Seventeen Latino journalists from the United States and Latin America returned this week from an eight-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, which is concerned about what it considers an unacceptable level of anti-Semitism among Latinos, particularly new arrivals.
Fernando DiazAmong the participants were Rick Sanchez, former CNN anchor; Henrik Rehbinder, opinion editor of Los Angeles-based La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States; Fernando Diaz, managing editor of Hoy Chicago and vice president/online of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and Nuria Net, deputy editor of Univision News, Univision’s online English language platform. Others included journalists from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles.
Although the ADL has sponsored other such trips for Latinos, this was its first exclusively for journalists. "It's expensive," Michael A. Salberg, the ADL's associate national director and director of international affairs, said of the journalists' trip on Friday. "But we think the investment is well worth it. It's a first-in-a-lifetime experience to visit Israel. It generally has a transforming impact on most people.
"Because of the high profile of the conflict, we feel it's important to have opinion makers — and certainly journalists who are reporting it — understand it firsthand. . . . The most gratifying comments we got were, 'we were expecting a lot of propaganda, and we got none.' "
Sanchez agreed. "It was amazing," he told Journal-isms by email.
"It was beyond worth it," added Diaz, also by email.
"We went as journalists to try to understand a complicated conflict," Rehbinder said by telephone. "We heard very diverse points of view. Nobody agrees on what is the definition of a state, or self-determination. I came away with the idea that this is something that has to be solved by negotiation but there has to have a better understanding of the people.
"The most radical approach to peace is to sit in a room with one Israeli and one Palestinian. In some ways, they are very much the same. They eat the same food, they breathe the same air."
The trip followed the Nov. 3 release of the ADL's "2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America," a national telephone survey of 1,754 adults.
"Once again, Hispanic Americans born outside of the U.S. are more likely than Hispanics born in the U.S. to hold anti-Semitic views," the ADL reported. "According to the survey, 42 percent of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views, as opposed to 20 percent of U.S. born Hispanics."
It added of African Americans: "In the past four years, anti-Semitic views among the African-American population have remained steady, but are consistently higher than [those of] the general population. In 2011, 29 percent of African-Americans expressed strongly anti-Semitic views. That percentage is consistent with the findings of past surveys.
"The steady growth of the Hispanic population, now at 15 percent of the adult population, means that Hispanics and African-Americans together now [make up] 27 percent of the American population, a number that is sure to grow in the coming years. This population increase of the cohorts with a substantially higher percentage of anti-Semitic beliefs than the total population also means that anti-Semitic propensities in the coming years will be a challenge, according to the ADL poll."
Salberg is in charge of outreach to Hispanics and also of ADL programs in Israel. He speculated that first-generation immigrants from Latin America come from societies where the Catholic Church "hasn't quite caught up" with the teachings of the Vatican II, the historic Ecumenical Council from 1962 to 1965 that liberalized some Catholic teachings and absolved Jews in the killing of Jesus.
Rehbinder said that while he did not know whether it was accurate to say that Latino immigrants were more anti-Semitic than others, their home countries are less diverse than the United States. A diverse society "challenges your values. It's a product of adaptation," the editorial writer said.
Sanchez found additional satisfaction in a sympathetic piece Friday in the Jerusalem Post. Last year, in an interview for a satellite radio show, Sanchez excoriated late-night comedian Jon Stewart for hailing from a middle-class background that Sanchez said made Stewart unable to "relate to a guy like me." Sanchez went on to answer a question about whether Stewart, as a Jew, shouldn't also be considered a member of an oppressed minority group.
Sanchez's response was, "I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they — the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah.' " Many journalists reported the response as anti-Semitic, and Sanchez was fired.
"Was all this necessary?" Jeremy Sharon wrote Friday in the Jerusalem Post. "It seems much more likely that instead of holding the kind of insidious, villainous anti-Jewish prejudices that he was accused of, Sanchez is simply extremely prone to putting his foot in his mouth. . . . And it is his general buffoonery that led Stewart to take numerous comedic pot shots at Sanchez on The Daily Show, which most likely triggered Sanchez’s outburst in the first place."
Diaz agreed with Rehbinder about the value of people-to-people contact.
"Too often Israel is covered within the political context of the conflict, and little is reported on the actual people there," he said. "We got to meet Israelis, Jewish, Arab and Christian, with diverse perspectives on the conflict, religion, diversity and history.
