Bill Clinton to Asian Americans: Bigger ‘Us,’ Smaller ‘Them’

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks on behalf of his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, during a 2016 Presidential Election Forum, hosted by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote and Asian American Journalists Association on Aug. 12, 2016, in Las Vegas.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Bill Clinton, acting as a surrogate for his wife's presidential campaign, told Asian American journalists and voter activists Friday, "You want a president like Hillary Clinton who sees you as part and parcel of the quilt of diversity . . . We should be expanding the definition of 'us' and shrinking the definition of 'them,' not the other way around . . .

"Divorce is just not an option . . ."


The former president launched a strong defense of Hillary Clinton's trustworthiness, concluding his talk in Las Vegas saying, "There are people who spent their lifetimes in national security who believe she's the only person that you can trust."

David E. Sanger and Maggie Haberman reported Monday for the New York Times, "Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush, have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump 'lacks the character, values and experience' to be president and 'would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.' "

Clinton's opposite number, representing Trump at the Presidential Election Forum hosted by APIA Vote and the Asian American Journalists Association, was Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. He acknowledged that he was not initially in favor of Trump, but he shared the candidate's negative view of the economy, of the United States' status in the world, and of the prospect of Clinton-nominated Supreme Court justices.

Clinton and Reyes tailored their remarks toward the Asian American audience.

Reyes, whose background is Filipino, Japanese and Hawaiian, said affirmative action should be repealed. Just as opponents say the practice hurts whites, Reyes stood with those who say it also hurts Asian Americans, who are often portrayed as high-achieving despite differences among the various Asian American groups.


Reyes said "UCLA" has come to stand for "Underage Caucasians Lost Among Asians."

Reyes called "radical Islam" the enemy but quickly added that he was not speaking of law-abiding Muslims. He also said Trump's policies would favor Asian American small businesses.


Clinton discussed how his wife's detailed proposals would benefit Asian American students faced with college debt, pledged more aid to the Small Business Administration, recounted a recent trip to Vietnam and touted the number of Asian American appointees in his own administration, including Norman Mineta, the former Commerce secretary who became the first Asian American Cabinet member. Hillary Clinton also favors granting green cards automatically to anyone seeking a master's degree or a Ph.D., he said.


"Small businesses have been the lifeblood of the AAPI community," Clinton said.

Also at the three-hour forum were presidential candidates Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.


"If you elect Trump or elect Clinton, things are going to be more polarized than ever," Johnson said.

AAJA tweeted during Stein's presentation, "Big cheers as @DrJillStein calls for an Asian American Supreme Court Justice.


"Says we must celebrate our 'latest wave' of immigrants."

About the time Stein was speaking, however, her "party learned it lost an appeal to get her name on the Nevada election ballot," Cy Ryan reported from Carson City, the state capital, for the Las Vegas Sun.


". . . Julia Hammett, an official with the Green Party in Nevada, said, 'We’re going to the next level. It ain’t over yet.'

"The next level is the court system. . . ."

In demeanor, Clinton, who spoke for about 50 minutes, appeared much as he did during the 2012 presidential campaign when he assumed the role of "explainer-in-chief" for President Obama. Asked his opinion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, now opposed in its present form by all the major candidates, Clinton said that in Asia and in Europe, companies expand abroad but keep their plants in their home countries.


In the United States, however, some companies have relocated their home plants overseas, causing anger at home and opposition to trade deals.

Clinton's primary message, however, was that "being mad and dividing the world into us and them may be good in the short run, but good things do not happen." He asked, "Are we going to be one country?"


Reyes argued for Trump's policies, giving the message an Asian American face that was stripped of the outsized Trump persona.

It fell to Reyes to clarify Trump's recent comments about terrorism that have caused an uproar in the Philippines, the Associated Press reported. Reyes said he had full permission to clarify.


"Trump said at a rally in Maine last week that the U.S. needs to bar refugees from terrorist nations," the Associated Press said. "He listed off several countries including the Philippines.

"Reyes said Trump welcomes law-abiding Filipinos to the U.S., but is concerned about terrorist elements that exist in the country. He said nobody from the Philippines in the audience would dispute that. . . ."


Reyes, who spoke for about 40 minutes, did not take questions, saying he had to catch a plane. Questions for Clinton touched on his wife's email issues.

