Walmart Pulls T-Shirt Calling for Journalist Lynchings

  • Even Amazon Sold Hoodie Bearing a Threat
  • Crime Reporter in Company Car Carjacked
  • Police Not Collecting Data on Hate Crimes
  • Monica Drake Joins Masthead of N.Y. Times
  • Lilly Workneh Exits as Black Voices Editor
  • Salt Lake Paper Opposes Trump on Monuments
  • Seattle Times Protests ICE Arrest of News Source
  • Anti-Harassment Campaign at HBCUs Bubbles Up
  • Daily Beast Implicates U.S. Forces in Massacre
  • ‘Overwhelming Response’ to Ebony Power 100 Gala
  • Short Takes

The nation’s largest retailer removed from its website a T-shirt that threatens journalists after the Radio Television Digital News Association and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force wrote top company executives requesting its removal, RTDNA said on Thursday.

The shirt, featuring the words ‘Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, had been offered for sale on by a third-party seller,, which also offers on its site a coffee mug featuring the slogan. . . .”

In an update, RTDNA said, “Less than 24 hours after Walmart removed the shirt from its website,, the third-party seller that had been offering the shirt on[,] removed it from its site as well.”


Even, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, owns the Washington Post, was selling the shirts.

One day after Walmart removed a shirt bearing the words ‘Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required’ from its website, a hoodie with the same design was still available online at It was pulled around midday Friday,” Colleen Kelly reported Friday for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.


“The apparel design was listed in both places through third-party sellers that allow people to post their own designs for sale. . . .”

Not every journalist cheered the removal of the shirts.

“But why?” Cheryl K. Chumley asked Friday in the conservative Washington Times. “After all, what’s good for the First Amendment gander is good for the First Amendment goose. Private citizens, privately-run companies have just as many freedoms of speech and expression as members of the media.”


Chumley argued, “A better approach to show disgust is to take a creative path.

“That’s what editor Chris Cobler of the Victoria Advocate in Texas did. He designed shirts that read, ‘First Amendment. Journalist. Your support required,’ and distributed them among his newspaper staff. Much better; much more in line with the spirit of America.


“That’s how you fight First Amendment offensiveness — with the exercise of the First Amendment, not with the clampdown of its provisions. . . .”

Kristen Hare, Poynter Institute: Last year, in response to the ‘Tree. Rope. Journalist’ T-shirts, this editor made staff some tees of their own


Brenda Matute, KIDY, San Angelo, Texas: Walmart website sells shirt with words “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required” printed

Brandy Zadrozny, Daily Beast: The Man Behind ‘Journalist, Rope, Tree’ (Nov. 8, 2016)


Crime Reporter in Company Car Carjacked

A Chicago Tribune crime reporter was carjacked early Monday in a company car on the south side of he city, Chicago news media reported. They did not name the reporter.


Police said the 29 year-old woman was sitting inside her parked car outside of a Dunkin Donuts shop near 31st and Halsted streets when two men tapped on her driver’s side window,” Jessica D’Onofrio and Michelle Gallardo reported for WLS-TV. “They told her to get out of the car and then took off in her late model Chevy Malibu sedan.

“The carjacking happened at 2:30 a.m. across the street from the 9th District Police Station. The woman wasn’t hurt and police said the carjackers didn’t show a weapon or say they had one.


Crime watch member Tommy Alvarez in the neighborhood spoke to the 29-year-old woman after it happened.

“ ‘She told me two fellas came and told her get out of the car and she panicked and she let them take the car and came inside Dunkin Donuts but they had no weapons on them, she says, they just took the whole car,’ Alvarez said. . . . The victim left her wallet and laptop in the car. She was not injured. . . .”


The Malibu was a Tribune company car, Dan Haar, breaking news editor at the Tribune, said. The reporter was not injured, Jacob Wittich reported Monday for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jacob Wittich, Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Tribune reporter carjacked on South Side


Police Not Collecting Data on Hate Crimes

The evidence suggests that many police agencies across the country are not working very hard to count hate crimes,” Ken Schwencke wrote Monday for ProPublica. “Thousands of them opt not to participate in the FBI’s hate crime program at all. Among the 15,000 that do, some 88 percent reported they had no hate crimes. According to federal records, the Huntsville [Ala.] Police Department has never reported a hate crime.


“Local law enforcement agencies reported a total of 6,121 hate crimes in 2016 to the FBI, but estimates from the National Crime Victimization Survey, conducted by the federal government, pin the number of potential hate crimes at almost 250,000 a year — one indication of the inadequacy of the FBI’s data.

