• ABC Nabs Gold Star Widow, Angry About Trump
  • CNN Pushes Back With ‘Facts First’ Slogan
  • Va. Paper Sorry for Black Conservative’s Column
  • In Too Many Venues, Asian Americans Are Missing
  • Fox News Covers Immigration More, but Negatively
  • One-Third Say Diversity Focus Slights White Men
  • Bernal E. Smith II Dies, Publisher in Memphis
  • Short Takes
The side of a garage was tagged with a memorial for Kedarie Johnson in the alley where they were found dead March 2, 2016, in Burlington, Iowa. (Michael Zamora/Des Moines Register)


On an unseasonably cold Wednesday evening last year, 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson stopped by a close friend’s house to try on bras,” Courtney Crowder wrote Monday for the Des Moines Register.

“As the two talked, the normally jovial Burlington High School student shared that he was scared of a man named ‘Lumni.’ He said he’d noticed a red car following him that day; he wasn’t sure who was behind the wheel.

“Kedarie didn’t stay long at his friend’s house. He asked to borrow a few of the bras he’d modeled, and the friend, 15 at the time, obliged. Kedarie tucked the undergarments into his black and blue school backpack and braced against the biting wind as he walked into the night alone.


“Their quick exchange was one of the last times Kedarie Johnson was seen alive.

Kedarie Johnson

“At about 11:36 p.m. March 2, 2016, Burlington police found Kedarie’s body, his chest riddled with bullets, discarded in the wild prairie overgrowth of a quiet alley.


“He was wearing women’s clothes, and strands of his hair weave had been pulled from his scalp by a garbage bag cinched around his head. A harsh chlorine-like smell hung in the air, and an empty bottle of Dollar General-brand bleach lay edgewise. . . .”

The Register put the spotlight on an issue that some say has received too little media attention — violence, sometimes fatal, against transgender people, particularly those of color. The Register story was headlined, “What happened to Kedarie Johnson? The mystery of how an LGBTQ teen from Iowa ended up slain in an alley.”

The story quoted a close family friend, Shaunda Campbell, a former Burlington High counselor. “Here’s a 16-year-old kid going to work at Taco Bell every night, getting off of work late at night, knowing he has to go to school in the morning, and he’s taking his paycheck and putting it with mom’s money so they could rent this motel by the week.”


The article also said, “While sometimes reported to be a transgender teen, Kedarie’s status isn’t that simple, those who knew him said. Most of the time he presented as male, but he loved to wear hair extensions and leggings. . . .

“At 16, he was on the cusp of ‘figuring himself out,’ his pastor, Nathan Williams, said at the time of Kedarie’s death. . . .”

In August 2016, in the midst of the debate over the North Carolina “bathroom bill” that required people to use public bathrooms matching their birth sex, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote, “In the first six months of this year, 14 trans people have been murdered, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.


“That puts the year on track to exceed the 21 murders counted by the group in 2014. (The coalition has been criticized for including killings that have not been proven to be hate attacks. On the other hand, it’s likely that cases that were murders of trans people inspired by hatred were missed because of poor reporting by law enforcement officials.) Earlier, the coalition counted 14 murders of trans people in 2013, and 12 in 2014.”

Showing a poster from the Ku Klux Klan declaring that “Transgender is an abomination, according to the King James Bible,” the center wrote, “Ku Klux Klan attacks on transgender people are only a small part of a larger movement targeting America’s most vulnerable minority.”

“It was already known that trans people are victimized by hate crime more than others,” it continued. “Several years ago, the Intelligence Report, using 14 years of FBI hate crime statistics, found that LGBT people were far more likely to suffer violent hate attacks than any other group. Within that community, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that trans people, and especially trans women of color, were the most victimized of all. Most of the trans murder victims of the last two years fit that description. . . .”


On Sunday, the Register editorially gave a rose to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for assigning a prosecutor to the case of Johnson, who was described as “gender fluid.”

Christopher J. Perras of the Justice Department’s civil rights division will assist Iowa officials in the prosecution of Jorge Sanders-Galvez, who is charged with first-degree murder in Johnson’s shooting death in March 2016,” it said.

“The New York Times reported that the move to add Perras was ‘personally initiated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.’


“Our rose is cautionary, however. Sessions has promised to ‘enforce hate crime laws aggressively and appropriately where transgendered individuals are victims,’ as he told a summit in June. But he’s also reversed protections for transgender people, declaring that federal civil rights law ‘encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity, per se, including transgender status.’ . . .”