A questioner "identified himself as a Democrat who loved Clinton as president and is supporting his wife, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election," MJ Lee reported for CNN. "But, he wanted to know: Why should Americans trust the Democratic nominee when she lied about her emails?


" 'Wait a minute,' Bill Clinton said. 'It's not true.'

"And so began the ex-president's unexpected fiery defense of one of the biggest controversies dogging Hillary Clinton's White House bid. . . ."


The forum was livestreamed, albeit with glitches, on the APIAVote website.

In a separate development, American Urban Radio Networks canceled a proposed presidential forum in Pittsburgh on Aug. 18.


"Neither candidate confirmed their participation as of last night and given we are one week away from the event we don't think there's sufficient time to guarantee the project's success," Jerry Lopes, the networks' president for program operations and affiliations, said Thursday in a note to participants.

"On behalf of the hosts the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters I want to thank you for your support of this project. I'd also like to thank fellow media sponsors Essence Magazine, National Newspaper Publishers Association, C-SPAN and Huffington Post Black Voices."


Ben Botkin, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson uses joke to open Las Vegas forum

Ben Botkin, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein touts her ‘green new deal’


Ben Botkin, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Bill Clinton defends, promotes Hillary at Las Vegas forum

Kavish Harjai, AAJA Voices: Gun control a top issue for Asian Americans in election year


Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press: RNC hires strategists to help woo African-American voters

Andrés Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Mexico’s violence is not another Trump lie

Andrew Ramsammy, Quiz: How diverse is your organization?

Michelle Rindels, Associated Press: Bill Clinton in Vegas: Hillary's email server 'a mistake'


Zara Zhang, AAJA Voices: Trump commentary on Asians roils even GOP members

AAJA Membership Plunges 60 Percent in 10 Years

"These days, AAJA has trouble maintaining relevance to some of its members," Huizhong Wu reported Thursday for AAJA Voices, the student publication at the Asian American Journalists Association convention.


"Since its peak in 2005, annual membership has plunged 60 percent to 1,350 people in 2015.

"Attendance at the convention — once seen as the marquee event — has shrunk from more than 1,200 participants in Minnesota in 2005, to just 838 attendees last year in San Francisco."


AAJA President Paul Cheung messaged Journal-isms Monday that he did not have membership figures or those for convention registrants at hand.

Wu continued, "Drops in membership and attendance mirror shrinking numbers of journalists overall, and of Asian American journalists specifically. Asian Americans represent just 2.8 percent of U.S. newsrooms, the lowest amount in the last decade, according to the American Society of News Editors. . . ."


4 on Press Future, Including 'Journal-isms' Writer

"John Oliver’s strength at taking tedious or complicated subjects and making them accessible, even hilarious, is one of the wonders of television in the 21st century," Scott Timberg reported Wednesday for Salon.


"This talent was in full force Sunday night, when he spoke about the struggle of newspapers and the price we all pay for declining local news coverage. For journalists and those who follow the media, his 19-minute rant on 'Last Week Tonight' — well, a rant plus a hilarious parody of the movie 'Spotlight' — brought some much-needed attention to a story that the general public doesn’t understand in much detail.

On Friday, the Guardian published the views of four writers — Richard Prince, AW Richard Sipe, Lucia Graves and Doug Moeon the need for newspapers in light of Oliver's commentary.


David Chavern, Newspaper Association of America: Newspaper Association of America President & CEO David Chavern to John Oliver: Newspapers Need Solutions, Not Petty Insults and Stating the Obvious

Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab: Newsonomics: After John Oliver, the you-get-what-you-pay-for imperative has never been clearer


Rick Edmonds, Poynter Institute: I was interviewed by ‘Last Week Tonight.’ Here’s why the show is journalism

Benjamin Mullin, Poynter Institute: Newspaper association dings John Oliver for journalism segment


Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post: How not to respond to John Oliver’s ode to local newspapers


Apology for Offensive Headline on Simone Manuel

"The San Jose Mercury News is catching heat for its offensive coverage of Simone Manuel’s historic gold medal," Lee Moran reported Friday for the Huffington Post.


