On a day that saw indictments against three advisers to President Trump’scampaign in an investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election, including planted “fake news,” NPR Monday reminded listeners that Russians have targeted disinformation at African Americans for decades.
“The FBI under then-Director J. Edgar Hoover ran a campaign to hound [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] in 1964, including with listening devices in his hotel and letters threatening to ruin him,” Philip Ewing reported. “Meanwhile, the KGB was eager to exploit King as an internal political insurgent against Washington, D.C. When he wouldn’t be used that way, the KGB also tried to undermine him.
“ ‘King was probably the only prominent American to be the target of active measures by both the FBI and the KGB,’ “ historian Christopher Andrew and former KGB officer Vasili Mitrokhin wrote in their 1999 book “The Sword and the Shield.”
“Some of the details about the latest chapter in the story have become clear, but much about it remains either unknown or under wraps,” Ewing wrote. “Americans may learn more when the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and a Senate Judiciary subcommittee convene a trio of hearings they’ve scheduled for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 with three big technology platforms.
“Facebook, Google and Twitter — which have said they’ll send their top lawyers to testify — have discovered they sold ads to agents of influence as part of the Russian attack on the 2016 election. Agents also used the services to interfere in other ways, from amplifying controversy within the U.S. to organizing real-life events such as political rallies.
“ ‘We can’t conclusively say these actions impacted the outcome of the election,’ Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in an Oct. 10 statement.
‘But we can say that these ads caused harm and additional resentment to young people who unselfishly fight for justice and equality for African Americans and other marginalized communities.’
“The work, known by intelligence officers as active measures, apparently continues. In the racially charged national debate over mostly black NFL players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem, Twitter accounts linked to the Russian 2016 influence campaign have tried to turn up the volume both on pro-player and anti-player accounts.
“Before that, there were the ads on Facebook. And the account called ‘Blacktivist’ led calls to action for African-Americans to ‘wake up’ and fight ‘mass incarceration and death of black men.’ And before that, Facebook users using fake accounts paid personal trainers to lead self-defense classes aimed at black activists, arguing that the activists needed to ‘protect your rights.’
“And before that — the thread goes back decades. . . .”
Dylan Byers, CNNMoney: Exclusive: Russian-bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and Ferguson (Sept. 28)
Oliver Darcy, CNNMoney: Fake NFL story continues to find haven on Facebook days after being debunked (Oct. 6)
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Don’t let Russian internet trolls stir racial unrest here
Donie O’Sullivan and Dylan Byers, CNNMoney: Exclusive: Fake black activist accounts linked to Russian government (Sept. 28)
Editorial Says Indictments Reflect Trump Character
“The indictment of Paul Manafortalone does not confirm President Trump’s alleged collusion with Russians attempting to manipulate the 2016 election in his favor,” the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board, led by Harold Jackson, wrote Monday in one of the first editorials on the indictments.
“However, the charges against Manafort and his past associations with some of the world’s most notorious despots says something about the character of the man who chose Manafort to run his presidential campaign.
“ ‘Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates were charged Monday in a 12-count federal indictment with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, and making false statements. The charges stem from Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of the Russia allegations. . . .”
The editorial also said, “The president circled the wagons in anticipation of developments in Mueller’s investigation and fired a volley of tweets both before and after the indictments were announced, suggesting that Mueller’s charges were irrelevant and that he was being treated unfairly. ‘Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????’ said one tweet, followed by ‘Also, there is NO COLLUSION!’
“The president’s certitude isn’t reassuring, given the character of the people he chose to navigate his route to the White House. At this point in Mueller’s investigation, there are still more questions than answers. But with these first indictments and one guilty plea, that may soon change.
“Confidence that the former FBI director will eventually uncover the truth grew considerably with his actions Monday. . . .”
