CNN Lifts Roland Martin's Suspension

Roland Martin (Getty Images)

Monthlong Absence From Network About to End

CNN has lifted its monthlong suspension of contributing political analyst Roland Martin, a CNN spokeswoman confirmed Monday night.


Betsy Rothstein, editor of the media news website FishbowlDC, had posted late Monday afternoon that "CNN staff was alerted today on the 10 am conference call that Roland Martin's suspension has been lifted."

The report was picked up by the Huffington Post and other websites, attributing the report to Fishbowl, but messages to CNN and Martin went unanswered, and Martin continued to post Twitter messages on other subjects.


CNN suspended Martin on Feb. 8 over tweets he sent during the Super Bowl that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said were anti-gay. After retailer H&M's Super Bowl commercial featuring soccer player David Beckham, for example, Martin tweeted, "If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl." Martin denied that his tweets were about homosexuals.

GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro told Journal-isms on Monday that he could not comment on the Fishbowl report without confirmation. As for Martin, he added, "We're still working out details on what the next steps are with him and CNN."


The organization wants CNN to report more about violence against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, known as LGBTs, and for Martin and CNN to increase the visibility of black LGBT people.

Although GLAAD at first urged that Martin be fired, it said later, "We look forward to a productive dialogue and to working together as well."


The organization announced Feb. 14 that Martin met for 90 minutes that day with Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and communications at GLAAD, in Los Angeles. "The introduction is the beginning of an open and honest dialogue. Both parties came away with a better understanding of one another and look forward to continuing this dialogue," GLAAD said in a statement.

On the "Washington Watch" show on Feb. 19, Martin said of the meeting with Graddick, "Now, do we agree on all issues? No. But, ironically, I have historically supported many of the issues important to the GLAAD agenda, such as ending [the] 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, gay adoption and including gays in hate crimes laws. Those, folks, are facts. But it is only through dialogue do we get an opportunity to see each other’s perspective and learn what it is like to walk in that person’s shoes."


GLAAD said it was pleased with Martin's statement, which it said made "clear that he understands how serious the issues of anti-LGBT bullying and violence are." GLAAD said Martin also agreed to meet with other organizations.

Meanwhile, Martin continued with his commentary on "Washington Watch" on TV One and regular appearances on radio's syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show."


On March 6, Super Tuesday, Martin hosted a three-hour webcast from Howard University with panels offering African American perspectives on political topics.

Many of Martin's defenders maintained throughout the suspension that GLAAD was itself guilty of bullying.


Jasmyne Cannick, a black lesbian, wrote on Feb. 11, "Let me be clear, GLAAD doesn’t represent or speak for Black lesbians and gays and if the Black same-gender loving community is or was offended by Roland’s tweet then that's an issue that we are perfectly capable of addressing amongst ourselves as we do with every other issue. We don’t need GLAAD to stand up and speak for us. That’s what we have our own organizations for."

Raynard Jackson, president and CEO of a Washington public relations/government affairs firm, wrote Feb. 9 in a piece picked up by the Washington Post's theRootDC: "Roland, you are now learning who your real friends are and they are not as many as you thought. I am totally disappointed that you even issued an apology (but we all know that CNN forced your hand on that). Do you really need the money from CNN that bad that you are willing to back away from your own innocent words? If you do, I understand. I don’t like it, but I understand."


The length of the suspension struck some as excessive. FishbowlDC started a daily feature, "What’s Roland Tweeting?" and observed on Friday, "We can’t believe that Roland Martin is still on suspension from CNN for remarks he made on his Twitter account."

At 5:34 p.m. Monday, Rothstein wrote her "breaking news" that "CNN staff was alerted today on the 10 am conference call that Roland Martin's suspension has been lifted."


N.Y. Post Depicts WNBC Co-Anchor Topless in Bed

New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonis weighed in Sunday on the controversy over WNBC's failure to renew the contract of its longtime anchor Sue Simmons.


His cartoon shows the NBC peacock smoking after emerging from the bedroom of Simmons' possible successor, Shiba Russell, shown topless in bed, as Simmons, in the doorway, begs for her job back.

Russell, asked for comment, referred Journal-isms to NBC or to her agent. She is noon and 5 p.m. co-anchor at WNBC.


Delonis caused an uproar in 2009 with a drawing that some said compared President Obama with a chimpanzee — a charge Delonis denied.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Post, twice apologized and said, "We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community."


