If Media Were More Diverse, They Would Call Out Trump’s Racism and Xenophobia More Readily

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a town hall meeting March 14, 2016, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla.
 Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Media Debate Blame for Trump's Rise

They used different words, but when asked about coverage of the increasingly volatile presidential campaign, the presidents of the national associations of black and Hispanic journalists agreed: Not enough journalists of color have been in decision-making positions.

"With 30 percent of the population being African American or Hispanic and our current president being black, the news media is out of touch with regard to newsroom diversity and coverage on the issues of politics and race," Sarah Glover of the National Association of Black Journalists told Journal-isms Monday by email.


"And when outlets do bring in their Latino or black journalists and box them into asking the Black Lives Matter or immigration questions, it tells me we have a long way to go," Mekahlo Medina, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, messaged Journal-isms separately.

Medina and Glover were responding as journalists debated whether the news media have been tough enough on GOP front-runner Donald Trump and share responsibility for the violent turn at some of his rallies — violence that Trump seems to encourage.


George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's "This Week," asked Univision anchor Jorge Ramos on Sunday, "You've seen this kind of rhetoric from Donald Trump since the beginning of this campaign, his announcement well back in June.

"Where does it go next? Can it be contained now that this violence has kind of been unleashed?"


Ramos responded, "You know, what I've been asking is where were all the candidates nine months ago…when he announced June 16th and where were they?

"Where was the press asking the tough questions?


"RAMOS: I mean he was as hateful and divisive, um, when he said that Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals and drug traffickers.


"And where was the press?

"And where were the candidates?

"Where were the political parties?

"Where — where was the government?

"Where was the government of Mexico?

"And, um, so who is surprised now?

"I am not. . . ."

Matthew Dowd, a white panelist on the program, contended that tough questions wouldn't make much difference. "Voters have the information about Donald Trump. . . .


"They've had it for a year," Dowd said. "It's not as if the media should have done more or asked more questions. They know that — what Donald Trump said about Mexican-Americans and they know [what] he said about immigrants. They know what he said about Muslims. They know all the language he uses. . . .There are a huge segment of voters in this country that feels frustrated…"

Still, it's worth wondering how the conversation would be different if more journalists of color had key roles in the campaign coverage.


Medina, a reporter at KNBC-TV in Southern California, said he would have made different coverage decisions. "News organizations need to focus on reporting news from these political rallies and stop broadcasting them live," he said. "News outlets become de facto communications arms of campaigns. News rallies should be covered but by journalists who apply reporting, not just a live camera without any context, questioning or accuracy."

Roland Martin, host of TV One's "NewsOne Now" and a black journalist, co-moderated a "Democratic Presidential Town Hall" at Ohio State University Sunday night with CNN's Jake Tapper, who is white.


"Senator Sanders, you have talked a lot about income inequality during this campaign," Martin asked Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. "Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., who is here, has been fighting Silicon Valley, opening up the doors and opportunities for African Americans and other people of color.

"Yet four years ago, PowerPAC+ did a study showing that the Democratic Party spent $514 million on various consultants, yet minorities only got 1.7 percent or $8.4 million of that.


"How can the people trust Democrats to do something about income inequality when, when it comes to political dollars, they practice income inequality?"

Sanders replied that Martin had a point, and added, "I think we should be very aggressive in targeting federal contracts to the African-American community, the Latino community, those communities that can help us the most deal with high rates of unemployment. . . ."


Martin asked Hillary Clinton, "Both you and Senator Sanders have significant union support, yet many of the trade unions that — we [talk] about built the country, they've locked out black folks and other minorities for decades. Would you, even right now, and even as president, call a meeting with the trade unions and say it's time for you to open up those doors and bring in more African Americans and Hispanics, and others . . . because those are high-paying jobs.

"And, if we keep saying rebuild America with a huge infrastructure and billions of dollars, they're the ones who are going to do it. And, black folks and others are going to be left on the outside looking in."


When Clinton asserted her "special commitment that we would open up apprenticeships for the full diversity of our country," Martin replied, "I don't mean any disrespect, but apprenticeships . . . . I'm talking about the people who are already trained, who are grown, who've been in it. They've been shut out. Often times they bring up apprentice jobs, that's the early folks. I'm talking about the skilled folks right now."

Clinton revised her answer to say "We should do the whole gamut, you know? . . . "


Many people have discussed Trump's appeal to members of the white working class who felt that the economy has left them behind. But few have framed it as black journalist Jamelle Bouie did in a piece for Slate Sunday. Bouie considered several reasons for Trump's rise, then wrote, "Race plays a part in each of these analyses, but its role has not yet been central enough to our understanding of Trump’s rise.

