- Ebony Said to Owe Writers Thousands
- French Rivals Hold Opposing Views on Colonialism
- National Enquirer Readers Say He’s a ‘Winning Prez’
- Good Way to Reach Trump: Go on Cable News
- ESPN to Cut More Than 40 ‘Talent,’ Sources Say
- 5 Documentaries Planned for L.A. Riot Anniversary
- DNA Test Results Surprise Student, Columnist
- Reporter Covering Boko Haram Given 10 Years
- Short Takes
“Next week, according to sources, seven black Fox News employees plan to join a racial-discrimination suit filed last month by two colleagues,” Gabriel Sherman reported Sunday for New York magazine. “The original lawsuit alleged that Fox News’ longtime comptroller, Judy Slater, subjected members of Fox’s payroll staff to racial insults for years. (Fox News fired Slater in February after those employees began litigation against the network.)
“Lawyers representing the payroll employees are demanding that Fox’s accounting director, Tammy Efinger, also be removed from supervising an employee because she allegedly participated in Slater’s racist behavior. In a letter to the network’s lawyers obtained by New York, the attorneys state: ‘Not once did Ms. Efinger step in or attempt to interfere with Ms. Slater’s outrageous conduct.’ The letter adds, instead, ‘Ms. Efinger chose to laugh or giggle following Ms. Slater’s vitriol.’
“The letter also includes new allegations of racism in Fox News’ accounting department. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Slater demanded that black female employees hold ‘arm wrestling matches’ with white female employees in her office, just down the hall from Ailes’s office on the second floor of Fox headquarters.
“ ‘Forcing a black woman employee to “fight” for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors is horrifying. This highly offensive and humiliating act is reminiscent of Jim Crow era battle royals,’ the letter says, referring to the practice of paying black men to fight blindfolded at carnivals for white spectators’ entertainment. The lawyers argue that Efinger bragged about wanting to ‘fight’ a black employee.
“The new claims, if true, reveal not just the failures of the legal and HR departments to deal with problematic managers but also just how deep the culture of discrimination and harassment may have run” during the reign of Fox News founder and CEO Roger Ailes, who was forced out last summer amid sexual harassment allegations.
“Reached for comment, an attorney representing the employees, Jeanne Christensen, said, ‘There will be more complaints forthcoming in the next few days.’ . . .”
Brooks Barnes and Sydney Ember, New York Times: In House of Murdoch, Sons Set About an Elaborate Overhaul
Kate Feldman, Daily News, New York: Former Fox News guest says Sean Hannity repeatedly invited her to hotel room, but won’t call it sexual harassment
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Farewell to the king of cable news
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Goodbye to Fox’s alpha male on the prowl
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Did Donald Trump have a role in Bill O’Reilly’s downfall?
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Women don’t slow down for fools like Bill O’Reilly
Valerie Strauss, Washington Post: African American studies teacher: The time I sparred with Bill O’Reilly on his Fox News show
“On April 19, freelance journalist Cat Distasio tweeted, ‘Still waiting for $2000 from @EbonyMag months after my work,” Jagger Blaec wrote Monday for theestablishment.co. “Per my contract w @thekylesfiles it’s 150+ days PAST DUE.’ Distasio went on to tweet, ‘I am not the only one who is owed thousands by @ebonymag. I have spoken to at least a half a dozen writers who have not been paid for 2016 work.’
“She was right — she’s not the only one.
“As a direct result of her tweet, I approached several freelance writers who have written for Ebony since 2016. Close to a dozen of the writers for the publication have anonymously come forward to say they have not been paid for work dating back as far as 2013, despite the fact that they were promised payment within 45 days of publication or them sending their invoice.
“The fact that one of the most prominent magazines for black writers is exploiting their work — and that these writers are by and large afraid to speak out — says a lot about the current state of freelance writing for young writers of color. . . .”
Last June, Johnson Publishing Co. announced that it had sold Ebony and its now digital-only sister publication Jet to Clear View Group, an African American-owned private equity firm based in Austin, Texas.
