• Writer Hears Speech as Call to the Rest of Us. . .
  • Black Women Want Return on Their Investment
  • Gilbert Cruz Named N.Y. Times Culture Editor
  • ‘Latinas in Journalism’ Draws 1,400 Members
  • MSNBC Wins Black Viewers in Primetime Cable
  • Omarosa Gets Passing Reference in ‘Fire and Fury’
  • Anti-Trump Land Ignored by Mainstream Media
  • Pot Crackdown Expected to Hit People of Color
  • Native Editor Says Newsletters Aren’t Enough
  • Short Takes
Oprah Winfrey accepts the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, 7Jan. 7, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal)


Writer Hears Speech as Call to the Rest of Us

I loved Oprah’s Golden Globes speech on Sunday,” Dahlia Lithwick wrote Monday for Slate. “It was mesmerizing, pitch perfect, and gave voice to many lifetimes of frustration and vindication with eloquence and a full authority she has earned. But I found the strange Facebook response of ‘Oprah 2020' weirdly discordant and disorienting. Oprah’s speech — in my hearing — wasn’t about why she needs to run for office. It was about why the rest of us need to do so, immediately. . . .”

Coincidentally, Lithwick said that “the rest of us” includes journalists, to whom Oprah Winfrey gave a shout-out. ( To “tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before . . .”)


If Lithwick is correct about the intention of Winfrey’s speech, then plenty of people read it the wrong way.

Could this really be the presidential matchup in 2020?” Nancy Cordes reported for the “CBS Evening News” in its lead story. “A spokesman for President Trump said Monday he would welcome a challenge from Oprah Winfrey — or anyone else, for that matter. The possibility of a Winfrey run was trending heavily on social media Monday after she delivered a stirring speech at the Golden Globe Awards before a television audience of 19 million people. . . .”

Jen Yamato wrote for the Los Angeles Times, “The question isn’t will Oprah Winfrey run for president, but when. . . .”


The New York Daily News

“Will Oprah consider a run for POTUS? She paused, cracking a sly smile. ‘Okaay! . . .’ “

It’s up to the people,” Winfrey’s longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told the Los Angeles Times. “She would absolutely do it.”


The Baltimore Sun asked Winfrey’s colleagues at WJZ-TV, where she got her start in 1976, for their thoughts.

Richard Sher, her former talk-show partner, had just gotten off the phone with Winfrey, Sher said, Chris Kaltenbach reported for the Sun.

There is no doubt in my mind that Oprah would make a fabulously intelligent, fabulously competent president of the United States, and comforting president of the United States,” Sher said Monday afternoon, according to Kaltenbach.


Commentators who thought an Oprah candidacy would be a bad idea also spoke up, particularly African American writers. “Oprah is not America’s mammy, so please don’t ask her to come clean up this white man’s mess,” Stephen A. Crockett Jr. wrote for The Root.

Ira Madison III contended in the Daily Beast, “When Oprah addresses police brutality, she can speak from her experiences as a black woman in America; when the president speaks about police brutality, [he or she has] to also make sure not to piss off police officers as a whole. Being president comes with compromises that we don’t require in our celebrities and public figures, and I’m not sure the Americans who want her to run for president completely comprehend that. . . .”

Writing in the New York Times from Paris, Thomas Chatterton Williams cautioned, “If the first year of the Trump administration has made anything clear, it’s that experience, knowledge, education and political wisdom matter tremendously. . . .The presidency is not a reality show, or for that matter, a talk show. . . .”


A social media user posted a 2015 piece from Nicole Aschoff in the Guardian questioning even whether the Oprah philosophy is suited for the presidency.

It was headlined “Oprah Winfrey: one of the world’s best neoliberal capitalist thinkers.”

“Oprah recognizes the pervasiveness of anxiety and alienation in our society,” Aschoff wrote. “But instead of examining the economic or political basis of these feelings, she advises us to turn our gaze inward and reconfigure ourselves to become more adaptable to the vagaries and stresses of the neoliberal moment.


“Oprah is appealing precisely because her stories hide the role of political, economic, and social structures. In doing so, they make the American Dream seem attainable. If we just fix ourselves, we can achieve our goals. For some people, the American dream is attainable, but to understand the chances for everyone, we need to look dispassionately at the factors that shape success. . . .”

For Lithwick, writing for Slate, such contemplation might be beside the point. “I have no idea whether Winfrey plans to run for the Oval Office in 2020,” she wrote. “According to reports, she is ‘actively’ considering it. But I heard the force and dignity of her speech as a mirror held up to the country about our own responsibilities, accompanied by a very prominent shoutout to journalists for helping to tell those stories. . . .”