"Not only does he lead a movement of almost exclusively disaffected whites, but he wins his strongest support in states and counties with the greatest amounts of racial polarization. Among white voters, higher levels of racial resentment have been shown to be associated with greater support for Trump.


  "All of which is to say that we’ve been missing the most important catalyst in Trump’s rise. What caused this fire to burn out of control? The answer, I think, is Barack Obama."

Bouie also wrote, "For millions of white Americans who weren’t attuned to growing diversity and cosmopolitanism, however, Obama was a shock, a figure who appeared out of nowhere to dominate the country’s political life. And with talk of an 'emerging Democratic majority,' he presaged a time when their votes — which had elected George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan — would no longer matter.


"More than simply 'change,' Obama’s election felt like an inversion. When coupled with the broad decline in incomes and living standards caused by the Great Recession, it seemed to signal the end of a hierarchy that had always placed white Americans at the top, delivering status even when it couldn’t give material benefits."

Bouie added, “The Obama era didn’t herald a post-racial America as much as it did a racialized one, where millions of whites were hyperaware of and newly anxious about their racial status. . . .”


Not your garden-variety analysis.

As alarm over the prospect of a Trump nomination rose in the last week, some commentators faulted the standard of "objectivity" embraced in the mainstream media as a culprit.


"If a reporter for a major news organization described this matter accurately — that Trump is an unusually enthusiastic liar whose falsehoods come in such quantity that they're difficult to keep up with — she'd be accused of abandoning her objectivity," Paul Waldman wrote Thursday for theweek.com.

Neal Gabler dated the blame back decades. He wrote Friday on billmoyers.com, "Something happened in American politics over the last 25 or 30 years to release our demons and remove our shame. The media didn’t want to look. Now Trump has come along to reap what the conservatives had sown, and stir up those demons, and the media are suddenly in high dudgeon. Where were they when America needed them?"


Activist journalist Glenn Greenwald, best known for his Guardian articles based on National Security Agency leaks from Edward Snowden, wrote Monday of Trump, "Many people are alarmed, but it is difficult to know that by observing media coverage, where little journalistic alarm over Trump is expressed.

"That’s because the rules of large media outlets — venerating faux objectivity over truth along with every other civic value — prohibit the sounding of any alarms. Under this framework of corporate journalism, to denounce Trump, or even to sound alarms about the dark forces he’s exploiting and unleashing, would not constitute journalism. To the contrary, such behavior is regarded as a violation of journalism. Such denunciations are scorned as opinion, activism, and bias: all the values that large media-owning corporations have posited as the antithesis of journalism in order to defang and neuter it as an adversarial force.


"Just this morning, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik published a story describing the concern and even anger of some NPR executives and journalists over a column by longtime NPR commentator Cokie Roberts — the Beacon of Washington Centrism — that criticizes Trump. 'NPR has a policy forbidding its journalists from taking public stances on political affairs,' he wrote. For any NPR reporter, Roberts’s statements — warning of the dangers of a Trump presidency — would be a clear violation of that policy. . . ."

Such commentaries seem to ignore moments like those after the Feb. 25 Republican presidential debate, when Chuck Todd of NBC told viewers, "Every time we think public discourse has hit a new low, it hits a new low," and Bob Schieffer said on the "CBS Evening News, " "Unpresidential doesn't begin to describe it."


Or last week at the Univision/CNN Democratic debate in Miami when moderator Karen Tumulty asked Clinton and Sanders directly whether they considered Trump a racist.

On “The O’Reilly Factor” on March 2, host Bill O’Reilly welcomed former “Nightline” host Ted Koppel onto the show — "but as it turned out, Koppel wasn't interested in playing the role of a polite guest, especially not on the subject of Donald Trump," Scott Eric Kaufman reported the next day for Salon.


“ 'I’ve interviewed him a number of times,' O’Reilly said, and it’s 'not an easy interview. How would you do it?'

" 'You and I have talked about this general subject many times over the years,' Koppel said. 'It’s irrelevant how I would do it.'


“ 'You know who made it irrelevant?' he asked. 'You did. You have changed the television landscape over the past 20 years. You took it from being objective and dull to subjective and entertaining. And in this current climate, it doesn’t matter what the interviewer asks him — Mr. Trump is gonna say whatever he wants to say, as outrageous as it may be.' . . ."