In February, Ebony Media named Tracey M. Ferguson, founder and editor-in-chief of Jones magazine, which targets the lifestyles of black women, editor-in-chief of a revived Jet magazine. “We are considering repositioning Jet for millennials with a focus on entertainment and having limited newsstand publication ..much more digital content,” Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, CEO of Ebony Media, told Journal-isms then.
McKissack left the company and Linda Johnson Rice, who had remained chairman emeritus of Ebony Media Holdings, returned as CEO of the holding company’s Ebony Media Operations entity, Lynne Marek reported March 9 for Crain’s Chicago Business.
Blaec also wrote, “Several of the black writers I spoke with are still awaiting compensation from Ebony. Many of them have threatened legal action. Others have sent countless emails to several departments and still not seen a dime (I reached out to Ebony editors last Friday, and have yet to receive a response).
“Many I spoke with referenced receiving a generic response from the accounts payable department stating their hands were tied to provide payment. Cat also alluded to not knowing who was in charge of payment because the same person who said they could not pay her issued the same-day payment she received only after going public on Twitter. . . .”
“In France’s most consequential election in recent history, voters on Sunday chose Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen to go to a runoff to determine the next president, official returns showed,” Alissa J. Rubin reported Sunday for the New York Times. “One is a political novice, the other a far-right firebrand — both outsiders, but with starkly different visions for the country. . . .”
Among their many differences is their approach to France’s colonial past.
“Le Pen’s expected advance has been one of the few constants in a campaign marked by surprising, dispiriting twists,” Jennifer Sessions, an associate professor of history at the University of Iowa, wrote April 18 for the Conversation, republished Saturday by Newsweek.
“To a historian of French colonialism like me, one of the most revealing is the renewed debate over the memory and teaching of the colonial past. The candidates’ positions on this issue can be seen as a revealing barometer of French attitudes toward immigration, race and multiculturalism today.
Sessions also wrote, “Marine Le Pen has long favored ‘rebalancing’ secondary school curricula. She objects to what she calls the ‘masochism’ of critical histories and calls for counting empire as one of the ‘glorious elements’ of the French past. Students should be taught colonization’s ‘positive aspects’ alongside its negatives.
“. . . Also excised from Marine Le Pen’s’ ‘most positive, most flattering’ version of national history is French collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. Too painful and ‘complex’ for children, such events should be revisited only in high school, ‘if it’s necessary’ . . . Only one candidate has openly challenged this new revisionism: the current favorite to face Le Pen in the second round, centrist former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. Macron made waves in February by telling an Algerian television station that French colonization in North Africa was a ‘crime against humanity.’
“ ‘Colonization is part of French history,’ he said. ‘It is a true barbarity and a part of that past we must confront head-on, while also apologizing to the women and men against whom we committed these acts.’ . . .”
The readership survey might be self-selected and unscientific, but a National Enquirer headline reports that “Enquirer Readers Say . . . President Trump Is One Winning Prez.”
“NationalENQUIRER.com asked: ‘How Is President Trump Doing?’ the weekly reported in its April 24 edition. “— the answer was overwhelmingly positive for the Prez!
“52% declared they weren’t tired of winning yet and ‘Highly Approve’ of Trump’s short time in office.
“12% of the surveyed readers were willing to simply ‘Approve’ of the new White House — and 30% blasted Trump as a ‘Total Failure’ even before his first 100 days! . . . .”
The good feelings are mutual, according to Adam Peck, writing Dec. 21 for ThinkProgress.
“Trump’s adoration of the National Enquirer is not new,” Peck wrote. “He has a longstanding friendship with CEO David Pecker, defended the publication as unimpeachable, and has even written articles for the tabloid. The admiration is mutual, too: in August, the Wall Street Journal reported the Enquirer paid $150,000 to prevent a story about Trump’s affair with a former Playboy model from being released, and they were one of the only publications to endorse him. . . .”
Callum Borchers wrote for the Washington Post on March 28, “. . . let’s also point out that Trump has a very friendly relationship with the Enquirer — so friendly, in fact, that Breitbart News ought to be jealous. . . .”