* Susannah Cahalan, Cynthia R. Fagen and Liz Pressman, New York Post: The ‘Live!’ and times of TV’s legendary anchor Sue Simmons

* Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times: Separation Anxiety Over Lost Anchor(s)

* Andrea Peyser, New York Post: Ba-dee, a dee, that’s all, folks!

* Deborah Potter, NewsLab: Why some longtime anchors get the boot

OWN Ratings Soar in Oprah Interview With Houston Family

"OWN posted its highest ratings ever on Sunday, drawing 3.5 million total viewers for the episode of Oprah's Next Chapter featuring an interview with Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina and her family," Andrea Morabito reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.


"The interview, which aired from 9-10:30 p.m., earned a 3.1 rating with women 25-54, triple-digit growth over its season average (up 417% in viewers and 444% in the W25-54 demo), according to Nielsen data. . . .

"The network's previous ratings high was 1.6 million viewers for an Oprah's Next Chapter episode with Pastor Joel Osteen on Jan. 8."


Winfrey also demonstrated her master interviewing skills, showing that displays of empathy, even a strategically timed tear, can yield dividends.

* Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press: Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston's Daughter, In Oprah Interview: She Was 'My Everything'


U.S. Apologizes to Native Americans. Who Knew?

"You are invited. I have reserved the space in front of the US Capitol for December 19, 2012, and the entire country is invited. Every citizen, every immigrant, every leader, every member of Congress, every President (present, former and aspiring) is invited to join me for a public reading of the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3326," began a column Monday on


"My name is Mark Charles. I am not an elected official, I do not lead an organization, nor do I work solely for a specific group or company. I am merely the son of an American woman of Dutch heritage and a Navajo man, who is living on the Navajo Reservation and trying to understand the complexities of our country’s history regarding race, culture and faith so that I can help forge a path of healing and reconciliation for our people.

"What do Native America, the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, and reconciliation have to do with each other? And why am I inviting you to join me in reading this document publicly?


"I am doing so because of what is found on pages 45 and 46. These pages contain [subsection] 8113 titled 'Apology to Native Peoples of the United States.'

"I was shocked, confused, embarrassed and ashamed when I learned, two years after the fact, that the US government had issued an apology to its Native American citizens, but did very little to publicize it, and even seemed intent on burying it in a 67-page Defense Department appropriations bill. The White House issued a press release regarding the signing of this bill but it made no mention of the enclosed apology.


"As far as I can find, [subsections] 8113 was not read publicly until six months later, in May of 2010, when Senator Sam Brownback (KS) read it in a small ceremony with only a handful of Native American leaders present. Of the few articles I could find about this apology, many expressed the same sentiment as one published in Indian Country Today on December 3, 2011, which was titled, 'A Tree Fell in the Forest: The U.S. Apologized to Native Americans and No One Heard a Sound.' "

Argentine Firm Buys Controlling Interest in ImpreMedia

A subsidiary of the Argentine media company La Nación will become the largest stockholder in impreMedia, the nation's largest Spanish-language newspaper chain, the companies announced on Monday.


ImpreMedia, "known for its top brands such as La Opinión, El Diario and Vista, reaches 25% of all US Hispanics with an audience size of almost 11 million and a footprint in 15 top Hispanic markets," Portada reported. "Over the past year it has experienced an unprecedented 34% growth in total audience and has almost doubled its online audience."

Portada also said, "Monica Lozano will remain CEO of impreMedia. Its editorial content will remain under the direction and control of impreMedia’s newsroom staff, and current management of impreMedia will also remain. In addition, Francisco Seghezzo, former Corporate Planning Director of S.A. La Nación, will join impreMedia as COO."


In a Jan. 30 analysis considering the possibility that La Nación would buy impreMedia, Portado asked what La Nación would see in an impreMedia investment.

"The Argentinean advertising market has grown a lot over the last 10 years and La [Nación] has profited from it. However, the political waters are very turbulent," Portado said. "La [Nación] and its rival Clarin are immersed in a deep battle with the government of Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The Kirchner government considers that Grupo Clarín (whose interests include television, radio, newspapers, cable services, and ISP companies) act as media monopolies. On their part, the Clarín media conglomerate and also La [Nación] consider that the acts of the Kirchner government run contrary to freedom of speech. . . . By acquiring a media property in the U.S. Hispanic market La [Nación] is putting some of its eggs in another basket and investing in a more stable growth market."


Feminists Ask Whether Limbaugh Serves Public Interest

"Ironically, the misogyny Rush Limbaugh spewed for three days over Sandra Fluke was not much worse than his regular broadcast of sexist, racist and homophobic hate speech," Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, founders of the Women's Media Center, wrote Monday on the CNN website.


