Perhaps understandably, a court ruling that a Zimbabwean mining executive must pay U.S. $10 million in defamation damages because of comments published by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks did not get much Western news coverage.
Andrew Cranswick, CEO of African Consolidated Resources, allegedly told U.S. diplomats that the country’s spy chief, Happyton Bonyongwe, and other officials were looting diamonds from the country’s diamond fields, according to U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks in 2009.
Cranswick says he never spoke to U.S. embassy officials. Still, Radio France International, which reported the judicial ruling last month, said the judgment was likely to encourage piling on by other officials linked to President Robert Mugabe‘s party. They, too, have launched lawsuits over WikiLeaks.
Closer to home, a military trial at Fort Meade, Md., has begun for Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and classified reports while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010. The cables involved the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as U.S. relations with Third World countries.
Left-wing groups have accused much of the mainstream media, particularly the New York Times, of downplaying the start of Manning’s trial.
On Wednesday, the New York Times public editor agreed. “In failing to send its own reporter to cover the fascinating and important pretrial testimony of Bradley Manning, The New York Times missed the boat,” Margaret Sullivan wrote. “. . . The testimony is dramatic and the overarching issues are important. The Times should be there.”
The media watch group Fairness Accuracy In Reporting said Tuesday, “These dramatic developments, in particular the testimony from Manning (11/29/12), were mostly unreported in corporate media. The New York Times ran a brief Associated Press wire story (11/30/12). Manning’s story was mentioned by just one of the three big network newscasts (CBS Evening News, 11/29/12). There was a brief mention on the PBS NewsHour (11/30/12), mostly about suicide risk.”
What were these reporters missing? Eliza Gray wrote Wednesday for the New Republic, “Last week, in a Grisham-like courtroom scene, Bradley Manning — the Army private charged with leaking hundreds of thousands of classified war logs and State Department cables to WikiLeaks — testified publicly for the first time since his arrest in May of 2010. For more than five hours, Manning described the two months he spent in a ‘cage’ inside a dark tent in Kuwait and the nine months that followed in 23-hours-a-day solitary confinement on a Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia. In one theatrical moment, Manning got up from the stand and paced inside a 6 by 8 tape outline on the courtroom floor to demonstrate the size of his prison cell. In another, he donned the suicide smock he had to wear.”
The case is far more important than the fate of one man, however.
It places some members of the news media in collusion with what could be ruled an illegal act. It makes some journalists uncomfortable.
“The Times has always had a rocky relationship with WikiLeaks, Manning, and other leakers of state secrets,” Gray wrote. “After publishing the cables, Bill Keller, the Times executive editor at the time, wrote an 8,000-word New York Times Magazine story in which he compared Julian Assange,” editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, “to a ‘bag lady.’ ‘We regarded Assange throughout as a source, not as a partner or collaborator,’ he wrote.” In Britain, “The Guardian, on the other hand, sought ‘partnership between a mainstream newspaper and WikiLeaks: a new model of cooperation aimed at publishing the world’s biggest leak,’ as Yochai Benkler described it in the Harvard Civil-Rights Civil-Liberties Law Review.”
The State Department would not detail the damage done by the released cables. A spokesman told Journal-isms by email, “The Department of State does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked. Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for the lives of identified individuals that are jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations. Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches.”
Andy Greenberg, author of “This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim To Free The World’s Information,” speaking in September on “The Diane Rehm Show,” an NPR program originating at Washington’s WAMU-FM, compared the WikiLeakers with the now-celebrated Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg released “The Pentagon Papers” on the Vietnam War in 1971, first to the New York Times, then to the Washington Post. That case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the government could not restrain publication even if there was some danger to national security.
The difference? “. . . Assange was just more interested in these record-breaking leaks, the act of leaking, than even the content of the information,” Greenberg said. “. . . I do believe that Manning erred in releasing this kind of unfiltered, just massive mega leak of information. I believe he should have done more what Ellsberg did, which is to read it all himself, to filter himself and not put these innocent sources in danger.”
In a piece Thursday in the Huffington Post, Assange asserted, “. . .The material that Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked has highlighted astonishing examples of U.S. subversion of the democratic process around the world, systematic evasion of accountability for atrocities and killings, and many other abuses.” Included was a revelation that two journalists, one a Spaniard, were killed during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq when a U.S. tank fired on a Baghdad hotel, and that the United States sought to have Spain drop plans to prosecute three U.S. solders who were involved.