NBC Hypes Hours-Old News as ‘Breaking’
“NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt again opened his broadcast by announcing to dinner-hour viewers, “breaking news tonight” (video). The “breaking news” — the words were also emblazoned on the screen — was “the first indictments in the Mueller investigation.” Except the indictments had come almost 12 hours earlier.
Brian Stelter provided the timeline in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter. “The #MuellerMonday news broke between 7:50 and 8am ET. CNN was first on TV, NYT was first on the web. The first wave of stories were just about Paul Manafort. The second wave, within minutes, was about Rick Gates. ABC, NBC, and CBS aired network-wide special reports shortly after 8am.
“Then came the third wave of stories — around 10:30 — about George Papadopoulos pleading guilty. A huge surprise. Between 10:30 and 11:30, you could feel a shift in the coverage. It began to sink in that Papadopoulos is more closely connected to the Russia collaboration scandal. . . .”
Broadcast news critic Mervin Block has long pointed out this routine hyping. “Lester Holt sure knows how to make news seem exciting. He does that by introducing a story on the newscast he anchors, NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ as ‘breaking news.’ But often the story has already been broken, even shattered,” Block wrote in January 2016.
In September 2016, Block wrote about David Muir’s abuse of the concept as anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight With David Muir.” “Funny how so many stories break during Muir’s half-hour broadcast, yet not breaking on CBS’s or NBC’s 6:30 p.m. newscasts,” Block wrote then under the headline, “ABC’s David Muir Not Intimidated by Facts.”
The website journalism.about.com gives this definition, “Breaking news refers to events that are currently developing, or ‘breaking.’ Breaking news usually refers to events that are unexpected, such as a plane crash or building fire. Breaking news can also refer to news that occurs late in the day, close to a news outlet’s usual deadline.”
Twitter Suspends Trump Ally After Anti-Lemon Rant
“Roger Stone, the longtime Trump ally and a divisive figure in politics since the Nixon era, was suspended from Twitter shortly after blasting CNN reporters on the social platform,” Salvador Hernandez reported Sunday for BuzzFeed.
“Sources told BuzzFeed News the suspension is permanent.
“Stone unleashed a tirade against CNN anchors and commentators Friday night, just moments after the news organization published a report that charges had been filed in a sealed indictment related to special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“Stone, who was directly and indirectly involved with President Donald Trump’s campaign, aimed many of his comments at CNN anchor Don Lemon.
“ ‘.@donlemon must be confronted, humiliated, mocked and punished,’ Stone wrote from his account Friday night. ‘Dumber than dog shit.’
“In another tweet, Stone told Lemon to ‘stop lying about the Clinton’s and Uranium you ignorant lying covkscucker.’
“A spokesperson for Twitter told BuzzFeed News they could not comment on individual accounts and directed a reporter to the company’s policy on abusive behavior. . . .”
“In August 2015, a security camera captured footage of 17-year-old Elord Revolte standing beside an interior wall at the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center,” Deirdra Funcheon reported Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review. “As the camera recorded, another teenager — dressed like Revolte, in khaki pants and a maroon polo shirt — lunged at him, landing a blow on Revolte’s jaw. In an instant, a dozen similarly outfitted teens leaped out of their chairs and joined the beatdown.
Series: Detained Juveniles Subjected to Atrocities
“Within two days of the attack, Revolte died from his injuries. Though his death was ruled a homicide, no one was ever charged. Juvenile detainees later alleged that a staffer had instigated the fight; one claimed that Revolte’s assailants ‘were offered food and extra phone calls as rewards’”
“Footage of Revolte’s assault anchors Fight Club, a multimedia investigative series by the Miami Herald focused on Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice. The Herald investigation revealed a system rife with problems: Staffers organized and bet on fights between kids; workers were hired despite their criminal backgrounds; 12 juvenile detainees died in state care since 2000. Guards earn starting salaries of $19,000 to $25,000 per year.
