroit Free Press

Justice Department to Seek Out Bias Against Whites

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times,” Charlie Savage reported Tuesday for the Times.

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“The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on ‘investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.’”The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities. . . .”

Doug Clark, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Protect the privileged

Daniel Golden, ProPublica: The Story Behind Jared Kushner’s Curious Acceptance Into Harvard (Nov. 18, 2016)

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Anemona Hartocollis and Stephanie Sau, New York Times: Affirmative Action Battle Has a New Focus: Asian-Americans

Sherrilyn A. Ifill, New York Times: Racial Justice Demands Affirmative Action

Roy S. Johnson, al.com: Hey, Jeff Sessions: Where would white people be without affirmative action?

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Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Trump aims to make it harder for families to rise

Jamil Smith, Daily Beast: Trump Panders to White Fragility

Paul Waldman, Washington Post: The Trump administration takes up the cause of oppressed white people

KYTV-TV, Springfield, Mo.

K.C. Editorial: We Don’t Want to Be the New Miss.

The NAACP has singled out Missouri for this distinct non-honor: Ours is the first state for which the civil rights group has issued a travel advisory, warning people of color to approach with caution,” the Kansas City Star editorialized Wednesday.

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“This is a dramatic announcement, and it’s human nature that our first response might be to wonder whether we’re really such standouts when discrimination is so rampant. But let’s not waste any time indulging that impulse because we have real problems to fix.

“Among them is the recently enacted Missouri law that as of Aug. 28 will make employment discrimination suits all but impossible to win. (Unless you have the ex-boss on tape saying, ‘You bet race is the reason I’m firing Miss Smith,’ how can anyone prove that race wasn’t just a reason but the reason?) The law, which will require fired workers to prove that bias was the explicit reason they were let go, rather than that bias was a contributing factor, is an embarrassment and a mistake the public should demand that lawmakers correct.

“We do not want to be the new Mississippi. Or Venezuela, where the State Department has warned Americans not to venture. We want to be known for bio-medical research and agriculture, among other distinguishing features.

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“But instead, the word Missouri these days evokes the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the slurs against black students at the University of Missouri and the recent death of Tory Sanders, a mentally ill black man from Nashville who took a wrong turn, ran out of gas, approached cops for help and wound up dead in a southeast Missouri jail cell after officers reportedly used a stun gun and pepper spray on him. . . .”

Jericka Duncan, CBS News: Missouri’s “Jim Crow bill” leads NAACP to issue travel warning

Tony Messenger, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: As Urban League gathers in St. Louis, NAACP issues a Missouri travel warning

Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, center, at an immigrant-rights rally the day before he was detained. (Ryan Deto/Pittsburgh City Paper)

Alternative Press Tackles Deportation, Black Arrests

Stories from Pittsburgh about a champion of immigrants who found himself facing the possibility of deportation and one from Charlottesville, Va., examining “Why are black kids arrested more often than white kids?” were judged the top stories about race submitted in the Association of Alternative Media’s annual contest, the group announced on Tuesday.

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When all categories are considered, the “winners were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of 817 entries submitted by 67 alternative publications across the U.S. and Canada,” the association said.

Six pieces from the Pittsburgh City Paper won the award for first place in race reporting for publications with a circulation of 45,000 and over.

On May 1, Martin Esquivel-Hernandez and his family marched in an immigrants’ rights rally from Beechview to Brookline. He and his young daughters held a sign that read: ‘Not one more deportation,’ the first story began.

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“The next morning at 6 a.m., U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers took Esquivel-Hernandez from his Pittsburgh home. Now, the next deportation could be his.

“Since his arrest, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury and has been taken on a 665-mile journey that has stretched from his home to the York County prison in Southeastern Pennsylvania, back to U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, then to the Cambria County Prison near Altoona, and eventually to a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio. He has spent more than seven weeks away from his family and it’s unclear when, and if, he’ll ever make it home. . . .”

For news outlets with a circulation under 45,000, first place went to C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., for “Searching for solutions” by Jordy Yager.

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There’s good news: Over the last 15 years, Charlottesville police have drastically reduced the number of kids they’re arresting — from 324 children in 2000 to only 26 in 2015,” it began. “With more than 4,000 school-age children in the city, that means less than 1 percent will ever be arrested.

“But there’s a problem. Nearly every year, the vast majority of youth police arrest are black. And it’s not just arrests. Black kids are stopped and frisked by cops more often. They’re sent to court more often. People call the cops on them more often. They’re placed on probation more often. Schools suspend them more often.

“And here’s the rub: Black juveniles only make up about 40 percent of Charlottesville’s youth, while white kids make up 51 percent. . . .”

