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"There was a massive outburst of emotion as South Carolina brought down one of the most divisive symbols in the nation from its Capitol grounds,"
NBC News Screenshot
"There was a massive outburst of emotion as South Carolina brought down one of the most divisive symbols in the nation from its Capitol grounds,"
NBC News Screenshot

Networks Go Live for South Carolina's Historic Move

"At 10:10 a.m. Friday, the sun hit the east side of a Civil War monument at the Statehouse. The Confederate battle flag rustled in the wind above 10,000 people gathered to watch it come down," Christina Elmore and Deanna Pan reported Friday for the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.

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"By 10:12 a.m., it was gone. One minute and 55 seconds. That's the time it took a S.C. Highway Patrol Honor Guard to slide the flag from the top of the pole, fold it twice, roll it into a thin baton and wrap it in ribbon.

"Lt. Derrick Gamble, a young black man, carried it to the state curator to be placed in a state museum. The crowd along the barricade chanted in unison as the flag made its final retreat: 'U-S-A! U-S-A!'

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"For more than 50 years, the Confederate battle flag loomed over South Carolina. The flag's shadow on the Statehouse lawn was a reminder of centuries-old discord between blacks and whites in the state. For some, it stood as a symbol of brash Southern independence. For others, it left a legacy of chains and lynchings and hurt.

"But in the span of less than hour Friday, the flag was tucked in a box and shelved into storage at the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, less than mile from where people swarmed Gervais Street in front of the Statehouse, applauding its removal.

" 'Free at last, free at last,' one women bellowed. 'Thank God almighty, we’re free at last.' . . ."

It made for emotional live television. "You should remember where you were when this happened," Don Lemon told his CNN audience.

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CBS, Fox, ABC and MSNBC also went live, some later than others, but all interrupting their regular programming if necessary. Network luminaries Matt Lauer of NBC and George Stephanopoulos of ABC served as anchors for their respective employers.

"I see a lot of people struggling to take in every bit of this moment," Ron Allen said on NBC, explaining that defenders of the rebel flag were also present and did not view the banner as noxious. "These people don't care whether it was wrong or right. They want their loved ones honored."

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Allen went on, "I see a lot of tears in the eyes of the families" of the nine African Americans who were shot and killed June 17 at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. It was that massacre that prompted calls to take down the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds.

On CNN, commentator Van Jones said that as a native Southerner, born in Jackson, Tenn., he understood the feelings of those who considered the flag one of regional pride. He called the South one of the last acceptable targets of ridicule. But he told Lemon and his fellow Southerners, "people in Europe are using the Confederate flag when they can't find a swastika."

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The moment came after 54 years on the Capitol grounds. "I didn't realize how much I had to suck it up," Jones said of the emotion he felt as the flag was lowered. Lemon, who grew up outside of Baton Rouge, La., agreed. "I didn't know that I would be this emotional when the flag came down."

Charles M. Blow, the New York Times columnist, joined the CNN conversation and approved of the takedown, but dissented on the sentiment.

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The ceremony showed "a bit too much pageantry," Blow said. "There is a certain gravitas" that was bestowed by having an honor guard remove the flag. Furthermore, public officials did not deserve "a pat on the back for something they should have done" years ago.

Blow also found it curious that when Bree Newsome of Charlotte, N.C., climbed a flagpole to remove the flag on June 27, it was a black man — Gamble — who had to put it back up.

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Blow also cautioned, "remember, this is a symbol of racism, not the structure of racism."

Pan of the Post and Courier wrote Friday about Gamble:

"Humbled and poised in his crisp gray uniform, Gamble said his role in Friday's Honor Guard ceremony permanently furling the rebel banner was just 'another mission,' " Pan wrote.

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" 'To me, maybe it hasn't sunk in,' he said, 'but it's just part of what we do.' "

On HLN, Greg Stewart, a Mississippi lawyer and spokesman for the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, assessed the event with the equivalent of a shrug and a sneer.

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Yes, Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed the bill removing the flag, but "I don't believe that she's going to change any of her policies," Stewart said. "I believe we've gone as far as we're going to go."

On MSNBC, Joy Reid said she interviewed black South Carolinians who said that after Friday, they would no longer had to avert their eyes when they passed the Capitol building. Now they felt that the building belonged to them, too.

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Former Gov. David Beasley was among those interviewed by Reid's colleague, Craig Melvin, who was hosting "The Rundown" in lieu of José Díaz-Balart.

"Beasley served as governor from 1995 to 1999," as Tony Santaella explained on WLTX-TV in Columbia during the legislature's debate.

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"A year after taking office, the Republican proposed removing the flag from the top of the State House dome, where it flew at the time, but the idea met strong resistance. By March of 1997, he was forced to give up on the plan, and pledged to never again try to remove the flag.

