How the New York dailies covered the Eric Garner grand jury decision on Thursday’s front pages.
Columbia Journalism Review

Lack of Indictment in Garner Case Faulted Across Spectrum

"The media can’t breathe," David Uberti wrote Thursday for Columbia Journalism Review. "That was the reaction of many journalists to news yesterday that New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo wouldn't be indicted for killing Eric Garner — and it echoed the black Staten Island man's last words in July.


"The commentary and analysis surrounding this case is already different from that of black Missouri teenager Michael Brown, whose killer, Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, likewise evaded indictment last week. The fallout from that verdict hewed closely to the media's ideological divide, with liberals generally questioning the move and conservatives defending it. The grand jury's decision in the Garner case, on the other hand, has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum.

"The differences that remain lie in the details. Whereas liberal commentators tended to frame the news within a narrative of institutional racism, their conservative counterparts chastised the efficacy of the criminal justice system and enforcement of what they see as bad laws.

" 'There's an America where people who kill for no legitimate reason are held to account, and there's an America where homicide isn't really a big deal as long as you play for the right team,' Sean Davis writes at The Federalist, a conservative website. 'Unfortunately Eric Garner was a victim in the second America, where some homicides are apparently less equal than others.'


"Davis doesn’t expand on that idea of two Americas. And he doesn't mention race — not to mention the long history of racially biased law enforcement — in his piece. Instead, he treats Garner's killing and the lack of prosecution as an isolated example of a brutal, yet weak, criminal justice system. . . ."

Not every conservative outlet saw injustice. "The New York Post . . . defended the grand jury, declaring the officer's action was 'not a crime' and blaming Garner, 'the man who tragically decided to resist, " Dylan Stableford reported Thursday for Yahoo.

In an interview Thursday with MSNBC host Tamron Hall, Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association in New York, was of like mind with the Post. He said the conversation over the case is missing something: "What’s not being discussed anywhere across the board is the totality of what’s involved in policing," said the police union official, according to Erik Wemple, writing for the Washington Post.


"After discussing how the chokehold is banned under NYPD rules and other legal permutations of the case, Mullins said, 'Unfortunately — this conversation you and I are having is covering a lot of ground related to the law — and a lot of media is not educating everyone as to what the law is, and what the duties of a police officer are. … Not to put any blame on any one individual, but in accordance with law, he was given a lawful order that he didn't comply with,' " Wemple wrote.

Wemple wasn't having it. "Please, no media-bashing on the Eric Garner case," he continued. "The only piece of media that matters here is the videotape that shows a white officer (Pantaleo) taking down an unarmed black man (Garner) over some petty offense (selling 'loosie' cigarettes) in what should have been a routine and innocuous interaction. . . ."

A livestreamed discussion that included a conversation between Katie Couric and two of the children of Eric Garner (video) made for riveting viewing, underscoring the emotional intensity that the grand jury decision generated.


"The [Couric] discussion continued with a panel featuring comedian W. Kamau Bell, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and journalist Dion Rabouin, a talk that featured several clashes between Kelly and Bell, who admitted he did not feel safe with Kelly in the room," Arturo R. García wrote Friday for Racialicious.

" 'I've been taught to treat cops like pitbulls,' Bell says at one point.

" 'Who taught you that?' Kelly responds.

" 'The Black community,' Bell shoots back. 'Would you like their names and numbers?' . . ."


Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Lennon is dead, and so is Rumain.

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: The Perfect-Victim Pitfall: Michael Brown, and Now Eric Garner

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: No indictment means no justice for Eric Garner


Juan Cartagena, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Garner's Legacy Can Only Be Grand Jury and Prosecutorial Reform

James Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: No indictment in chokehold death

Noam Cohen, New York Times: Grand Jury Decision Leads to Twitter Confessions of 'Criming While White'


Jeffrey Collins and Bruce Smith, Associated Press: 3 indictments against SC officers in past 4 months

Katie Couric, Yahoo: Teen's death brings up painful past in South

George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association:  A Perverted View of Black-on-Black Crime


Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: Website imagines Ferguson and Staten Island as foreign places

Editorial, Daily News, New York: The Eric Garner 'chokehold' grand jury decision has the earmarks of a gross miscarriage of justice

Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Racism, Eric Garner, and that videotape


Rick Horowitz, Huffington Post: Living While Black?

