The Midterms: For Older White Voters, the End of the Progressive Obama Era?

President Barack Obama
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GOP Base Still a Shrinking Portion of Electorate

"Democrats got hammered in Tuesday's election. The conventional wisdom is that this was a referendum on President Obama and a repudiation of his policies," William H. Frye, a demographer and senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, wrote Wednesday for salon.com.

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"Yet, to many, especially older white Americans, this election had a deeper meaning. It signaled a return to normal in a broader sense, and a repudiation of a younger, more progressive America and, yes, one more racially diverse. To them, the Obama years are seen as a temporary blip as the nation begins to revert back to more familiar political and cultural terrain. . . ."

Frye's was one of the few analyses of Tuesday's election results that put race front and center. Race was more often deeper in most stories.

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For example, this passage was in a Washington Post story about the narrow victory by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., which was accompanied by a sharp drop in Warner's support in rural Virginia:

"Dave 'Mudcat' Saunders, a Democratic strategist who helped craft Warner's rural strategy for his gubernatorial run 13 years ago, attributed that drop to antipathy toward the president, in part racially motivated.

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" 'It breaks my heart to say it, because these are my people, but racism was a huge factor in this,' he said.

" 'I think in many areas of rural Virginia, racism is still prevalent, and they dislike Obama more than they like Mark Warner.'. . ."

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Analyzing the Maryland gubernatorial race, where the favored Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) lost a bid to become the state's first African American governor, pundit Mark Plotkin said on the "Kojo Nnamdi Show" on Washington's WAMU-FM: "In some places in Maryland — I'll just say it — I don't think they wanted an African American and they voted that way."

Frye continued, "Still, to most Democratic operatives, the Obama years are hardly an aberration, even after Tuesday. They have long seen the Obama presidency as a sea change in American politics, where growing minority populations will lead to a future of Democratic dominance.

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"Neither view is entirely correct for the near term, which will witness seesaw elections between older whites and mostly younger minorities. On Tuesday, as in earlier midterm elections, whites and those over age 45 numerically overwhelmed voters nationwide. This contrasts with the past two presidential elections, especially 2012, when the raw power of our growing racial minorities in their enthusiastic Democratic support elected the first nonwhite president.

"Longer term, the nation's minority-driven demographic transformation will make as big a mark in the first half of this century, as did the postwar baby boom in the second half of the last. New racial minorities — Hispanics, Asians and multiracial Americans — will more than double their populations in the next 40 years. Already these new minorities, as well as other non-white groups, account for over 90 percent of U.S. population growth.

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"The second part of this transformation, largely unappreciated, is the tepid growth of the nation's aging white population, which in just 10 years will begin to decline in size. White decline has already begun among younger Americans, as the rest of the white population ages. . . ."

As the Republicans swept to victory, the network most catering to that demographic saw success. "Fox News Channel was the runaway winner among the cable news networks on Tuesday," Tim Baysinger reported for Broadcasting & Cable. For the first time ever, Fox also beat the broadcast networks in the key news demographic on an election night, with 1.82 million at 10 p.m., Baysinger wrote.

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News reports were more likely to report on turnout of black and Hispanic voters than on long-range implications of witnessing a changing electorate.

Carrie Dann wrote for NBC News, "If Democrats were going to hold off a Republican tsunami, they needed their base voters to come out to the polls and pull the lever for the president's party.

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She also wrote, "This cycle, black voters made up 12 percent of the national electorate. That's compared to 11 percent in 2010 and 13 percent in 2012. Democrats particularly needed high black turnout in Southern states like Georgia and North Carolina.

"Because exit poll data isn't available for many of those states — which weren't contested in the 2008 and 2012 presidential election — it's not possible to make an apples-to-apples comparison to past presidential contests.

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"But here's one data point we do have: In North Carolina, where Democrat Kay Hagan lost her seat to Republican Thom Tillis, black voters made up 21 percent of the electorate. In 2012, that figure was 23 percent."

Dani McClain, writing in the Nation, disagreed with Dann's analysis. "One place you can't lay blame for the Democrats' trouncing last night: at the feet of black voters. That demographic made up 12 percent of the vote last night, up 1 percent point from the 2010 midterms and on par with turnout in the 2008 presidential election.