"In 1998, however, he lost his re-election bid to Democrat Jim Hodges, and political observers said his stance on the flag likely played a role in the defeat."

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Beasley was pleased on Friday, and praised the families of the massacre victims for their expressions of love.

He quipped to Melvin that he had been described as "the last living casualty of the Civil War."

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New Orleans Columnist Backs Mayor: Remove Monuments

"Mayor Mitch Landrieu has formally asked the city council to begin the legal process required to have four public monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee in Lee Circle, declared public 'nuisances' and taken down," Robert McClendon wrote Thursday for NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune.

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"In a letter addressed to City Council President Jason Williams, Landrieu asks the council to hold a hearing to determine whether the following monuments should be removed: Lee's statue, the statue of Jefferson Davis on Jefferson Davis Parkway, the PGT Beauregard equestrian statue at the entrance to City Park and the Battle of Liberty Place monument on Iberville Street near the riverfront. . . ."

Jarvis DeBerry, an African American columnist for NOLA.com and the Times-Picayune, agreed with Landrieu's bold proposal.

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"The first person who stood in the New Orleans City Council chambers Thursday to defend Robert E. Lee wanted to highlight everything except Lee's leading role in a war against the United States government," DeBerry wrote Friday.

"To hear this man tell it, General Lee was really black people's good friend, opposing their enslavement and supporting their education. . . ."

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"Responding to critics who say he wants to erase history, Landrieu said, 'Remembrance, yes. Reverence, no.'

"Oh, but how the reverence for Lee endures. The white people who addressed the council Thursday were heavy with their praise. They made a plea for heritage, for history. That was ironic. Because they obviously have a poor understanding of the relevant history. . . ."

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DeBerry listed "a summary of their ridiculous, morally bankrupt and intellectually dishonest arguments" and added, "Every white person who spoke made one of the awful arguments listed above: 'Robert E. Lee was not a racist man.' 'The South never represented slavery.' 'The South represented big government not ruling our lives.' 'Stop splintering this city by putting attention to items that are not going to solve the problem.' 'I resent being stripped of my heritage.' . . ."

The columnist concluded, "To be fair, there are black people who think there's been too much focus on Confederate flags and monuments. Speaking of the Confederate battle flag, a black woman I encountered on Facebook said, 'Taking it down doesn't change anything.'

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"I responded, 'If taking it down doesn't change anything and leaving it up doesn't change anything, let's just take it down. I'd rather have no change with the flag gone than no change with the flag up.'

"And so it is with these four monuments. It's a distraction to ask if their removal will change anything. The question is, 'Are they offensive?'

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"Yes. Yes they are."

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: A poem for South Carolina from one of its own

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Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: The Confederate flag was raised in S.C. as civil rights movement began

Editorial, Aiken (S.C.) Standard: Time to unite, heal in the Palmetto State

Robert McClendon, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: When it comes to Confederate landmark removal, where is the line?

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Brian and Erin Hollaway Palmer, Colorlines: Race Trips: Confederate Lies and Apple Pie

Shadi Rahimi, Poynter Institute: Why AJ+ asked 'Is the South more racist?' And why that’s the viral content we’re aiming for

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Jill Ogline Titus, Real Clear Politics: Why Confederate Monuments Differ From the Flag

Casey Tolan, Fusion: Memphis to dig up Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader buried in city park 

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Jaquetta White, New Orleans Advocate: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu: Let's relocate Confederate statues like Robert E. Lee, rename Jeff Davis Pkwy for ex-Xavier president Norman Francis

5 Bold Moves That Would Make Native Americans Shout

What for Native Americans could match the jubilation others expressed Friday in Columbia, S.C., as the Confederate battle flag was lowered from the state Capitol grounds and remanded to a museum?

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Journal-isms posed that question at the National Native Media Conference, where members of the Native American Journalists Association are meeting in Arlington, Va., outside Washington, through Sunday. The conference has attracted a record 372 attendees, including recruiters and speakers, Rebecca Landsberry, NAJA's interim executive director, said.

Respondents were Mary Hudetz, NAJA president and editor of Native Peoples magazine, based in Phoenix; Patty Talahongva, a NAJA lifetime member and past president; Jacqueline L. Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians; Tom Arviso Jr., publisher and CEO of the Navajo Times in Window Rock, Ariz.; and Marty Connor, programming manager of KBFT-FM, Bois Forte Tribal Community Radio, in Nett Lake, Minn.

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What would make them shout and cheer?

Changing the name of the Washington NFL team.