“Over and over again, poorly qualified corrections workers baited detainees into fighting, often by dangling food: Snickers bars, Chinese food, and honey buns from vending machines. Guards were found to have sexually abused or begun relationships with detainees. When detainees got hurt or sick, staff was slow to attend to their injuries. Juvenile detention workers were rarely held to account, and problems persisted in juvenile corrections facilities run by the government as well as those run by private companies contracted with the state.
“Fight Club was published online October 10, and in print on Sunday, October 15, as a pull-out section with 25 stories. Online, Fight Club included nearly a dozen additional stories, along with a powerful selection of security camera footage. . . .”
The Herald told readers, “Herald journalists examined 10 years of Department of Juvenile Justice incident reports, inspector general investigations and administrative reviews, restraint records, police files and court cases, state inspections, child welfare and prison records, emails, personnel files, surveillance video and handwritten witness and victims’ statements.
“They conducted scores of interviews with administrators, public defenders, prosecutors, judges, children’s advocates, consultants, parents and youths across Florida. They toured a half-dozen programs in two states and observed juvenile court cases. . . .”
Erin L. Castro, Rebecca Ginsburg and Marc M. Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education: Higher Ed’s Message to Ex-Felons: No Second Chances
Editorial, Miami Herald: Why the Miami Herald’s Fight Club investigative series matters to all (Oct. 13)
Vesla M. Weaver, Boston Review: The Untold Story of Mass Incarceration
Immigrants Pushed Deeper Into the Shadows
President Donald Trump has empowered federal authorities to deport immigrants here illegally, promised to punish so-called sanctuary cities and is pushing Congress to start funding a complete wall along our southern border,” begins a special report on immigration in the Houston Chronicle, “A New America,” which debuted Oct. 18.
“Fearful of being exposed and sent back to countries that may no longer be familiar or welcoming, immigrants are withdrawing even more into the shadows. The worry extends to their spouses and children, who, in many cases, are American citizens.”
The report follows four “storylines”:
Crackdown: “Donald Trump’s focus on immigration is straining the federal court system and significantly ramping up construction of new facilities to house detainees. In the first three months of his presidency, at least 113,828 immigrants were locked up in 180 different facilities across the nation — a 10 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Removing large numbers of people, especially from the interior of the country, is incredibly complex and expensive.”
Deeper Underground: “For decades, immigrants in the country illegally started businesses, bolstered the work force, bought houses and raised families in Houston with little fear of being questioned about their legal status. They helped build the city into a metropolis. Now immigrants, both those here legally and illegally, are keeping a low profile. Laws such as Texas Senate Bill 4, which allows police officers to question a detained person’s status, and aggressive federal enforcement have sparked fear in the city’s immigrant enclaves, leading to a retreat into the shadows.”
José Escobar: “On Feb. 22, José Escobar went to the Houston immigration office for his annual check-in. He’d held a work permit since 2012, granting a provisional stay of deportation. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement has different rules now. The 31-year-old father of two American children was detained and later sent back to El Salvador, where he hadn’t been since he was 15. He fell victim to a paperwork gaffe — his mother had sent for him when he was a teenager, an age when he qualified for temporary protected status. She assumed his permit would automatically renew when she reapplied for hers. It didn’t.”
Out of Time: “Candidate Donald Trump inspired anti-immigration fervor across the country — and created panic at Juan Rodríguez’s home. His family felt that Juan, an immigrant from El Salvador who was in the country illegally, would be in danger of deportation. Soon after the election, he was told that he wasn’t ‘a priority for this country anymore.’ An immigration lawyer came to his defense, and three high-profile attorneys signed on to assist Juan’s wife, a U.S. citizen, and their three American daughters in the legal battle.”
Brenda Medina, Miami Herald: This immigrant was certified as a victim of human trafficking. But she could still be deported
Bernice Yeung, Laura Benshoff, Ashley Cleek, Reveal/Center for Investigative Reporting: Inside Trump’s immigration crackdown (audio)
Bernice Yeung and Andrew Becker, Reveal/Center for Investigative Reporting: How Trump is expanding the government’s secret deportation weapon
Inequality at the Root of Harassment Issue
“So, now that the dam has burst on sexual misconduct at media companies, we’re good, right?,” Margaret Sullivan asked Sunday in the Washington Post.
