President Obama Says Black Lives Matter 'Raises Legitimate Issue'

President Obama says of the anger voiced by Black Lives Matter over policing and incarceration, "'The African American community is not just making this up…It’s real and there’s a history behind it."
Yahoo! News Screenshot
President Obama says of the anger voiced by Black Lives Matter over policing and incarceration, "'The African American community is not just making this up…It’s real and there’s a history behind it."
Yahoo! News Screenshot

Group "Raises Legitimate Issue," President Says at Forum

In contrast to Fox News commentators who this week compared the Black Lives Matter movement to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, President Obama said Thursday that the movement "had given voice to the anger and discontent over policing and incarceration that has long been a fact of life in the black community," Maurice Chammah reported for the Marshall Project.

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". . . The president delivered often passionate comments on the future of the nation’s justice system during an hourlong panel discussion in Washington with Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh.

"The panel was hosted by The Marshall Project, moderated by its editor-in-chief, Bill Keller, and streamed live by Yahoo News. It took place before a group of law enforcement leaders who have publicly backed efforts to reduce the nation's prison population and argue that this can be done without jeopardizing public safety.

"The president warned against losing 'the moment' — the current bipartisan momentum for criminal justice reform — and urged the group of law enforcement leaders gathered to utilize current efforts to reduce punishments for low-level offenders, most of them charged with drug crimes, to pave the way for broader change. . . ."

From the transcript:

THE PRESIDENT: And because it's my house, I’m going to take one last — I want to drive home one point, and that is the relationship between race and the criminal justice system, because this is where sometimes politics intrudes.

"Black Lives Matter" is a social media movement that had tried to gel around Ferguson and the Eric [Garner] case and some other cases that came up. And very rapidly, it was posited as being in opposition to the police. And sometimes, like any of these loose organizations, some people pop off and say dumb things. And on the other hand, though, it started being lifted up as these folks are opposed to police and they're opposed to cops, and all lives matter. So the notion was somehow saying black lives matter was reverse racism, or suggesting that other people's lives didn't matter, police officers' lives didn’t matter.

And whenever we get bogged down in that kind of discussion, we know where that goes. That's just down the old track. So let me just suggest this. I think everybody understands all lives matter. Everybody wants strong, effective law enforcement. Everybody wants their kids to be safe when they're walking to school. Nobody wants to see police officers, who are doing their job fairly, hurt. Everybody understands it's a dangerous job.

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I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase "Black lives matter" was not because they said they were suggesting nobody else's lives matter; rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that's not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we've got to address.

I forget which French writer said there was a law that was passed that really was equal because both rich and poor were forbidden from stealing loaves of bread and sleeping under the bridge. That's not a good definition of equality.

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There is a specific concern as to whether African Americans are sometimes not treated in particular jurisdictions fairly or subject to excessive force more frequently.

I think it's important for those who are concerned about that to back it up with data, not anecdote; to not paint with a broad brush; to understand the overwhelming majority of law enforcement is doing the right thing and wants to do the right thing; to recognize that police officers have a really tough job and we're sending them into really tough neighborhoods that sometimes are really dangerous, and they've got to make split-second decisions. And so we shouldn't be too sanctimonious about situations that sometimes can be ambiguous.

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But having said all that, we as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously. And one of the ways of avoiding the politics of this and losing the moment is everybody just stepping back for a second and understanding that the African American community is not just making this up, and it's not just something being politicized; it's real and there's a history behind it. And we have to take it seriously.

And it's incumbent then on the activist to also take seriously the tough job that police have. And that's one of the things that the post-Ferguson task force did. We had activists who were marching in Ferguson with police chiefs and law enforcement, sitting down and figuring this stuff out.

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And just assuming good faith in other people — going to the issue of people being cynical — I think is important. I've rarely gotten much accomplished assuming the worst in other people. Usually it works better if I assume the best. So I just wanted to make that point.

MR. KELLER: Thank you. I guess I'm here as the representative of the cynical profession.

