NABJ: Major News Outlets Reject Black Talent in Prime Time

The Wire (NABJ)

In reaction to an ostensible trend in cable news to pass over African American talent for prime time programming, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) continued discussions this week with several civil rights organizations to address the matter and direct a definite course of action.

“We appreciate the support of like-minded organizations stepping up to affect change as black journalists are ignored and in turn, black communities get shortchanged in the coverage of important issues,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “We are dedicated to getting this issue resolved.”

Less than two weeks ago, Times released a letter to NABJ’s membership and supporters expressing her disappointment with CNN regarding yet another missed opportunity to diversify its nighttime lineup. The NAACP also released a statement that criticized the network’s stance. The forthcoming departure of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as host of two short-lived prime time shows for the network opened up a void that was ultimately filled by former CNBC anchor Erin Burnett – a move seen by some as more than coincidental.

“I don’t understand any major network’s rationale for not being as inclusive as possible,” said Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. “This lack of representation has been brought to the major networks’ attention repeatedly over the years. It is time for them to walk the walk of diversity at all levels, including prime time talent positions.”

Currently, there are no African American anchors hosting prime time news hours for any major cable network. While MSNBC is reportedly on the verge of offering civil rights activist Al Sharpton his own prime time slot, there are no black journalists who can tout a similar promotion.

NABJ Executive Director Maurice Foster also conveyed his frustration with CNN and other major news outlets for their apparent unresponsiveness.

“Our presence in the prime time slot makes a big difference in terms of shaping public opinion of each issue,” said Foster. “The suggestion that black journalists can’t do it just doesn’t cut the mustard. [Cable Networks] know the talent is there, they just don’t believe in them.”

Prominent civil rights organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have all pledged their support for a drastic course of action should this matter continue to be overlooked.

“We have a machine here poised to do a lot of things,” said Foster, speaking of the potential for these various groups to mobilize. “We are deeply serious about this.”

A Fresh New Look Arrives at The Root

I had a chance to preview changes made TheRoot.com website on a blogger conference call yesterday.  I’ll have to say kudos to Managing Editor Joel Dreyfuss and Managing Editor of the site.  I think the content is much easier to find and they are able to highlight key articles much better than before.

“The Root already offers the most thoughtful news analysis and commentary on the Web relating to black people’s lives and the issues that matter to us,” said Joel Dreyfuss, Managing Editor of the revamped site.  “Over time we’ve also seen our curated and multimedia content grow in popularity, so we’re redesigning the homepage to make it easier to access the full breath of what we offer.

Key updates include:

  • Faster performance: The streamlined site loads quickly, giving readers faster access to breaking news and timely headlines.
  • Easier Navigation: More points of entry into the site’s rich content and a layout gives video, slideshows, blogs and special features greater prominence.
  • A Bolder Vibrant Design:  An updated color palette that better reflects the energetic environment of a constantly updating news source with a vocal and engaged following.
  • Larger Homepage Lightbox: Expanded in size for easy viewing –containing more content tied to breaking news topics and a wider variety of the site’s offerings.
  • Video Functionality on Homepage: Instant gratification for visitors who enjoy video content via a Must-See-Media module.
  • New Content Offerings: Readers will be able to share the news in their own lives with the Celebrations Gallery Section which enables readers to post announcements for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations and births.  The Opinion Round Up Section highlights insightful viewpoints from notable columnists and bloggers focusing on politics, culture, and more.  The Roots Section offers genealogical information, including advice by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is The Root’s editor-in-chief.

The Root is published by The Slate Group, a Division of the Washington Post Company.

screenshot-beta-the-root

RNC Chairman Priebus Calls For Investigation Of Fundraising Activity In The White House

The Wire (RNC)

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus today called on the Department of Justice to investigate whether or not President Barack Obama broke federal election laws by conducting illegal political fundraising activity in the White House.

A fundraising video featuring the President appears to have been recorded in the Map Room which is not part of the White House residence, but rather “occupied in the discharge of official duties.” According to federal law, it is a crime for the President of the United States to solicit political contributions in a place of official government business.

Chairman Priebus has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for the Department of Justice to investigate the matter to determine if, in fact, federal laws were broken by President Obama. Below are excerpts from Chairman Priebus’ letter to Attorney General Holder:

“It is with grave concern that I write to request a Department of Justice investigation into an apparent crime committed by President Barack Obama. On or about June 27, 2011, Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina sent an email message containing an announcement he said President Obama wanted to make personally.