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"African-Americans — the one group Democratic strategists deployed Obama to motivate — responded yet again to pleas for participation and showed up at the polls in states with hotly contested Senate races. Yes, incumbent Kay Hagan lost her Senate seat to Republican challenger Thom Tillis — a frequent target of the multiracial Moral Mondays movement — but it's not because black North Carolinians stayed home . . ."

Of Latinos, Dann wrote, "After the disappointing collapse of immigration legislation over the last 18 months, Latino turnout didn't look as rosy for Democrats as it had in past cycles. Latinos made up eight percent of voters in 2014, compared to 10 percent in 2012. In the presidential year, Latinos chose Obama over Romney by a whopping 44 percentage points. This cycle, they picked Democrats by a margin of 28 percent.

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"In Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott eked out a surprise re-election win, Latinos only made up 13 percent of the electorate, compared to 17 percent in the presidential election in 2012.

"Exit poll data isn't available for another contested state with a high percentage of Latinos: Colorado, an all-mail ballot state."

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Cornell Belcher with Roland Martin on "The Tom Joyner Morning Show" (audio)

Esther Breger, New Republic: Fusion's Election Night Coverage Was Like 'The Daily Show' For People Who Think Politics Don't Matter

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Dylan Byers, Politico: Fox News accused of breaking exit poll rules

Connie Cass and Emily Swanson, Associated Press: Exit poll: Nation in a funk turns to Republicans

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James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Where does President Barack Obama rank?

Jonathan Chait, New York: In Defense of Black Voters

Nicole L. Cvetnic, The Root: Watch: Polls Aren’t the Only Numbers That Tell the Obama Story (video)

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Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Are your friendships more important than your politics? 

Debbie Elliott, NPR: Election Day Was Harsh For Senate's Southern Democrats [Nov. 6]

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Erick Erickson, redstate.com: Two States Where Black Voters Helped the GOP

Fox News Latino: Five new faces bring number of Latinos on Capitol Hill to 32

Lili Gil, Fox News Latino: Opinion: Midterm election record-breaking spending falls short in reaching Hispanics

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Juan Gonzalez, Daily News, New York: Andrew Cuomo may be the winner, but even his supporters are not all celebrating

William Greider, the Nation: Why Threats Against Obama Speak Volumes on Race in America (Oct. 6)

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The Grio: Black Republicans make history

Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: ABC Campaign Coverage — or GOP Campaign Commercial?

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Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post: Can Democrats hit their magic numbers among black and white voters in the South?

Julianne Hing, ColorLines: Latino, Immigration Groups Demand Reform After GOP’s Sweeping Wins

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Howard University Election Project coverage

Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: Disunity dogged Dallas County Democrats this election season

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Allen Johnson, Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record: Fearless forecasts: Would you believe Hagan wins and sales tax passes?

Peniel E. Joseph, The Root: 2014 Midterms: Running Away From Obama Is What Cost Democrats

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Andrew Kirell, Mediaite: Rangel to CNN: Southern GOP Still Believes in Slavery, Wins Through Racism

Paige Lavender, HuffPost BlackVoices: 'F**k It, I Quit' Reporter Celebrates Alaska Marijuana Legalization

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David A. Love, the Grio: What last night’s election results mean for Obama’s final 2 years

Evan McMurry, Mediaite: Mia Love Argues with CNN Hosts: 'I Wasn’t Elected' Because of My Race or Gender

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NBC News: Exit poll

Darryl Pinckney, New York Times: Election 2014: Should Black Voters Keep Their Faith in Obama?

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Paul Rosenberg, Salon.com: It is all still about race: Obama hatred, the South and the truth about GOP wins

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Folks in Kansas and Missouri go the extra mile to boost voter turnout

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Goldie Taylor, Daily Beast: How the Lame Democrats Blew It

Erik Wemple, Washington Post: How lefty commentators handled pre-election midterm bad news

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Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Carney serves faithfully as Obama voice on CNN

Landslide Thwarts Paul DeMain's Bid for Wis. Senate

Paul DeMain, CEO of Indian Country Communications and past president of the Native American Journalists Association and of Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc., lost his bid for a Wisconsin state Senate seat Tuesday. His opponent, Republican incumbent state Sen. Jerry Petrowski, won in a landslide, the Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald reported.