“Don’t believe that for a moment.
“The appalling behavior that has been in the headlines for weeks isn’t going to stop just because some high-profile men have fallen from grace.
“Yes, maybe, after this month of eye-popping revelations about influential media figures such as Bill O’Reilly, Mark Halperin and Leon Wieseltier, news organizations will do a better job of taking internal complaints seriously. For a while.
“And maybe high-powered men will keep their pants zipped and their hands to themselves so that they won’t lose their positions atop the totem pole. For a time.
“The revelations do matter. But something deeper — more difficult— has to happen, too.
“Media companies have to address the deep-seated gender inequality that’s at the root of this mess.
“ ‘It shouldn’t be forgotten that sexual harassment is often more about abuse of power than sex,’ wrote former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who with journalist Jane Mayer chronicled Anita Hill’s sexual harassment claims against Clarence Thomas during his 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings in their book, ‘Strange Justice.’
“When Abramson was the top Times editor — the first woman to hold that coveted post — she promoted talented, qualified women so that half of her masthead was female. Good thing she moved fast; Abramson was fired after less than three years.
“That kind of equity makes a difference. Having a critical mass of female decision-makers, rather than a token presence, allows ideas to bubble up and voices to be heard in new ways. This is, of course, true for racial diversity, too. . . .”
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Checking My Male Privilege
Jacey Fortin, New York Times: The Women Behind ‘Good Girls Revolt’ Think the Time Is Right to Revive the Feminist Show
Meg James and Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times: Hollywood’s man problem may be a matter of simple math
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Men who say they’re women’s allies against sexual harassment really aren’t
James Ragland, Dallas Morning News: Heather Lind’s assault accusation against George H.W. Bush shows power balance shifting at last
Biracial Writer Gives Yuli Gurriel a Break
“Yuli Gurriel blasted a Yu Darvish fastball into the left-field stands at Minute Maid Park and social media went into a frenzy,” Dylan Hernandez, covering the World Series, wrote from Houston Saturday for the Los Angeles Times.
“Not because of the home run, but because of what he did when he returned to the Houston Astros’ bench.
“MLB’s international feed caught Gurriel pulling back the corner of his eyes while mouthing the word ‘chinito,’ which translates to something along the lines of ‘little Chinese boy.’
“Darvish is from Japan.
“My initial reaction: OK, that’s kind of silly, but why is everyone so upset?
“Before we go any further, I should probably let you know about my background. My father was born in El Salvador and my mother in Japan. I was born in Los Angeles. So if you have glanced at my picture in these pages and wondered why I have such a strange-looking face, well, there’s your answer. . . .”
Hernandez also wrote, “Really, it’s the context. This might be a hard concept to grasp for anyone who is monocultural or monolingual, but believe me when I tell you racial terms aren’t said with the same level of maliciousness in Spanish as they are in English. Even racist-looking gestures, like the one Guerriel made, aren’t made with the same level of vitriol. Not close.
“Of course, just because something is done playfully doesn’t necessarily make it OK. . . . “
Ted Berg, USA Today: How can a league that abides Chief Wahoo discipline Yuli Gurriel?
Grant Brisbee, SB Nation: Yuli Gurriel’s delayed suspension makes sense for Major League Baseball, even if it’s disappointing
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald: Yu Darvish saves Yuli Gurriel from World Series banishment after racist gesture
Chris Cwik, Yahoo Sports: After Yuli Gurriel’s suspension, Chief Wahoo should be next
David Lennon, Newsday: World Series: Why would Yuli Gurriel do that?