The message solicited funds for a raffle, of which the winner would have the opportunity to have dinner with President Obama and Vice-President Biden.  “If you haven’t yet thrown your name in the hat for this thing,” Mr. Messina wrote, “I have a feeling this announcement might change that.” Embedded in Mr. Messina’s message was a video of President Obama, along with a link to a website through which donors could enter the raffle by making contributions to the President’s reelection campaign …

“According to multiple individuals with knowledge of the White House’s rooms and layout, the video appears to have been recorded in the Map Room.  According to news reports, however, the White House Counsel has indicated that the video was filmed somewhere in the residential portion of the White House …

“As Chairman of the Republican National Committee, I have the responsibility to hold the President accountable for his reckless spending, for the unsustainable growth of government and the crushing debt he is leaving for future generations of Americans, and now, sadly, for his apparent criminal behavior.  I never expected I would be in this regrettable position, but the President’s conduct and the White House staff’s stonewalling leave me no choice …”

To view the full letter click here:  http://bit.ly/qhXJvk

3 Reasons why Paul Ryan Absolutely Will Not Run For President in 2012

By Shawn Williams

Everyday there’s a new Republican rumored as a potential Presidential candidate and today it’s Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. This post will be short, because there is really only one reason why Rep. Paul Ryan will not seek the Republican nomination for President in 2012. Still I went with three so indulge me.

1. The Garfield Effect

The only sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives to be elected President was James A. Garfield in 1880. Only two other sitting members (Henry Clay, 1824 and John Anderson, 1980) have run in general elections. Anderson ran as an independent. (Source: Office of the Clerk – U.S. House)

Even then, Garfield was U.S. Senator Elect from Ohio. It’s hard enough for Senators to move from Congress to the White House. Before President Obama was elected in 2008, John F. Kennedy and Warren G. Harding were the only sitting U.S. Senators elected President. Had Republicans nominated a viable governor in 2008, President Obama would have been in trouble.

2. America hates losers

One of the reason so many Republican star candidates won’t run in 2012 is because Presidential losers have a hard time coming back. There are very few Richard Nixon’s in the bunch, who lose a U.S. Presidential election and come back to be elected down the road. There aren’t even that many John McCain’s who lose out on their party’s nomination (2000) only to win in later years (2008). President Obama presents a stiff enough challenge that 2016 looks like a much better year for Republicans hopefuls.

3. The Ryan Budget

If Paul Ryan were to become a candidate for President, his budget would be under even more scrutiny than it already is. He seems to be a smart guy and I’m sure he’s got thought on any number of issues. But the public would only hear about the budget, and any talk of foreign policy, energy policy or any policy besides budget policy would get lost.

With all that said, I wouldn’t expect a Ryan for President announcement any time soon.

Bishop T.D. Jakes Says Rev. Franklin Graham Should Apologize to President Obama for Questioning his Faith

The Wire (TV ONE)


RENOWNED BLACK RELIGIOUS LEADER APPEARS ON “WASHINGTON WATCH WITH ROLAND MARTIN” SUNDAY, MAY 15 AT 11 AM ET ON TV ONE

tdjakesphotoRoland Martin: Rev. Franklin Graham has made some comments on several occasions as recently as three weeks ago really questioning, if you will, the faith of the President. He said the President has told him he’s a Christian, but he basically said that going to church does not make you a Christian. But the President is on record as saying that he walked down that aisle, he gave his life to Christ, so what do you say to folks like Rev. Graham who, frankly, are muddying the water but other people who are questioning the Christianity of this President?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: I find it insulting. We didn’t question the Christianity of President Bush when he said he accepted Christ, and I’m disappointed in Rev. Franklin Graham in that regard. I wish he had the diplomacy of his father, who brought the gospel to people without being nuanced by politics because when you do those things you offend people that you are actually called to save and to serve. And I would hope that he would see the rationale in apologizing for such statements – because if the President’s faith is suspect then all of our faiths are suspect, because the Bible is quite clear about what it takes to be saved and the President has been quite open about his accepting Christ and him openly confessing it before men. And if it’s good enough for the Bible it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.

Martin: I certainly agree with you on that.