The board also wrote, “Murder and assault aren’t the only ways transgender people are under attack. Sessions did the right thing in intervening in the Johnson case, but he has much more to do to show that his administration cares for the lives of transgender people.”

Southern Poverty Law Center: SPLC wins asylum for transgender woman who received death threats in Guatemala (Oct. 3)


Myeshia Johnson (ABC News)

ABC Nabs Gold Star Widow, Angry About Trump

In the “get” interview of the news cycle, “The pregnant widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was among four U.S. service members killed in Niger this month, expressed a mix of blame and sorrow today on ‘Good Morning America,’ saying she was ‘very angry’ about President Donald Trump’s condolence phone call and upset because she says he struggled to ‘remember my husband’s name,’ ” M.L. Nestel reported Monday for ABC News.


“ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos spoke to Myeshia Johnson, who criticized Trump’s handling of the phone call, which started a firestorm of controversy.

” ‘I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?’ said Johnson, who had known her husband since she was 6 years old.

” ‘That’s what made me upset and cry even more, because my husband was an awesome soldier.’


“After Myeshia Johnson’s interview aired, Trump argued on Twitter today that he said La David Johnson’s name ‘from the beginning’ and ‘without hesitation.’ . . .”

Both Republicans and Democrats urged Trump to drop the issue, but there was no sign that the president was prepared to do so.

Just how did ABC land Myeshia Johnson on “GMA”? “We don’t comment on our booking process,” Julie Townsend, ABC News’ vice president, communications, responded by email.


Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Trump’s Boogeymen? Women!

Editorial, Daily News, New York: A tale of two Trumps: The President honors a Vietnam hero, and insults the family of La David Johnson, killed in Niger

Editorial, Miami Herald: John F. Kelly owes Wilson a sincere apology

Editorial, Richmond Times-Dispatch: In the battle of Bush v. Trump, Bush wins by a country mile


Editorial, Tampa Bay Times: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier’s Miami family

Mark P. Fancher, Black Agenda Report: The AFRICOM Snake Slithers into the Lake Chad Basin (March 29)

Renée Graham, Boston Globe: Spreading Trump Salt in every wound

Casey Hopkins, Mediaite: Don Lemon Breaks Down on CNN Sharing Emotional Open Letter To Trump and Myeshia Johnson


Earl Ofari Hutchinson, HuffPost: Too Many Troubling Questions About the death of Sgt. La David Johnson

Bryan Maygers, HuffPost: The War in Africa the U.S. Military Won’t Admit It’s Fighting (June 1, 2016)

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Congress should give Trump and his generals their marching orders


Eugene Scott, Washington Post: In Trump’s response to Myeshia Johnson, many black women see a pattern

Nick Turse, The Intercept: The U.S. Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After an Attack in New York — According to Pentagon War Game



CNN Pushes Back With ‘Facts First’ Slogan

“At a time when President Trump and his representatives have been caught in many instances of giving out inaccurate information and details, ‘CNN has never been more relevant than we are now’ says Allison Gollust, CNN Worldwide’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in an interview. . . .”

Va. Paper Sorry for Black Conservative’s Column

Walter Williams


The column was titled “White Privilege and Other Fables.” It was deleted from the Times-Dispatch website, but Katie Bashista, opinions editor at the Commonwealth Times, an independent newspaper at Virginia Commonwealth University, gave her readers a recap on Monday:

The most criticized aspect of [Williams’] article is where he discusses campus sexual assault and rape — a topic all women are tired of hearing men try to explain,” Bashista wrote.”He questions decisions college aged women make by comparing the situation to a hypothetical one in which Williams leaves his wallet on top of his car and goes about the rest of his day. He says while he has the right to do so, it isn’t a wise decision and he most likely will not find his wallet still sitting on top of his car when he returns.

“Comparing a traumatic sexual assault or rape situation to that of an inanimate object is not only ridiculous, it’s demeaning. Williams was able to diminish an entire nation-wide epidemic down to the inconvenience of losing your wallet.


“Then he says it’s as equally unwise for college women to ‘get stoned, use foul language and dance suggestively.’ It’s deplorable to claim women are asking to be assaulted by taking part in normal young adult activities both genders participate in. . . .”

Times-Dispatch Editorial Page Editor A. Barton Hinkle wrote in his editor’s message:

“On Saturday, we published a Walter Williams column, ‘White Privilege and Other Fables,’ that included two paragraphs about sexual assault — to which many readers have taken strong exception.