Fallout Over NASCAR Leader's Trump Endorsement

"When Brian France endorsed Donald Trump for president, the chairman and chief executive of NASCAR thought of it as nothing more than a 'routine endorsement,' " Jenna Fryer reported Wednesday for the Associated Press.


"He's been dealing with the fallout ever since.

"France's decision to personally back the front-runner for the Republican nomination has roiled a sport his family built from the ground up. It's threatened a decade of work to broaden NASCAR's appeal among minorities, upset one of the most powerful teams in the sport and risked a break with the corporate sponsors that are its financial lifeblood.


Last month, NASCAR gave the National Association of Black Journalists its 2016 NASCAR Diversity Institution Award at the Daytona International Speedway in the run-up to the Daytona 500. NABJ President Sarah Glover and Sports Task Force member Ricky Clemons accepted.

Glover messaged Journal-isms Monday, "NABJ received an award from NASCAR Diversity, which says its mission is to engage women and people of diverse, ethnic and racial backgrounds in all facets of the NASCAR industry. Brian France's endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump does not impact the work NASCAR Diversity has done to provide scholarships and professional development for students. Mr. France's endorsement is a personal decision."


Fryer's report continued, " 'I was frankly, very surprised, that my diversity efforts for my whole career would have been called into question, over this, in my view, a routine endorsement,' France said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

"France acknowledged he's had to have conversations with sponsors since making the endorsement, which came as NASCAR is seeking a new main sponsor for its top series.


" 'I made a few phone calls and clarified some things,' he said. 'That kind of goes with the territory.'

"France's appearance at a Trump rally the day before last week's Super Tuesday elections fits with the sport's history of occasionally blending politics with the action at the track. France told the AP on Wednesday he backed Barack Obama in 2008 and actively participated in the campaign. . . ."


Fryer also wrote, "France is also trying to protect his record on diversity. He said NASCAR has spent 'tens of millions of dollars' on a program aimed at boosting the participation of minorities in the sport, among them Mexican driver Daniel Suarez, who has risen to the second-tier Xfinity Series. Some of Suarez's current corporate backing comes from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Domit, whose family's company cut ties with Trump after the real estate mogul announced his signature plan to build a wall along the U.S. southern border. . . . "France's efforts to quell criticism over what he insists was a 'personal and private' decision have also been complicated by Trump's continued mentioning of how he's received 'NASCAR's endorsement.' " 

Trump's Killer Immigrant Ad a 'Red Herring'

"Jamiel Shaw Jr. was considered a top high school football recruit in the Los Angeles area in the spring of 2008," columnist Phillip Morris wrote Saturday for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.


"A lightning-fast tailback and punt returner, he was reportedly on the radar of a number of schools including Stanford and Rutgers University. 'Jas,' as he was known, dreamed of eventually making it to the NFL and then becoming a sports agent.

"His potential sizzled with promise until a fateful March evening when he randomly encountered Pedro Espinoza, 19, an illegal Mexican immigrant with a violent criminal history.


"Espinoza, a passenger in a car, mistook Shaw, who was on foot, for a rival gang member because of a red Spider-Man backpack he wore. In some Los Angeles neighborhoods, wearing the wrong colors can prove fatal for African-American males.

"Espinoza jumped from the car and shot Shaw in the stomach, before firing another round point-blank into the boy's head. Shaw, 17, died less than a block from his parents' home.


"At his trial, prosecutors argued that Espinoza, who had just been released from jail for assaulting a police officer, was trying to burnish a reputation as a gang enforcer and a killer. He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.

"Shaw has been dead for 8 years now, but suddenly his story has been resurrected with strident political overtones. GOP front-runner Donald Trump is using the tragic narrative of an African-American male being shot dead by an illegal immigrant in a powerful political commercial now airing in Ohio.


" 'Jas' dad is supporting Donald Trump because he knows he will end illegal immigration,' an announcer intones just before the father appears on screen. . . ."

Morris also wrote, "In a season full of noxious campaign bleating, Trump directly connects a core issue — border control — to another emotionally charged issue, violent street crime.


"But here's the problem.

"Hispanics don't kill African-Americans and African-Americans don't kill Hispanics with any statistical significance. The same goes for white Americans and Hispanics.


"While the national murder rate involving Hispanics and white Americans is slightly higher than that involving blacks and Hispanics, murder remains almost exclusively intra-racial.

