CNN Forbids Roland Martin Bookings

Roland Martin at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Inaugural Benefit in January (Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Roland Martin at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Inaugural Benefit in January (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Producers Told Not to Book Pundit as Contract Winds Down

"The TV world can be so cold. When you're out, you're out. And sometimes sooner than you might expect," Betsy Rothstein wrote Thursday for FishbowlDC.


"There are 17 days left on Roland Martin's CNN contract. But the powers that be appear to be shutting it down early. With his contract ending April 6, some producers have been informed not to book him, FishbowlDC has learned. We knew something was awry when we noticed Martin hadn't tweeted his usual #bringthefunk alert on Twitter that he'd be appearing on [Erin Burnett's] 'Out Front,' which he hasn't done in a month. On Wednesday he tweeted that he did Canadian TV. The Canadians can find time to bring Martin's funk, but not CNN?

"Let's get this straight. That semi-usual appearance he had on Thursdays during Carol Costello's slot? Gone. It's been three weeks since he appeared on her program and months since he appeared on 'The Situation Room.' He was also [nonexistent] during CNN Inauguration coverage in January. A final appearance on his close friend, Soledad O'Brien's program, which ends next week? That appears to be a dead end proposition, too. . . ."


Martin told Journal-isms he had nothing to say about the report, and a CNN spokeswoman did not respond to an inquiry.

Meanwhile, Martin disclosed that he actually learned in December that his contract was not being renewed. He left the impression until this week that no decision had been made.

In an interview with Brooke Obie of Ebony, Martin said, "Well, I was actually told in December by Ken Jautz, the executive vice president [of CNN], that the contract wasn’t going to be renewed. [CNN President] Jeff Zucker has a vision for the network and wants to see different faces and I get that. I enjoyed working there, I have a lot of colleagues that I have grown to like and respect at CNN and so the bottom line is you work in places and then you move on. . . ."

Obie also asked, "But with the loss of Soledad O’Brien and now you, and Jeff Zucker naming Jake Tapper the 'face of the new CNN,' do you think that the vision Zucker has for CNN may be a 'White-out?' "


Martin replied, "Look, I don't know. We haven't seen the full vision [of Zucker yet]. That determination will have to be made later; it's very early in the game. That's pretty much all I can say to that.

"One of the things I always talk about is having multiple opportunities, multiple platforms and revenue streams to be able to lay out your message. At CNN, I just come in when they call, but I have had the advantage of having other platforms where I was able to talk to cabinet secretaries and the First Lady and the Vice President, the President and Senators. And I think that what's most important is, I’ve always kept a foot in Black media. I’m absolutely committed to building up Black media and I think that is absolutely important in 2013 that we have strong Black cable networks, strong Black websites, magazines, and newspapers where we're able to focus on our issues and our stories and highlight our people and not necessarily wait for somebody else to do it. . . .


"I start every job with the premise, 'You’re going to get fired anyway.' I've lost jobs before, I've had contracts not renewed and it didn't get me down. I didn't get upset, I just keep it moving. . . ."

Viewers noticed an unusual African American presence on CNN Thursday afternoon. Fredricka Whitfield hosted "CNN Newsroom," followed by Don Lemon. Both are substitute hosts seen more often on weekends. Lemon brought on defense lawyer Joey Jackson and Ryan Smith, anchor of HLN's "Evening Express," to discuss the case of two 18-year-olds accused in the sexual assault of two 13-year-old girls in Connecticut.


"Three brothers on a couch, now two. Thank you, guys," Lemon said in concluding the segment. Later, Lemon discussed the closing of schools in African American neighborhoods in Chicago with George Howell, a black journalist newly made a full-time CNN correspondent.

Tommy Christopher, Mediaite: CNN And MSNBC Going In Different Directions On Diversity


Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post: CNN, MSNBC Criticized Over Lack Of Diversity In Recent Reshuffles

Comcast Analyst Suspended After Newsroom Altercation

Kendall Gill, a Comcast SportsNet Chicago Bulls analyst, has been suspended for the remainder of the Bulls season after a physical altercation with Big Ten Network analyst Tim Doyle in the CSN newsroom Tuesday, Kevin Cross, news director of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, said on Friday.