"The 20-year-old became the first African-American woman to win an individual swimming event at an Olympic Games Thursday when she took joint first place with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak in the 100-meter freestyle at Rio 2016.

"Yet the California daily newspaper entirely omitted Manuel’s name from the headline of a story on its website focusing on her accomplishment. Instead, it wrote this:

“ 'Michael Phelps shares historic night with African-American,' said the story’s headline and a subsequent tweet.


"Twitter users immediately blasted the phrasing for not even mentioning Manuel’s name and solely describing her as 'African-American.'

"They also slammed the headline as sexist, as it focused on Phelps and his achievement of winning his 22nd gold medal. That was despite his accomplishments forming the secondary part of the article, being only detailed from the 14th paragraph onwards.


"The San Jose Mercury News later apologized for the headline and amended it to read, 'Stanford’s Simone Manuel and Michael Phelps make history.' . . .”

Kevin Blackistone, Washington Post: The significance of Simone Manuel’s swim is clear if you know Jim Crow


Justice B. Hill, the Undefeated: A great moment in history? Or will Simone Manuel’s golden night turn into an Olympic footnote?

Roxanne Jones, CNN: Simone Manuel breaks the ultimate color barrier — the pool

Cynthia Liu, What journalists are missing about Simone Manuel’s historic win


Jesse Washington, the Undefeated: A New Chapter for Black Olympic Swimming

Robin Wright, New Yorker: The Refugee Olympians in Rio (Aug. 2)

Ifill Wins John Chancellor Award for Excellence

Gwen Ifill

"Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism announced today that Gwen Ifill, an American political journalist, broadcast news anchor and author, is the recipient of the 2016 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism," the school reported on Wednesday.

"Ifill is co-anchor and managing editor of 'PBS NewsHour' and moderator and managing editor of 'Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.' As one of the country's most trusted political reporters, Ifill is in the midst of covering her eighth presidential election and moderated two vice presidential debates over the course of her career, posing difficult questions with respect and integrity. . . ."


The school also wrote, "Selected by a nine-member committee, Ifill receives the 2016 award with a $50,000 honorarium. For the first time since the prize was founded in 1995, the amount of the honorarium will increase from $25,000 to $50,000. Ifill is the first African American to receive the award in its 21-year history. . . ."

Short Takes

"The Federal Communications Commission has voted to keep in place its rules that prohibit media companies from owning newspapers and TV or radio stations in the same market, rejecting lobbying from the newspaper industry, that argues the limits are outdated," Roger Yu reported Thursday for USA Today.

Edel Rodriguez

"Remember the Feb. 2, 2015 Newsweek cover that depicted a cursor lifting up the skirt of a female officer worker figure, with the cover line ‘What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women’?," Richard Horgan asked Thursday for FishbowlNY. "The artist responsible for that much-discussed drawing and many other notable covers, Edel Rodriguez, is back on newsstands this week with his latest one [on Donald Trump's "meltdown"] for Time. . . . Rodriguez, a native of Havana, has also illustrated several children’s books and created a 2005 USPS stamp. Many years ago, he was an international art director for Time magazine. . . . "


"The threat of violence by people inspired by foreign extremists invokes fear in a majority of young Americans across racial groups. But for young people of color, particularly African-Americans, that fear is matched or surpassed by worries about violence from white extremists," Melinda Deslatte reported Monday for the Associated Press. ". . . Sixty-two percent of young African-Americans and 55 percent of Hispanics surveyed said they were very concerned about the threat of violence committed by white extremists, compared to one-third of whites and 41 percent of Asian-Americans. . . ."

"Essence has promoted Yolanda Sangweni and Charli Penn," Chris O'Shea reported Thursday for Fishbowl NY. "Sangweni moves up to digital content director for She most recently served as entertainment editor for the site. Penn has been promoted to senior editor, relationships and lifestyle for Previously, she served as the site’s relationships and weddings editor for the site."


A program airing at 6 p.m. ET Saturday on C-SPAN 3, American History TV, "talks about how photography can be used to chart the history of American slavery, both before and after emancipation," the network announces. Barbara Krauthamer, a University of Massachusetts Amherst history professor, "explains how freed African Americans used photography as a means of independence and self-expression and how depictions and perceptions of African Americans changed as a result." As reported here in January, Frederick Douglass was one such freed African American.

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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