Black Entertainment Television finally acknowledged Thursday that it will not bring back T.J. Holmes’ “Don’t Sleep!” [video] late night news/talk show, eight months after its initial launch. Holmes told Journal-isms on Friday, “I’m a completely free agent.”
Holmes left his job as a CNN weekend anchor in December 2011 for BET, which developed a half-hour late-night show for him that targeted African American viewers but was intended to have more in common with Jon Stewart than with traditional journalism.
“But the show, which aired Monday through Thursday, failed to draw a significant audience,” R. Thomas Umstead wrote Thursday for Multichannel News. “After generating a series-high 1 million viewers for its Oct. 9 episode, the series averaged less than 400,000 viewers before being revamped into a weekly, one-hour format on Nov. 14. The last new episode of the series aired Dec. 19.”
However, BET refused to say it was canceling the show, even as it turned its attention toward the reality show “The Real Husbands of Hollywood.”
Holmes told Journal-isms by telephone, “I will never, ever regret thinking that my heart was in the right place,” a young black man taking his skills “to do something that was not being done for our community,” that is, providing a daily news show geared toward African Americans. “You learn from the mistakes, there are questions I should have asked, things that should have been cleared up,” but reaching the black community in that way was “an opportunity I would love to have” again, Holmes said.
Umstead wrote, “In a statement, BET said Don’t Sleep ‘delivered smart social commentary on significant issues important to African Americans with the nation’s most prominent thought leaders. BET remains committed to being a resource for our audience on issues that directly affect the African American community.’”
Boston Suspects Darkened for Magazine Cover
“This is how brofiling actually works in real life,” Hari Stephen Kumar wrote Thursday for his ”brofiling” blog. “The Week Magazine ran with this image as their cover sketch.
“Just so it is said, clearly and unambiguously: the Tsarnaev brothers are white guys. They are white. The FBI’s own wanted poster for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lists his race as ‘white’, but you would never know it from the cover image on The Week.
“Hold up the cover to someone else, and ask them how many white people they can see on the cover. Chances are they will identify Gabby Giffords on the top left and the image of the Boston policemen (all white men) on the top right, but how about those two guys in the center? Nope, not a chance that anyone would say these caricatures look white.
“Why? Because in addition to being white they are also ‘Muslim’, which is the current dehumanizing ‘Other’ label that whiteness has constructed as a sanctioned target for violence in US popular culture.
“This is how white privilege works in media representations and everyday life: when the criminal suspects are demonstrably white men, seize upon any aspect of difference and magnify it such that they become Othered, non-white, and menacing. If it is too hard to do so, simply dismiss them as aberrations and isolated cases of insanity. This is also how white culture, specifically the process of whiteness in conjunction with white privilege, portrays several non-white identities, including those that are now considered white but at one time were decidedly not so. . . .”
The Week magazine did not respond to a request for comment.
The episode is reminiscent of Time magazine’s darkening of O.J. Simpson’s face during his 1994 murder trial to make him appear more menacing.
The well-respected weekly calls itself “A comprehensive, balanced distillation of national and international news, opinions and ideas.” Its subscriber base is just a fraction of Time’s 3.2 million: It had a total paid and verified circulation of 561,459 for the six month s ending Dec. 21, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
As many as five senior black journalists at USA Today and Gannett News Service are taking a buyout, depleting the top ranks of journalists of color at “the nation’s newspaper.”
Three of the five confirmed their departure: Geri Coleman Tucker, deputy managing editor; Robert Robinson, deputy managing editor/copy editors; and reporter Larry Bivins of Gannett News Service.
“Early retirements were offered to USA TODAY employees who were at least 55 years old and had 15 years of service. They were offered two weeks pay for each year of service — with a cap of one year of pay,” USA Today spokeswoman Heidi Zimmerman told Journal-isms by email Friday. She would not disclose the number taking the buyout.
“Yes, it’s true,” Bivins messaged Journal-isms. “After 36 years in the business, starting at The Cleveland Call Post, a black weekly, I’m hanging it up. At least for a while. The timing is good for me . . . I’ll be 64 in November, giving me just two more years before full Social Security eligibility. I’ll get a paycheck for almost a year. I’m not quite sure what I want to do. I imagine I’ll be open to freelance possibilities. But for a couple of months, at least, I plan on doing nothing but playing tennis every day. And clear my head!