"As a result of the trip, I will pay more attention to issues there and work to ensure that the diversity of issues manifest there is also part of our coverage. In addition to deeper context on the conflict, I found dozens of stories about religions and history that would be very interesting for our readers and myself.
"I also hope to make it one day to Palestine.
"Lastly, meeting my colleagues both from the U.S. and Latin America gave me an opportunity to learn more about our industry and the challenges and opportunities we have as global Spanish-language media organizations."
Although the journalists came from some of the biggest media companies — Univision, ImpreMedia, Tribune Co. — all accepted the ADL's all-expenses-paid offer, considered a conflict of intrerest by the Society of Professional Journalists and some news organizaitons but not a problem at others.
Rehbinder told Journal-isms that in these days of tight budgets, he would not have been able to make the trip otherwise. He said he agreed on condition that there would be no commitment to write anything and that he use the information gleaned "as we see fit." Diaz said the same. "I accepted the trip on the agreement that there was no quid-pro-quo. There would be not commitment to publish regarding the trip or experience unless we deemed it newsworthy. And I checked it with my publisher."
Salberg put the trip in the context of ADL efforts against bigotry against all ethnicities. He pointed to anti-bias training the ADL offers to Department of Homeland Security agents who raid processing plants looking for illegal immigrants. The ADL also offers training to the New Jersey State Police, which has practiced racial profiling, to local police departments and to the FBI.
He said anti-Semitism among African Americans has been more difficult to counter since the heyday of black-Jewish cooperation during the civil rights movement. It's been harder "to identify a truly representative organizational leadership in the African American community. It's not as clear today."
However, Salberg said he would welcome the chance to reach out to black journalists as he has with Latinos.
Anti-Defamation League: Prominent Latino And Latin American Journalists Get Up-Close Look At Israel On ADL Mission
Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post: ADL brings Latino journalists to Israel
Josh Stearns, an associate program director at the media advocacy group Free Press, is keeping track of all journalists who have been arrested covering the various Occupy protests, and what they do, Chris O'Shea noted this week for FishbowlNY.
". . . this document has been a great resource to track journalists working on Occupy Wall Street stories around the country who've been arrested," added Choire Sicha of theAwl.com.
"A number were student reporters; a few were interns; a larger number were freelancers. Some work for traditional 'objective' news organizations; others work for 'non-objective' news organizations, like [AlterNet] and Indypendent Reader.
"This means something — mostly about the media and what it is now, possibly also who the police perceive as media and relation of reporter to demonstration. But with the exception of a [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel] photographer, two AP folks and one Daily News reporter, no major traditional news outlets have (yet!) had staff reporters or photographers arrested.
"As Erika Fry pointed out last month in CJR, this also has to do with who police departments consider a journalist, and why they decide that. (Turns out, wearing a shirt that says 'reporter' doesn't always help in the eyes of the police, as one Rochester student discovered.) A minimum of 40% of people news-gathering who were arrested are women."
Will Bunch, Media Matters: How The First Battle Of The Brooklyn Bridge Changed The Media Narrative
Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: A Quieter Giuliani
Richard Huff, Daily News, New York: Covering Occupy Wall Street movement day proves to be a risky challenge for local TV
Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable: Occupy Wall Street Analysis: The Revolution is Indeed Televised
Megan McCarthy, New York Observer: Bloomberg Spokesperson Admits Arresting Credentialed Reporters, Reading The Awl
Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post: Occupy Wall Street November 17: Journalists Arrested, Beaten By Police
Ishmael Reed, New York Times: Trouble Beside the Bay
"If the powers that control State College endured a self-inflicted bad week while abruptly ending Joe Paterno's career, the last seven days have been no better for The Second Mile," Howard Bryant of ESPN.com wrote on Wednesday. He was referring to the charity accused by the government of being the place where Jerry Sandusky, the charity's founder, Penn State's longtime defensive coordinator, and accused pedophile, allegedly found his victims.
"Meanwhile, big, famous names, from Mark Wahlberg to Cal Ripken to Arnold Palmer, who were on The Second Mile's honorary board of directors, have been as quick to treat the charity like Kryptonite as to stand up for the alleged victims.