A U.S. district judge this week affirmed a prior ruling that the term "Redskins" is ineligible for federal trademark protection, though the legal battle is not over until all appeals are exhausted.

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The issue is comparable to that of the Confederate flag, Arviso said. In the end, "it's about being respectful of people" who have had so much to endure, Arviso said. "Symbols of oppression," Hudetz called the team name and the flag. "I don't know how they can continue on" with the name," Pata added, referring to the team. Amanda Blackhorse, a plaintiff in the trademark case, is to deliver keynote remarks on Saturday.

Fully funding Native programs.

"Show me the money," Talahongva said. "Anything else is lip service." Government agencies have established Indian Health Service and education initiatives without fully funding them. Even the hard-won Violence Against Women Act, which sought to improve criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, lacks money for enforcement by tribal police, she said.

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Respecting the integrity of Native lands. "Native people have had so much taken away," Hudetz said. In February and April, Serene Fang and Adam May reported for Al Jazeera America, "On the nearby San Carlos Apache reservation, many consider Oak Flat to be sacred, ancestral land — the home of one of their gods and the site of traditional Apache ceremonies

"But Oak Flat also sits on top of one of the world's largest deposits of copper ore. Resolution Copper Mining, a subsidiary of British-Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, has sought ownership of the land for a decade, lobbying Congress to enact special legislation on its behalf more than a dozen times since 2005.

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"Year after year the bills failed to pass. But in December, the legislation was . . . quietly passed into law as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. . . ."

Pata said, "Our sacred places are for us like a holy cathedral would be for Christians. That's a hard one for most people to get."

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Arviso said, "All the tribes have had too much taken away from them. . . . natural resources, gold or water. If we could reverse that and [they could] give back the lands and those rights, that would be cause for us to stand up and cheer."

An opening session was devoted to broken treaties. Among the panelists was Suzan Shown Harjo, "a poet, writer, lecturer, curator and policy advocate, who has helped Native peoples protect sacred places and recover more than one million acres of land." Brenda Toineeta Pipestem, chair of the Repatriation Committee of the National Museum of the American Indian Board of Trustees was also on the panel. A rare exhibit of such treaties is on display at the museum.

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Ending racism.

"Making racism a crime punished by imprisonment," Connor said. "I've always had an issue with racism" as a Native American in largely white northern Minnesota. Connor said he'd like to see people returning to "offering a hand up,"rather than disparaging others and putting them down.

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"Having a woman of color elected as president of the United States."

Arviso said he received this suggestion from younger people, such as his daughter, who is in her late 20s. She specifically mentioned the possibility of a Native woman as the nation's chief executive.

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"The fact that President Obama got elected" has opened the door, Arviso said.

Meanwhile, "Three Native journalists will take on new roles as members of the Native American Journalists Association’s board of directors after NAJA members cast their votes Saturday at the National Native Media Conference," as Paris Burris and Dyani Brown reported for the student convention newspaper, Native Voice.

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Andrew Bahl, indianz.com: Native youth hear from top officials at historic White House event

Erin Tapahe, Native Voice: How I "Got" the Interview with Snyder

Native Voice coverage

How Much Did the Media Underestimate Donald Trump?

"Donald Trump has gone from dominant to inescapable," Howard Kurtz wrote Friday for Fox News.

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"Somewhere between my interview with Trump and Katie Tur's MSNBC interview with Trump and Anderson Cooper's interview with Trump and the Washington Post's front-page story about Trump, I came upon this breaking news: 'The Simpsons' have put out a promo making fun of…Trump.

"Hillary Clinton granted her first national television interview, to CNN, and even she has been overshadowed by Trump.

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"Let's face it, Trump’s presidential candidacy is no longer a political story. It's a cultural phenomenon. We're all living in Donald's world now. . . ."

Kurtz also wrote, "To back up a bit, it's clear the media establishment completely and totally underestimated Trump when he first jumped into the 2016 race. Fox's Mara Liasson predicted his coverage would plummet after that first day — which she has now admitted was spectacularly wrong.

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"Next, much of the media treated Trump with great snark — either openly dismissing him or reporting on his exploits with a wink — until he shot up to second place in the Republican polls (and now first place in a survey in North Carolina).

"In the next phase, plenty of pundits used the uproar over Trump's remarks on illegal Mexican immigrants including criminals and rapists to portray him as the epitome of the Republican Party — despite the fact that he’s hardly an establishment figure and given tons of dough to Democrats. . . ."

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Puerto Ricans Flee for Mainland, Only to Find Hardship

"Facing a crisis of monumental proportions at home, tens of thousands of people are fleeing a Caribbean island in search of a better life in the United States only to find hardship and struggle on American shores," Alan Yuhas reported Tuesday for Britain's Guardian.