* "Female Cabinet members are 'Sex-retaries.'

* " 'The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.'

* "The National Organization for Women is 'a bunch of whores to liberalism.'

* "[Said to an African-American female caller]: 'Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.'

" . . .That makes this a fitting time to inquire of his syndicator, Clear Channel Communications, whether it intends to continue supporting someone who addicts his audience to regular doses of hate speech. Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks Inc., which hosts Limbaugh's program, has defended his recent comments.


"If Clear Channel won't clean up its airways, then surely it's time for the public to ask the FCC a basic question: Are the stations carrying Limbaugh's show in fact using their licenses 'in the public interest?' "

Meanwhile, Judd Legum reported for, "ThinkProgress has obtained an internal memo from Premiere Radio Networks listing 96 national companies that have 'specifically asked' their [advertisements] not be played during the Rush Limbaugh Show. Premiere is the distributor of Limbaugh’s program.


"The advertisers have also requested to be excluded from other right-wing hosts including Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. According to the memo, the listed companies’ advertisements should be excluded from these programs because they have been 'deemed to be offensive.' "

* Merlene Davis, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: Here's a new cause for the women who rose up against Limbaugh

* Montel On Limbaugh: 'I Don’t Know if There’s An Apology Great Enough'

* Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher Are Alike — and Also Very Different 

*David Hinckley, Daily News, New York: Rush Limbaugh’s ratings gains, driven by 'slut' controversy, will bring long-term loss

* Richard Horgan, FishbowlLA: Author Questions Validity of Jane Fonda’s Anti-Limbaugh Op Ed

* Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Military’s Subsidy of Limbaugh Insults Taxpayers

* Allen Johnson blog, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: UNC and Rush Radio

* Daniella Gibbs Leger, We're Not Letting Rush Limbaugh Slide This Time

* Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Fortunately, Limbaugh is incomparable

* Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Could this be the end of Limbaugh?

* Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Rush Limbaugh instills fear in GOP candidates


Obama Administration Stepped Up Crackdown on Leakers

"While the Obama administration has promised to strengthen protections for whistleblowers, it has also launched an aggressive crackdown on government employees who have leaked national security information to the press." Cora Currier wrote Friday for ProPublica.


"The administration has brought a total of six cases under the Espionage Act, which dates from World War I and criminalizes disclosing information 'relating to the national defense.' (The Department of Justice has five criminal cases and the Army has one against alleged [WikiLeaks] source Bradley Manning.) Prior to the current administration, there had been only three known cases resulting in indictments in which the Espionage Act was used to prosecute government officials for leaks.

" . . . Here’s a timeline of leak prosecutions under the Espionage Act, showing how they’ve picked up steam under Obama."


*David Nakamura, Washington Post: President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron to sit for interview during NCAA tournament game

Derrick Bell's Widow Defends Him From Right-Wing Attacks

"In an interview on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Janet Dewart Bell, the widow of Harvard Law School professor Derrick Bell, defended her husband's reputation from attacks by the right," reported Monday, noting that MSNBC and theGrio are divisions of NBC News.


"The late Professor Bell, who was Harvard's first black tenured professor, has been the subject of attacks by conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and others on the right since conservative media gadfly Andrew Breitbart (who died earlier this month) claimed to have unearthed a previously 'suppressed' video (which has actually been available to anyone who wanted to see it online since 2008…) showing Barack Obama cavorting with 'radicals' during his days at Harvard Law school. To demonstrate that, Breitbart's BigGovernment website, Hannity and others have smeared Bell, who died last year[,] calling him anti-white, anti-Semitic, and 'the Jeremiah Wright of academia.'

"The tapes, which showed Obama introducing Bell, and then embracing him, at a 1991 rally to call for more diversity in Harvard Law School's faculty, have failed to ignite the anti-Obama firestorm that Breitbart and Hannity, the Fox News host, intended. Still, Bell's defenders have come out forcefully anyway in his defense, including fellow Harvard University professor Charles Ogletree and former Obama law school classmate Keith Boykin. But few have spoken more eloquently about the true Derrick Bell than his wife, Ms. Dewart Bell, did in her interview with Ed Schultz."


* Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: This Breitbart film was not a game changer.

*Tommy Christopher, mediaite: Soledad O’Brien Gives’s Readers A Lesson In Critical Race Theory

* Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: 'A Hug That the Media Won't Show'

*HuffPost BlackVoices: Melissa Harris-Perry Defends President Obama Hugging Professor Derrick Bell (video)


*Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Wackos on Right Desperate To Paint Obama as a Black Nationalist

Romney Launches Charm Offensive With the Media

"It's the worst-kept secret of the 2012 campaign: The candidate who does the least public media-bashing — Mitt Romney — has the worst relationship of all with the press," Reid J. Epstein wrote Thursday for Politico.