". . . In a sports institution that uses the cliché of 'character building' as its oxygen, there is, in the courage department, a whole lot of suffocating going on these days. Ripken is currently in Japan working with children who suffered the devastation of the March earthquake and tsunami. He could use his power — even while distancing himself from The Second Mile, if he chose — to remind victims that whatever occurred was not their fault. Instead, he and the rest of those who keep silent have chosen to disassociate, to run for cover.
". . . Lives are often broken following child sex abuse. Somewhere, whether it comes from a celebrity or from a local person or from a national leader (preferably all of the above), a concerted effort must be made to assist the alleged victims' healing, and that effort should come with considerably more energy, more passion and more conviction than it takes to wipe one's name off a website."
Mark Viera, Jo Becker and Pete Thamel reported for the New York Times Friday that David Woodle, the interim chief executive of the Second Mile, "said in an interview Friday that the foundation was seeking to transfer its programs to other nonprofit organizations. The Second Mile’s leaders are looking at organizations that could, and would, carry forward the foundation’s work with disadvantaged youths. He would not say which organizations would be candidates."
Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism reported that the Penn State saga is the fourth biggest U.S. crime story since it began tracking news coverage in January 2007.
Erika Fry, Columbia Journalism Review: Politicians and Penn State? Pass.
Annette John-Hall, the Philadelphia Inquirer: As sad and sick as the Penn State story is, it's about all of us
Fred Mitchell, Chicago Tribune: Penn State alum Adams feels for alleged victims
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Scandal culture snagged Paterno
Leonard Pitts Jr., the Miami Herald: Why did it take Penn State so long?
Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press: After the Joe Paterno mess, let's cool it with worshipping Coach K
David Squires, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.: Out the door, one way or another
Wendi C. Thomas, Commercial Appeal, Memphis: Be aware of who to call, then speak up
Jason Whitlock, FoxSports.com: McQueary story says a lot about us
"Even those who do their job exceptionally well toil in relative anonymity. Those who become part of the story tend to do so only in tragic circumstances," Joel Gunter wrote this week for the British site Journalism.co.uk.
"Earlier this year, reports emerged that a BBC fixer had been killed in Afghanistan during an attack on a military compound. In August, NBC reported that a fixer in Libya had died in a rocket attack on his car.
"But the actions, and even deaths, of the industry's indispensable local support staff rarely make the headlines.
". . . In a 2007 survey of journalists in Iraq by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, 57 per cent said that one of their local support staff had been killed in the course of their work.
"The danger for fixers is very real. The recognition, however, is not.
"One small but significant attempt to redress that balance is the Martin Adler Prize. The prize, which is named after a Swedish cameraman killed in Somalia in 2006 and forms part of the Rory Peck Awards, recognises the work of local freelancers — cameramen and women, fixers, drivers or translators.
"This year's winners are Suliman Ali Zway and Osama Alfitory, two Libyan fixers who worked with some of the world's most established foreign correspondents during the country's tumultuous revolution.
"Zway and Alfitory were construction workers who quit comfortable jobs to volunteer for the Western journalists that flooded into Benghazi when the February protests turned to armed rebellion.
The prize administrators added, "Osama and Suliman's dedication and insight about Libya were so coveted by international journalists that they earned the nickname the 'A-Team'. Both are now journalists in their own right and have penned articles on difficult subjects for a new Libyan magazine, 'The Libyan'."
"The promise is magnificent: More than 5.3 billion people in more than 100 countries now have the right — on paper — to know the truth about what their government is doing behind closed doors. Such laws have spread rapidly over the past decade, and when they work, they present a powerful way to engage citizens and expose corruption," Martha Mendoza wrote Wednesday for the Associated Press.
"However, more than half the countries with such laws do not follow them, The Associated Press found in the first worldwide test of this promised freedom of information. And even when some countries do follow the law, the information unearthed can be at best useless and at worst deadly.
"Right-to-know laws reflect a basic belief that information is power and belongs to the public. In a single week in January, AP reporters tested this premise by submitting questions about terrorism arrests and convictions, vetted by experts, to the European Union and the 105 countries with right-to-know laws or constitutional provisions.
"AP also interviewed more than 100 experts worldwide and reviewed hundreds of studies.
"Among its findings:
** "Only 14 countries answered in full within their legal deadline. Another 38 countries eventually answered most questions, at least providing data.