"According to the FBI, 2,491 African-Americans were murdered in the United States in 2013. The race of the offender indicted or convicted in 2,245 of those murders was African-American. Hispanics were indicted or convicted in 76 of the murders of African-Americans that year.


"So why do these numbers matter as Trump rolls out the memory of Jamiel Shaw Jr., in hopes of enlisting voter support for his immigration policies?

"It's simple. We can't afford to be distracted by red herrings. . . ."

2 at Breitbart Resign After Trump Firestorm

"Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro have both resigned from the company, the two announced on Sunday evening," Hadas Gold reported Monday for Politico. "And more are expected in the coming days.


" 'Nobody wants to stand with [Breitbart Chairman Stephen] Bannon,' said one source at the company on Sunday evening. 'Besides the senior management and his loyal reporters that provide pro-Trump stenography.'

"In her statement, Fields cited the company's lack of support over the past week after she became the center of a media and political firestorm following an incident on Tuesday when Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski forcibly grabbed Fields' arm to move her away from the candidate as she tried to ask a question. Fields, who has shown pictures of her bruises from the incident, has filed a police report in Jupiter, Florida where the altercation took place. . . ."


Ed Bark, unclebarky.com: CNN continues to be the news leader in giving Donald Trump free passes

Zeba Blay, HuffPost BlackVoices: 8 Reasons Donald Trump Would Not Be Great For 'The Blacks'


Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Carson Endorses the Demagogue

Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America: Phoning It In And The Media's Trump Surrender


Sharahn D. Boykin, Dayton Daily News: Trump protester says he meant no harm

Mike Cavender, Radio Television Digital News Association: Visions of Chicago 1968 all over again


Jelani Cobb, New Yorker: Donald Trump, Chicago, and the Lessons of 1968

Russell Contreras, Unity: Journalist for Diversity: UNITY denounces arrest of CBS reporter Sopan Deb at canceled Trump rally


Jose A. DelReal and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post: Trump: There has been ‘no violence’ at campaign rallies

Editorial, Dallas Morning News: Trump’s strategy is to stoke conflict from anger to chaos


Editorial, Kansas City Star: Hillary Clinton, John Kasich are The Star’s top choices in Missouri’s presidential primary

Editorial, Kansas City Star: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both gloss over gun maker liability


Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News Latino: Puerto Ricans Flex Their Political Muscle in Florida

Tim Hains, RealClear Politics: Trump: Total Double Standard By Media Regarding Protesters; Press is Extremely Dishonest


Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: Unwieldy ballots producing fluky — make that scary — election outcomes

Shaun King, Daily News, New York: Another black man tossed from Donald Trump rally in N.C. was targeted because of his skin color — and hateful supporters cheered


Steve Kraske, Kansas City Star: Protests like the one in Kansas City will dog Donald Trump for months

Alex Leary, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: Rise and stall: The political trajectory of Marco Rubio


Carrie Levine, Center for Public Integrity: Ben Carson's small-dollar donors could keep yielding big money (March 3)

Jonathan Marcantoni, Latino Rebels: Of Trump, Chicago and What People Are Getting Wrong


Bethania Palma Markus, Raw Story: Second white-on-black assault caught on video from horrifying Trump rally in North Carolina

Bethania Palma Markus, Raw Story: CBS reporter arrested at cancelled Chicago rally described racism he faced from Trump supporters


Michael Mayo, South Florida SunSentinel: My choice at Trump rally — Leave or Go to Jail

Media Matters for America: Tell The Media: End Donald Trump's Extraordinary Phone Privilege — Media Matters Take Action


Keith O’Brien, Politico Magazine: Inside the Protest That Stopped the Trump Rally

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: An issue that links Sanders and Trump: Trade

Ashley Parker, New York Times: Covering Donald Trump, and Witnessing the Danger Up Close


Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: What to do after Donald Trump

Myron B. Pitts, Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer: Trump rallies put some supporters in mood for violence


Emily Shapiro, ABC News: Donald Trump Ties Man Arrested at Rally to ISIS With Apparently Doctored Video

Joel Simon, Columbia Journalism Review: Why journalists should be afraid of Trump’s media strategy


Jamil Smith, mtv.com: The Night Chicago Rebuked Donald Trump

Brennan Suen, Media Matters for America: Sunday Political Talk Shows Condemn Trump For Inciting Violence At His Rallies


Paul Waldman, theweek.com: Why Donald Trump's brazen lies overwhelm the press

Matt Wuerker, Politico Magazine: Cartoonists Overseas Take on Donald Trump

Short Takes

"Criminal justice issues are increasingly making headlines, but how well is the press covering the complex and sensitive challenges facing the nation?" the Crime Report reported Friday. "Four leading press commentators assessed last year’s coverage of topics ranging from rising urban crime rates to officer use-of-force and mass shootings in a conference call moderated by Ted Gest, president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington Bureau Chief of The Crime Report. Their verdict: encouraging, but mixed. . . ."


Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information, began Sunday. Sponsoring journalism organizations developed a special reporting package of stories, columns, photos and graphics that is available free of charge for any participant to publish online and/or in print. The American Society of News Editors said Tuesday that stories from the package appeared on at least 62 front pages. [Added March 15]

"Probation is supposed to substitute for jail or prison, requiring offenders to report regularly and maintain good behavior," Adam Geller and Sharon Cohen reported Saturday for the Associated Press from Murfreesboro, Tenn. "But in this fast-growing county outside Nashville and more than a dozen states, probation for misdemeanors is a profit-making — and increasingly contentious — venture. . . ." [caption id


"Multimedia Chicago journalist Kathy Chaney, most recently a producer/reporter at Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, has been named managing editor of Ebony magazine," Robert Feder reported on his website Monday.

"Ebony’s 'The Body' cover has received applause from mainstream publications for going there — featuring plus size women on the cover — but will they follow suit?"allgititocracy.org wrote Monday in accompanying a piece by Sherri Williams.


"Time Inc.’s Essence magazine has tapped Julee Wilson as digital fashion and beauty director," Alexandra Steigrad reported Friday for Women's Wear Daily. "In the newly-created role, Wilson will help define the voice and tone for the Web site’s fashion and beauty coverage. She will also assign, edit and develop stories across platforms, including social media. Wilson comes to Essence from The Huffington Post where she held various jobs, including most recently as senior fashion editor.. . ."

Rochelle Riley, columnist with the Detroit Free Press, and Julian H. Gonzalez, a photographer there for 25 years, are to be inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame during ceremonies at Michigan State University, the Free Press reported Saturday.


A riveting discussion in which Michael Eric Dyson discusses his new book “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” with April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, has been posted online (video). It aired on C-SPAN over the weekend. In addition, Washington's Politics and Prose bookstore has posted on YouTube a conversation on race organized by Ryan with Eddie S. Glaude Jr., professor of religion and chair of Princeton’s Center for African-American Studies, author Wes Moore and L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia’s first elected African American governor (video).

"Two years ago today, a Swedish radio journalist was murdered in Afghanistan," Roy Greenslade wrote Friday for Britain's Guardian. "Earlier this week, another Swedish radio reporter was injured during an attack on a group of journalists in Russia. The latest attack, and the memory of the killing two years ago, has moved Cilla Benkö, director-general of Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio), to call for the issue of the safety of journalists to be taken more seriously. I agree with her, and I am publishing her passionate plea here in the hope of reaching as many people as possible. . . ."


The cover of Time magazine's March 21 international edition, "The Secret War Crime: Ending the Scourge of Conflict Rape," features a pregnant Congolese woman in a portrait that Howard W. French, author, Columbia Journalism School professor and former New York Times Africa correspondent, finds problematic. "We are and always have been much too free in resorting African nudity, and in particular African female nudity in media illustrations," French messaged Journal-isms. "Secondly, I object to the way that news coverage of rape as a weapon of war in Africa makes it seem like this is a uniquely or especially African problem. It is an awful problem, to be sure, but it is in no way an African oddity. The greatest instance of mass rape by combatants took place little more than a generation ago in Europe (Soviet soldiers taking Berlin)."

"Journalist Joseph Afandy was found abandoned to die in Juba, the South Sudan capital, on 7 March," the International Federation of Journalists said Thursday. The federation, "representing 600,000 journalists across the world condemns this inhumane and brutal act meted out on a journalist who was simply doing his work. . . ."


"Solomon Kebede, the managing editor of the now-defunct Ethiopian paper Ye Muslimoch Guday (Muslim Affairs), was sentenced to prison Thursday, more than three years after being jailed on anti-terrorism charges," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Friday. "CPJ was not immediately able to reconcile conflicting reports on the exact length of the prison sentence. 'Since his arrest in January 2013, Solomon Kebede has been put through a terrible ordeal, punished for nothing more than carrying out his work as a journalist,' said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. 'Ethiopia must put a stop to this abuse of power and stop using anti-terror laws as a guise for cracking down on critical voices.' . . ."

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