Erica Ayisi, NBCBLK: Recy Taylor, Alabama woman raped by six white men, dies at 97 (Dec. 28)


Nancy Cordes, CBS News: Oprah for president? Golden Globes speech stirs speculation of 2020 run

Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root: Oprah Is Not America’s Mammy; Please Don’t Ask Her to Clean Up This White President’s Mess

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: Why Oprah in 2020 Is Both Blessing and Curse for Trump and the GOP


Kevin Fallon, Daily Beast: Oprah for President? Why Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes Stump Speech Just Changed Everything

David A. Graham, the Atlantic: What the Oprah Boomlet Means for Democrats

Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun: Oprah Winfrey’s former colleagues at WJZ in Baltimore think she would make a fine president


Dahlia Lithwick, Slate: Oprah’s Real Message: It wasn’t about her. It was about us.

Osita Nwanevu, Slate: Oprah? Really?

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times: NBC apologizes, removes tweet endorsing Oprah Winfrey for president


Jeremy Schneider, NJ Avdance Media for NJ.com: People are begging Oprah to run for president after her epic Golden Globes speech

TMZ: Orrin Hatch: I’d Like to Help Oprah ... In 2020 Presidential Run

Thomas Chatterton Williams, New York Times: Oprah, Don’t Do It

Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times: Oprah Winfrey on considering a run for president: ‘Okaay!’


David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Oprah Winfrey Golden Globes speech a moving jolt of moral authority

. . . Black Women Want Return on Their Investment

A few weeks ago, on a brisk December afternoon, a group of policy advocates, members of Congress, and interested citizens gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for a policy discussion,” P.R. Lockhart wrote Monday for vox.com. “On its face, this doesn’t sound like anything special, but there was something unique about the majority of the people in the room that day: They were mostly black women.”The mood was jubilant, largely because the night prior, Democrat Doug Jones bested Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election, ending a 25-year losing streak for Democratic Senate candidates in the state. Exit polls showed that Jones’s victory was largely due to the high turnout of black voters, especially black women.


“The event began as the results from the election were still trending on Twitter, with streams of praise for #BlackWomen’s performance in the Alabama contest. ‘What if we just let black women run everything?’ read one popular tweet. . . .”

Lockhart also wrote, “With the beginning of a new year, especially one that will end with a highly anticipated midterm election, the Alabama result offers hope for Democrats eager to regain political power in the Trump era.

“But for black women, the post-Alabama moment also presents an additional opportunity, a potential turning point in how they are treated in political circles. Both parties have been reminded yet again that black women have been a consistently reliable bloc for the Democrats. In 2018, black women say they want to see a return on their investment. . . .”


Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: Will African-American Female Leadership Move Into the Spotlight in 2018?

Julianne Malveaux, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Time to Hook Black Women Up (Dec. 20)

Jessica Prois and Carolina Moreno, HuffPost Black Voices: The #MeToo Movement Looks Different For Women Of Color. Here Are 10 Stories.


Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: The new women’s movement is not going away: Time’s up

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Will 2018 be the ‘Year of the Woman’ in politics? We could do with an era

Vanessa Williams, Washington Post: What’s wrong with white women voters? Here’s the problem with that question. (Dec. 22)


YouTube: Oprah Winfrey — 2018 Golden Globes — Full Backstage Speech (video)

Alyssa Zeisler, Media Impact Project, USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center: Media’s Gender Gap: Investigating relationships between women’s news production and consumption (December) [PDF]

Gilbert Cruz Named N.Y. Times Culture Editor

Gilbert Cruz


Gilbert Cruz, “our television editor and an innovative digital journalist in the world of entertainment and the arts, will be the next Culture Editor of The Times,” New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joseph Kahn announced Friday. The appointment makes Cruz the highest ranking Latino at the newspaper.

“Gilbert emerged from an outstanding pool of applicants for the job, impressing us with his energy, creativity and journalistic vision,” the announcement said.

“Before joining The Times, Gilbert worked at New York magazine’s culture site, Vulture, where he eventually rose to the top position, editorial director. He previously worked at Entertainment Weekly and Time Magazine.


“Smart and sophisticated cultural coverage is essential to New York Times readers and an integral part of our future. In the years ahead, Gilbert’s primary task will be to build and expand a powerful digital culture report to complement our ambitious print sections. . . .”

The Bronx-born Cruz demurred when asked whether he had a view of the job that he could share with readers or what difference being Latino has made, if any, in his approach to the job.

“It feels a little too early for me to share my view of the job with anyone yet — I have yet to do so with my staff, even,” Cruz said by email. “I’d love to be in the job for a few months before I gave any pronouncements on what we needed to do, change, or improve upon.”