“Most of the televisions in the West Wing display four channels at all times — CNN, Fox, Fox Business and MSNBC,” Ashley Parker and Robert Costa reported Sunday for the Washington Post.
Cable television is such a part of President Trump’s day, they wrote, that “Foreign diplomats have urged their governments’ leaders to appear on television when they’re stateside as a means of making their case to Trump, and U.S. lawmakers regard a TV appearance as nearly on par with an Oval Office meeting in terms of showcasing their standing or viewpoints to the president. . . .”
Parker and Costa also wrote, “During a small working lunch at the White House last month, the question of job security in President Trump’s tumultuous White House came up, and one of the attendees wondered whether press secretary Sean Spicer might be the first to go.
“The president’s response was swift and unequivocal. ‘I’m not firing Sean Spicer,’ he said, according to someone familiar with the encounter. ‘That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.’
“Trump even likened Spicer’s daily news briefings to a daytime soap opera, noting proudly that his press secretary attracted nearly as many viewers. . . .”
Aaron Blake, Washington Post: Trump’s over-the- top, boastful AP interview, annotated
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Resilience of the Resistance
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Trump’s first 100 days: An appreciation
Eliana Johnson, Politico Magazine: How Trump Blew Up the Conservative Media
Julie Pace, Associated Press: Transcript of AP interview with Trump
Nick Penzenstadler, Steve Reilly and John Kelly, USA Today: Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflict
Jim Rutenberg, New York Times: Floyd Abrams Sees Trump’s Anti-Media Tweets as Double-Edged Swords
Ben Schreckinger and Hadas Gold, Politico Magazine: Trump’s Fake War on the Fake News
Michael D. Shear, New York Times: Trump Says He Will Hold Rally While Skipping Correspondents’ Dinner
“As more Americans cut the cable cord, ESPN has seen its subscriber numbers drop steadily, forcing Disney to demand cost-cutting from the ‘worldwide leader in sports,’” Daniel Roberts reported Friday for Yahoo Finance.
“It’s been widely reported since March that the next big round of ESPN layoffs will hit on-air talent, but now we know more on the timing: the cuts will begin on May 1, sources at ESPN tell Yahoo Finance.
“ESPN will part ways with more than 40 people, all of them ‘talent,’ a label that ESPN applies to radio hosts and writers (almost all of whom regularly do video or audio), not just traditional TV personalities. ESPN says it has 1,000 people in the category. Still, you can expect most of the people cut to be faces you’ve seen on TV. In some cases, ESPN may buy people out of existing long-term contracts — as Sports Illustrated points out, that is unusual. . . .”
“Riots or rebellion? Anarchy or insurrection? Unrest or uprising?” Kenneth Turan asked Thursday in the Los Angeles Times. “Whatever words are used to categorize it, as the 25th anniversary approaches of the frenzy of violence that swept Los Angeles beginning April 29, 1992, attention is being paid. A lot of attention.
“No fewer than five documentaries are being broadcast about those events, and no wonder. For one thing, the havoc caused was considerable, with more than 50 people killed, thousands injured and roughly a billion dollars in property damage sustained. Wherever you were in the city, you could see the smoke of a metropolis attacked by flames.
“And though a quarter-century is past, the events that began with a notorious acquittal in the trial of four police officers for the beating of Rodney King are far from settled history. And the societal situations that caused them are no closer to resolution.
“Two of those five documentaries are going to have theatrical releases before their TV airings. . . .”
Jason Kandel, KNBC-TV, Universal City, Calif.: How Los Angeles Has Changed 25 Years After Violence Tore the City Apart
“For the last decade, I have invited hundreds of people to be part of ancestry DNA tests,” Anita Foeman, a professor of communications studies at West Chester University in Pennsylvania wrote Sunday for the New York Times’ Race/Related newsletter.
“But first I ask people how they identify themselves racially. It has been very interesting to explore their feelings about the differences between how they define themselves and what their DNA makeup shows when the test results come in.”
