In the course of reporting on Texas Gov. Rick Perry's boyhood home, Washington Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen came upon information that exploded on the Post's front page on Sunday:
"In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family's secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance.
" 'Niggerhead,' it read.
"Ranchers who once grazed cattle on the 1,070-acre parcel on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River called it by that name well before Perry and his father, Ray, began hunting there in the early 1980s. There is no definitive account of when the rock first appeared on the property. In an earlier time, the name on the rock was often given to mountains and creeks and rock outcroppings across the country. Over the years, civil rights groups and government agencies have had some success changing those and other racially offensive names that dotted the nation's maps."
McCrummen told Journal-isms how she came upon this bit of information: "I went to Texas to write about Paint Creek, where Gov. Rick Perry grew up. During one of many long interviews with local residents, the name of the place came up, and it turned out to be pretty much common knowledge among people who knew Perry and his father, Ray."
The New York Times quickly followed up with its own front-page story, incorporating reaction. Websites couldn't resist. On CNN, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, the only African American candidate in the race, called the Perry family's handling of the issue "insensitive," though he later backed away from criticizing Perry.
By Monday, it was a water-cooler topic and grist for radio's "The Tom Joyner Morning Show." Reporters were descending on Paint Creek — private property — in search of the rock. Jon Stewart weighed in with a skit about other racist place names on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." The Perry campaign moved swiftly to control the damage.
"Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said the word 'Niggerhead,' which had been painted on a rock on the property, was painted over before Perry launched his political career as a Democrat in 1984, Amanda Sakuma and Richard S. Dunham wrote in the Houston Chronicle.
" 'A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible,' Sullivan said in a statement on Sunday.
"But the Post article quoted several sources saying that the racist epithet was visible for years after Perry's rise to power in Austin. According to the Post, recent photos of the 5-foot rock show the faded, yet visible, letters N and two G's scrawled on the surface — remnants of the camp's racially charged past."
In Texas, McCrummen's was just one of several Perry stories, and nearly all of Perry's other rivals gave him a pass. The website of the Dallas Morning News was still touting its Sunday story headlined "Perry has deep relationships with his campaign bank, despite bailout money." The San Antonio Express-News and El Paso Times were concerned with border issues.
For Ta-Nehisi Coates, who blogs for the Atlantic, the real issue was the United States, not Perry.
Discussing the Post story and that in the Times, Coates wrote, "Surely there are people, in both stories, who find the name offensive.
"But what we see on display in the quotes is the insidiousness of racism, the way it gets in the blood, and literally alters the senses. A black woman in the county claims she was constantly addressed as 'Nigger.' A white man, in the very same county, claims that 'Blacks were perfectly satisfied.'
"Several people in the story have no notion of why the name 'Niggerhead' would be offensive.
". . .When people ask why we can't have a 'conversation on race,' or wonder why Barack Obama generally avoids any discussion of white racism, they really should remember the country he governs. Whatever my critique of Obama's rhetoric to black audience, the dilemma seems fairly clear to me.
"We can talk about Skip [Gates'] wrongful arrest. Or we can pass health-care. We can not do both."
* Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today: Paper Calls Out 'Niggerhead'; Uses 'Redskins' in Adjacent Story
* Editorial, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Rick Perry an immigration radical? Hardly
* Jason Embry, Austin American-Statesman: Perry reacts quickly to report of offensive name at hunting lease
* Fox News Latino and Associated Press: Perry Immigration Stance May Help Win the Latino Vote
* Arnold Garcia Jr., Austin American-Statesman: Challenges lining up for Perry; how will he respond?
* Maggie Haberman, Politico: Romney: Perry hunting camp name 'offensive'
* Keach Hagey, Politico: Frum: Texas is a 'weak media culture'
* Danielle Hester, theLoop21.com: Cast of 'The View' Clamor Over 'Niggerhead'
* Frank James, NPR: Rick Perry Caught Between Racist Rock And Toxic Mortgages
* Nick Jimenez, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times: Perry shows mettle on immigrant tuition
* Jason Johnson, politic365.com: Rick Perry and the Case of the Missing "*iggerhead"
* Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, theGrio.com: Perry's 'ranch problem' injects racism into GOP race
* TheLoop21.com: Rick Perry's "Niggerhead" Draws Split Opinions
* Goldie Taylor, theGrio.com: Cain can't have it both ways on n-word controversy
* Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast: Perry Racism Flap's Real Loser
"I have decided to endorse Herman Cain to be the Republican Party's candidate for president," columnist Clarence Page wrote Sunday for the Chicago Tribune. "No, I am not crazy."