Marly Rivera, ESPN: Dodgers and Astros players reflect on Puerto Rico
Deron Snyder, Washington Times: Seems the marketplace of feelings is undergoing a correction
Financial Plan Helped Her Survive Brain Aneurysm
“A year ago, my life changed dramatically,” Sharon Epperson, CNBC senior personal finance correspondent, told viewers over the weekend. “It took a traumatic event — a brain aneurysm to be exact — for me to truly understand how important it is to be financially prepared for the unexpected.
“A brain aneurysm is a bulge in an artery in the brain, and can appear with no symptoms. When it bursts, like mine did, it’s often fatal. Without warning, I was suddenly disabled, uncertain of whether or when I could ever be able to return to my career (I resumed my position at CNBC at the end of September.)
“In my reporting on personal finance, I often tell readers and viewers that it is vital to have a financial plan. Now I know first-hand that advice can be life-saving, especially when an unexpected disaster changes your life.
“The most important lesson I learned: Bring your loved ones up to speed on your financial life while you are well, in case you are unable to do so if you’re hit with a medical emergency or become disabled.
“Thankfully, my husband and I had planned ahead, and you can, too. Here are five steps we took to avoid a financial disaster if one of us was ever hit with a medical emergency. . . .”
- “Four states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee — have recently passed legislation restricting the rights of protesters, as part of a sweeping trend that has seen more than half the states consider implementing such restrictions,” Emma Lux reported Oct. 23 for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “The laws range from increasing penalties for trespassing and rioting to even prohibiting protests in certain circumstances. The new legislation not only penalizes citizens seeking to peacefully protest, but also threatens to interfere with journalists who cover and report on protests. . . .”
- Wesley Morris, critic at large for the New York Times and a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, believes that “traditional criticism is becoming overshadowed by politics, as critics feel they have to celebrate diversity rather than look solely at the quality of the art,” according to Alexis White of the Daily Northwestern. She reported Friday on three journalists of color who spoke at Northwestern University about their experiences in newsrooms. “ ‘Now, for instance, white critics who, when a Beyoncé or a Kendrick Lamar puts out a record, feel they can’t really reckon with the work as art or as culture because it’s black before it’s this other stuff,’ Morris said. ‘It’s therefore impenetrable. … There are a lot of people that, they aren’t even immune to criticism, they don’t receive it.’ . . .” Morris also said the Times is still unsure of how to diversify its staff in ideology and background, White wrote.
- “After 20 years at the helm, Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga Jean has agreed to step down by the end of the year, yet another casualty of the major changes buffeting linear television worldwide,” Anna Marie de la Fuente reported Friday for Variety. “With its programming staple, the telenovela, no longer drawing massive viewership, rating shares and ad revenues have eroded at Televisa. Viewing habits have fragmented with many shifting to OTTs [over-the-top devices] led by Netflix while Televisa’s own fledgling streaming service Blim lags far behind the OTT behemoth, reported to have a 64 percent share of the market. . . .”
- “A new poll out this week from NPR finds that 60 percent of black Americans say they or a family member have been stopped or treated unfairly by police because they are black,” Joe Neel reported Monday for NPR. “In addition, 45 percent say they or a family member have been treated unfairly by the courts because they are black. The poll is a collaboration between NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. . . .”
- “Majority Minority,” a podcast featuring conversations with people of color “changing the face of Washington,” is beginning its second season. “We piloted a first season this past spring — and now, as race and identity have become inseparable parts of the political discourse, we’re back in full force,” an announcement said Monday. “Season 2 includes Rep. John Lewis, the last living speaker from the 1963 March on Washington; leading Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson; Emmy-award winning comedians Larry Wilmore and W. Kamau Bell; Rep. Nanette Barragán, the freshman Congresswoman showing the modern face of Compton, Calif.; and many more.” It is hosted by McClatchy White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez and congressional correspondent Bill Douglas. “The show will be available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and many other apps. In addition, McClatchy has built its first-ever podcast-specific landing page — www.mcclatchydc.com/mm — for Thursday’s launch of all these richly produced episodes.”
