One particular narrative about the GOP presidential campaign thus far has been muted, and John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine, articulated it Tuesday on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!"
Host Amy Goodman played a sound bite of Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, campaigning in Sioux City, Iowa, over the weekend.
"I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families," Santorum said.
Goodman: "John Nichols, your response to former Senator Santorum's comments just this week?"
Nichols: "Well, it's an unsettling comment, and it's a particularly unsettling one because in Iowa there is a significant African American population, not just in Des Moines, but in a number of other cities. These are folks who have really been hit hard by deindustrialization, the shutting down of factories, and a lot of the shifts in our economic system in this country. African Americans have been hit hard in Iowa, and there is a very well-entrenched, very active community. And to have a candidate for president making comments like that, instead of reaching out to the African American community, is unsettling.
"Really, one of the things that's worth noting, Amy, is that these candidates on the Republican side have made very little, if any, effort to reach out to Iowa's many minority communities. And I know it's often said that Iowa is an overwhelmingly white state. It is. But there's growing African American, Hispanic and Asian American communities here, and they have been largely neglected by the Republican candidates, just as the advertising for the Republican candidates tends to neglect a lot of the core economic issues. You don't see ads on television talking in the way that you'd expect about unemployment, about real job creation. So many of the ads are just repeating of hard-right, social conservative talking points, obviously aimed at a tiny portion of the population, rather than the whole of even this state."
It's a story line that has been drawn in only a few corners of the news media.
". . . notably absent from the Republican candidates' campaigning in the lead-up to [Tuesday's] Iowa caucus was any interest in reaching out to Latino voters here," Valeria Fernández reported from Perry, Iowa, Tuesday for the Spanish-language, Los Angeles-based La Opinion.
She quoted Eduardo Diaz-Cárdenas, 32, a former city council member: "The problem is there are very few Latinos who go [to political events] because we know they are going to use Hispanics like a punching bag." In Perry, "one in three residents is Hispanic ‹ compared with the rest of Iowa, where Latinos only make up 5 percent of the state's population of 3 million."
Dedric L. Doolin, president of the Cedar Rapids branch of the NAACP, told Journal-isms that the African American population in his city had doubled in recent years. The 2010 Census put the number at 5.6 percent, partly as a result of recruiting from the Rockwell Collins aerospace and defense company and emigration from Chicago. Yet, he said, "In talking with African Americans, I heard of no real effort by any of the Republican party [candidates] to reach out to African Americans." Perhaps it might have been different had businessman Herman Cain, who is black, remained in the race, Doolin said.
Wrote Marisa Treviño on her Latina Lista blog, ". . . if it's that easy to ignore Latinos while campaigning, it's even easier to ignore them when holding a position that is supposed to represent all the people, regardless of differences.'
If the candidates weren't ignoring African Americans and Hispanics, it seems, they were insulting them.
Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, accused Santorum on Tuesday of pandering to racist elements within his party and called on the other candidates to repudiate Santorum's comments, Suzanne Gamboa reported for the Associated Press.
"Morial pointed out that 84 percent of food stamp recipients in Iowa are white. Nationally, 70 percent of recipients are white, he said. Many people who receive public aid contributed to those programs as workers, Morial said."
Lucy Madison of CBS News reported Monday, "It is unclear why Santorum pinpointed blacks specifically as recipients of federal aid. The original questioner asked 'how do we get off this crazy train? We've got so much foreign influence in this country now,' adding 'where do we go from here?'
"When asked about the comments in an interview with 'CBS Evening News' anchor Scott Pelley, Santorum said he wasn't aware of the context of his remark, but mentioned that he had recently watched the movie 'Waiting for ['Superman'],' which analyzes the American public education system through the stories of several students and their families. (The students and their families portrayed in the movie represent several races.)"
Santorum came within eight votes of winning the Iowa caucuses, coming in second to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Meanwhile, journalists had questioned Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who finished third, about newsletters that had gone out under his name.
As Joan Walsh wrote for salon.com, "In January 2008 the New Republic ran the most thorough exposé of the hateful opinions published under Paul's name that the Los Angeles riots stopped only 'when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,' that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 'seduced underage girls and boys' and the national holiday to honor him was 'Hate Whitey Day,' plus various screeds blaming crime on African-Americans. . . ."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry had to explain a Washington Post report about "the name of 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." It was called "Niggerhead."
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, stereotyped poor children last month when he said, "Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. They literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash,' unless it's illegal."