Ricardo A. Hazell, the Shadow League: Ferguson, True Freedom and the Future of Blacks in America

Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: We're in danger of becoming separate societies


Andrew Kirell, Mediaite: 9 Cable News Pundits Who Blame Eric Garner for His Death

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: New York case reinforces black distrust of police

Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: Tamir Rice's death is far more than a story about a boy with a pellet gun


Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Whom Can You Call When the Cops are the Murderers?

Benjamin Mullin, Poynter Institute:  4 cartoonists on how their Eric Garner images came together

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: The aftermath of Ferguson: Flammable news coverage made the situation worse


Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: An 'Entertaining' Lesson on How Cops Can 'Win the Media' After They Kill

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Grand jury system tainted by police bias

Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press Choke-hold death could awaken sleeping civil rights movement


Dwanna L. Robertson, Indian Country Today Media Network: No Surprise, But We All Should Matter

Rick Sanchez, Fox News Latino: Eric Garner case is not a black and white issue, it's about wrong and right

Anna Schiffbauer, Student Press Law Center: CUNY journalism student arrested while covering protest over Eric Garner's choking death


Dylan Stableford, Yahoo: Outrage, disbelief, and blame: How newspapers covered the Garner decision

Brent Staples, New York Times: Hope and Anger at the Garner Protests Interview with Vietnamese-American who shot cop-Ferguson protester hug photo


César Vargas, Fox News Latino: We Killed Eric Garner

Georgia Wells, Wall Street Journal: Ferguson to New York, Social Media Is the Organizer's Biggest Megaphone

Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Stephen Colbert slights Fox News over Eric Garner case


Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Cable news outlets come out of the gate united on Eric Garner case

Randall Yip, AsAmNews: Asian Americans React to Eric Garner Decision

U.S. Photojournalist Killed in Yemen by Al Qaeda Affiliate

"Two hostages, including an American journalist, who were being held by Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen were killed during a rescue attempt by United States commandos early Saturday, American officials said," Kareen Fahim and Eric Schmitt reported for the New York Times.


"In a statement, President Obama said the hostages had been 'murdered' by militants belonging to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula during the rescue operation. A senior United States official said that the American, Luke Somers, 33, was badly wounded when commandos reached him. By the time Mr. Somers was flown to a United States naval ship in the region, he had died from his injuries, the official said Saturday.

"The other hostage was identified as Pierre Korkie, a South African citizen, according to a brief statement posted on the website of Gift of the Givers, a disaster relief organization that was trying to negotiate his release.

The story also said, "It was the second failed attempt to rescue Mr. Somers, a freelance photographer who was abducted from a street in the Yemeni capital in September 2013. Last month, United States commandos and Yemeni counterterrorism troops mounted a raid on a remote cave in Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia, freeing eight other hostages but failing to locate Mr. Somers. . . ." [Updated Dec. 6]


Tik Root, PBS: My colleague Luke Somers and the photos he took before his capture and death at the hands of Al-Qaida

FCC Approves 10 Minority-, Female-Owned Stations

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved transactions that will result in 10 new minority- and female-owned television stations, including properties that will be owned and operated by African American entrepreneurs Pluria Marshall Jr. and Armstrong Williams, the political commentator.


Ravi Kapur, vice president of broadcast for the San Francisco chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, is part-owner of a station in Valley City, N.D. In Grand Junction, Colo., husband and wife Jeff Chang and Gabriela Gomez-Chang will acquire KJCT-TV.