"We have made a decision to not have Kendall Gill appear on our air for the remainder of the Bulls season," which ends April 17, Cross said in a statement. "We will re-evaluate our current position on this matter during the off-season."

Danny Ecker wrote Wednesday for Crain's Chicago Business, "The incident followed the taping of 'Sports Talk Live,' a panel discussion on Comcast SportsNet Chicago that featured me, Mr. Doyle and Chicago Sun-Times reporter Herb Gould. 


"Mr. Gill confronted Mr. Doyle in the newsroom over critical comments he had made on the air about Mr. Gill's analysis of the controversial final moments of Monday's Chicago Bulls-Denver Nuggets game. The referees ruled that what at first appeared to be a last-second basket by the Bulls would not be allowed, thus giving the win to the Nuggets. The altercation happened right in front of me as Mr. Doyle and I were walking through the CSN newsroom on our way out of the building.

"Mr. Gill approached Mr. Doyle and called him out for his comments, which escalated to a shoving match and ultimately Mr. Gill throwing a punch at Mr. Doyle. The two bumped up against a sign on the wall and a small amount of blood was drawn (though it was unclear exactly how) before the two were separated. . . ."


Ecker added, "Mr. Gill, a former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign star and 15-year NBA veteran who had a short stint in boxing after his playing career, has been doing pregame and postgame live coverage of Bulls games on CSN Chicago. . . ."

Newsrooms Should First Ask, "Could This Offend?"

The American Copy Editors Society hosted a Twitter chat Tuesday on diversity issues and sensitivity in editing when race is the topic, with tips offered by Doris Truong, immediate past national president of the Asian American Journalists Association and vice president of Unity: Journalists for Diversity, and Rhonda LeValdo, president of the Native American Journalists Association.


Some of the suggestions, as compiled on Storify by Gerri Berendzen, copy editor at the Quincy (Ill.) Herald-Whig and ACES board member:

"Rhonda LeValdo@rhondalevaldo

"@DorisTruong Sure we try 2 let media know what is questionable &the first thing newsrooms should ask, 'Could this offend someone?' #aceschat . . .


"Rhonda LeValdo@rhondalevaldo

"In regards to Native people, get multiple sources, don't just ask one person to speak for over 500 nations #aceschat . . .



"RT: @DorisTruong: A2: Get out and experience the world. Extend your comfort zone. Meet people who might be subjects of reporting. #aceschat . . .


"Doris N. Truong@DorisTruong A2: Be active in recruiting a diverse staff. Cultivate as many viewpoints as you can. #aceschat . . ."

Internet Host Shouted Down at Conservative Conference

"An Internet radio host says she was booed and shouted down when she tried to ask a question during a race-related event at the Conservative [Political] Action Conference last week, and she says video of the event, taken by a documentary filmmaker shows it," Joy-Ann Reid wrote Thursday for the Grio.


"Kim Brown, who hosts a syndicated show on the Voice of Russia Radio Network that airs in Washington, where she lives, as well as in New York, Miami and Chicago, attended the CPAC panel hosted by black conservative activist K. Carl Smith, called 'Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?' 

"In an interview with theGrio on Wednesday, Brown said the session was held in a small room that quickly filled to capacity, and that Smith 'had a book to sell' at the event. . . ."


Perry Bacon Jr., the Grio: Why the Republicans are still obsessed with repealing Obamacare

Esther Cepeda, Washington Post Writers Group: Jeb Bush's contradictions

Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: The Republicans' color correction

Nick Jimenez, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times: Rick Perry's position on Medicaid is hazardous to Texas' health


Blair L.M. Kelley, the Grio: Frederick Douglass a modern-day Republican? Think again

Alexandra Le Tellier, Los Angeles Times: American voters are smarter than to fall for the GOP's new image


Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: The GOP Is Far From a Dead Party

MinistryofTruth, Daily Kos: CPAC Video: Black guy escorted out by police after White guy screams at him that Race Doesn't Matter


Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Rob Portman’s U-turn on gay marriage

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Some signs of life in the GOP?