And critics accused Cain, who suspended his campaign after allegations of sexual misconduct, of playing the role of minstrel character.
All this is part of a story line that deserves more attention as the campaign progresses. Veteran journalist Paul Delaney explained on theRoot.com last month that it actually would extend a narrative in development since the 1860s.
"Over the following decades, code words such as conservatism, small government, intrusive federal power and lower taxes appealed to their fear of losing power or money to those they considered inferior ‹ a fear that was, at its core, anti-black and more recently anti-immigrant," Delaney wrote of certain white voters.
"Finally, the GOP has morphed into the radical politics of Tea Party advocates, a situation from which traditional Republicans are desperately trying to extricate themselves. Racism has always been accompanied by ridiculous denials, such as Donald Trump's declaration that he has 'a great relationship with the blacks,' or Glenn Beck's sponsorship of a march on Washington. Shucking off the ridiculous is part of the task facing GOP leaders if they wish to recapture the White House in 2012."
* Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Cablers Stay Up Late, Start Early Covering Closest GOP Presidential Contest Ever
* Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Fox News Leads in coverage from Iowa; Peaks with 3.1 Million at 10pm
* John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News: Say bye-bye to Santorum ‹ he's just an asterisk in 2012 campaign
* Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The Iowa Three
* Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: The year of the Republican loon
* Wayne Dawkins, politicsincolor.com: Rick Santorum Plays 'Welfare Card' in Iowa
* Marie Diamond, Thinkprogress.org: Santorum's Racist Welfare Rant: 'I Don't Want To Make Black People's Lives Better' With Taxpayer Money
* Editorial, Los Angeles Times: Iowa's mixed message
* Lena Groeger, ProPublica: Our Guide to the Best Coverage on Rick Santorum and His Record
* Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: The Diversity Deficit in Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich's Pearl Harbor, and Danny Chen
* Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Paul's Fetish on Civil Rights
* Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times: In Iowa, only offensive choices available
* Allen Johnson blog, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Coming soon … or later: Romney-Obama
* Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Doom in 2012 is the last thing we need
* New York Times: Decoding the Iowa Caucus Coverage
* Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Santorum slogan an odd choice of words (April 19, 2011)
* Brendan Nyhan, Columbia Journalism Review: The Post-Iowa Challenge
* Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Ron Paul's more kooky moments
* Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: How a populist Obama can win
* Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Ron Paul's consistency doesn't make him right
* Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Santorum wins narrowly (Jan. 2)
* Albor Ruiz, Daily News, New York: With the new year comes optimism and hope for better days ahead
* Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Our challenge for 2012: Get Americans working
* Tonyaa Weathersbee, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Let's Hope the GOP's Race-Baiting Backfires
Time magazine on Tuesday announced its plans for coverage of the 2012 political season, naming no participating African Americans or Latinos.
Among Time's plans are "Daily Reporting on TIME.com ‹ Commentary and analysis of the campaign from TIME's political team led by Michael Duffy and Richard Stengel: Mark Halperin, Joe Klein, Michael Crowley, Michael Scherer, Jay Newton-Small, Massimo Calabresi, David Von Drehle, Bart Gellman, Mark Thompson, Alex Altman, Adam Sorensen, and Katy Steinmetz."
Steven Gray, Time's last remaining black correspondent, who works in the Washington bureau, announced last month that he was leaving.
Ali Zelenko, vice president for communications at Time Inc., told Journal-isms after Gray's announcement, ". . . Here is our response to any future inquiries you have regarding diversity of Time staff: 'There is diversity of all kinds at all levels of Time's masthead. Maintaining and increasing that diversity remains one of our top staffing priorities.' "
"The Washington Post today introduces 'She the People,' a new women's blog anchored by veteran political reporter Melinda Henneberger, founder of Politics Daily and its 'Woman Up' blog," the Post announced on Tuesday.
" 'She the People' writers from across the country and the political spectrum will offer news, analysis, and reported opinion, primarily on The Post's website but also in The Post print edition heading into the 2012 election and beyond.
" 'According to comScore, only 42% of U.S. readers of political news sites are female, compared to 51% of all online adults, suggesting women have been under-represented by political sites and in political reporting,' says Raju Narisetti, Managing Editor. 'The Washington Post believes "She the People" will give a distinct platform to unique female voices who have interesting perspectives to share.' "
The list of contributors includes these black women: Helena Andrews, author, columnist and screenwriter once with Politico; Jamila Bey, who covers health and politics for the Voice of Russia Radio and is a standup comedian; Mary C. Curtis, multimedia journalist in Charlotte, N.C., who is a contributor to the Root.com, Fox News Charlotte, NPR and the Nieman Watchdog blog; Nia-Malika Henderson, a political reporter for the Post; and Post reporters Nikita Stewart and Krissah Thompson.