“. . . It is the case that WikiLeaks’ publications can and have changed the world, but that change has clearly been for the better,” Assange wrote. Perhaps unaware of the case of the Zimbabwe mining executive, he added, “Two years on, no claim of individual harm has been presented . . .”
David Leonhardt, the Times’ Washington bureau chief, defended the Times’ coverage of Manning’s military hearing, explaining, Sullivan said, “that, in essence, The Times did not think the hearing itself demanded coverage.
“. . . Again, though, readers can definitely expect more coverage of Mr. Manning in the weeks to come,” Leonhardt added. The subject also came up Wednesday in Leonhardt’s online chat with readers.
Because of technology, there will be more such cases to cover — or be part of, author Greenberg indicated on the Rehm show. “Use the right cryptographic tools, keep your mouth shut and you too can anonymously, frictionlessly eviscerate an entire institution’s information,” the author said. “There may not be many Daniel Ellsbergs in the world ready to push through the 20th Century’s stubborn barriers to leaking, but the 21st Century would be wise to expect more Bradley Mannings.”
Peter Hart, Fairness Accuracy In Reporting: Julian Assange, Erin Burnett and the Battle Over Press Freedom
J. Nicholas Hoover, InformationWeek: State Department CIO: What’s Changed Since WikiLeaks (April 5)
Peter Kornbluh, the Nation: WikiLeaks: The Latin America Files (July 25)
Richard Tofel, Pro Publica: Why WikiLeaks’ ‘War Logs’ Are No Pentagon Papers (July 26, 2010)
Members of the associations in the Unity Journalists coalition will have a choice for a new name that does not include a return to “Journalists of Color” or a variation, the coalition announced Tuesday.
“Over the weekend, UNITY board members met online to discuss the UNITY Name Task Force’s process, and as a result, a tweak has been made to the ballot in which members will be voting on a new name for UNITY,” according to a notice posted on the Unity website.
“We ask for patience and understanding. And in particular, we apologize to AAJA members,” referring to the Asian American Journalists Association. “Some AAJA members have already cast their votes and will be asked to do so again on this new ballot, which will be made available to members by their associations on Wednesday.
“The new ballot will contain three choices; although Nos. 1 and 2 remain the same, No. 3 was tweaked:
“1. UNITY: Journalists of Color
“2. UNITY: Journalists of Color Diversity
“3. UNITY: Journalists for Diversity
“The first two names on the ballot were the most suggested during the month-long suggestion phase, when the public was asked to submit ideas via email to UNITYname@gmail.com. The third name was also one of the suggestions submitted, although it was not one of the top three.
“Members will vote through their alliance associations. Members will have 10 days to vote, ending 11:59 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 14. No write-ins will be considered.”
The coalition of Hispanic, Asian American, Native American and lesbian and gay journalists last month unveiled three choices for a new name. The third choice, “UNITY: Journalists of Color for Diversity Inc.,” was dropped in favor of “UNITY: Journalists for Diversity” after association members said some white lesbian and gay journalists were uncomfortable with “of Color.”
National Association of Hispanic Journalists: Cast Your Vote For A New Name For UNITY
“A New York Post front page picture of a man about to be killed by an oncoming subway train provoked fury from readers left wondering why nobody, particularly the photographer, tried to pull the victim to safety — and why the tabloid published the image,” Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.
“Police say the victim, identified as Ki Suk Han, 58, was thrown onto the tracks during a fight Monday with a deranged man in a Manhattan subway station. He then staggered to his feet and tried, but failed to get out the way of the train, which killed him — in full view of a crowd of passengers.
“One of those bystanders was a freelance photographer from the Post who managed to take a series of photos, including the one occupying the whole front page Tuesday under the headline: ‘This man is about to die.’
“In a video report on the story, the Post appeared to suggest that the picture and two others in a double-page spread inside the newspaper, were just unintentional byproducts of the photographer’s rescue attempt.
” ‘Not being strong enough to physically lift the victim himself, the photographer used the only resources available to him and began rapidly flashing his camera to signal the train conductor to stop,’ the report said.
“But readers quickly slammed the Post’s photographer and editors for what they saw as a callous attitude to the tragedy. . . .”
R. Umar Abbasi, New York Post: Anguished fotog: Critics are unfair to condemn me
Jeff Bercovici, Forbes: New York Post’s Subway Death Photo: Was It Ethical Photojournalism?