David Swerdlick, the Root: The CPAC Race 'Chaos' Had a Silver Lining

Mark Trahant, Austerity blog: Housekeeping: Fewer posts ahead, but still determined to write about the big picture


Lynne K. Varner, Seattle Times: Some advice for empathy-challenged Washington state Republicans

David Weigel, Slate: CPAC Diary: Meet the White Nationalists Who Ruined Everything


FCC Chairman to Step Down, Praised for Broadband Access

"FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday morning finally officially confirmed the long-expected news that he is bailing out of the agency — but he didn’t say where he’s going or exactly when," Doug Halonen reported for TVNewsCheck.


" 'While I plan to step down as chairman in the coming weeks, today isn't good-bye,' Genachowski said, during a meeting with the agency's staff this morning that was streamed on the agency’s website. 'Until I leave, I intend to continue fully in my role, focusing on the work of the commission and helping ensure a healthy transition for the agency.' ”

Genachowski was praised by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.


Ralph B. Everett, president and CEO of the Joint Center, said, "Over the course of his term in office, Chairman Genachowski has worked vigorously and effectively to expand broadband access and adoption in all communities and thereby broaden opportunities for Americans to succeed in the digital economy.

"In the wake of Joint Center research showing that only 69 percent of African Americans and 59 percent of Hispanics were using the Internet, the Chairman sought to ensure that the National Broadband Plan would address this problem. And since then he has led the way toward ensuring that communities of color will realize the enormous potential that digital communications technologies can mean for health care, education, civic participation and economic empowerment. . . ."


The MMTC said, "Chairman Genachowski’s data-driven approach to technology has set the foundation for future generations to participate in our society as first class digital citizens. Under his leadership, the FCC implemented numerous initiatives to close the digital divide, protect consumers, promote competition, and secure universal deployment of fast, secure broadband . . ."

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Google spreads, but issue of digital divide remains


Israel Apologizes to Turkey for 2010 Flotilla Incident

"Barack Obama has persuaded Israel to apologise to Turkey for the loss of nine lives on board the Mavi Marmara — the lead ship in an aid flotilla trying to breach the blockade of Gaza — in a deal that paves the way for diplomatic relations to be restored between the two countries," Harriet Sherwood and Ewen MacAskill wrote Friday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.


"News of the US-brokered deal came on Friday as Obama was leaving Israel at the end of his first official visit during which he was praised for an emotional speech tailored to mainstream Jewish opinion but criticised for doing nothing practical to advance stalled peace negotiations and downplaying Palestinian suffering.

"The apology to Turkey for the May 2010 incident had been resisted by Israel until now, despite pressure from the international community. Both are close US allies— Turkey is a member of Nato — so the president was well placed to broker the deal. . . ."


Reporters Without Borders reported in August 2011, "More than 60 journalists aboard the flotilla were arrested, taken back to Israel and then deported. Their equipment was confiscated and many of them are still waiting for it to be returned. . . ."

Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu apologizes to Turkey over Gaza flotilla

Askia Muhammad, Washington informer: Obama’s Israel Apology Tour

Philly Inquirer Approves of Week's Race Conversations

"Attorney General Eric Holder was criticized early in the first Obama administration for calling this country a 'nation of cowards' when it comes to discussing racism," the Philadelphia Inquirer said in an editorial Friday.


"Well, Holder might have been heartened this past week by the myriad conversations in this city concerning a controversial Philadelphia Magazine article titled 'Being White in Philly.' It certainly got people talking. But whether the discussions will produce positive change or — like President Bill Clinton's National Conversation on Race — leave most people, black and white, unsatisfied is a question mark.

"The article by Robert Huber was well intended in wanting to report the belief of some whites that they can't express legitimate criticism of African Americans without being labeled racist. But the lopsided perspective, based solely on interviews with unnamed whites, came across as promoting stereotypes of blacks as criminals and slackers. The anonymous comments justifiably touched a nerve in a city with its own shameful history of racism toward African Americans, a city where too many poor, black neighborhoods remain racially segregated and economically isolated. . . ."


The editorial called on Philadelphia Human Relations Commission to "use the outrage over the magazine article as a catalyst for it to become a more forceful voice for the city's minority communities — and not just wait for crisis situations to erupt that demand its attention. . . ."

Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News: A decent guy, but out of touch in Philly


Chinua Achebe, "African Literary Titan," Dies at 82

"The death of Chinua Achebe represents more than the loss of a great writer. Achebe was perhaps the first to give voice with elegance, a poetic prose, and startling insight to the other side of the world which most Western readers encounter in Joseph Conrad," Leon Botstein, a conductor, scholar and president of Bard College in New York, wrote Friday for CNN.


"For the first time, through the success of Achebe's best-known book, 'Things Fall Apart,' a world both distinctive and familiarly human as well as uniquely African won the hearts of an otherwise ignorant and insensitive and largely condescending reading public in Europe and North America, regarding African history and culture. . . ."

The Associated Press reported, "Achebe's death at the age of 82 was announced Friday by his publisher. His works inspired countless writers around the world, though the literary style of 'Things Fall Apart,' first published in 1958, particularly transformed the way novelists wrote about Africa."

Advertisement stories about Achebe

Howard W. French, the Nation: A Vigorous, Quiet Revolt: Things Fall Apart At Fifty (2009)


Nadine Gordimer, the Guardian, Britain: Chinua Achebe death: 'a mind able to penetrate the mystery of being human'

Yinka Ibukun and Krista Larson, Associated Press: Achebe inspired generations of Nigerian writers


Jonathan Kandell, New York Times: Chinua Achebe, African Literary Titan, Dies at 82

Tremell McKenzie, Postscript'd: Achebe's Works Embrace and Enlighten Generations

Short Takes

Unity: Journalists for Diversity, Inc., is seeking an executive director and hopes to begin interviews for the job next week. The position pays approximately $110,000 to $120,000. Unity's members include the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. The position description is here [PDF].


"The Organization of American States reaffirmed the financial autonomy of Latin America's premier human rights body late Friday, rejecting attempts by Venezuela and its allies to block US-financed programs," Agence France-Presse reported. "The decision was seen as a bow to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which includes Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and several Caribbean nations." They demanded that the the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights be prohibited from financing its activities through donations from outside the region. That would particularly hurt the special rapporteur on freedom of expression, who has angered Ecuador and Venezuela by repeatedly accusing their governments of harassing the media. International Press Institute statement.

"Alina Machado has joined CNN as an Atlanta-based correspondent," Veronica Villafañe reported Tuesday for her Media Moves site. The network announced Alina will report for CNN, CNN en Español and CNN Latino. She was most recently a reporter for the ABC-TV affiliate WSB-TV2 in Atlanta and before that, she was at ABC 11 – WTVD in Raleigh. . . . " 


"Mike Lopez is the new news director at WEAU in Eau Claire, [Wis.], the station confirmed to TVSpy," Merrill Knox reported Wednesday for TVSpy. "Lopez joins the NBC affiliate from WVEC in Norfolk, where he was the assistant news director for seven years. . . ."

"Tunisian blogger Olfa Riahi has been charged with criminal defamation for posting an item in which the country's former foreign minister was alleged to have misused public funds, Roy Greenslade reported Wednesday on his blog for Britain's Guardian newspaper, citing Human Rights Watch. "The minister, Rafik Abdessalem, stepped down soon afterwards. . . ."


"The International Press Institute (IPI) today urged Guatemalan authorities to conduct a swift and comprehensive investigation into the killing of journalist Jaime Napoleón Jarquín Duarte on Wednesday, March 22," Jan Beyer wrote for the group on Friday. "According to reports, Jarquín was chatting with three friends in a small store in Ciudad Pedro de Álvaro, in the municipality of Moyuta, along Guatemala’s southern border with El Salvador, when unidentified individuals fired several shots at the group, killing Jarquín. The journalist's friends, who were wounded, survived the attack. . . "

"Kenya has passed peacefully through its election period, but questions still hang over the legitimacy of presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta's victory — as well as over the future of the country's media coverage," Tom Rhodes wrote Thursday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "During polling, challenges arose for both local and international media, and they have not subsided. For the foreign press, it is now unclear how to get accreditation to report in the country. Local journalists are worried about the rise of self-censorship, and freedom of expression advocates are concerned by plans for vague regulations on hate speech. . . ."


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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ( Reprinted on The Root by permission.

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