“As we said in an earlier note, we often publish opinion pieces with which we, too, strenuously disagree — and we disagreed with Williams’ points in his Saturday column.

“That was an understatement.

“The column fell short of our editorial standards. Given the chance to do it all over again, we would not run it — and certainly not those two paragraphs.


“In light of that, we are removing the column from Richmond.com, and we are re-evaluating Williams’ place in our stable of syndicated columnists.

“I would like to stress that the Times-Dispatch newsroom had zero role in publishing the column. The News and Editorial departments are entirely separate operations, and News bears no responsibility for anything that appears in the opinion pages.

“Thanks to everyone who provided feedback about the column, for reminding us of the importance of striving always to elevate the conversation rather than debase it. Nobody is perfect — ourselves least of all. But we do aspire to something higher.”


Caleb Ecarma, Mediaite: Don Lemon Slams Fox News’ ‘Morals & Integrity’ Over O’Reilly Scandal: ‘Hypocrisy Much?’

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Time to call domestic violence what it is

James Ragland, Dallas Morning News: Blaming women for harassment isn’t ‘old school,’ Eddie Bernice Johnson. It’s wrong


Jeff Rivers, the Undefeated: #MeToo should also expose the vileness of what happens to black and brown women

Rubén Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: ‘Me Too’ raises more awareness of a perennial scourge

In Too Many Venues, Asian Americans Are Missing

Chris Lu


Last month, a landmark study called ‘Tokens on the Small Screen’ confirmed what even casual TV watchers have probably observed: the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population is seriously under-represented on television,” Chris Lu, U.S. deputy secretary of Labor during the Obama administration, wrote Friday for Time.

“Examining 242 scripted shows on broadcast, cable and streaming TV over a one-year period, researchers found that barely one-third of TV shows have a series regular who is AAPI. Even TV shows set in cities with large AAPI populations — New York and Los Angeles, for instance — are mostly devoid of Asian American characters.

“AAPIs are also missing elsewhere. A recent study of Silicon Valley technology companies concluded: ‘Asians are the least likely to be promoted to managerial or executive positions, in spite of being the largest minority group of professionals and the most likely to be hired.’


“An analysis of the legal profession found: ‘Asian Americans are the largest minority group in big law firms, but they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates.’

“Meanwhile, AAPIs are now the fastest-growing racial group in the country. The population of Americans of Asian descent — now numbering 20 million — has grown 72% since 2000 and is expected to surpass that of Hispanics by the year 2055. Yet in too many spaces, they’re largely invisible.

“Take, for instance, the political programming that dominates cable news and Sunday morning shows. Since leaving the Obama Administration in January, I have appeared on TV to discuss the policy debates and political fights in D.C., and I can count on one hand the number of AAPI pundits who appear on a consistent basis. . . .”


Karthick Ramakrishnan and Jennifer Lee, Los Angeles Times: Despite what you might have heard, Asian American CEOs are the exception, not the norm

Fox News Covers Immigration More, but Negatively

“From October 9 to October 13, the week after President Donald Trump ‘dropped a potential bomb into negotiations on the future’ of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Fox News’ programming between 5 and 11 p.m. devoted a total of one hour, two minutes and 23 seconds to discussing immigration, compared to CNN’s six minutes and nine seconds of coverage and MSNBC’s five minutes and 47 seconds of coverage. . . .”


Monica Castillo, New York Times: Hollywood’s Diversity Problem and Undocumented Immigrants

John Fritze, Baltimore Sun: Federal authorities made dozens of requests to hold immigrants in Baltimore

Alice Hopes, the Intercept: Top Trump Official John Kelly Ordered ICE to Portray Immigrants as Criminals to Justify Raids (Oct. 16)


Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: In California, ‘sanctuary’ is like a Hollywood illusion

One-Third Say Diversity Focus Slights White Men

More than a third of Americans in a new national survey said they think the heightened focus on diversity at work has overlooked white men, according to the consultancy firm Ernst & Young. Thirty-two percent of male respondents, meanwhile, reported feeling ‘personally excluded’ in the office,” Danielle Paquette reported Oct. 16 for the Washington Post.


“Employment data, however, show men continue to dominate the top ranks of virtually every field, including business, politics and academia.

Karyn Twaronite, EY’s global diversity and inclusiveness officer, said the company wanted to better understand why some male workers said they did not feel engaged in efforts to boost employees who have been historically underrepresented in higher roles. . . .”

Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro, When bigots are “emboldened”.