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With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Petrowski had 68 percent of the vote to DeMain's 32 percent.

"I look forward to picking up where we left off," Petrowski said, Keith Uhlig reported in the Daily Herald. "The 29th District is very diverse. I've worked on a lot of issues as senator. There's a lot of tourism, timber and forestry in the northern part of the district, and there’s a lot of dairy and manufacturing in Marathon and Clark counties. Our focus is going to be jobs."

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No Native American tribal members serve in the state Senate. DeMain, 59, entered the race in opposition to the easing of iron-ore mining regulations. His top campaign priority "was to raise the minimum wage, and he endorsed the idea of offering incentives to small businesses to address job shortages. The state should 'focus on the little people in our communities,' DeMain said in a debate with Petrowski on Oct. 28," Uhlig reported.

The Gannett Central Wisconsin Media Editorial Board endorsed Petrowski on Oct. 23, saying DeMain "cuts an impressive figure. He built Indian Country Communications, a media firm, into a national leader among independent voices reporting on issues affecting Native American nations and communities. His experience in business and in communications is formidable, and as a former member of Gov. Tony Earl's administration, he can add political experience, too.

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"DeMain got involved in this race largely out of a sense of outrage at the state's handling of mining legislation, and many of his critiques on that score are correct. He would add an important voice to state government, and he is a strong candidate.

"But DeMain also happens to have a very strong opponent. . . ."

DeMain, a member of the Lac Courte Orteilles Tribe, told Facebook followers, "I appreciate the fact that almost 24,000 people were willing to cast a vote on my behalf and especially to those who dedicated a lot of time and investment equity in support of my candidacy. I am proud of the campaign we ran which was positive and issue orientated, though my opponent, an incumbent with over 16 years in the political arena won the election with 66% of the vote."

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"I congratulate him on his win.

"It was certainly a rough night for Democrats in Wisconsin and nationally. We will all be taking some time to understand the message that was sent, and how it fits into the principles and issues that the Democratic Party represents so we can continue to move forward into the future."

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indianz.com: Native vote fails to make a dent in Senate race in South Dakota

From Hopis to Gullahs, Low-Power Radio Coming Soon

"Prometheus supported more than 1,000 groups who applied for a low power FM license in 2013," the Prometheus Radio Project announced on its website. "In January, the FCC began awarding construction permits and within 18 months hundreds of new radio stations will be on air. Here are some of the Prometheus supported groups that are working to build their very own community radio station.

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"The Big Pine Paiute Tribe — Big Pine, California

"Residing in Big Pine, California, the Big Pine Paiute Tribe is a federally recognized tribe with its own programs related to education, environmental protection, economic justice, and cultural preservation. A tribal radio station would not only disseminate tribal news, but also facilitate the preservation of the tribe's linguistic and cultural traditions. Read the full [profile] …

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"Fort Hood Support Network — Fort Hood, Texas

"Since the Vietnam War, Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the world, has been a hub for anti-war activity. In that era, the cafe called The Oleo Strut organized anti-war activists, including GIs. This activist tradition lives on at Under the Hood Cafe, operated by the Fort Hood Support Network, which organizes GIs and veterans and provides them with [counseling], information on their rights, and cultural programming. . . .

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"The Gullah People’s Movement — Beaufort, South Carolina

"The Gullah People's Movement seeks to empower the Gullah-Geechee nation spread throughout South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. By spotlighting news 'written by, about and for the Black community,' Lowcountry Community Radio will make sure the Gullah community is vibrant for years to come. Read the full profile…

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"The Hopi Foundation — Kykotsmovie, Arizona

"Founded in 1987, the Hopi Foundation lives up to its motto 'Strengthening Communities through Collaborative Action.' Based in the 12,000 strong Hopi community of northeastern Arizona, the foundation promotes community involvement, self-sufficiency, and traditional values. To this end, the group has reclaimed stolen sacred objects, electrified villages using solar power, published books in the Hopi language, and worked to preserve traditional Hopi architecture. . . .