"But as Romney seeks to nail down the GOP nomination and cement the narrative that the delegate math makes it nearly impossible for his remaining rivals to surpass him, his campaign has launched what passes for a media charm offensive.

"Senior staff is suddenly more accessible. The Commercial Street headquarters in Boston is no longer off-limits. This week featured a happy hour with the traveling press at a downtown Boston pub and Romney himself broke with campaign precedent by visiting the back of the campaign’s charter airplane for a rare chat with reporters Tuesday before a flight from Ohio to Massachusetts."


* Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Mitt, Grits and Grit

* Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: A field of hawks

* Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: The hollow character of the GOP’s front-runner

Short Takes

* "Michel Martin welcomed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to NPR's "Tell Me More" Monday, saying, "Welcome to the program and congratulations, since is the first time we've talked since your election to the office." Emanuel replied, "I hope it didn't take you nine months to warm up to that, Michel." "No, not all," Martin replied jocularly. "It just took us nine months for you to return our phone call."


* Danyel Smith's departure as editor-in-chief of Billboard magazine, disclosed in this space last week, has been accompanied by the exit of publisher Lisa Ryan Howard, deputy editor Louis Hau and other high-level staffers, Lucas Shaw reported Friday for, quoting "sources close to the publication." "According to those individuals, Billboard is in the process of cutting costs. Raises have also been few and far between. This has produced low morale, and prompted these exits, as well as a fast rate of turnover in general," Shaw wrote.

* China specialist correspondent Benjamin Lim has been named Reuters' Reporter of the Year for 2011, the news agency said. "Ben Lim’s stories frequently set the agenda for the Beijing press corps. This year, Ben made full use of his high-level contacts to produce a string of major scoops, ranging from China’s plans to bail out local governments to its plans to build two new aircraft carriers," the agency said.

* "Remake America is a new weekly series that will trace six middle-class families as they struggle to deal with a still-recovering U.S. economy," Mike Shields reported Wednesday for AdWeek. "The documentary-styled show will run through the remainder of the year, examining how these families cope-and eventually how they elect to vote in the 2012 presidential election. Sound like something you'd probably find on CNN? Think again. Remake America is the latest product of Yahoo News, which is looking to own the 2012 election season like never before — and use that coverage to bolster its user loyalty." Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark, asked whether journalists of color were participating, said Farnoosh Torabi, the personal finance expert, is of Iranian descent. Of the six families, one appears to be black and one Hispanic

*Bob Richter, public editor of the San Antonio Express-News, wrote his last column Sunday. "The job is a grind," said Richter, 64. ". . . It's time to go. . . . this is not a sad day or even one filled with mixed feelings. I'm exhilarated. I've worked all my life for this moment." Editor Kryrie O'Connor told Journal-isms by email that the job would be filled.

* "Alexander 'Sandy' Brown, the President of Univision Sports, is stepping down from the position after just one year with the company. No details are available on his departure, other than he will remain as an adviser," Veronica Villafañe reported Wednesday for her Media Moves site. "Univision is set to launch its cable sports network in April of this year."

* "With near impunity in the murders of journalists a persistent reason for the terror and self-censorship among Mexican news organizations, legislators say the national Senate is on the verge of passing a constitutional amendment that would allow federal authorities to take over cases of crimes against freedom of expression," Mike O'Connor wrote Friday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Passage would mean that the typically less corrupt and more effective federal police and prosecutors would move aside state authorities to tackle cases of murdered journalists or those living under threat."

* Reporting on Honduras, the International Press Institute said Monday it "condemns the brutal murder of journalist Fausto Evelio Hernández Arteaga, early on Saturday, March 10 in Sabá, Colón department, in the northeast of the country. Hernández Arteaga, who worked in the press department of Radio Alegre de Sabá, was riding his bicycle when a man estimated to be between the ages of 21 and 24 intercepted him and attacked him with a machete, local media reports said."

* The Committee to Protect Journalists said it "calls on Liberian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists who have been repeatedly threatened for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in the country. Mae Azango, a reporter for the daily FrontPage Africa and the news website New Narratives, told CPJ she had gone into hiding after receiving several threats for an article she published on Thursday about Liberian tribes practicing female genital mutilation on as many as two out of every three girls in the country."


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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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