“May 15 would have been my 20th anniversary with Gannett, all in Washington. I started in 1993 as an urban affairs/race relations reporter for The Detroit News, then moved over to Gannett News Service in 1998. I was a regional reporter, spent time as a regional editor, then went back to reporting when the bureau downsized in 2009 — I had just returned to work after a six-week disability for a hip replacement. . . .”
Tucker said she was “embarking on a great faith journey.” She said she had spent 23 years at USA Today, “30 at Gannett all total because I was also a regional managing editor at Gannett News Service.” Tucker has been deputy managing editor/Money at USA Today and managing editor/Midwest for Gannett News Service from 1986 to 1993.
She added, “I’m looking for exciting, new opportunities.”
Robinson, deputy managing editor/Sports before a reorganization, messaged, “After 39 years at Gannett, the last 30½ with USA TODAY, I decided to take the early retirement package. I have had 39 wonderful years in the business, including being a founding member of the USA TODAY staff, and felt the timing was right to take a step back. . . . As for what’s next, I have no immediate plans other than to take a month or so to just enjoy the family, visit my aging mother in Florida and then look for my next employment opportunity — or whatever God has in store for me.”
The saga of media writer Howard Kurtz, who “parted ways” with Newsweek and the Daily Beast after an embarrassing error this week, was part of the buzz Thursday night at the American Magazine Awards in New York. Jim Nelson, editor-in-chief of GQ, accepted one of the honors.
“Howard Kurtz, who wrongly accused NBA player Jason Collins of not mentioning his earlier engagement to a woman when he came out this week, could have been saved from his mistake by magazine factcheckers, GQ Editor-in-Chief suggested when his magazine won in the reporting category,” Nat Ives reported for Ad Age.
For the most part, reconstructions of Kurtz’s fall have not addressed the role of the website in failing to catch his errors.
Dylan Byers and Katie Glueck wrote Thursday night for Politico, “At the height of his influence, Howard Kurtz was widely regarded as the most influential media reporter and critic in the country. But in recent years, erroneous reporting and careless errors reduced him to fodder for the media reporters and critics who followed in his footsteps.
“No single event has dealt such a crushing blow to Kurtz’s reputation as Thursday’s decision to ‘part ways’ — after a serious mistake in a story about gay basketball player Jason Collins — with The Daily Beast, where he has served as columnist and Washington bureau chief since leaving a long, illustrious career with The Washington Post in 2010. . . .”
They added, “sources at the Daily Beast and CNN, who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, said there were several reasons for the breakup: For one thing, Kurtz had a string of high-profile mistakes on his record and that had become a source of embarrassment for The Daily Beast. For another, he commanded a hefty paycheck, despite turning out fewer scoops than in the past. . . .”
“But perhaps the main factor that led Kurtz out the door, several sources said, was the same quality that had fueled his rise in the first place decades ago: a hyperactive work ethic that ended up dividing his attentions and ultimately proved unsustainable. . . .”
Andrew Kirk, a spokesman for the Daily Beast, did not respond to a question about whether Kurtz’s work went through copy editors. The fateful entry about Collins was described as a “blog post,” which at many publications means it is posted without editing.
Meanwhile, CNN has decided not to remove Kurtz as host of his Sunday morning media show. “There has been no status change with Howard Kurtz, he remains the host of ‘Reliable Sources’. He will address this issue on the program this weekend,” a CNN spokeswoman told inquiring journalists.
Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown tweeted Thursday that Kurtz and the Daily Beast had “parted company … we wish him well.”
“A statement from Brown highlighted moves the website is taking to bolster its coverage of Washington, including with new columnists such as Jon Favreau, Joshua [DuBois] and Stuart Stevens,” Ryan Nakashima reported for the Associated Press.
DuBois, an African American, left his position as faith adviser for President Obama in February.
Michael Calderone, Huffington Post: Howard Kurtz Had Larger Daily Download Role Than Other Advisory Board Members
Matt K. Lewis, the Week: Let’s all stop taking swings at Howard Kurtz
“A few months back, the Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo, an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, told USA Today that he thought the first player in the three major sports to out himself would be a baseball player: ‘The religious roots are a lot deeper in basketball and football. With that being said, I think baseball players are more open-minded,’ ” Allen Barra reported Friday for the Atlantic.
“What Ayanbadejo didn’t know was that one baseball player already had. This week’s coming out by NBA player Jason Collins is momentous, but the Jackie Robinson of gay rights was Glenn Burke, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s from 1976 to 1979. He tried to change sports culture three decades ago — but back then, unlike now, sports culture wasn’t ready for a change.