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"Their stories sound like those of millions of migrants — poverty at home, where the economy lies in tatters — but they differ from millions of others: they're already American.

"Unable to pay its $73bn debt, Puerto Rico has begun closing schools and watching its healthcare system collapse and 45% of its people living in poverty. A historic drought has prompted water rationing for a utility service hampered by years of poor planning. Emigration to the mainland has accelerated in recent years, activists say, and data shows that from 2003 to 2013 there was a population swing of more than 1.5 million people. . . . "

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Michael A. Fletcher and Steven Mufson, Washington Post: How Washington helped create Puerto Rico’s staggering debt crisis

Short Takes

"President Obama will visit the El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma next week as part of a Vice special on the U.S. criminal-justice system set to be broadcast on HBO," Daniel Holloway reported Friday for theWrap. "The visit [will] mark the . . . first ever by a sitting president to a federal prison. . . . "
"The Associated Press reported this week that Bill Cosby admitted in 2005 that he gave sedatives to a woman in order to have sex with her," Lauren Klinger wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute. "If a woman is sedated, she isn’t able to give consent. If sex with an unconscious person is sexual assault, is it ethical for reporters to write this sentence instead: 'A man admitted that he gave sedatives to a woman in order to sexually assault her'? The Associated Press chose not to do that, and Maryclaire Dale, the reporter who broke the Cosby deposition story told me why. . . . On the Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday, Dale said, 'The snippets of the depositions that we have tonight certainly don't show whether the sexual assault allegations are true, but they do show that Cosby acknowledges that he used Quaaludes in the course of sex…what's left unresolved is whether they knew they were using them recreationally or otherwise.' . . ."

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Nicholas Casey, a foreign correspondent at the Wall Street Journal covering politics and economics in the Middle East , is leaving for the New York Times, he wrote colleagues on Thursday. Casey wrote that he was hired by the Journal in 2007 and had covered the toy industry from the Journal's Los Angeles bureau. 

"The Boston Globe has announced the appointment of Veronica Chao as editor of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, effective immediately," the Globe announced on Thursday. "Chao, the former editor of the Improper Bostonian and the Globe's City Weekly section, will direct all facets of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine's operations, including setting its editorial direction, managing editorial staff, and developing special publications and supplements. . . ."

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"Former WWBT-TV reporter Ed McLaughlin was among the first black on-air television correspondents in the Richmond area and helped to inspire a new generation of journalists," Ned Oliver reported Thursday for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch. "Mr. McLaughlin recognized his role as a pioneer in the television news business, but 'it was more important for him to be recognized as a good journalist,' said his wife, Kay McLaughlin. Mr. McLaughlin, 78, died Tuesday after battling cancer. He had worked at Channel 12 from 1969 until his retirement in 2000. . . ."

"Ellen Pao is stepping down as Reddit's CEO, a move that comes amid mounting pressure after a series of management mishaps that has angered its very vocal online community," Kara Swisher reported Friday for Re/code. "Steve Huffman, Reddit co-founder and its original CEO, is taking over immediately. . . ."

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"Do not wait until the last minute to apply for one of the three ASNE Minority Leadership Institutes," the American Society of News Editors urged on Thursday. "Selected participants will receive free training on newsroom leadership and management. They will also receive travel incentives. . . . The deadline to apply for the first ASNE Minority Leadership Institute of this year is approaching quickly. Apply by Friday, July 17, to attend the institute at NABJ, which will take place Aug. 6 and 7 in Minneapolis. Deadlines for the other two institutes are in August. (video)

"Dr. Jeffrey Herbst, the outgoing president of Colgate University and a noted political scientist and award-winning author, has been named president and CEO of the Newseum and the Newseum Institute," the Newseum announced on Thursday. Among other distinctions, "He is the author of the award-winning 'States and Power in Africa' and, with co-author Greg Mills, 'Africa’s Third Liberation' and the just-published 'How South Africa Works and Must Do Better.' . . .” The Washington Post reported on July 1, "The Newseum’s most recent tax documents filed with the IRS are from 2013. That year, the museum brought in about $63 million in total revenue and spent nearly $67 million, generating a $4.4 million shortfall, down from $8.3 million in 2012. . . ."

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"The social media feud between ESPN's Chris Broussard and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban looks like it might be winding down," Joshua Friemel reported Friday for the Dallas Morning News. "On Broussard's end, at least. The reporter wrote the following on Twitter: 'Regarding my Wednesday report: I should have attempted to contact Mark Cuban before reporting what my sources were telling me. I always try to carry myself with honesty and integrity both personally and professionally. I recognize that I tweeted hastily, I'm sorry for it, and I will learn from my mistake.' . . ." 

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