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Help wanted: New York subway horror
David Carr, New York Times: Train Wreck: The New York Post’s Subway Cover
Richard Esposito and Colleen Curry, ABC News: Suspected NYC Subway Pusher Charged With Murder
Leonard Greene, New York Post: Seasoned straphangers turning into wall huggers
J. Bryan Lowder, Slate: What Disturbs Us Most About the N.Y. Post Subway Death Cover
Julie Moos, Poynter Institute: Irby: Blame NY Post editors, not photographer, for subway death photo
Hamilton Nolan, Gawker: New York Post Commenters Have Some Interesting Racist Thoughts on This Tragic Subway Death
Kelly McBride, Poynter Institute: Would you snap a picture or pull the man to safety?
Leigh Weingus, Huffington Post: Witnessing a Tragedy on My Way to Work
“. . . Hearst has a huge PR problem on its hands in the form of a big-news lawsuit — and its lawyers have begun to prepare by contacting affected parties in order to solicit positive testimony,” Patrick Coffee wrote Tuesday for PRNewser. “We’re not quite sure that will work.
“The story: When Diana Wang applied for an internship at Harper’s Bazaar, her only real goal was to make her mark on the fashion industry. She knew that it wouldn’t amount to a full-time job (it was her seventh unpaid internship), and she told New York Magazine of saving every penny in order to afford the opportunity to work as ‘head accessories intern’ at Bazaar.
“The work was considerable: Wang supervised eight other interns, and she claims that editors at the magazine told her that her internship ‘should be considered a real job.’
“Unfortunately, the internship did not lead to the fashion gig she craved — or any other gig. Her supervisor was bold enough to tell her that she wasn’t ready for a job in fashion and that she should consider another internship. With that, she started considering her options. Given the fact that she worked a full-time schedule and drew no discernible benefits from the internship, Wang decided to file a lawsuit claiming that the internship was actually an unpaid job — and 3,000 other former interns joined her. . . .”
Alice Hines, Huffington Fashion Week 2012: Unpaid Internships Questioned After Diana Wang’s Harper’s Bazaar Suit (Feb. 14)
Josh Sanburn, Time: The Beginning of the End of the Unpaid Internship (May 2)
Kayleen Schaefer, New York magazine: The Norma Rae of Fashion Interns (Sept. 11)
The management of Washington community radio station WPFW-FM “was hit with two charges last Friday as the union representing workers there demanded back pay and documentation from the local Pacifica station,” the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO reported Wednesday.
” ‘We’re going all the way now,’ said a frustrated Pat O’Donnell, executive director of SAG-AFTRA’s Washington-Mid Atlantic Local. ‘It’s just too, too long, waiting to be paid what we’re owed and given information we’ve been promised.’
“The union filed with the American Arbitration Association for raises owed since 2011, as well as an Unfair Labor Practice with the [National Labor Relations Board] for WPFW’s failure to provide documentation about its financial situation. ‘They’ve been threatening layoffs and crying poverty, yet after months of promising us documentation, we haven’t seen a single thing,’ O’Donnell told Union City.”
Meanwhile, syndicators of “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin; “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “Smiley West” with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West denied a posted statement from WPFW supporters that the shows did not go on as planned this week because WPFW had not paid for them. The programs were to be imported to the station as part of a controversial reformatting that saw the departure of more than a dozen people, including Bobby Hill, the interim program director who implemented the orders to remove the targeted hosts.
“Payment is not an issue,” NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher Bross told Journal-isms by email.
“We negotiated broadcast rights for Tell Me More with WPFW. Our understanding is that WPFW is determining the content of the streaming service it offers because streaming rights to NPR programming are limited to NPR Member stations.”
Julia Yager, vice president for brand management and marketing strategy for Public Radio International, said by email, “PRI bills stations after they begin airing content, and we would not yet have expected payment from WPFW for programming that was to begin airing this Monday. I do understand that there have been some technical hiccups in receiving the content, and we expect that is why the programs didn’t begin airing.” PRI distributes “The Takeaway” and “Smiley West.”
Yager said by telephone that “The Takeaway” has no underwriters or sponsors, removing a possible objection by Pacifica staffers who said programs with corporate underwriters would be in conflict with the Pacifica anti-corporate mission.