“ ‘The current statistics are a complete and utter joke,’ said Roy Austin, former deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s civil rights division. Austin also worked at the White House on data and civil rights and helped develop an open data plan for police data.


“It’s true that many hate crime cases fall away before they start because about half the victims never report them to authorities.

“But to understand why so many cases that are reported to authorities still fall through the cracks, ProPublica requested incident reports or aggregate data from more than 350 law enforcement agencies in 48 states, including the 50 largest agencies nationwide, on the bias-motivated crimes they had investigated since 2010.


“More than 280 agencies responded, but in many cases only to say they hadn’t investigated any such incidents, or had no records, or that their records were bad. When we followed up with agency public information officers, they acknowledged that investigators frequently did not mark down incidents as motivated by bias, even if there was evidence suggesting this was so — a spray-painted swastika, for example, might be classified simply as vandalism and not also as a hate crime. . . .”

Monica Drake Joins Masthead of N.Y. Times

Monica Drake

Monica Drake, travel editor at the New York Times, has been promoted to assistant managing editor, overseeing new digital features and projects, the Times announced on Tuesday. She is believed to be the first black woman to join the Times print edition masthead.

“In a note to staff, Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, and Joe Kahn, managing editor of The New York Times, said, ‘Having Monica join the masthead is a testament to the importance of her new job and our belief that the Times newsroom should play a leading role in securing our economic future, just as it did in the 1970s when a host of new sections broadened the paper’s appeal.


“But it is also a tribute to the fact that she is one of our strongest newsroom leaders and should have a voice in our discussions about hiring, promotions and coverage.’

“As a senior editor who runs the Travel section, Monica has developed several ambitious digital projects. She reimagined the annual destination list of places to go into 52 Places, a multimedia feature that created a sensation when it advertised that it was looking for a single reporter to visit every place on the list. Nine thousand people have applied for the job.


“Next month, she starts Surfacing, a cross-platform column that will focus on subcultures around the world. . . .”


Lilly Workneh Exits as Black Voices Editor

Lilly Workneh, who became editor of HuffPost Black Voices three years ago from, left abruptly on Friday. No successor has been named.


Workneh wrote Sunday on Facebook, “Some personal news. Friday was my last day leading HuffPost @blackvoices. I feel proud to have produced important & impactful work over the last 3 years in my role as senior editor. But really, I’m just so grateful for the tribe behind BV, past and present, who worked with me to build it into the powerful platform it’s become.

“We amplified marginalized black voices in a mainstream space, unapologetically unpacked issues around race and endlessly celebrated black excellence. I’m thankful for it all, emotional about leaving but also really excited about the future. Will share more soon but for now, I’m taking some time to reflect on and relish the legacy we’ve built before it’s back to prepping for big wins in 2018. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m so grateful for the readers, watchers, writers and contributors — but especially for the entire HuffPost team that helped black voices shine. Thank you.”


She messaged Journal-isms on Tuesday, “I decided to leave to take an editorial opportunity elsewhere. I’ll be sharing more news in the new year.”

Workneh was lifestyle editor at in 2014 when she was named to lead Black Voices.


Workneh’s biography described her as “a May 2012 graduate of the University of Georgia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.”

It also said, “As a multimedia journalist who has covered everything from fashion week to political protests, Lilly has the ability to discover gripping stories and convey them through compelling content. She has had the fortune of working in a number of different editorial capacities for various media organizations including People magazine, Instyle Magazine, NBC, MSNBC,, and . . .”


HuffPost BlackVoices came in second in unique-visitor totals for 2016 on a list of African American-oriented websites that Journal-isms supplied to the ComScore Inc. research company for feedback. was first.

Lydia Polgreen, editor of HuffPost, could not be reached for comment.

The view from Rock Springs Point along the west edge of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Chris Detrick/Salt Lake Tribune)

Salt Lake Paper Opposes Trump on Monuments

The Salt Lake Tribune welcomed President Trump to Utah with a headline on its editorial page asking, “Why are you shrinking our monuments, Mr. President?


On the news pages, Taylor W. Anderson, Rich Kane and Taylor Stevens reported Monday, “Before President Donald Trump even arrived in Salt Lake City, he had a crowd waiting to tell him he’d be wrong to revise the boundaries of two national monuments in southern Utah.