A statement on the FCC website from Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn identified the transactions:

"Marshall Broadcasting Group, Inc., owned by Pluria Marshall, Jr., will obtain each of these stations from Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. Mr. Marshall, an African-American media executive with extensive experience running television and radio stations, began his career at WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, later becoming Vice President and General Manager at WLBM-TV in Meridian, Mississippi.


"During his five-year tenure at WLBM-TV, Mr. Marshall tried to become a broadcast station owner four separate times, with each transaction falling through due to his inability to obtain financing. Nexstar will provide financial assistance for no more than five years after closing, with no express or implicit financial support after that date. Use of [joint sales agreements] is limited to 15 percent of sales, the attribution floor established in the Commission’s JSA order.

"Marshall will acquire its own programming independently of Nexstar, other than the 15 percent of programming for which Nexstar will be allowed to handle advertising sales. This incubation arrangement addresses the difficulty that Mr. Marshall previously encountered in obtaining financing for a station purchase and supports the entry of a new independent voice in these local markets.

"WEVV-TV, Evansville, Indiana.

"DuJuan McCoy, CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting Evansville, Inc. will become part-owner of WEVV-TV and will run the day-to-day operations; a private investment group will provide the money for the sale. His experience includes over a decade of growing small, medium, and large stations. Mr. McCoy, an African-American, indicated that he has the responsibility to 'lay down groundwork for future minorities so that there's some type of track record of success with minorities running television stations.'


"WMMP(TV), Charleston, South Carolina, WCFT(TV), Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and WJSU-TV, Anniston, Alabama.

"The Bureau is also approving the sale of stations from Sinclair Broadcasting to Howard Stirk Holdings, LCC, which is owned and controlled by Armstrong Williams. Sinclair will sell these stations rather than turn them in for cancellation as it had previously announced. Mr. Williams, a well-recognized African-American political commentator with years of experience in the broadcast industry, has said that he will obtain programming by, among other things, producing original local public affairs programs aired during prime time.

"KJCT(TV), Grand Junction, CO, KXJB(TV), Valley City, ND, KAQY(TV), Columbia, LA, and KNHL(TV), Hastings, NE.


"Gray Television, Inc., retained MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers, the brokerage arm of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, to identify and facilitate the transfer of these full-power television stations following the termination of their services agreements with Gray. The sales will provide Ravi Kapur and Sherry Nelson the first opportunity to purchase a full-power television station. Jeff Chang will purchase his second full- power television station. . . ."

Cheryl A. Leanza, FCC’s Media Bureau approves transactions that will result in 10 new minority- and women-owned stations

Mass Resignations at New Republic Magazine

"The majority of The New Republic's masthead resigned en masse on Friday following the owner's decision to force out the editorial leadership, move the magazine to New York, and rebrand the venerable, century-old publication as a 'digital media company,' " Dylan Byers reported for Politico.


The New Republic is one of the small Washington-based political magazines known for their lack of diversity, although John McWhorter, an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University who is African American, is a contributing editor. McWhorter was listed among those who resigned.

The headline on was: "White Men Upset Wrong White Man Placed in Charge of White-Man Magazine."

"Nine of the magazine's twelve senior editors submitted letters of resignation to owner Chris Hughes and chief executive Guy Vidra," Byers continued, "as did two executive editors, the digital media editor, the legislative affairs editor, and two arts editors. At least twenty of the magazine's contributing editors also requested that their names be removed from the magazine's masthead.


"The mass departure came one day after a shakeup that saw the resignation of top editor Franklin Foer and veteran literary editor Leon Wieseltier, both of whom resigned due to differences of vision with Hughes, a 31-year-old Facebook co-founder who bought the magazine in 2012. Foer announced his resignation on Thursday after discovering that Hughes had already hired his replacement, Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who formerly ran The Atlantic Wire blog. . . ."