However, the announcement by Baquet and Kahn said, “What drew us to him was his encompassing love of all cultural genres, his belief that cultural reporting — led by our stellar news staff — continues to be necessary to help our readers understand both . . . the big players behind the scenes as well as the powerful (and flawed) systems and institutions that produce the culture we all consume. . . .”

Danielle Mattoon left the culture editor position in September.

The Times reported its news staff to be 4.5 percent Latino [PDF] in its 2017 report to the American Society of News Editors in its annual diversity census.


‘Latinas in Journalism’ Draws 1,400 Members

Rebecca Aguilar, right

When it comes to hiring and promoting Latinas in newsrooms, the powers that be often blame a lack of progress on their inability to find enough candidates with the requisite qualifications, also known as the ‘pipeline’ problem,” Laura Castañeda wrote Monday for MediaShift.


“As a response, Dallas-based former television reporter Rebecca Aguilar launched a Facebook page called ‘Latinas in Journalism.’ Within four hours of its November launch, the page got 200 members. Within three days, it was up to 1,000. Today, it has almost 1,400 members and more joining daily.

“The page is used to share job postings, internship notices, news stories, advice and encouragement and its members include full-time Latina journalists, editors, producers, freelancers, academics and students of all ages and experience levels who work in English, Spanish or both.

“ ‘If no one else will open the doors for us, we will open them,’ says Aguilar, adding that the word ‘diversity’ has become mere lip service by editors and managers who hire at media outlets across the country. . . .”


MSNBC Wins Black Viewers in Primetime Cable

“MSNBC finished 2017 as the #1 network for all of cable in African-American viewership for primetime (M-F 8pm-11pm), according to Nielsen,” the network announced Monday.

“MSNBC delivered 483,096 African-American viewers, ahead of CNN, VH1, ESPN, OWN, TNT and BET.


“MSNBC posted more growth than the other Top 10 cable networks combined, delivering +50% African-American viewers compared to 2016. This is the fastest and most growth of any of the larger networks. Rival network CNN ranked #8 in African-American viewership and grew only 5% over 2016. . . .”

MSNBC: MSNBC Overtakes CNN for the Year in Total Viewers (Dec. 20)

Omarosa Manigault with President Donald Trump (Pool photo by Michael Reynolds)


Omarosa Gets Passing Reference in ‘Fire and Fury’

People of color are largely absent from Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” the tell-all instant best-seller whose publication Friday President Trump attempted to block. However, there is a reference to Omarosa Manigault, now Omarosa Manigault Newman, who held the title of director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison and is leaving this month.

Wolff casts Omarosa as one of “a long list of retainers” that Trump liked clamoring for his attention.


“The Oval Office itself had been used by prior occupants as the ultimate power symbol, a ceremonial climax,” Wolff writes. “But as soon as Trump arrived, he moved in a collection of battle flags to frame him sitting at his desk, and the Oval immediately became the scene of a daily Trump cluster-fuck.

“It’s likely that more people had easy access to this president than any president before. Nearly all meetings in the Oval with the president were invariably surrounded and interrupted by a long list of retainers — indeed, everybody strove to be in every meeting.

“Furtive people skulked around without clear purpose: [Steve] Bannon invariably found some reason to study papers in the corner and then to have a last word; [Chief of Staff Reince] Priebus kept his eye on Bannon; [Trump son-in-law Jared] Kushner kept constant tabs on the whereabouts of the others.


“Trump liked to keep [aides Hope] Hicks, [Kellyanne] Conway, and, often, his old Apprentice sidekick Omarosa Manigault — now with a confounding White House title — in constant hovering presence.

“As always, Trump wanted an eager audience, encouraging as many people as possible to make as many attempts as possible to be as close to him as possible. In time, however, he would take derisive notice of those who seemed most eager to suck up to him. . . .”

Blavity Team: New Allegation From Trump Administration Exposé: ‘Fire and Fury’ Claims Trump Tried To Rationalize The KKK


Charles M. Blow, New York Times: ‘Like, Really Smart’

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Michael Wolff shows his nuclear button is ‘bigger’ and ‘more powerful’ than Trump’s

David Folkenflik, NPR: ‘Fire And Fury’ Sourcing Under Scrutiny

Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Trump’s megalomania exposed in “Fire and Fury”


Astead W. Herndon, Boston Globe: Obama’s popularity is rising even as Trump is president

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Drawn like a moth to ‘Fire and Fury’

Evan Osnos, New Yorker: Making China Great Again: As Donald Trump surrenders America’s global commitments, Xi Jinping is learning to pick up the pieces.