“Hundreds of people soon became thousands at the footsteps of the Capitol, most decrying the anticipated announcement that Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments would be drastically shrunken and broken into parts.


“Other protesters gathered at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Welfare Square, where Trump met with Mormon church leaders and toured the facility, which provides food and materials for the poor.

“And as Trump came and went, taking monument status on more than 2 million acres with him, hundreds walked the snow-laden streets to kneel on State Street and shut down traffic on one of Salt Lake City’s main downtown arteries.


“A standoff ensued with a few dozen Salt Lake City police officers equipped with shields, helmets and body armor. . . .”

The reporters also wrote, “Among the group were members of the Native American tribes that pushed for the added protection from development that comes with national monument designation.


“ ‘We are here supporting that the national monuments not be reduced or rescinded,’ said Kenneth Maryboy, a Navajo tribal member and board member of Utah Dine Bikeyah, the group that fought for the Bears Ears designation.

“ ‘I’m Navajo and my whole life my grandparents taught me to fight for the earth and honor things that are sacred, and now is my chance to honor that and protect that,’ said Steven Dunn, 32, from Orem. ‘That land is sacred to the Navajo people — it’s a place where we can go and pray and we don’t want that land to be blocked off to us and sold off to mining exploration.’ . . . ”


Writing Monday in the New York Times, Julie Turkewitz called Trump’s move the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history. She added, “The decision to reduce Bears Ears is expected to set off a legal battle that could alter the course of American land conservation, putting dozens of other monuments at risk and possibly opening millions of preserved public acres to oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and other commercial activities. . . .”

The Tribune editorial page’s open letter to Trump concluded, “Your duty, Mr. President, is to protect the natural beauty of our state. Not to put it under glass, untouchable. But to preserve it for all time. Thank you.”


Doug George-Kanentiio, President Trump is living up to his Mohawk title of ‘town destroyer’ (Nov. 28)

Gary Herbert, Deseret News, Salt Lake City: 5 myths about Bears Ears

Jesse Hyde, Deseret News, Salt Lake City: Welcome to the state of limbo: Fear and uncertainty in Bears Ears area about future of land, way of life


Seattle Times Protests ICE Arrest of News Source

Baltazar “Rosas” Aburto Gutierrez (Seattle Times)

The federal government does not seem to be following its own script when it comes to immigration enforcement,” the Seattle Times editorialized Monday.

“Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested a Pacific County man who — while violating civil immigration laws by living in the country without permission — appears to have committed no other offense except daring to speak to a newspaper reporter.


“The detention of Baltazar ‘Rosas’ Aburto Gutierrez flies in the face of ICE officials’ claims the agency is focusing enforcement on those who pose a threat to national security or public safety. By arresting Aburto Gutierrez, a 15-year Washington resident with no apparent history of crimes here, immigration agents are showing President Donald Trump’s administration lacks a coherent immigration enforcement policy.

“The arrest also looks vindictive. Aburto Gutierrez was an unnamed source in a Seattle Times article last month, recounting his longtime girlfriend’s arrest. Earlier, his nickname — not his full name — appeared in another local newspaper article about the immigration sting. He said when ICE agents came for him, they told him it was because of what he said in the newspaper. . . .”


Nina Shapiro, Seattle Times: ICE tracks down immigrant who spoke to media in SW Washington: ‘You are the one from the newspaper’


Anti-Harassment Campaign at HBCUs Bubbles Up

Inspired by recent allegations that powerful men engaged in sexual abuse, droves of women are coming forward with their own stories,” Samhita Mukhopadhyay reported Monday for the Intercept.


“Campaigns in the name of justice, such as #MeToo, are sometimes imperfect and sometimes tough to swallow — a journalist, let alone a court, may bristle at uninvestigated, unconfirmed, and anonymous allegations being made public. Nonetheless, the moment is unprecedented. Yet uncertainty and fears of backlash loom, especially for women from marginalized communities, in which a variety of circumstances can make them hesitant to come forward.

“One campaign led by young black women, however, recently cast aside these fears and went public despite the complex social history that underlies their accusations: Young women from the historically black school Spelman College decided to make known their allegations against men from their brother school, Morehouse College. And the campaign is percolating into the national media’s coverage of sexual abuse. . . .”


Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Geraldo Rivera Apologizes For Groping Bette Midler Decades Ago

DeNeen L. Brown, Washington Post: The gang rape was horrific. The NAACP sent Rosa Parks to investigate.