Collaboration on Cuban Child Sex Tourism Hailed as Model

"What common interest in an investigative project could Miami's El Nuevo Herald and the Toronto Star, separated by thousands of miles and a national border, possibly have?" Rick Edmonds and Amy Mitchell asked Thursday for the Pew Research Center in a report on newspaper partnerships. "The particulars of the story they did together provide the answer — and may also serve as a model of sorts for ad hoc collaborations.


"The Star, working outward from a single court case in late 2012, had a lead that numbers of convicted Canadian sex offenders were making regular sex tourism trips to Cuba for encounters with child prostitutes. The route was well-known in the pedophile community but otherwise secret.

"Records research took the investigation part of the way there, establishing that Canadian border security officials had no access to a registry of sex offenders, thus allowing the sex tourists to come and go repeatedly without challenge.

"Filling in on-the-scene details would be much harder for Star reporters, who were not fluent in Spanish and had no experience making their way around the unfamiliar streets of Havana. Extensive Cuban government restrictions on reporting posed a further challenge.


"Enter the Miami-based El Nuevo Herald with decades of experience mining news from Cuba and a senior reporter who could find his way to the most sensitive of information.

"At the Star's initiative, a partnership formed. The resulting story was both shocking and actionable. The Star and El Nuevo Herald reporters observed a troubling scene in a run-down area of Havana where men in Maple Leafs and Blue Jays gear were roaming and looking for action in bars and brothels.

"The project, published in March 2013, led to reforms in both Canada and Cuba. . . ."


Rick Edmonds and Amy Mitchell, Pew Research Center: Journalism Partnerships

Marion Barry Services to Be Telecast Live on Saturday

"Marion Barry carved one last larger-than-life path through the District on Friday as his casket proceeded through the city on a three-hour journey to a memorial service in the heart of Southeast Washington," Aaron C. Davis and Mike DeBonis reported Friday for the Washington Post.


"Schoolchildren lined sidewalks, toddlers saluted, a surprise marching band fell in stride, and Clydesdales and a brass band kept cadence for the final steps to the Temple of Praise church, where thousands would gather in the evening to pay tribute with speeches, Scripture and song. . . ."

C-SPAN plans live coverage of the four-term mayor's four-hour memorial service Saturday from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center starting at 11 a.m. Eastern time. For those who miss the event, "the video will live forever" at <>, C-SPAN spokesman Howard Mortman told Journal-isms.

Barry died Nov. 23 at 78.

The many published evaluations of Barry since his death include an issue of American CurrentSee, an online publication of black conservatives Armstrong Williams, executive editor, and Ben Carson, founding publisher.


The issue is described this way:

"Armstrong Williams sketches a portrait of a politically nimble populist whose many personal failings only made him more relatable to the weak and marginalized who saw him as their friend and ally in the corridors of power.

"Juan Williams remembers a vindictive machine politician who used racial demagoguery to cement his political base while failing the poor black voters he claimed to champion as 'crime, unemployment and infant mortality increased, while the stock of low-income and public housing decreased' on his watch.


"Among other perspectives on the many-faceted 'mayor-for-life:' Barry's former chief of staff Brenda Williams on a people's champion, Deborah Simmons on the maverick who supported public school vouchers, and Theresa Caldwell on the dazzling, dashiki-clad community organizer who took D.C. by storm in the 1970s with his intellect and personal charisma."

Jonetta Rose Barras, Washington Post: The death of Marion Barry (Nov. 23)

Milton Coleman, Washington Post: The tale of Marion Barry, king of D.C.