Adams Simmons Joins National Geographic

Debra Adams Simmons

Debra Adams Simmons, former top editor at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, began work Monday as executive editor for culture at National Geographic, based in Washington.

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“Debra has had a remarkable 30-year career in journalism as a leader, manager, editor, and reporter,” Susan Goldberg, editorial director of National Geographic Partners and editor in chief of the magazine, wrote to staff members on May 31.

“Debra comes out of a news background — she and I worked together at the Plain Dealer — but she has an exceptionally broad view of journalism and wide-ranging skills, having not only worked all over the country but also at the corporate level and in academia, on initiatives to attract diverse audiences and the next generation of readers and users. . . .”

Simmons was most recently vice president of news development at Advance Local and a 2016 Nieman Fellow.

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April Simpson, current.org: National Geographic to expand grantmaking to reach more minorities

Short Takes

John C. Quinn

The Newseum Institute, the Newseum and the Freedom Forum are planning an appreciation Aug. 9 of the life of John C. Quinn, retired Gannett Co. executive, co-founder of the Chips Quinn Scholars program and longtime advocate for diversity in journalism. Quinn died July 11 at 91. The tribute takes place at 3 p.m. at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington. Attendees may RSVP here. The event is to be recorded and live streamed and may be watched here.

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The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press announced Wednesday that it had joined “more than 20 press freedom organizations announcing the launch of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a new nonpartisan website dedicated to documenting press freedom abuses across the United States. “The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker will help us demonstrate to courts, using data, the very real threats to newsgathering that we’re seeing,” said Bruce Brown, executive director.

In 2016 ‘Moonlight’ won best picture and ‘Hidden Figures’ was the 14th highest-grossing film of the year, but popular Hollywood films remained as white and male-dominated as ever,” Lindsey Bahr reported Tuesday for the Associated Press. “A new report from the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism finds that . . . the representation of women, minorities, LGBT people, disabled characters in films remains largely unchanged from the previous year, despite the heightened attention to diversity in Hollywood. At the bottom of the rung and most egregiously disproportionate to their U.S. demographics are women, Hispanics and disabled characters. Exclusion, the report says, is the norm in Hollywood, not the exception. . . .”

Eddie Huang

In an interview over the weekend at the Asian American Journalists Association convention in Philadelphia, activist and writer Eddie Huang, (videos) author of the book “Fresh Off the Boat,” was asked about living his life so publicly. “It’s tough sometimes,” Huang said, Emil Guillermo wrote Sunday for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “But I made a conscious decision in 2009 to do this, because I said so many of us are taught to be invisible in this world, in this nation, to put our head down, be model minorities, be career focused, be upwardly mobile. And I said, you know what, I will give my story. I will reveal my pain, my struggle, my wins and losses. . . . I would give that up if that means that it would make people more interested in Asian America and our stories. . . .” (Podcast)

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A week after HBO’s botched announcement of its upcoming slavery drama Confederate, Amazon is partnering with Will Packer for its own alt-history series,” Bryn Elise Sandberg reported Tuesday for the Hollywood Reporter. “The streaming service is developing Black America, a drama that envisions an alternate history where newly freed African-Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparation for slavery and, with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The project hails from prolific producer Packer (Girls Trip, Ride Along) and Peabody-winning The Boondocks creator and Black Jesus co-creator Aaron McGruder. . . .”

“Fusion TV announced July 26 “that it is, along with more than 60 other leading companies, public interest groups, and associations, launching the Creative Thread Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on breaking down barriers of entry for underrepresented content creators and those working behind the scenes in media and entertainment. The Creative Thread Foundation was unveiled at an event in Washington D.C. today with the Congressional Multicultural Media Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Judy Chu (D-C) and featuring FUSION TV Correspondent Kimberly Brooks. . . .”

Citing a report from Human Rights Watch that police in Calais, France, “have abused some 500 migrants — nearly half of them minors — and harassed aid workers trying to help them,” the New York Times editorialized Sunday that French President Emmanuel Macron needs to instruct authorities “that migrants are not an infection to be cleansed, but human beings who have a right to be treated with dignity and humanity.”

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Being a journalist in Somalia carries both risk and reward,” Harun Maruf reported Wednesday for the Voice of America. “The risk comes from al-Shabab militants and other armed groups who have killed at least 26 reporters in the last five years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The reward is having a job with one of the many independent media outlets that have sprung up despite chronic violence and the absence of any journalism schools in Somalia . . . Somalia’s National University is trying to fill the education void by reopening its journalism school for the first time in 26 years. . . .”


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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.