- “Gear Up (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a national program that seeks to raise college- and career-readiness among students from low-income households by targeting them no later than 7th grade and providing them, their families and schools with much-needed resources, guidance, and inspiration through their first year of college,” columnist Roy S. Johnson wrote Monday for al.com. In Alabama, the program targets “10,808 young people at 43 high schools in 17 counties we know as the Black Belt — a more-than-7,500-square mile swatch across our state where residents are too often overlooked, forgotten or left to do what they’ve always done, to know what they always knew. . . .”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board applauded parents and students who countered racist episodes in the area. “The most disheartening thing about recent racist incidents in the Philadelphia region was the involvement of teenagers. It was a bitter reminder that despite progress since the 1960s, children are still being brought up to hate,” an editorial said Wednesday. “But the rejection of hatred by students who were outraged by their peers’ racism taught another lesson, that the future does not have to be a repeat of the past. . . .”
- “A cameraman who reported receiving death threats was killed in western Honduras on Oct. 23,” Teresa Mioli reported Thursday for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. “Carlos Oveniel Lara, a 23-year-old cameraman for Canal 12 Telemaya in Copán, was shot around 6 a.m. upon leaving for work, according to El Tiempo. . . . Seventy-three journalists, including owners and media workers, have been killed in Honduras since 2003, TeleSUR reported. . . .”
- In Colombia, the “case of Claudia Julieta Duque, who was persecuted and tortured psychologically in 2001 and 2004, has been classified as a crime against humanity by the Attorney General of the Nation,” Paola Nalvartereported Friday for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. According to El Colombiano, Emiro Rojas Granados, deputy director of the now-defunct Department of Administrative Security (DAS) from 2002 to 2005, has been indicted “for crimes of aggravated conspiracy to commit a crime and aggravated torture against the journalist, who was persecuted and subjected to serious acts of psychological torture for her investigation of the murder of journalist Jaime Garzón Forero, which occurred in 1999.’ . . .” Nalvarte also wrote, “The prosecutor has also declared the murders of journalists Guillermo Cano (director of El Espectador, December 1987), Eustorgio Colmenares (director of La Opinión de Cúcuta, March 1993), Jaime Garzón (August 1999), and also the kidnapping, torture and rape ofJineth Bedoya (May 2000), as crimes against humanity, Radio Nizkor reported.”
- “Two prominent Haitian journalism organizations have rejected a request to share video recorded during anti-government protests with authorities,” Jean Robert Philippe reported Friday for the Voice of America. “The Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH) and the Association of National Haitian Media (ANMH) said Thursday that they consider the request, made by Port-au-Prince district attorney Clame Ocmane Dameusin a notice issued Sunday, to be an extreme infringement on press freedom. . . .”
- “Rwandan journalists could face seven years in jail or a fine of Rwf7 million ($8,353) under a new media law that has been passed by parliament,” Ivan R. Mugisha reported Saturday for the East African in Nairobi, Kenya. “The development, seen as a reversal of the fortunes for media practitioners that had expected decriminalisation of defamation under an ongoing review of the penal code, came as part of a new penal code passed by the Lower House last week. . . .” The law “also introduces a new offence, ‘insults or defamation against the President of the Republic,’ which separately attracts five to seven years in prison and fines ranging between Rwf5 million ($ 5800) and Rwf7 million ($8200). . . .”
- “Journalist Justus Muhanguzi has reported a case to police over threats on his life after he launched a book with his account of what happened during the Rwandan 1994 genocide,”Alon Mwesigwa reported Friday for the Observer in Kampala, Uganda. “Muhanguzi is one of the Ugandan journalists who covered the war and subsequent genocide in Rwanda as it happened. He was writing for New Vision newspaper at the time but his book on what he says is what he saw has raised eyebrows. A very unhappy Kigali,” the capital of Rwanda, “has declared that the book carries falsehoods. . . .”
source: the root