Bernal E. Smith II Dies, Publisher in Memphis

Bernal E. Smith II


Bernal E. Smith II, president and publisher of The New Tri-State Defender and Memphis civic leader, died Sunday at his home, his newspaper reported,” Wayne Risher wrote Monday for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis. “He was 45.

“The Defender, one of the country’s oldest African American newspapers, quoted a family spokesman as saying Mr. Smith was with family when he was found Sunday afternoon. . . .

“ ‘The New Tri-State Defender and its management board is devastated,’ said a joint statement from associate publisher Karanja Ajanaku and Calvin Anderson, president of Best Media Properties, the Defender’s parent company. . . .”


Ajanaku reported Monday in the Defender that Smith’s wife, Towanda Smith, said doctors attributed his death to natural causes. “In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the American Heart Association.”

Ron Maxey of the Commercial Appeal added Monday, “Breathing new life into the Tri-State Defender as the weekly newspaper’s president and publisher was only one of Smith’s accomplishments. Those who knew him and worked with him said Monday Smith would be remembered as well for the way he empowered the city’s majority African-American population through the many hats he wore. . . .”

Maxey quoted Phil Trenary, CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, on Smith’s role as publisher. “I can’t speak to the Defender before Bernal,” Trenary said, “but I can definitely say that in his time there, it has been a very respected publication. It’s not opinion pieces; they do the hard work, the real reporting. It’s a very reasoned voice.”


Maxey also wrote, “The Memphis Association of Black Journalists said in a statement that Smith wisely positioned the Tri-State Defender for growth by creating new revenue streams and strategic partnerships.

“MABJ President Siobhan Riley said Smith’s life stood in sharp contrast to the negative images often seen of African-American men.

“ ‘Smith made a huge impact in Memphis and loved MABJ,’ Riley said. ‘He taught our organization the importance of leadership and telling stories in a way that would bring about change in our community.’ . . . “


MABJ and the Redwing Group, a public relations firm, each announced plans for scholarships to honor Smith, who was recently elected to the board of the National Newspaper Publisher Association.

Short Takes

Prominent Yemeni journalist Afrah Nasser says she has obtained a visa to enter the United States, after twice being denied, so she can accept an award next month from the Committee to Protect Journalists,” the Voice of America reported Monday. “ ‘We did it! I got the visa!’ Nasser wrote on Twitter. She added an embassy officer said the visa was being granted ‘this time as we realized the significance of the award you got.’ . . . Nasser cited U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to people from a group of countries that included Yemen. . . .”


ESPN’s Jemele Hill returned to her hosting duties Monday night, two weeks after the network suspended her over political social media posts it says violated company policy,” Lydia O’Connor wrote Monday for HuffPost Black Voices. “She briefly addressed her absence at the start of her 6 p.m. ‘SportsCenter’ show. ‘I love you,’ Hill told co-host Michael Smith. ‘You’re my brother. Thank you for holding this down while I was gone.’ . . .” What Does Jemele Hill Do Now?

Three murders in two weeks understandably have Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood on edge,” the Tampa Bay Times editorialized on Monday. “But Tampa police and residents are working together to find the killer and are connecting in ways that will strengthen the community in the long run. This is the best reaction to the tragedy of the three deaths, and it should help end the crisis sooner rather than later. Investigators say the slayings are linked. . . .”

Public defenders representing some 100 clients at a time say a 22-year-old Kansas City man arrested for a robbery he didn’t commit spent 13 months in the Jackson County jail as a direct result of their understaffing and impossible workload,” the Kansas City Star editorialized on Sunday. The editorial concluded, “He’d be in jail still except for the fact that without super powers, his involvement in the robbery was a physical impossibility. And so is the expectation that public defenders can represent their clients ethically without more help.”


Rules for release of body-cam footage vary from state to state, department to department, and even case to case,” Steve Friess wrote Monday for Columbia Journalism Review. Under the headline “Police turn body cams into tools for public relations, not accountability,” Friess continued, “In states where it falls under a public records law, the police usually have wide discretion to exempt the material from release on grounds it might violate someone’s privacy or is part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Other departments have made fulfilling requests prohibitively expensive, as in the cases where the Sarasota police billed the ACLU $18,000 and the New York Police Department demanded $36,000 of the news channel NY1 to fulfill records requests. . . .”

Solange and her missing crown

Britain’s Evening Standard, the British magazine that Solange called out for photo editing out her braided crown, has issued an apology to the singer for the gaffe,” thegrio.com reported on Monday. “. . . Solange recently called the newspaper out on social media, posting the original picture of herself with an elaborate braided crown that was taken out of the final cover image. She captioned the image of herself with the braided crown ‘dtmh,’ an abbreviation for ‘Don’t Touch My Hair,’ which is also the title of a song on her recent album. . . .”