It’s easy to find signs like these on lawns and in windows throughout Mount Airy, Pa., the heart of Anti-Trump country, Will Bunch writes for the Philadelphia Daily News. (Will Bunch)

Anti-Trump Land Ignored by Mainstream Media

There are no sooty coal mines underneath the steep, foliage-shrouded streets of Mount Airy, no Formica-wrapped diner where men in flannel shirts and steel-toed boots load up on painfully bitter coffee and heaping platters of cholesterol while dissecting last night’s Hannity, no driveways where an unemployed factory worker parks his Chevy truck next to a ‘Make America Great Again’ yard sign,” Will Bunch wrote Friday for the Philadelphia Daily News.


Bunch also wrote, “the neighborhood has a bit of a feel of an occupied territory. Behind ancient stone walls, on the narrow, sloping yards, stand the signs of resistance at home after home: ‘Impeach Trump,’ or ‘Black Lives Matter/Philly Children’s March,’ with more than a smattering of ‘Hillary’ yard signs that owners refuse to take down, and one that declares: ‘In This House, We Believe: Black Lives Matter/Women’s Rights Are Human Rights/No Human Is Illegal/Science Is Real/Love Is Love/No Matter Your Faith Or Ability/Kindness Is Everything.’

“Welcome to the throbbing heart of Anti-Trump Country, a land where — if you believe in polls — the majority of Americans reside, and yet a place that the mainstream media seem determined to ignore. . . .”

Pot Crackdown Expected to Hit People of Color

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s move to enforce federal marijuana laws may be the latest chapter in the arguably failed war on drugs, his critics say,Eugene Scott wrote Friday for the Washington Post. “And this time, as his actions may be directed at the marijuana industry, people of color will be disproportionately harmed, some fear.


“Sessions’s directive makes it easier for American prosecutors to enforce federal marijuana laws in states where the substance is legal, such as California, which just legalized pot for recreational use on Jan. 1.

“The Justice Department move drew swift criticism from jurisdictions and has caused confusion among entrepreneurs in the multibillion dollar industry. Lawmakers from both parties have criticized the move as a disregard of states’ rights and a waste of DOJ’s resources.

“According to the ACLU, 8 million people were arrested for marijuana-related crimes between 2001 and 2010, and 88 percent of them were for possession. Marijuana use is roughly equal among blacks and whites, but blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. . . .”


Editorial, Chicago Tribune: Congress, let the states set marijuana policy

Roy S. Johnson, al.com: Like your crotchety, antiquated uncle, Jeff Sessions no longer represents the Alabama (or America) many of us want to be

David Moye, HuffPost: Lawmaker Says Black People Can’t Handle Marijuana Because Of ‘Genetics’


Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Team Trump pushes back the clock on legal pot

Gretchen A. Peck, Editor & Publisher: How Newspapers are Banking on Being the Most Trusted Sources of Marijuana News

Native Editor Says Newsletters Aren’t Enough

This past week the Oglala Sioux Tribe unveiled a publication that very much had the feel of a newspaper,Brandon Ecoffey (pictured below), Oglala Lakota, editor of the Lakota Country Times, wrote on Dec. 7. “Comments about the publication from the tribe’s Public Relations office were quick to note that they are calling it a ‘newsletter’, intended to get out information that has not been printed by other sources.


“On the surface this seems like a good idea, but the only governments I know that have published reporting about themselves, have been the ones who have the most to hide.

“That is the problem. It is very hard for large and powerful institutions to undermine their own power and authority. Foucault noted that in his writings. The status-quo is quite comfortable for an institution. Is there an incentive for tribal government to present a perfect image of itself? Absolutely. Does this present an incentive to fudge the facts? It absolutely does. Newsletters are for tribal-programs. Tribal-governments should work with the independent media.


“For me, it is always important to be clear, I do not believe our elected officials are inherently corrupt, nor do I believe that the creation of this publication was brought about with nefarious intent. What I do believe is that tribal officials must create systems within our government that will foster transparency and accountability. The only way this can be done is by helping our elected officials and program heads to be more accessible to the media. I am giving away some industry secrets, but the functionality of our tribal government is that important.

“A more effective method of delivering information about the inner workings of any institution is through [unbiased] third-party journalists who are working for established media outlets. . . .”

Short Takes

A tapestry honoring Getahn Ward, a business reporter for the Tennessean in Nashville who died at 45 on Dec. 16, greeted mourners at Born Again Church in Nashville on Saturday. The tapestry was created by the Highland Hills Funeral Home, a service the home provides, funeral director George Baker told Journal-isms. The tapestries take 36 to 48 hours to make. A scholarship in Ward’s name has been established for future journalism students at Tennessee State University. More than $30,000 has been raised; the goal is $50,000 by Jan. 15, said David Plazas, the Tennessean’s director of opinion and engagement. (David Plazas)



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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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