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"La Casa de La Raza — Santa Barbara, California

"Located on the Eastside of Santa Barbara, La Casa de La Raza strives to empower the Latino community by providing vital services and fostering community expression. In both California and the United as a whole, however, the empowerment of Latino community is undermined by negative images in the media. Read the full profile…

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"Main Street Project — Minneapolis, Minnesota

"Within the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, there [exist] twin neighborhoods – Frogtown and Phillips, both of which serve as gateways and as homes to recent immigrants and refugees.Though these two Twin Cities communities are separated by the Mississippi River, they mirror each other in many aspects. Working diligently within these two culturally rich neighborhoods for the past eight years has been the Main Street Project. Read the full profile…

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"Radio NOLA HIV — New Orleans, Louisiana

"For Radio NOLA HIV, who hope to become WHIV-LP, saying the name of the station is a part of the mission. 'HIV is, unfortunately, still a highly stigmatized disease. … 'But by just saying the word, or calling out the letters over and over again, WHIV, or HIV… it becomes destigmatized,' says MarkAlain Dery, assistant professor of [clinical] medicine at Tulane University and medical director of a sliding scale HIV clinic. Read the full profile…

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"VAYLA — New Orleans

"VAYLA is a community organization spearheaded by young leaders and students fighting for environmental justice as well as educational and health equity in New Orleans. The organization was born out of the successful campaign led by members of the mostly African American and Vietnamese American Village de l'Est neighborhood to stop the city’s dumping of toxic debris left over from Hurricane Katrina in a nearby landfill. Read the full profile…"

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Jill Abramson Says Alessandra Stanley Has Tough Job

Alessandra Stanley, the New York Times television critic whose string of errors once led the Times to assign her a special fact-checker, is in the circle of close friends in journalism around Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the Times.

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At last weekend's Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS), when columnist Mary C. Curtis asked Abramson about September's furor over Stanley's labeling of television producer Shonda Rhimes an "angry black woman," Abramson said she had to "push back."

"I would also like to push back a little bit on the Alessandra Stanley thing for just a minute," Abramson said. "Obviously I am well aware what she wrote, the phrase 'angry black woman' in an otherwise quite positive piece about Shonda Rhimes and the TV show she's created that, you know (sighs), Alessandra has been a female TV critic for a long time and all of the critics, but especially the women critics at the Times, face a hail of bullets constantly.

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"And, okay, one review she wrote might have a regrettable or 'tone deaf' phrase in it, but you try doing that job! It is tough to be a culture critic at the New York Times, and it's tough to be a woman in that job…and over time I think Alessandra has become one of the most engaging critics in journalism today."

On racial diversity, Abramson said she chose Dean Baquet, who is African American and now executive editor, as her managing editor. She also said retention was a problem, citing Lynette Clemenson, who left the Times in 2007 to become founding managing editor of The Root.

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Mathew Ingram, gigaom.com: The numbers behind Jill Abramson and Steven Brill's new media venture don't add up

Chang Named "Print Editor" for N.Y. Times Metro Section

"Dean Chang, who serves as city editor for the New York Times, has been appointed to the new position of 'print editor' for the metro section," Jeremy Barr reported Wednesday for capitalnewyork.com.

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"In his new role, Chang will be responsible for planning, coordinating and executing metro's daily print section," section editor Wendell Jamieson announced in a memo to staff.

"Chang previously oversaw the metro section's coverage of crime and courts, as well as its much talked-about 'sin' beat." Chang once worked as an editor at the Daily News in New York.

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On Monday, The Times appointed four staffers to serve as "digital deputies," assigned to strengthen the paper's digital arm and improve efforts across platforms.

New Assignments for 4 of Color in NPR Newsroom

NPR has reassigned four journalists of color, according to an internal staff memo circulated last week: Sam Sanders, Juana Summers, Hansi Lo Wang and Elise Hu. Hu's promotion was previously reported.