Colleen Hennessy, Ms. magazine: We Need Women’s Voices in Media—Beyond Their Stories About Powerful Men

Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Sex, lies and videotape: Suddenly it seems like 1991 again.


Roy S. Johnson, Roy Moore speaks at a black church, social media erupts

Alexandria Neason, Columbia Journalism Review: What we found when we asked newsrooms about sexual harassment


Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: It’s time to investigate the Sexual-Abuser-In-Chief, Donald Trump

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Will evangelical Christians ever disown Donald Trump?


Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times: The sexist boys in Springfield still don’t get it

Daily Beast Implicates U.S. Forces in Massacre

A U.S.-led military operation in Somalia on Aug. 25 “would result in the death of 10 civilians, including at least one child, and become the largest stain on U.S. ground operations in the country since the infamous Black Hawk Down incident in 1993,” Christina Goldbaum reported Nov. 29 for the Daily Beast.


“In the operation’s aftermath, hundreds of people in the nearby town [Afgooye’ flooded the city’s streets demanding justice for those killed, and survivors on the farm refused to bury their dead until the Somali government recanted its allegations that they were members [of] Al Shabaab, and offered an apology.

“The Daily Beast conducted an investigation into the Bariire operation and its aftermath, interviewing three of the operation’s survivors over the phone from Mogadishu and meeting in person with the Somali National Army Commander in charge of the Somali soldiers who assisted in the operation under the command of soldiers from U.S. Special Operations Forces.


“The Daily Beast also met in Mogadishu with over two dozen Somali intelligence officers, political analysts, local leaders, and former and current government officials familiar with the incident. Two of these individuals are also involved in an ongoing local, non-government-sponsored investigation into the incident.

“The Daily Beast also met in person with the commander of the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces whose purview under the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force includes Bariire, and who was approached by the Americans about their plan to re-capture and hold Bariire.


“The vast majority of these sources preferred to speak anonymously, either because they were not authorized to discuss the incident or because they feared possible retribution from either the Somali Federal Government or the Americans for doing so.

“The details that emerged paint a damning picture of at least one U.S. ground operation in the African nation. This includes U.S. Special Operators firing upon unarmed civilians, using human intelligence from sources widely considered untrustworthy to Somalis in the region as well as government officials, and instructing their Somali counterparts to collect weapons that were being stored inside a home — not displaced on the field in the course of the firefight — and placing them beside the bodies of those killed prior to photographing them.


“In the aftermath of the incident, according to our sources, American diplomats also pressured the Somali government to bury the unfavorable findings of a Somali Federal Government-led investigation. . . .”

‘Overwhelming Response’ to Ebony Power 100 Gala

Ebony received an “overwhelming response” to its sixth annual Ebony Power 100 gala Friday in Beverly Hills, Calif., according to Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of CVG Group, owner of the publication, but he would not define “overwhelming” or say how much was raised.


Some of the response was unexpected and no doubt unwelcome.

Larry Goldbetter, president of the National Writers Union, wrote members:”On December 1, NWU crashed the Ebony Power 100 Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The Gala is Ebony magazine’s annual award ceremony to honor the leading African-American figures in politics, culture and sports. . . . Members distributed hundreds of leaflets addressing our efforts to get 48 Ebony freelancers the $85,000 they are owed for work that was contracted, delivered and published in the magazine. In November, we had our initial status hearing in a Chicago court. Our next court date is slated for January 5. . . .”


Gibson said by email Monday, “EBONY was pleased by the overwhelming response to its sixth annual EBONY Power 100 gala hosted Friday Dec 1. The sixth EBONY Power 100 honored Robert F Smith with inaugural John H Johnson award for his business and philanthropic achievements. Rep Maxine Waters [D-Calif.] received the Icon Award and gave an empowering acceptance speech.

“This annual event is one of the EBONY tentpole events that supports the company’s commitment to telling our stories to our audiences.”


Some journalists on social media criticized Ebony for holding the gala when it still owes money to freelancers. However, a “tentpole event” is defined in show business as one designed to make money to support other aspects of the enterprise, not as an expense.

Short Takes

  • Overlooked: People magazine’s list of the 15 Sexiest Newsmen Alive, published Nov. 21, includes Lester Holt of NBC News; Charles Blow of the New York Times, Jim Acosta of CNN and Van Jones, one of CNN’s stable of political commentators. Blow called his new title the “strangest thing ever.”
Ted Kim

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Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.


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