** "Newer democracies were in general more responsive than some developed ones. Guatemala confirmed the AP request in 72 hours, and sent all documents in 10 days. Turkey sent spreadsheets and data within seven days. Mexico posted responses on the Web. By comparison, Canada asked for a 200-day extension. The FBI in the United States responded six months late with a single sheet with four dates, two words and a large section blanked. Austria never responded at all."
"This morning Rosanna Scotto was delivering news about Heavy D's funeral, which is set for today in Mount Vernon, NY, when her WNYW co-anchor Greg Kelly suddenly started rapping," Andrew Gauthier wrote Friday for TVSpy. Heavy D’s hit song 'Now That We Found Love' was playing underneath Scotto when Kelly recognized it from a mixtape he had 'back in 1992.' "
Michael J. Feeney, Daily News, New York: President Obama honors Heavy D in statement read at the rapper’s star-studded Mount Vernon funeral
"Herman Cain’s campaign rallies always attract a lot of attention. Throngs of well-wishers seek handshakes or autographs. An army of camera operators race around him as he disembarks from his campaign bus to mingle with the crowds," Amy Gardner wrote Thursday for the Washington Post.
"One incident on Wednesday involved journalists jostling among themselves for position. Another featured a local police officer aggressively blocking a video journalist. In at least two instances, Cain's own private security guard physically blocked reporters, including one from The Washington Post.
"There were two confrontational incidents on Wednesday, prompting Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon to touch base with the reporters involved and also to acknowledge in an interview that the campaign needs to address the issue."
Mary C. Curtis, Nieman Watchdog: Newt, in SC, says he and Callista are a lot like Ronnie and Nancy
Merlene Davis, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: When Herman Cain cries racism, he's really crying wolf
Jarvis DeBerry, Times-Picayune, New Orleans: If it's a lynching, there are no survivors
Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: It's time for this Cain to step aside
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Republicans aren’t closing the deal with voters
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Behind a dismal performance, an odious idea
Joseph Straw, Daily News, New York: Herman Cain’s U.S. Secret Service detail has nothing to do with unruly reporters hounding him: officials
Ana Veciana-Suarez, Miami Herald: Cain scandal: An example of too much sex in politics
DeWayne Wickham blog: Republicans couldn't find Obama foreign policy soft spot
Joe Frazier memorabilia is on sale on Frazier's website. (Credit: joefrazier.com) "So, it took Joe Frazier’s death to reveal that, in a few ways, American race relations are still in a pathetic state." Gregory Kane wrote Thursday for BlackAmericaWeb.com.
"And that state is this: When it comes to race relations, some white Americans are living in a state of perfect denial. Heck, it’s not even denial; it’s downright fictional. It doesn’t exist.
"Exhibit One: BAW contributor Chris Wilder’s commentary on Nov. 9 entitled 'Why a Joe Frazier Statue Should Replace Rocky.' Anybody read it? Every BAW reader should have read it. If you haven’t, I urge you to click here and read it now before you continue.
"The gist of Wilder’s column is that Philadelphians have preferred to honor a fictional white boxing champion, as opposed to a black real one.
"Isn’t there something terribly wrong with that picture?"
". . . Philadelphia didn’t 'give us' Rocky Balboa; the imagination of one Sylvester Stallone did. And his idea wasn’t even original."
Kane wasn't the only writer to note the lack of a statue for the real Frazier while one exists for the fictional Balboa. Philadelphia's Wayne Bennett weighed in in his "Field Negro" blog, as did Johnette Howard of ESPN.com and Jerome Solomon in the Houston Chronicle. Stanley Crouch said of Frazier in the Daily News in New York, "the life he actually lived was much more heroic, inspiring and tragic than anything Sylvester Stallone invented for 'Rocky.' ”
Tim Smith of the Daily News quoted Bernard Hopkins, who said his final goodbye to Frazier six weeks ago when Frazier came through Hopkins' car wash and lube shop in North Philadelphia:
“When you look at ‘Rocky,’ Joe was the inspiration for that. He was that hard-nosed, blue-collar guy who wasn’t overly talented, who couldn’t naturally do the things that Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson could do in the ring. But if Joe didn’t have the tools, he used all he had and he got the best from it. He came forward even if it was disastrous for him like it was against George Foreman. His heart was bigger than he was.”