"I hear the pleas of those who challenge me to give 'The Herminator' a chance. In these angry times on the right, Cain and the Grand Old Party seem to deserve one another.
"Besides, it would be exciting to see the Party of Abe Lincoln challenge President Barack Obama with a nominee whose ancestors — unlike Obama's — were freed by President Lincoln."
On Tuesday, Dan Balz and Jon Cohen reported this in the Washington Post:
"After a quick rise in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has experienced an almost equally dramatic decline, losing about half of his support over the past month, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. . . . the most direct beneficiary of the disenchantment with Perry is businessman Herman Cain, who is now tied for second place."
* Associated Press: Cain says he should have spoken up for gay soldier
* Michael K. Fauntroy blog: Herman Cain's (and the GOPs) Confusion About Black Voters
* Braden Goyette, ProPublica: Our Guide to the Best Coverage of Herman Cain
* Jonathan P. Hicks, New York Amsterdam News: Is Chris Christie leading or following in the Republican presidential dance?
* Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Does Cain's Florida Win Prove the GOP Isn't Racist?
* David A. Love, theGrio.com: Is Herman Cain's race the real elephant in the room?
* Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Herman Cain Denies GOP's Horrible History With Blacks
* Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Obama and Cain: are you hearin' the difference?
* Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: A GOP circular firing squad
* Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Tea party more than a temper tantrum
* Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Chris Christie's big problem
* Chelsea-Lyn Rudder, theGrio.com: NJ's black population doesn't put Christie on a pedestal
* Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Jon Huntsman: a moderate Republican for immoderate times
* Shannon Travis, CNN: Herman Cain communications director resigns
* Dr. Boyce Watkins, NewsOne: Herman Cain, A Brainwashed Caricature Of A Candidate
* Armstrong Williams blog: The Wrong Way to Campaign
"Days before Univision aired a controversial story this summer about the decades-old drug bust of Marco Rubio's brother-in-law, top staff with the Spanish-language media powerhouse offered what sounded like a deal to the U.S. senator's staff," Marc Caputo and Manny Garcia wrote Saturday for the Miami Herald.
"If Rubio appeared on 'Al Punto' — Univision's national television show where the topic of immigration would likely be discussed — then the story of his brother-in-law's troubles would be softened or might not run at all, according to Univision insiders and the Republican senator's staff. They say the offer was made by Univision's president of news, Isaac Lee.
"But Lee said in an email to The Miami Herald that any insinuation that he offered a quid pro quo was 'incorrect' and 'defamatory."'
". . . Rubio never appeared on 'Al Punto,' a national political affairs program broadcast on Sundays. Univision aired the story about Rubio's brother-in-law, a lower-level player in a 1987 coke-and-pot ring, on July 11.
" 'I always knew Univision to be a professional organization until this happened,' said Rubio, who won't comment specifically on the case.
"The conflict provides a rarely seen view of a politician warring with the press, and it also underscores the highly charged issue of immigration in the Hispanic community."
Univision "recently created an investigative team.
"The Rubio brother-in-law story was its first investigation. The story about Rubio and his brother-in-law was broadcast in English and Spanish on television and the web over two days."
* Albor Ruiz, Daily News, New York: Rubio's right but still wrong for Tea Party
"After ESPN dropped Hank Williams Jr. from opening Monday Night Football tonight after Williams' controversial comments Monday about President Obama, the singer now says he was 'misunderstood,' Michael Hiestand wrote Monday for USA Today.
"Says ESPN, in a statement: 'While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize he is closely linked to our company through the opening to 'Monday Night Football.' We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result have decided to pull the open from tonight's telecast.'
"Williams, perhaps best known for his 'are you ready for some football?' lead-in to ESPN's 'Monday Night Football,' Monday compared this summer's so-called golf summit between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner as 'one of the biggest political mistakes ever.'
"As Williams put it on Fox News' 'Fox & Friends': 'It would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli leader) Benjamin Netanyahu.'
"When asked on Fox to explain his analogy, Williams said Obama and Vice President Biden are 'the enemy.' "
Asked whether the suspension was for Monday night only, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told Journal-isms, "Our comment mentions tonight. Nothing more to say on record beyond that."
Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, and the Rev. Al Sharpton of National Action Network issued a statement saying "ESPN showed moral leadership by quickly dropping" Williams.
* Brian Lowry, Fox Sports: Is crime befitting the punishment?
* Writer Suspended Over Hitler Analogy (2008)
While the defensive backs from the Miami Dolphins were "were blaming themselves after the 26-16 loss to the Chargers, who got 307 yards passing from Philip Rivers, Dolphins linebacker Kevin Burnett was accosting a sportswriter from South Florida," Tom Krasovic, a San Diego freelancer, wrote Monday for the Miami Herald.
"Burnett apparently didn't like something critical he had read about the winless Dolphins. During a postgame interview with a San Diego reporter, he began to yell at the other writer who stood nearby.
" 'I don't know how you want to talk to me, homeboy,' Burnett said. 'If you've got something to say, come at me like a man, homeboy. Don't hide behind no computer.'
"After a Dolphins official warded off Burnett, the linebacker again yelled at the sportswriter.
" 'Hey, if you want to see if I can tackle, you put on some pads, homeboy,' Burnett said, brushing off the official. 'Don't get mad. Why you're going to criticize the team in your own hometown, boy? You're supposed to support the home team.' "
Joe Schwerdt, sports editor of the South Florida SunSentinel in Fort Lauderdale, whose beat reporter, Omar Kelly, covered the game, told Journal-isms he could not discuss the incident until he had spoken with Kelly, who was flying back to the East Coast.
Marcus Frazier of Richmond, Va., asked Kelly in a tweet Monday night, "Yo, who tried to fight you O?" Kelly replied, "Not relevant. Just frustration talking."
"She has hosted presidents, kings, comedians, educators and death row inmates, her show has won more than 300 awards and she's repeatedly listed as one of the 50 'top talkers'" in the country," Mackenzie Carpenter wrote Saturday for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"But Bev Smith, the only nationally syndicated black female talk show host on radio, will no longer be on the air as of Oct. 28 — and not just gone from Pittsburgh's WGBN-AM, but absent from 30 other AM radio markets across the country, including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.
"Contrary to rumors of ill health, Ms. Smith says she isn't leaving of her own accord. Rather, she was told several weeks ago that 'The Bev Smith Show' would no longer be offered to radio stations by American Urban Radio Networks, a Pittsburgh-based media company that produces news, entertainment, sports and information programming for urban radio audiences."
According to numbers supplied by Jerry Lopes, president of program operations and affiliations at AURN, "88 percent of Ms. Smith's audience on New York's WWRL-AM is over 5, and 53 percent is over 65. At WVON-AM in Chicago, 86 percent of her audience is over 65 and at WAOK-AM in Atlanta, 62 percent are over 65."
A study by Univision intended to help marketers connect with bilingual Hispanics concludes, "Acculturation is not a linear journey. It is an ongoing and ever-changing process with no particular end-point; Hispanics don't necessarily want to reach a 'fully assimilated destination.'"
"As such, Univision suggests using the word 'acculturating' instead," the company said Monday in unveiling the findings of an "ethnographic video research study."
"Every Hispanic, from a new immigrant to a fourth generation Latino, is on his or her own personal path. As shown in the first-hand video accounts, young bilingual Hispanics are proud of their background, with second generation Hispanics identifying themselves by their parents' country of origin.
"Secondly, acculturation involves more than just language. Acculturation should not be confused with 'Hispanics who speak English.' Language is a large passion point in the Hispanic culture, but so is food, family, music, sports, fashion, celebrities and spirituality. According to the study, bilingual Hispanics feel these passion points are integral to their identity and therefore feel a need to preserve them. Participants revealed they view Spanish as the language of self expression and emotion; it is the language of the heart. Young Hispanics also realize the value of being bilingual in the workplace and in passing down the language to their children.
"The third key to understanding acculturation is that it's additive not subtractive. Hispanics are incorporating American values, aspirations, traditions, holidays, foods and music and layering these on top of their Hispanic culture. In the ethnographic study, young bilinguals revealed they think this makes them more interesting. The study also revealed that Hispanics often switch between languages freely and unconsciously. Being bicultural allows them to experience the best of both worlds. This represents their 'cultural duality.' "
"Finally, bilingual Hispanics' cultural duality creates an appetite for all things Hispanic. More than Spanish fluency and more than English fluency, cultural fluency is what resonates with bilingual Hispanics. They are drawn to media and marketing messages that accurately and fully reflect their Hispanic-American lives."