One participant was “Bernard”, who identified as black. His father is black and mother is white.
He predicted that his test would show him to be 50 percent European and 50 percent African.
Bernard’s comments before the test: “My mother said, ‘I know you are me, but no cop is going to take the time to find out your mother is white.’ She was very specific about raising me as a black man.”
The results showed Bernard to be 91 percent European, 5 percent Middle Eastern, 2 percent Hispanic and less than 1 percent African and Asian.
His response: “What are you trying to do to me? You have caused a lot of problems in my family. I know my nose is sharp and my skin is light, but my politics are as black as night. Today, I don’t identify as mixed. I reject my white privilege in a racist America. There is no way that I or my kids will identify as anything other than black.”
Meanwhile, in St. Paul, Minn., columnist Rubén Rosario, a self-described “Nuyorican,” or New York Puerto Rican, told readers Sunday that he had purchased DNA-testing kits as Christmas presents for his wife and himself.
“According to the test results, I’m of 50 percent Iberian stock (Spain and Portugal) and 14 percent New World (Taino, the native inhabitants of Puerto Rico).
“The other breakdowns were a bit of a surprise though understandable: 15 percent West African, and 8 percent ‘Middle Eastern,’ which the site further identified as North African. That makes sense, since the Moors, who invaded Spain and Portugal and ruled for centuries, came from the North Africa region – Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.
“I’m also 7 percent Jewish, according to the test results, Sephardic Jewish to be exact. That also makes sense, given that they were Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century before the Spaniards and Portuguese issued edicts that gave this group of people three choices: Convert to Catholicism, self deport by a certain date, or face execution. . . .”
Rosario also wrote, “The wisecracks and ribbing began soon after I shared the results with a group of work colleagues and friends from various backgrounds. . . .”
Joe Robertson, Kansas City Star: Get ready to feel uncomfortable — White Privilege Conference is ready to open in KC
“The conviction and sentencing of a journalist by a military court in Cameroon to 10 years in prison after an unfair trial is a travesty of justice,” Amnesty International said Monday.
“Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service[,] was handed down 10 years of imprisonment after having been convicted on 20 April on charges of ‘non-denunciation of terrorism’ and ‘laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts.’ He was also fined 84,000 euro [more than $90,000]. The journalist was acquitted of the charge of ‘glorifying acts of terrorism.’
“ ‘Ahmed Abba’s conviction, after torture and an unfair trial, is clear evidence that Cameroon’s military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have jurisdiction in these cases,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi[,] Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher.
“Ahmed Abba’s lawyer has indicated that he intends to appeal the conviction and sentence. Abba was arrested on 30 July 2015 in the city of Maroua while investigating the Boko Haram conflict in the north of the country. He was held incommunicado for three months and tortured in a facility run by Cameroonian secret services. He was also been deprived of his right to be brought promptly before court. . . .”
Amnesty also wrote, “Since 2014 the Cameroonian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people for allegedly supporting Boko Haram. Many have been held incommunicado and tortured in illegal detention facilities run by the military and or the secret services. . . .”
“Despite the promise of new information technologies, governments, non-state actors, and corporations worldwide are censoring vast amounts of information using complex and sophisticated tactics,” the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Tuesday. “The 2017 edition of Attacks on the Press, published today by The Committee to Protect Journalists, chronicles singular methods of controlling the flow of information, including financial pressure on journalists and news outlets, exploitation of legal loopholes to avoid disclosure, and wielding copyright laws and social media bots to curb criticism. The book, subtitled ‘The New Face of Censorship,’ features articles by Christiane Amanpour, Rukmini Callimachi, Jason Leopold, Alan Rusbridger, and other leading journalists. . . .” [Added April 25]
“Over the last 15 years, the U.S. government has quietly released more than 400 people convicted on international terrorism-related charges, according to a data analysis of federal terrorism prosecutions by The Intercept,” Trevor Aaronson reported Thursday for the Intercept. “Some were deported to other countries following their prison terms, but a large number of convicted terrorists are living in the United States. They could be your neighbors. The release of people convicted on terrorism-related charges with little if any monitoring by law enforcement might suggest U.S. government officials believe they can be fully rehabilitated following minor prison terms. A more likely explanation is that many of these so-called terrorists weren’t particularly dangerous in the first place. . . .”