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From the memo:

"Elise Hu — Seoul Reporter:

"The International desk is pleased to announce that Elise Hu will become our Seoul based reporter starting in the new year. Elise will bring a rare combination of radio and digital reporting to this job. She will bring her knowledge of tech reporting to a beat that will be a mix of geopolitical, lifestyle, tech, and business reporting. A bureau in Seoul will expand our commitment to covering Asia where two-thirds of the world's population is expected to live by 2025. . . .

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"Sam Sanders — Newsdesk Reporter NPRW

Sam Sanders will be joining the NewsDesk as a general assignment reporter. Sam will be reporting, writing and blogging stories Sundays through Thursday out of NPRW [NPR West]. This is a natural fit for Sam, who has developed his producing, writing and reporting skills over the past few years at NPR in a variety of roles, starting as a Kroc Fellow. As a producer, Sam has been sent out on breaking news stories – from Ferguson to Dallas to cover the Ebola outbreak. He also traveled to Sochi, Russia as part of NPR's 'Winter Olympics Games' team and reported his own stories (breaking and features) along the way. A 'digital native', Sam has sought to take the material he's worked with on any story and produce creative treatments for our growing series of platforms.

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"Juana Summers — Congressional reporter

"Here's what you may not know about Juana. She cut her chops on the national political stage as a Politico campaign embed in 2012. When she returned from the campaign trail, she asked for an assignment that allowed her to develop some policy chops. She quickly morphed into a defense reporter before joining our Ed Team. Juana has also been a regular guest host on [C-SPAN's] Washington Journal and a member of the Board of Directors of the Online News Association. Juana got her start at member station KBIA in Columbia Missouri, where she launched the station's first blog and podcast covering politics and state government and helped produce the station's 2008 election night live show.

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"Hansi Lo Wang — NY Reporter

"Hansi Lo Wang will join the National Desk as a NY reporter. For nearly two years he has covered race, ethnicity and culture as part of the Code Switch team. Since joining NPR as a Kroc Fellow in 2010 Hansi has made his mark including winning the AAJA's [Asian American Journalists Association's] National Journalism award for his story on a Boston Chinatown crime boss. His coverage of breaking news including the tornado in Moore, OK; the trial of George Zimmerman and the Washington Navy Yard shooting well prepares him for his new assignment in NY."

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Amazon Managers 75 Percent White, 18 Percent Asian

"Amazon, like most tech companies, is staffed and run mostly by white males," David Streitfeld reported Friday for the New York Times.

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"The Seattle company disclosed on Friday in a lengthy page on its website titled 'Diversity at Amazon' that its global work force is 63 percent male and 37 percent female. Its managers are 75 percent male and 25 percent female.

"In the United States, Amazon's work force is 60 percent white, 15 percent black, 13 percent Asian and 9 percent Hispanic. Its managers are 75 percent white and 18 percent Asian. Black, Hispanic and 'other' more or less equally split the rest. . . ."

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Jay Greene, Seattle Times: Jesse Jackson says Amazon diversity data reflect 'white male supremacy'

Apology for Lack of White Men in Catcalling Video

"Hollaback, which disseminated last week's video on catcalling in New York City, apologized Tuesday for the suspicious lack of white men shown in the video," Evan McMurry reported Wednesday for Mediaite.

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"Racial, gender, and class politics is a core part of our work," Hollabeck director Emily May wrote on the organization's website. "While we did not create this video, we did allow our name to be used at the end of it. We agree wholeheartedly that the video should have done a better job of representing our understanding of street harassment and we take full responsibility for that. I'm deeply sorry."

"The video showed an actress walking the streets of New York and experiencing sustained catcalls and harassment, including being followed by one man for over five minutes. The video racked up 32 million views, but came under quick scrutiny for featuring mostly men of color. . . ."

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Kat Chow, NPR "Code Switch": Video Calls Out Catcallers, But Cuts Out White Men

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Catcalls video shows males' ugly side

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: 'Catcalling' insulting, and certainly no compliment

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Short Takes

"An upcoming film by director Stanley Nelson will explore the history and impact of the Black Panthers, released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the controversial civil rights group's founding," Teta Alim reported Tuesday for Current.org. "Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution will be released in February 2016 as the first installment of Nelson's America Revisited, a three-part series about pivotal moments in African-American history. The original Black Panther Party formed in 1966 to monitor police brutality against the black community. . . ."