Every year, The New York Times recommends 52 Places to Go, one place to dream about exploring each week,” the Times announced on Monday. “The list is an ambitious forecast of which beaches will remain unspoiled, which starchitect-designed museums will live up to their renderings and which culinary treasures are worth hopping a flight to eat. This year, we want at least one ambitious traveler to turn our wish list into an itinerary. We are seeking a correspondent who will go to every destination on our list and tell us the story of each place and the story of life on the road. The ideal candidate is a permanent student of life and astute documentarian of the world. . . .”

In less than a month, three different prison systems were struck when devastating hurricanes made landfall in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico this summer,” Yolanda Martinez, Anna Flagg and Andrés Caballero reported Friday for the Marshall Project, in collaboration with “Latino USA.” Although officials from corrections departments in all three areas say things went smoothly, accounts from inmates and their families suggest otherwise, with reports of flooding, at least one mass escape, food and water shortages, unhygienic conditions, and a lack of reliable communication. . . .”

The National Hispanic Media Coalition is threatening to rally Latino leaders against Verizon for its removal of Univision from the Verizon Fios service earlier this week,” Mike Snider reported Friday for USA Today. Alex Nogales, the group’s president and CEO, said “when catastrophic events have occurred in Mexico and Puerto Rico, Verizon has chosen to blackout Univision, the primary source of news for millions of Spanish-speaking and bilingual Latinos residing in the United States.” Verizon removed Univision from its network Monday when the two could not reach an agreement. . . . “


Monika Diaz

Monika Díaz has been named News Director at Sacramento Fox affiliate KTXL, less than a year since she was promoted to Assistant News Director,” Veronica Villafañe reported Monday for her Media Moves site. “In her new role, she’s responsible for overseeing all of the newsroom’s daily operations. . . .”

Opposition is mounting to Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposal to purchase Tribune Media, a $3.9 billion deal that would make the broadcast company the largest TV company in the nation, David Zurawik reported Friday for the Baltimore Sun. Zurawik cited “serious and sophisticated campaigns run by savvy politicos who understand the regulatory dance. Even if Sinclair wins approval for the deal, such campaigns have already helped focus attention on the deal and the potential danger of one giant company with a history of partisan politics having that kind of power. . . .”


Endy Rodriguez, assistant news director of Telemundo station WNJU New York, has been named VP of news, effectively immediately,” John Eggerton reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable. “Among his charters will be to expand the station’s joint investigations and consumer-focused stories, with co-owned WNBC-TV New York. . . .”

The deadline is Nov. 1 for the diversity fellowship offered by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. The fellowship offers editorial assistance from Schuster and a grant of as much as $10,000 from FIJ. The four fellowships are aimed at U.S.-based freelance and independent investigative journalists who would produce work focused on social justice. The fellowships aim to provide more opportunities for journalists of color and women in investigative journalism.

Co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America Robin Roberts will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during the 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas,” Radio Ink reported Monday, referring to the National Association of Broadcasters. “Roberts will accept her award at the NAB Show Opening on Monday, April 9. The award recognizes members of the broadcast community who have made significant and lasting contributions to the industry. Previous award recipients include Bob Schieffer, Michael J. Fox, Mary Tyler Moore, President Ronald Reagan, Edward R. Murrow, Bob Hope, Walter Cronkite, and Oprah Winfrey. . . .”


Reporters Without Borders said Thursday it was “alarmed to learn that two rebel groups in Balochistan, in southwestern Pakistan, have threatened to attack the province’s media if, by 24 October, they have not begun defying a Pakistani government ban on covering rebel activities. RSF condemns the rebel threats and ultimatum, which are unacceptable. At the same time, it calls on the civilian and military authorities to allow journalists to do their work. . . .”

Journalists were the targets of anti-press sentiment and actions from officials, security forces and citizens leading up to and during the Oct. 15 regional elections for 23 governorships in Venezuela,” Paola Nalvarte and Teresa Mioli reported Wednesday for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. “ ‘During the voting process, there were patterns of a governmental policy that portrays journalists as enemies and that systematically harasses their work,’ Carlos Correa of Venezuelan non-profit Espacio Público told the Knight Center. ‘There is a direct relation between the guarantees of freedom of expression, democratic debate and political participation.’ . . .”

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