**"It's been a busy week for the folks at Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network," Philiana Ng wrote Friday for the Hollywood Reporter. "OWN has announced that Winfrey's primetime series 'Oprah's Next Chapter' will launch with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, Jan. 1 from 9-11 p.m. with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler at his New Hampshire home. In the two-hour premiere, Winfrey and Tyler cover everything from his years of drug addiction, his complicated relationships with his wives and 'American Idol.' "
**"When former FAIR staffer Sam Husseini found out that Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Sa'ud would be speaking at the National Press Club, he thought it might be a good chance to ask a tough question," Peter Hart of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting wrote Friday. "The National Press Club apparently didn't like that idea. Husseini writes: 'Before the end of the day, I'd received a letter informing me that I was suspended from the National Press Club "due to your conduct at a news conference".' "
**"Howard University Radio, celebrating its 40th anniversary, announced today it will launch H.U.R. Voices on Thursday, December 1 on SiriusXM channel 141," the university said on Thursday. "H.U.R. Voices will offer exciting, educational and entertaining original programming that examines and explores issues that affect people of color, including a unique mixture of talk radio, local and national news, and great music."
**"An arbitrator has ruled against WFAA8 anchor/reporter Debbie Denmon in her weight and race discrimination suit against the Dallas-based station," Dallas TV blogger Ed Bark reported Thursday. " 'There was no money split. She got zero,' said a source familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Denmon, who has a plus-sized figure, sued WFAA8 in September after a 5 p.m. weekday anchoring position she had applied for instead went to colleague Shelly Slater, who is white and thinner."
**"Two international music celebrities, several big announcements, seven fantastic local restaurants and catering companies and hundreds of Memphians, TSD readers, elected officials, business leaders, and everyday great citizens assembled for one fantastic evening made up the mathematical ingredients for successful kickoff to the New Tri-State Defender’s 60th Anniversary last Thursday (Nov. 10) evening," Bernal Smith II wrote in the Memphis Tri-State Defender.
**"The Huffington Post today announced the launch of its latest hyperlocal site, HuffPost Detroit," NetNewsCheck reported on Thursday. "The site will be edited by Detroit native and Huffington Post news editor Simone Landon. Arianna Huffington, AOL Huffington Post Media Group editor in chief, said the site would eschew the popular image of a downtrodden Detroit and 'provide an alternative to the knee-jerk narrative the national media love to tell about Detroit.' ”
**In April, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art "announced that the program's well-respected curator, Ian Birnie, was leaving. His program would be replaced by a new screening series produced in partnership with Film Independent (FIND) — the nonprofit that, through its Los Angeles Film Festival and Independent Spirit Awards, is in the business of creating meeting points between red-carpet glamour, industry solvency and indie credibility. Two months later, Elvis Mitchell was hired as the programmer of that new series," Karina Longworth wrote Thursday for LA Weekly in a piece about Mitchell. "It would be Mitchell's third job change in 2011 alone."
**"Oprah’s OWN network has ordered eight additional episodes of 'Our America with Lisa Ling,' the documentary series hosted by the eponymous journalist," Alex Weprin reported Thursday for TVNewser. "Upcoming editions of the program will include topics such as 'pageant kids, the life of swingers, the plight of Native Americans, and the wrongfully accused.' The pickup gives the series a full, 16 episode second season."
**A new ebook, "Mad mobs and Englishmen? Myths and realities of the 2011 riots," by Steve Reicher and Clifford Stott, argues that the August riots in Britain "were not simply the result of mindless criminality or the result of irrational mob mentality," Roy Greenslade reports on his media blog for Britain's Guardian newspaper. "They point instead to the people's grievances — a lack of opportunity, shared identity or empowerment — as the central factors."
**Sue Horton, op-ed and Sunday opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times, is in Rwanda on a two-week Gatekeeper Editor fact-finding trip organized by the International Reporting Project. She is chronicling her trip on the Opinion L.A. blog, the Times reports.
**"When we chose Tunis as the fourth venue for our flagship program, the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF), it was with the clear intention of positively exploiting their revolution to enhance our program of creating a revolution in the management of African media," Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Trevor Ncube, co-chairs of the African Media Initiative, wrote on Wednesday. "Social media played a significant role in the extraordinary developments that launched the Arab Spring and it was with the idea of exploring the implications of social media for Africa that we titled our annual gathering: 'Empowering Citizens Through Social Media and Technology Adaptation: What Future For Traditional Media?' . . . We have grown to a record 350 from 48 African countries at our Tunis meeting."
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.