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THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you are. Absolutely. (Laughter.)

MR. KELLER: But I would just like to say there are a few issues I feel less cynical about. I do worry — I share the worry you have that this evaporates because of short attention spans. And I guess it's on us in the news media in part to make to make sure that that doesn’t happen. . . .

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Media Matters for America: Fox Guest Calls Out Bill O'Reilly For Equating Black Lives Matter Supporters To Nazis

Media Matters for America: Hannity Likens The Black Lives Matter Movement To The Ku Klux Klan

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Rubén Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: St. Paul won't cede its streets to violence

Randall Yip, AsAmNews: Incarceration of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Increasing at Rapid Rate

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Campaign '16 Press Corps Has Gender, Not Racial Diversity

"As an African-American female journalist shadowing Republican presidential candidates during the 2012 election cycle, Juana Summers was, at times, the only person of color in the room," Aaron Morrison reported Friday for International Business Times, which has been tackling media diversity issues.

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"But nothing crystallized her minority status more than when one of her white male press corps colleagues asked for an interview, assuming the 27-year-old Missouri native was simply a black voter captivated by a candidate's stump speech.

" 'That's what I get for not always wearing my press credentials,' she said of her time out on the campaign trail as a full-time embedded reporter for Politico. 'It's funny, but also a little sad, too.'

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"Summers is an example of strides that some U.S. news outlets have taken to elevate reporters of color and women to the highly coveted politics beat, which has for decades been predominantly white and male. But even with significantly more female journalists on the 2016 campaign trail, true racial diversity among journalists covering federal, state and local politics has not been achieved, advocates said.

"Some have said this is explained by the reality that not enough rookie reporters of color are being groomed to take on national political beats. . . ."

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Morrison also wrote, "Advocates have said media diversity matters most when candidates make statements about mass incarceration, immigration reform, the Black Lives Matter social justice movement and other topics in which race, economics and politics intersect. A more diverse group of journalists can ensure stories have needed context and that minority communities are more fairly represented, especially as voters weigh issues that can decide who wins the White House, advocates said.

He also wrote, "Cameron Barr, national editor for the Washington Post, told International Business Times that the newspaper has 37 reporters and editors who regularly cover the campaigns. Seventeen are women, and five of the women are racial minorities. A recent newsroom census showed that 31 percent of the editorial staff at the Post is nonwhite.

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" 'When we assign reporters of diverse backgrounds and experiences to the trail, we do a better job of seeing the candidates the way America sees them,' Barr said Tuesday. . . ."

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: What we gained by Biden not running for president

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Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star: Joe Biden was right to avoid presidential run in 2016

Hadas Gold, Politico: The women in the van

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: The Obama-Clinton feud lives

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Andrés Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Will next U.S. president be a hawk?

Dressing Like "Empire's" Cookie and Working at N.Y. Times

"I'm now six months into working at the Times markedly less full of anxiety and ineptitude since day one, but despite working with the kindest and most attractive people in journalism, I'm still pretty uncomfortable," Jazmine Hughes, an associate editor at the New York Times Magazine, wrote Thursday for Cosmopolitan.

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She described working at the Times Magazine for a week dressed like the "Cookie" character on television's "Empire," last season's runaway prime-time soap opera hit.

"I love my job, but there are still days where I'm convinced I don't belong, racked by the fear that someone is going to find me out and show me the door. This is called impostor syndrome, which I know a lot about (I've even written about it): a state in which a person isn't able to accept their accomplishments, chalking it up to luck or a mistake," Hughes wrote.

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"But what I like to think I have is an enhanced impostor syndrome: a state in which a person goes, 'No, I know about impostor syndrome, I've actually read the entire Wikipedia page, but this definitely isn't it, I actually am completely incompetent.' (But that's just … impostor syndrome.) Either way, I figured: Hey, if Cookie can regain the space she'd lost, then maybe I can carve some space out for myself.