"A feud between America's most prominent Hispanic Republican, Marco Rubio, and America's most popular Hispanic network, Univision, is now a debate between the Miami Herald and the New Yorker, HuffPost LatinoVoices reported on Wednesday.
"Last summer, Univision aired a story about the 1987 drug-trafficking bust of Rubio's brother-in-law. In October, the Miami Herald ran a front page story that Univision executives tried to blackmail Rubio with the information in exchange for his appearance on their 'Meet the Press'-type show.
"As reported in 'The Immigration Story: Univision's War With Rubio Over Immigration, Drug Report,' the Herald states:
"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.
"A New Yorker reporter, Ken Auletta, also saw Rubio's staff's notes from the alleged shakedown conference call and believes the Herald made the wrong interpretation."
Ken Ward, a reporter who left WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C., and was due to start at WFTS-TV in Tampa on Monday, died Wednesday, the Charlotte station announced. Ward was 44.
According to Bill Fish, an investigator with the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office, the cause of death was not immediately known, Michaela L. Duckett reported for Qcitymetro.com.
" 'This should have been a great day for him, and it's sad that this has happened,' said Ken Lemon, president of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists.
" '. . . When I found out this morning, it was a low blow,' said Dedrick Russell, an education reporter for WBTV. 'I was in disbelief.'
Davida Jackson, a member of the Charlotte area association, was quoted saying the couple, who have one son together, celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary on New Year's Eve.
"Ward was a graduate of Hampton University and The College of New Rochelle with degrees in journalism and communications."
"According to a short bio Ken wrote for us during his tenure here, he actually began his career in journalism as a teacher. For several years, he taught television and radio at Ossining High School in New York. From there, he branched out into the world of radio news working as an on-air reporter and then moved on to television," WTVD said.
Claudia Pryor Malis, an ABC producer from 1984 to 1995 who went on to become president of Diversity Films, her own production company, died on Wednesday, according to a blog by David Guilbault, a colleague. She was 58 and was being treated for lung cancer, her husband, Howard Malis, told Journal-isms.
In 2009, the couple debuted "Why Us? Left Behind and Dying," a feature-length documentary about HIV/AIDS in the black community. She was its producer and director. The film follows a group of high school students in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh for four years as they learn in their classes about sex from some of the country's top AIDS researchers.
The students do much of the interviewing.
Claudia Pryor Malis told Journal-isms then that the research project took five years and was primarily funded by the Science Education Partnership Award program within the National Institutes of Health. Her husband was editor/co-investigator. Guilbault was producer/co-investigator.
A bio on the film's website says, "Claudia Pryor has more than 30 years of television experience. She has produced and directed documentaries for ABC News, NBC News, PBS 'Frontline,' and other PBS programs. Pryor has won a George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. DuPont/Columbia Gold Baton, as well as 11 Emmy nominations. Ms. Pryor is a graduate of Harvard University and New York University."
Her husband added by email, "Claudia grew up in Springfield, MA. worked at KGO in SF, We met when she was an ABC News Bureau producer in Chicago and then she moved to ABC World News Tonight in NYC." They lived in Stamford, Conn.
Melissa Harris-Perry, professor, author and MSNBC contributor, has been given her own weekend morning show, MSNBC announced on Wednesday. It debuts Feb. 4 and airs Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern time.
"Melissa's thoughtful analysis has been an incredible addition to our primetime programs and I'm thrilled to have her join our expanded weekend line-up," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a news release.
Alex Witt has led our weekend programming for many years and will continue to be our chief weekend anchor, kicking-off and wrapping up our live coverage each day. Weekend mornings are a time when our audience wants intelligent political conversation, as the success of Chris Hayes has shown, in addition to coverage of all the headlines. As the political year gets underway, there's no better time to build up our weekend coverage, which Alex has helmed so well for years.²
The release continued:
" 'This is an extraordinary opportunity,' said Harris-Perry. 'All I've ever wanted to be is a teacher. Phil Griffin and MSNBC are giving me the chance to have a much bigger classroom. I'm particularly excited to join the growing weekend lineup where we have a chance to take a longer and broader view of the week's political news.'