Editorial, Washington Afro-American: The Enormous Blessing of Marion Barry's Incessant Civil Rights Spirit


Editorial, Washington Informer: Marion Barry, RIP

Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: Marion Barry's eulogy to pay homage to a different side

John McWhorter, New Republic: Marion Barry Could Have Been a Great Mayor in Any Other American City (Nov. 23)


Joe Strupp, Media Matters for America: The Media Outlets That Haven't Fired Ben Carson

Adrienne Washington, Washington Afro-American: Marion Barry: A Man for All People

Washington Post: Updates: D.C. mourns its 'mayor for life'

Washington NFL Team to Honor Sports Writer Burwell

"Washington Redskins VP Tony Wyllie texted late last night to inform me of the team's plans to honor late Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bryan Burwell at Sunday's Rams-Redskins game at FedEx Field," Bernie Miklasz wrote Friday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


"Washington will leave a seat in the press box empty and mark the spot with Burwell's name.

"And there are plans to have a moment of silence for Burwell, who died of cancer Thursday morning at age 59.

"Leaving a seat open for a fallen sportswriter may not seem like a big deal, but in our business it's considered a special honor — and greatly appreciated by the scribes and broadcasters. . . ."


Wayne Coffey, Daily News, New York: Bryan Burwell, former Daily News sportswriter, dead at 59 News Services: Columnist Bryan Burwell dies

Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Bryan Burwell will always live in our hearts


Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Burwell's death sends ripples across sports world

Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today: Bryan Burwell's voice in sports world will be missed

Lee May Dies at 73, a Writer Who Loved the Soil

"The character Lee May exemplified could be summed up as gentle and immediately approachable, but there was much more than that: May was a soulful man of the soil," Elizabeth Montgomery reported Friday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


" 'He knew the soul of gardening,' said his friend and colleague Walter Reeves. 'There was hardly any distinction between his body and the earth; he just appreciated everything about a plant.'

"May was a journalist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Times for more than 25 years. He was one of the AJC’s first African-American editorial writers, said his wife, Lyn May.

"May was a news writer and editor at the AJC in the 1970s and left for the Los Angeles Times in the 1980s. During his tenure with the Times he wrote on a variety of issues including immigration and economics. He covered the White House during the Reagan administration. May moved from Washington to become the Times' Atlanta bureau chief in 1989.


"Friend Kurt Jocoy remembers how May humorously broke the ice when he interviewed Fidel Castro. 'Lee looked at him and informed him that he was from Cuba; he said, "that's Cuba, Alabama",' said Jocoy. 'He was just a very gentle soul.'

"In 1992 May returned to the AJC as a food and gardening columnist before moving to Connecticut in 2001. . . ."

Maria Saporta, SaportaReport: Lee May, 73, taught us lessons of life — whether it be from news or the garden


A. Scott Walton, Atlanta Examiner: Atlanta Lifestyle Guru Lee May Passes Away

Black Company Sues AT&T Over Access to DirecTV

"A black-owned media company sued AT&T for $10 billion this week, claiming AT&T shut it out from co-defendant DirecTV, for racial reasons, after buying the satellite company for $67 billion," Matt Reynolds reported Thursday for Courthouse News Service.


"The National Association of African-American Owned Media claims in its Dec. 2 federal complaint that it represents 'at least one' African American-owned media company.

"It does not identify that company, but says it owns seven channels that produce original content, 32 television series, and a library of thousands of hours of programming.

"The association claims that AT&T and DirecTV refuse to carry the majority of its programming, except for one channel, for which they pay no carriage fees. . . ."


The story also said, "The National Association of African-American Owned Media is represented by Louis Miller with Miller Barondess.

"AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment after business hours Wednesday."

Short Takes

William G. Mays, "known for his business savvy and prolific involvement in the Indianapolis community, died Thursday, according to officials at The Indianapolis Recorder," Michael Anthony Adams reported Friday for the Indianapolis Star. Adams also wrote, "As the former owner and publisher of The Recorder, Mays was also the owner and founder of Mays Chemical Co., with some saying he was 'Indiana's most successful black businessman.' . . . " The Recorder said, "Mays' entrepreneurial ventures have included radio and television stations," and the Recorder's Jessica R. Key compiled  tributes from community members. Mays was 69.