"Dressing in Cookie's finest was a departure from my usual garb, what I like to call 'background actress in a nonspecific media setting' — Warby Parkers, a blazer, T- shirt, skinny jeans, Converse.

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"I brought a pile of clothes home from Cosmopolitan.com HQ on a Friday night after warning my desk mate about my imminent new look. I began my Monday commute in piles of jewelry, a leopard print skirt, and leather shirt. People were mostly unimpressed by me on the train, but I was impressed by every woman who's ever gotten through an entire day in giant heels. My entire life flashed by, sad and pimply, through my 40 bar-holding minutes standing in platforms.

"I stumbled to my desk. My coworkers noticed my new look immediately: tuts of approval, questions about where I bought everything. But on the second day, when I arrived in the leopard-print dress, bag, and precariously cocked hat, I had to come clean: I was doing this for an article. None of the clothes were mine. . . ."

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Mark Rochester Named Top Editor in Rock Hill, S.C.

Mark Rochester has been named The Herald's new editor, succeeding Paul Osmundson, who rejoined The (Columbia) State in August," the  Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., reported on Thursday.

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"Rochester, 51, had been deputy managing editor at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, overseeing digital strategy and content, as well as investigations.

"Previously, he was assistant bureau chief for the Associated Press in San Francisco, covering California, Nevada and Hawaii; and held senior management positions at The Denver Post, Newsday and The Indianapolis Star. He also worked as a reporter at several newspapers.

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"Rochester, a native of Indianapolis who attended nearby Indiana University, served on the National Board of Directors of Investigative Reporters & Editors and is currently on the National Advisory Board of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington, D.C. . . ."

Rochester's appointment brings to 10 the number of African American top editors at daily newspapers, according to Don Hudson, executive editor of the Decatur (Ala.) Daily, who maintains a tally for the National Association of Black Journalists.

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The others are Kevin Aldridge, editor of the Journal-News in Hamilton, Ohio, and Middletown (Ohio) Journal of Cox Media Group; Dean Baquet, executive editor, the New York Times; Michael Days, editor, Philadelphia Daily News; Avido Khahaifa, editor and senior vice president-content, Orlando Sentinel; Sherrie Marshall, executive editor, Telegraph Media Group, Macon, Ga.; John X. Miller, managing editor, Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal; Gregory Moore, editor, Denver Post; and Hollis Towns, editor and vice president, Asbury Park Press, Neptune, N.J.

The Herald is owned by the McClatchy Co. and reports a circulation of 24,147 daily and 27,419 Sunday.

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NPR Adds a Black Male Voice to "All Things Considered"

Dwane Brown, an African American anchor of "Evening Edition," a nightly TV program on KPBS-TV in San Diego, Calif., has been named  anchor of the bottom-of-the-hour "All Things Considered" newscasts on NPR, the network announced on Thursday.

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NPR said he was chosen from more than 100 candidates.

"Beginning on Monday, January 25th, 2016, with Dwane at the microphone, we will be debuting the first regular NPR newscasts from NPR West in Culver City, California. These bottom-of-the-hour, ATC newscasts will continue to be produced from Washington," Robert Garcia, NPR newscast executive producer, said in a note to the staff.

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"This move also strengthens our editorial and news gathering processes as Dwane is an excellent reporter and in case of major breaking West Coast news, can serve in that capacity as well. . . ."

Garcia also wrote, "An NPR West Newscast presence during ATC will give new life to the broadcasts at a time the West Coast is still up and thriving while the East Coast is beginning to wind down for the day. Having a long-term California resident, like Dwane, who is familiar with the culture, lifestyle, news, geography and history of the region is invaluable and will make a great compliment to Kelly McEver's West Coast hosting and reporting presence on ATC. . . ."

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NPR devoted considerable airtime in January to discussions about whether public radio sounds "too white." Recent CEOs at the network have said they wanted broadcasts that "sound like America." At the same time, black male voices remained noticeably absent from high-profile host and anchor chairs.