“In many states, a significant number of people in prison are incarcerated not for committing a new crime, but rather for a ‘technical’ parole violation — such as missing an appointment or failing a drug test — after serving time for a previous offense,” the Marshall Project reported Sunday in a note accompanying a story by Eli Hager.
“The City of New Orleans dismantled and hauled off the Liberty Place monument in the early morning hours Monday (April 24), the first of four statues slated for removal after being declared public nuisances as symbols of racism and white supremacy,” columnist Tim Morris wrote Monday for nola.com. Morris also wrote, “No one wants to see anyone hurt or property damaged, especially in a skirmish over something of questionable social worth as the Liberty Place monument. But are all the under-cover-of-darkness security measures, secret contracts, and anonymous private donations really necessary? . . .”
“The Gwen Ifill Fund for Journalism Excellence has been established to honor her memory and fund a paid summer internship for a minority college student or recent graduate interested in a career in journalism,” WETA, the public broadcasting operation in Washington where Ifill worked, has announced. WETA also said, “This is a paid, full-time, 10-week summer internship. It does not include housing or transportation. Applicants must be able to work a flexible Tuesday-Friday schedule that includes Friday evenings. . . .”
“While The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks is a powerful story,” Sydney Scott wrote Thursday for Essence, referring to Oprah Winfrey’s HBO movie that debuted Saturday, “the real magic of her legacy was felt on Tuesday, during a roundtable with the [film’s] stars. I was lucky enough to sit in a room full of talented Black female reporters as we interviewed Winfrey, [actress Rose] Byrne, director George C. Wolfe and cast members . . . . Sitting in a small hotel room with Oprah Winfrey is an experience I never thought I’d have. It felt like being at a cookout with your favorite relatives. . . .”
“Charlotte [N.C.] Mayor Jennifer Roberts signed a proclamation Saturday for Charlotteans to honor a local journalist,” WBTV-TV reported Sunday. “On Saturday, Roberts proclaimed that April 22 will be ‘Steve Crump Day.’ . . . The Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists held an event in uptown Charlotte Saturday celebrating Crump’s journalism career, which spans 30 years of reporting in the Charlotte community. . . .”
“We are proud to announce that for the second year in a row, ProPublica is sponsoring need-based scholarships to attend the conferences of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists,” Lena Groeger wrote March 29 for ProPublica. “And for the first time, we are expanding our scholarship program to send students to Asian American Journalists Association and Native American Journalists Association events as well. . . .” The application deadline is Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
“Jim Hall calls the lynching of Shedrick Thompson ‘an open wound’ in Fauquier County, Va.,” Margaret Sullivan reported Monday for the Washington Post. “It could heal, the former newspaper reporter believes, but only if residents would open up to what happened in 1932 about 20 miles north of Warrenton, the county seat. In his book, ‘The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia,’ he explored the hanging and subsequent burning of the black man — and his attack on a white couple that preceded it. But Hall, who worked for the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star for 26 years, says that getting the book sold or publicly discussed in Fauquier has been a seven-month struggle. . . .”
Verashni Pillay resigned Saturday as editor-in-chief of the South African edition of the Huffington Post after the site published a blog post titled “Could it be time to deny white men the franchise?” Local journalists discovered that purported author, Shelley Garland, a grad student majoring in philosophy, did not exist, Lynsey Chutel reported Monday for Quartz Africa.
In Ecuador, “Government regulator The Superintendency of Information and Communication, or Supercom, on April 21 levied fines of US $3,750 each on the newspapers El Comercio, El Universo, La Hora, and Expreso, and on TV broadcasters Teleamazonas, Ecuavisa, and Televicentro, for declining to follow up on a March 15 story in the Argentine daily newspaper Página/12 alleging that defeated opposition presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso evaded taxes, according to media reports,” the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Monday.
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.