“Burke made no secret of his sexual orientation to the Dodgers front office, his teammates, or friends in either league. He also talked freely with sportswriters, though all of them ended up shaking their heads and telling him they couldn’t write that in their papers. Burke was so open about his sexuality that the Dodgers tried to talk him into participating in a sham marriage. (He wrote in his autobiography that the team offered him $75,000 to go along with the ruse.) He refused. In a bit of irony that would seem farcical if it wasn’t so tragic, one of the Dodgers who tried to talk Burke into getting ‘married,’ was his manager, Tommy Lasorda, whose son Tom Jr. died from AIDS complications in 1991. To this day, Lasorda Sr. refuses to acknowledge his son’s homosexuality.
“Burke, who also died of AIDS-related causes in 1995, came out to the world outside baseball in a 1982 article for Inside Sports and even followed it up shortly after with an appearance on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel. But his story was greeted by the rest of the news media and the baseball establishment, including Burke’s former teammates and baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, with silence. Even his superb autobiography, Out at Home, which published the year he died, failed to stir open conversation about homosexuality in sports. Practically no one in the sports-writing community would acknowledge that Burke was gay or report stories that followed up on his admission. . . .”
“Out: the Glenn Burke Story,” a documentary featuring Burke, debuted in November 2010 in a San Francisco theater, accompanied by a television broadcast the same night on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
Perry Bacon Jr., the Grio: Silence of opponents illustrates growing acceptance of LGBT rights
Leonardo Blair, Christian Post: ESPN’s Chris Broussard: ‘Though I’m Getting a Lot of Hate, God Is Being Glorified’
Donna Brazile, CNN: But can the dude play?
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Is Jason Collins the Jackie Robinson of 2013?
Mike Fleming Jr., Deadline Hollywood: Will Gay Hoopster Revelation Drive Home Jamie Lee Curtis-Produced Pic About First Openly Gay Baseball Player?
Justice B. Hill, BET: Why We Should Respect Chris Broussard’s Opinion
Reginald Johnson, Metuchen Edison Area Branch NAACP, letter, MyCentralJersey.com | Courier News | Home News Tribune: Tough being gay in sports? Ask Glenn Burke
Saeed Jones, BuzzFeed: Yes, It Matters That Jason Collins Is Black And Gay
John Koblin, Deadspin: Why ESPN’s Chris Broussard Came Out As A Bigot
Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle: Film examines struggle of gay athlete Glenn Burke (2010)
Jeff Poor, Daily Caller: MoveOn petition urges ESPN to suspend Chris Broussard
Armstrong Williams, the Shadow League: Jason Collins And The Plague Of Identity Politics
Phillip B. Wilson, Indianapolis Star: Colts notes: Players would accept a gay teammate
“During the past decade I have had several conversations with groups and individuals that eventually landed on use of the term illegal immigrant to describe those who have unlawfully come to the United States,” Greg Moore, editor of the Denver Post, told readers Thursday.
“I have heard all kinds of arguments. I always tensed up when someone argued illegal immigrant was the same as racial epithets used to describe blacks and Jews. I still believe those comparisons are wrongheaded. But other examples stayed with me. I remember once being told that a young girl cried upon seeing a relative described as an illegal immigrant.
“Yesterday, I decided The Denver Post will no longer use the term ’illegal immigrant’ when describing a person in the country unlawfully. If we know the actual circumstances we will describe them. The word ‘illegal’ will not be applied to a person, only an action. . . .”
The Denver Post entry on “illegal immigration” now reads:
“Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.
“Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals, undocumented aliens or undocumented workers. Use the unmodified word immigrant only for people who have entered the U.S. lawfully.
“Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.
“If possible, specify how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?
“People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.”
Hugo Balta, National Association of Hispanic Journalists: NAHJ Applauds the Denver Post for Its Decision to Drop the I Word
Kevin Bogardus and Russell Berman, African Globe: Caribbean and African Immigrants Getting Blocked in New Immigration Bill
Joel Campbell, Columbia Journalism Review: Four Corners coverage: immigration reform (April 29)
Charles D. Ellison, Uptown: How Black Folks Are Shut Out of the Immigration Debate (April 29)
María Hinojosa with former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, “Latino USA,” NPR: Where Is Mexico on U.S. Immigration Reform? (podcast)
Maria Hinojosa, “Latino USA,” NPR: Lost Women (podcast)