"In addition to her role at MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry is also columnist for The Nation magazine, and will continue to write her monthly column, titled Sister Citizen. Harris-Perry is also a Professor of Political Science at Tulane University, where she will continue to teach, and is the Founding Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. . . ."
* "As the centerpiece of an effort to draw attention to and help find missing Black Americans, whose stories are largely ignored in national media coverage of missing persons, TV One will premiere 'Find Our Missing,' a 10-episode, one-hour docu-drama series Wednesday, January 18 at 10 PM ET," TVOne announced on Tuesday. "Hosted by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, who for 16 years portrayed Police Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC's Law & Order, 'Find Our Missing' is designed to put names and faces to people of color who have disappeared without a trace."
* The African American Public Radio Consortium, which produced "Tell Me More" and the old "News & Notes" for NPR, said Wednesday it is making available "Men's Health Line" with Dr. James Bennett, a practicing urologist. The one-hour show, produced by consortium member WCLK at Clark Atlanta University, will be available to stations monthly. Dr. Bennett interviews other medical specialists, focusing each show on a particular disease that is prevalent in urban communities, the consortium said.
* The premiere of "Oprah's Next Chapter," the once-a-week successor to the five-day-a-week "Oprah Winfrey Show," drew an average of 1.1 million total viewers for two showings on cable Sunday night, Brian Stelter reported Monday for the New York Times, "far fewer than the six million to eight million that had watched her previous talk show on local TV stations each weekday." But Tim Kenneally of theWrap.com noted that the show "gave OWN its highest ratings for a Sunday premiere since the network's January 2011 launch weekend."
* For its "Gallery of the Day," the TMZ website posted 121 photos of President Obama and his friends and family playing in the sand and surf in Hawaii.
* In Britain, "The parents of Stephen Lawrence have praised the Daily Mail for 'going out on a limb' and branding suspects in the death of their son as 'murderers' 15 years ago," Lisa O'Carroll reported Wednesday for the Guardian. "They led the tributes to the paper that campaigned for justice ever since. [Prime Minister] David Cameron said the Lawrences were helped enormously by the paper while Labour leader Ed Miliband said it played an 'honourable role' in helping to bring the killers to heel. . . . The Daily Mail devotes 21 pages to the story today with tributes from 11 key public figures for its unstinting campaign." The battle to bring to justice the killers of Lawrence, who was black, is seen as a landmark in the fight against institutional racism.
* "Just over 55 years ago, on New Year's Eve 1957, trailblazing South African journalist Henry Nxumalo was murdered while investigating suspicious deaths at an abortion clinic in Sophiatown, a suburb west of Johannesburg," Mohamed Keita wrote Tuesday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "A local journalist assassinated while covering a local story, Nxumalo could be just one among the 631 journalists silenced by murder since CPJ began systematically documenting media fatalities in 1992. However, Nxumalo's short-lived journalism career was remarkable ‹ he operated as one of the first black journalists under apartheid and pioneered undercover investigative journalism in South Africa."
* In Honduras, "Reporters Without Borders supports the complaint against President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, armed forces chief of staff Gen. René Osorio Canales and presidential guard chief Gen. Andrés Felipe Díaz that 15 women journalists from the 'Journalism for Life and Free Expression' collective filed yesterday before special prosecutor for human rights Sandra Ponce," the press freedom group said on Dec. 22. "The complaint concerns the violence used by police and soldiers to disperse a march by around 50 journalists, human rights activists and civil society representatives on 13 December in Tegucigalpa as it passed in front of the presidential palace."
* "Less than 5 months after being named Univision special foreign correspondent, Karl Penhaul has resigned," Veronica Villafañe reported Tuesday on her Media Moves site. "In a tweet sent out today, Karl stated: 'I have departed Univision for the freelance life again. Good luck to the team at Univision for 2012.' "
* "The Daily News of New York on Wednesday appointed Colin Myler, a former editor of the recently closed News of the World tabloid in London, its editor in chief," Amy Chozick and Ravi Somaiya reported for the New York Times.
* "Perhaps Africa's most famous musician, Youssou N'dour, has announced he will run for president of Senegal in the poll scheduled for late February," the Voice of America reported Tuesday. "N'dour said he is answering a call by the people of his country to run for its highest office, because they are tired of traditional politics in the West African country." N'dour would face current president Abdoulaye Wade, who has established ties with the National Association of Black Journalists in the United States.
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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.