"For 3½ years Buffalo News veteran sports writer Allen Wilson managed chronic leukemia with medication before the deadly disease struck back hard in July of this year," Rodney McKissic, fellow Buffalo News sportswriter, has written to colleagues.
"Allen spent 66 days at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo including several weeks in the intense care unit where he fought for his life. By the grace of God and through the loving support of his family and friends, Allen is now resting comfortably at home while he awaits a bone marrow transplant.
"To help Allen's fight, we're hosting a benefit called Football Night in Buffalo at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at Ilio DiPaulo's Restaurant and Ringside Lounge at 3785 South Park Avenue in Blasdell, NY. Tickets are $30 for a family style Italian dinner and a variety of memorabilia for raffle and silent auction will be available. For those who would like tickets or to make a donation please contact email@example.com or call 716-704-4475 for more information."
* Gary E. Knell, longtime president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, will become president and CEO of NPR, Board of Directors Chairman Dave Edwards announced on Sunday. "Knell, 57, said he hopes to 'calm the waters' at NPR after a rocky year in which the institution lost several top executives and faced renewed challenges to its funding," NPR's David Folkenflik reported on Monday.
* " 'First Lady Michelle Obama shopping at Target with an AP photographer in tow …. planned? I think so,' tweeted Fox News and syndicated radio host Sean Hannity," Paul Farhi wrote Monday in the Washington Post. ". . . almost as soon as the pictures hit televisions, newspapers and Web sites, the Obamas' critics were raising suspicions, suggesting the trip was a calculated attempt to deflect criticism of the first lady's more expensive tastes in vacations and wardrobe."
* Doris Truong, national president of the Asian American Journalists Association, and Sharon Chan, immediate past president, announced on the Unity '12 convention Facebook page Sunday that they had voted as board members of Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc., to admit the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. Unity President Joanna Hernandez said it would be up to board members to disclose their votes if they wished. Michael R. Triplett, an NLGJA member, wrote that the late LeRoy Aarons, founder of NLGJA and co-founder of the Maynard Institute, is smiling at the development.
* The Huffington Post Media Group announced Monday it was launching four sites this week: "today, Huff/Post50, with Rita Wilson as editor-at-large; HuffPost Gay Voices; and HuffPost Weddings; tomorrow, HuffPost High School." Wilson is an actress, producer and writer.
* Gregg Miller, who led the art department at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he worked for almost 20 years, has died at 57, Susan Abram wrote Monday in the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times.
* "The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and other defendants have settled with 'Democracy Now!' journalists who sued over their arrests while they were covering the 2008 Republican National Convention," Brady Gervais reported Monday for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "As part of the settlement, the cities and the U.S. Secret Service will pay out $100,000, according to Anjana Samant, a Center for Constitutional Rights attorney who represented journalists Amy Goodman, Nicole Salazar and Sharif Abdel Kouddous. . . . The St. Paul Police Department will also create a training policy to deal with the media while they're covering public demonstrations."
* Five media leaders, two news organizations and a public relations expert were to be honored Monday with the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. They are Margaret Wolf Freivogel, founding editor, the St. Louis Beacon; "Frontline," the nation's longest-running investigative TV documentary series; Mario R. Garcia, a designer for multiplatform news presentation; David Granger, editor-in-chief, Esquire magazine; Robert S. Leaf, international public relations counselor; Danny Lyon, a photographer, filmmaker and writer; Mark Russell, editor of the Orlando Sentinel; and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the largest national quality daily newspaper in Germany, according to the school.
* Politi-Fact, the fact-checking operation owned by the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, finds that by category, "pundits and talk show hosts get more False and Pants on Fire ratings — and fewer Trues — than the overall totals." Health care and the environment prompted more untruths than other subjects.
* Mark Melvin, a white inmate who is serving a life sentence at Kilby Correctional Facility outside of Montgomery, Ala., filed suit in federal court against the prison's officials and the state commissioner of corrections, claiming they kept him from reading "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II." The author is Douglas A. Blackmon, senior national correspondent at the Wall Street Journal. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2009, Campbell Robertson wrote last week for the New York Times.
* Nick Valencia, CNN national news desk editor, former head of the CNN Spanish Desk and third-generation Mexican-American, wrote a first-person story for the CNN website, "My encounter with anti-Latino racism." Valencia is also president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
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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.