"Mohamed Fahmy is an angry man," Robert Fisk wrote Thursday for the London Independent. "And so he should be. He says that he and his two colleagues from the Qatari-based al-Jazeera channel — Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed — were imprisoned by the Egyptians to 'teach Qatar a lesson' because the emirate supported the banned Muslim Brotherhood. And, in messages passed to The Independent by his family, Mohamed Fahmy lists his grievances against his employers — al-Jazeera, through its own negligence, unwittingly endangered him and his colleagues in the days before and after their arrest. . . ."

"People of all ages and demographics are watching a lot more online and mobile video," Diego Vasquez wrote Friday for "But there is one group adopting this new technology at a much faster rate. Hispanics are driving the huge increases in digital video consumption, according to data released recently by Verizon, and they are much more likely than other demographic groups to be watching online, on tablets or smartphones. The average Hispanic watches eight hours of online video each month, 90 minutes more than the average viewer, the study finds. . . ."

"Michael Jack has announced his retirement as GM of New York NBC owned station WNBC," Kevin Eck reported Wednesday for TVSpy. "Jack was GM at WRC in Washington, D.C. before coming to WNBC in 2010. He told staffers at a Town Hall meeting he would retire in June 2015. . . ."


Vince Coakley, who held the afternoon drive-time shift at WBT-AM in Charlotte, N.C., and ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina's 12th District this fall, has landed a daily show at Greenville, S.C., talk-news station WYRD-FM, Mark Washburn reported Thursday for the Charlotte Observer.

Rob King, the ESPN senior vice president who oversees "SportsCenter" at ESPN and is in charge of the company's news report, is becoming chairman of the Poynter Institute's National Advisory Board, Benjamin Mullin reported Friday for Poynter.

"PhillyVoice, the news startup that has lately been scooping up digital talent from the Philadelphia area, announced Thursday Frank Burgos will be its managing editor," Benjamin Mullin reported Friday for the Poynter Institute. "Burgos, who was previously editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, will oversee the news report at PhillyVoice, 'including breaking news, investigative projects, the news desk, home page, business and health,' according to a release announcing his hire. . . ."


"Stanley Hubbard, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, parent company of the station at the center of the #pointergate controversy, went on the defensive against detractors of the KSTP story that claimed the mayor and a get-out-the-vote volunteer were throwing gang signs in a picture," Kevin Eck reported Thursday for TVSpy. "Hubbard responded to the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists after it called on the Minneapolis ABC affiliate to 'disavow' the story, which came to be known as #pointergate. In his letter, Hubbard stands by his station's report and blames social media for fomenting controversy, at one point saying the internet lacks credibility. . . ."

"Stating the company's financial situation is 'difficult' and 'needs to continue restructuring to reduce expenses and create sustainable businesses,' impreMedia sent a memo to El Diario employees saying it had to eliminate 7 Guild-represented positions at the paper," Veronica Villafañe reported Friday for her Media Moves site. "In the memo dated December 2, the company offers a 'voluntary resignation' package to Guild employees who willingly come forward to take the buyout before resorting to forced layoffs. . . ."

"In a special edition of the award-winning newsmagazine 'Aquí y Ahora' (Here and Now), titled 'Nuevos Narcotesoros' (New Narcotreasures), Univision News explores the criminal activities undertaken by Mexican and Colombian drug cartels to diversify their sources of income, which include the smuggling of undocumented immigrants, forced prostitution, kidnapping, extortion, fuel theft, and unlawful mining of minerals such as gold and iron ore, by far the most profitable of all these new businesses," the network announced on Thursday. The program airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT (6 p.m. Central).


By deciding yesterday to defy the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and enforce an order banning Globo TV journalist Julio Ernesto Alvarado from working as a journalist, "a judge has dealt a slap in the face to freedom of information in Honduras," Reporters Without Borders said on Friday. "The decision came at the very moment that the Commission and the special rapporteur on freedom of expression are visiting Honduras. . . ."