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Broadcaster Ed Gordon taped a pilot for "New View," an hourlong political talk show on Friday at Howard University's WHUT-TV in Washington. "New View" is slated to debut as a monthly in hopes of becoming a syndicated weekly offering to other PBS stations, according to General Manager Jefferi K. Lee. Author Sophia Angeli Nelson, and this columnist participated, along with pollster Cornell Belcher; Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorofChange.org; Brittney Cooper, who teaches women's and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University; and The pilot aired on Sunday. (video).

The wake for Jonathan P. Hicks, the former New York Times reporter who died Monday at 58, will be held Friday, Nov. 14, at Bethany Baptist Church, 460 Marcus Garvey Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11216, Elinor Tatum, publisher and editor in chief of the New York Amsterdam News, announced Thursday. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. A Kappa Alpha Psi service will begin at 7 p.m. and the wake proper at 7:30. Funeral services are scheduled for Nov. 15 at Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 Odell Clark Pl., New York, NY 10030. The final viewing begins at 9 a.m. and the Celebration of Life service at 10 a.m. The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III is to officiate at the service and deliver the eulogy. [Added Nov. 6]

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"More sad news from the startups-covering-local-crime world. Yesterday, it was Philadelphia's GunCrisis.org that said it would stop daily reporting because of a lack of funding," Joshua Benton reported for NiemanLab. "Today, it's an even more noted outfit: Homicide Watch D.C. will close at the end of the year, according to a release from cofounder (and friend of the Lab) Laura Amico and a post on the site. . . ."

"Sports Illustrateda pretty solid source when it comes to sports — has picked out the 100 best Twitter accounts to follow," Chris O'Shea wrote Wednesday for Fishbowl NY. O'Shea wrote that Fishbowl, like Sports Illustrated, enjoyed the accounts of "J.A. Adande (ESPN); Jemele Hill (ESPN); Michael Lee (WaPo); Rachel Nichols (CNN, Turner); Dan Rafael (ESPN); Adam Schefter (ESPN); Adrian Wojnarowksi (Yahoo)."

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"NBCUniversal is tying its Spanish-language cable channel closer to the parent brand," medialifemagazine.com reported on Tuesday. "The company said Tuesday it will relaunch mun2 as NBC Universo on Feb. 1, 2015, a day before it covers the Spanish- language broadcast of the Super Bowl. . . ."

In Turkey, "Some 1,863 journalists have been fired in the 12 years of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Veli Agbaba said, while releasing a new party report on the issue," the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Wednesday. "The report, titled 'Journalists Whose Pens Are Broken,' has been printed as a book, and includes 42 media workers telling the story of their dismissals, Agbaba told reporters on Oct. 27, adding that 20 of these individuals did not even want to be named, fearing the consequences. . . ."

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"A journalist in Sierra Leone has been imprisoned after criticizing President Ernest Bai Koroma's handling of the Ebola outbreak, according to news reports and local journalists. David Tam Baryoh was arrested on Monday," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Tuesday.

"Freedom of information has made important progress in Brazil during the past 12 years under President Lula da Silva and (since 2011) his successor Dilma Rousseff, who was reelected on 26 October, winning a fourth consecutive term for the Workers' Party (PT), but much remains to be done," Reporters Without Borders reported on Wednesday. The press freedom group said the two major challenges facing the government regarding freedom of information were "journalists' safety and a skewed media landscape."

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"A Burmese freelance journalist killed in army custody may have been beaten before he died, reports say," the BBC reported on Wednesday. "Aung Naing's body was exhumed and has been sent for post mortem examination. He was shot dead in army custody on 4 October after being arrested reporting on clashes at the Thai border. . . "

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Oct. 30 that it condemned a raid by Argentine police on the offices of La Brújula 24, a radio station and news website, in which the outlet's journalistic materials were confiscated. 

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