Garcia wrote about Brown: "He's been in the news business for over 25 years. He started at KPBS Radio in the early 90's as a news anchor and reporter. He left for New York to work for CBS Radio (network) and Television (WCBS-TV). He moved to San Francisco where he worked for both KCBS and KGO Radio. He returned to KPBS Radio in 2005, where he would spend nearly all of the next 7 years as local Morning Edition host. For five years during that stretch, from 2006 to 2010, the San Diego Press Club named Dwane Best Morning Newscaster in San Diego Radio. In 2006, the Society of Professional Journalists also named him Best Morning Newscaster.

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"About four years ago, Dwane went primarily to the television side of KPBS where he's been anchoring Evening Edition, a nightly TV program providing an in-depth look at issues and stories important to California and the nation. Throughout this latest job, Dwane has continued to report on individual stories for TV, Radio and the Web. . . ."

Teddy Wayne, New York Times: 'NPR Voice' Has Taken Over the Airwaves

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NAHJ Meets in Mexico City, Miles From Hurricane

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists held a regional conference Friday in Mexico City before Hurricane Patricia roared onshore in southwestern Mexico as a monster Category 5 storm, the strongest ever in the Western Hemisphere. 

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The association was expecting 110 to 125 people, according to Executive Director Alberto Mendoza.

"Luckily Mexico City is about 200 miles away" from the storm, Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ president, messaged Journal-isms Friday evening. "Conference just wrapped up with great success. We had about a dozen Mexican journalists that had to rush off early to cover the hurricane.  David Garcia from Reuters is there now."

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Robert Montemayor Dies, on Pulitzer-Winning L.A. Team

By Jesus Rangel

Robert Montemayor, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, media executive, author and educator, died Thursday at 62. He had suffered from cancer and had recently moved back to his hometown of Lubbock, Texas, from Bloomfield, N.J.

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Born in Tahoka, Texas, he started his journalism career as a feature and news writer for the Dallas Times Herald and then the Los Angeles Times, where he was a member of a team that won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for meritorious public service.

"His outstanding reporting and writing on the Latino series helped us win,” said Frank O. Sotomayor, series co-editor. "He co-wrote an insightful Mexican American roots story, and investigated and documented why many Latinos were faring poorly in education. He also profiled the diverse Mexican American community of San Diego."

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Montemayor was nominated for a second Pulitzer Prize, for international reporting, and won several state and local writing awards, including an induction into the Texas Tech University Hall of Fame. His passion for journalism led him to write on everything from politics to business, Latino issues and sports.

He served on the board of directors of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and became a journalism professor and director of the Latino Information Network at Rutgers University.

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Visitation and rosary will begin in Lubbock at 5 p.m. Sunday at Guajardo Funeral Home. A funeral mass will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at San Ramon Catholic Church there.

Complete obituary below in the Comments section.

BET Picks Non-Black Hosts for Its French Edition

"When Laure Assembé was 16, she saw Public Enemy perform in Paris. That 1988 concert started a 25-year love affair with Black American culture for the French-Cameroonian woman," Kiratiana Freelon wrote Wednesday for Ebony.

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"She didn't have BET to learn about the latest hip-hop artists and Black movies. Still, she knew about the network. 'I'm from this generation who use to buy The Source, Ebony and Essence magazines to know about the culture overseas,' Assembé said. 'We didn't wait for [the] Internet to know about BET.'

"She'll get a chance to see the network when it debuts in France on November 17. Like its American counterpart, it will be light on music and heavy on television shows. But one thing it won't have are French versions of Bow Wow, Big Tigger, Free or AJ Calloway.

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"That's because when BET chose its first hosts for its French broadcasts, it apparently overlooked the 'Black' in Black Entertainment Television. The first two announced hosts, Hedia Hinges and Raphael Yem, come from MTV and are of Arab and Asian heritage. . . ." 

Freelon also wrote, "Debra Lee, chief executive officer of the network which was sold to Viacom in 2001 by founder Robert Johnson, countered the frustration with a tweet promising there would be Black hosts. . . ."