The National Black Church Initiative Urges Supreme Court To Consider Walmart Class Action Gender Discrimination Suit

The Wire

Rev. Anthony Evans

Rev. Anthony Evans

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, strongly supports the class action lawsuit brought forth by female Walmart employees.  This case represents the largest class action gender lawsuit in history and highlights Walmart’s systemic discriminatory practices.

Lawyers for women suing the nation’s largest retailer built their case on affidavits from more than 100 workers and a statistical model showing that, while women make up 80% of the company’s hourly workers, they account for only 30% of its managers. They allege pay discrepancies, unequal promotion policies and a male-dominated management.  NBCI abhors discrimination in any form and stands by these women to seek justice.

As a national organization committed to eradicating racial disparities, we reached out to Walmart to create a strategic partnership.  As a corporate giant, Walmart has the resources and scope to enact real change nationwide and we were eager to enact programming to benefit African Americans.

Unfortunately, we came to discover that Walmart’s priority was to brutally crush competition and exploit their workers, especially minority women.  We refuse to partner with an organization whose commitment to their employees and the community is so easily broken – Walmart should be forced to adhere to the standards that we as Americans deserve.

Rev. Evans, President of NBCI says, “Walmart has proven to be a company resistant to innovation within its workforce and community.  Their primary motivation is profit – at any cost.  They undermine small businesses while maximizing their own profit margins.  Despite the fact that their profit margins are wide – they are unwilling to compensate their employees fairly.  The Church is appalled that Walmart would make its profits on the backs of women and children by systematically underpaying them – degrading their human spirit.”

NBCI urges the Supreme Court to uphold the rights of these women – women who in an effort to support themselves and their families have been subjected to discrimination and exploitation.  We will fight to achieve justice and hold Walmart accountable for its actions.

About NBCI
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public.

The National Black Church Initiative’s methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science. The National Black Church Initiative’s purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work.  Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.

Rep. Charles Rangel Holds First Bloggers Conference Call

From Rep. Rangel’s office

“This is an exciting new experience for me,” said Congressman Charles B. Rangel, as he welcomed a core group of bloggers who joined the 21st-term lawmaker in his first-ever bloggers’ conference call, on March 8, 2011, Tuesday evening at 8PM ET.

“Things are changing every day, and the Congress can’t do all that it wants to, especially being in the minority. It’s going to take more than Congress — people like you who has an interest in the country, who can talk with the community,” said Rangel. “This is also very helpful to me to see what you’re thinking, what my constituents are thinking, and that makes me a better representative.”

Moderated by Beth Becker, a leader of the progressive movement in the blogging community, the Bloggers’ Conference Call was Congressman Rangel’s newest attempt to address and champion progressive solutions to our country’s problems during these challenging times by working with online activists and bloggers.

Participants asked a series of questions, ranging from those concerning the “Republican war on State employees” and collective bargaining, to torture and U.S. foreign policy on Haiti.

When asked about his primary goal in Congress, Rangel replied: “Right now, if I had to name one thing that I would have as a priority it would be supporting President Obama. I’ve been here for more than 40 years, and been here through many presidents, but I’ve never seen anyone speak with the courage on the priorities I believe in.”

Rangel reiterated his commitments to education, increasing the number of people in the middle class, reforming the tax system so that the top 1% will not be controlling our resources, ensuring immigrants’ rights, and creating a type of economy where dreams can become a reality.

Overall, the conference call turned out to be a successful opportunity for the veteran Congressman to engage with a new, influential community and reach an audience that he has not previously interacted with.

“Thank you so much Congressman Rangel. I really, really appreciate you for taking the time to come in and dialogue with us via conference call and getting involved with the blogging community,” said a participant.

“This is my first time, but I have to admit, I found this an exciting new adventure and I do hope to do it again soon. I really enjoyed it,” echoed Rangel, as he closed the conference call by thanking the participants and inviting them to continue the dialogue on his Facebook page.

Coupled with the launch of the new website at Rangel.House.gov, Rangel hopes his Bloggers’ Conference Calls and future online townhalls will facilitate greater interaction between the Congressman and the online community to give middle-class America a stronger voice.

Congressman Rangel is currently one of the most active members on social media platforms, with more than 4100 Facebook friends and fans (www.facebook.com/cbrangel) and nearly 4500 followers on Twitter (@cbrangel).

To sign up for Rep. Rangel’s next Bloggers’ Conference Call, please visit his Facebook page (Discussions); or download the Visible Vote app via Facebook or smartphones to join him in his upcoming online townhall.