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That Should Be *Mari* Negro

The Eagle Herald in Marinette, Wis., ran the headline "Negro hired as city assessor" Thursday, referring to Mari Negro, a candidate for Menominee city assessor, Jim Romenesko wrote on his media blog.

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Rubio: Don't Like Trump on "SNL"? Don't Watch

"While Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have been engaged in a war of words in recent weeks, the Florida senator took time earlier this week to defend his Republican presidential rival over the controversy surrounding his hosting gig on 'Saturday Night Live,'" Fox News Latino reported on Thursday.

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"Rubio said that while he doesn't always agree with the real estate mogul, he thinks the calls to have him removed as a host on the long-running sketch comedy show is excessive.

" 'It's a free country,' Rubio said on Fox News' 'Your World' with Neil Cavuto on Wednesday. 'I don't agree with everything that Donald Trump says, I don't agree with everything the other side says, either. But if you don't like it, don't watch the show.'

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"Rubio added: 'It's on at 11:35 on Saturday nights and there are plenty of other things you can watch, or you can just go to bed early.'

"A number of Latino groups and lawmakers have called on NBC and SNL creator Lorne Michaels to remove the boisterous candidate from the hosting gig. . . ."

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Two polls this week found Trump trailing Ben Carson in Iowa, site of the first contest in the 2016 race, Ben White reported Friday for CNBC. "The second survey, out Friday, showed Carson with a solid 9-point lead, 28 percent to 19 percent, over Trump. An earlier Quinnipiac poll showed Carson leading Trump in Iowa by 8 points. . . ."

Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Republicans Unable to Govern, Unfit to Lead

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Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The fool's errand of trying to trump Trump

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Donald Trump on 'Saturday Night Live'? Presidential race is already a joke

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Tampa Bay Times Praises Vote to Remove Confederate Flag

"Florida senators wisely voted this week to remove the Confederate flag from the official Senate seal. The controversial flag is a divisive symbol that offends so many Floridians, and it should not hold a place of honor on any modern-day official insignia . . .," the Tampa Bay Times editorialized on Friday.

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The editorial also said, "The symbols represent heritage and pride for some but also are hurtful to many African-Americans. The Senate's decision respectfully acknowledges African-Americans' pain and relegates the symbols to their proper place: history."

In Helena, Mont., meanwhile, the Independent Record applauded a decision not to remove the Rocky Mountains' only Confederate monument.

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"After much discussion with government leaders, historians and the general public, however, four of the five commissioners agreed to instead install a plaque near the memorial explaining the history of the fountain and the United Daughters of the Confederacy," the paper wrote.

"The fountain won't be renamed, replaced or defaced. And it won't be accompanied by a disclaimer stating the obvious truth that the city of Helena does not condone slavery or hatred.

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"The fountain will be treated as the historical artifact that it is, and we're proud of our city commissioners for their level-headed response to this fiery issue."

At the University of Mississippi on Tuesday, student senators voted in favor of a resolution asking the university to remove the Mississippi flag, which includes the iconic blue cross and stars representing the states of the Confederacy, from campus," Eliott C. McLaughlin and Devon M. Sayers reported for CNN.

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Max Blau, Atlanta magazine: Ta-Nehisi Coates on racism, Confederate monuments, the costs of being black in America

Gene Demby, NPR "Code Switch": Making A Home In The Shadow of Confederate Symbols

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Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star: Memorial to King atop Stone Mountain would cause America to confront its history (Oct. 13)

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, "Democracy, Now!" Pacifica: Mississippi Yearning: Students Hope to Remove an Old and Odious Symbol

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Jack Hitt and Michael Mergen, New York Times Magazine: Stone-Faced Ghosts of the Confederacy (Oct. 16)

Ned Oliver, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: City plans Maggie Walker statue for Broad Street (Oct. 13)

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Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press: Rally Against Confederate Symbol On Mississippi Flag Draws Hundreds (Oct. 11)

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