“The Takeaway,” originally a four-hour morning-drive program that competed with NPR’s “Morning Edition,” has been retooled as an midday hourlong show. It was designed to attract younger and more diverse listeners, Yager said.
While the median age of NPR listeners is 48, “The Takeaway aims at those in their mid-20s to mid-30s,” Yager said, and seeks to attract more African Americans and Hispanics. Its listenership is 18 percent African American, compared with an average of 10 percent for NPR shows, Yager said. Four months into its shortened format, it airs on 73 stations.
Jonathan L. Fischer, Washington City Paper: WPFW Suspends Some Programming Changes
“The newest issue of Jet magazine, which hits newsstands today, features its first black male couple in its weddings section, according to GLAAD,” Marquise Francis reported Tuesday for the Grio, referring to the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
“Ravi Perry, an assistant professor of political science at Mississippi State University, and Paris Prince, a licensed real estate broker and compliance officer for Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination, were married in August at their home in Worcester, Mass.
“The feature of the newlyweds includes a short bio of the couple and explains how the two fell in love.”
Jet Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller said in a statement, “Personally and as a policy here at JET Magazine, we respect and embrace all humanity regardless of sexuality. There is no reason not to include same sex couples in our celebration of Black love.”
“Looking to tap the wealth of U.S. Latinos, CNN is planning to introduce a Spanish-language programming service tailored for broadcast TV stations next year,” Meg James reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times.
“The service, CNN Latino, is being designed as an eight-hour programming block featuring news, documentaries, talk shows and lifestyle programming. It is expected to launch in late January in Los Angeles on independent station KBEH-DT Channel 63 and eventually be carried by TV stations in other cities.
“CNN Latino comes 15 years after the Atlanta-based news organization launched CNN en Español, a 24-hour Spanish-language news network available in about 30 million homes in Latin America and 7 million homes in the United States. CNN en Español also provides news feeds for Spanish-language radio stations.
“With CNN Latino, the company is attempting to diversify by providing a syndicated block of entertainment shows — not just news — to share in the increasing amount of advertising dollars being steered to Latino outlets. CNN’s goal is to compete with established Spanish-language networks. . . .”
“Egypt’s independent and opposition newspapers did not publish their Tuesday (December 4th) editions, saying they are protesting a lack of press freedom in the country’s draft constitution,” Egypt’s Al Shorfa reported. “. . . The Egypt Independent announced on its website that it suspended publishing because it ‘objects to continued restrictions on media liberties, especially after hundreds of Egyptians gave their lives for freedom’.”
After 19 years at the Miami Herald, where she covered Latin America, Frances Robles is heading for the New York Times. “She starts early next year,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Journal-isms by email. “She’ll be in Metro (in NY) for a few months of orientation, then go to Miami as a joint National-Foreign correspondent in Florida and the Caribbean.” Robles is also a former board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a current board member of the South Florida chapter.
“American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama,” by Rachel L. Swarns of the New York Times, was named one of the 100 notable books of 2012 in the Dec. 2 print edition of the New York Times Book Review.
Tony Cox, veteran journalist and radio host, is temporarily hosting “Marketplace Money” for American Public Media. “Marketplace Money is currently hiring a new full-time host to replace Tess Vigeland, who left Marketplace last month,” Jen Keavy of American Public Media told Journal-isms by email. “Tony Cox is one of several Los Angeles-based radio presenters who will be hosting Marketplace Money on an interim basis while we complete that hire. We’re fortunate enough to have Tony hosting the show through the end of the year, and we may draw on his expertise in February too, if we haven’t completed our search for a full-time host by that time. Meanwhile, Tony will continue to perform his duties an Associate Professor at California State University, Los Angeles.”
Adena Andrews, a columnist for the woman-focused espnW, is joining CBSSports.com as a CBS Sports blogger working on seasonal programming and events, CBS spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle told Journal-isms. In June, Andrews was a member of the inaugural class of the Associated Press Sports Editors Diversity Fellowship Program, which trains sports journalists of color for management jobs.
President Obama met at the White House with Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz, MSNBC’s nighttime hosts, Jennifer Bendery reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post. “Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, was also in the meeting.” Obama is also seeing African American leaders and appearing on black radio shows to build support for his position in budget negotiations with Congress.
The Root’s Keli Goff, among the journalists at a White House holiday party Wednesday night, wrote on Facebook that she said to President Obama: “My mom is such a fan of yours. She gets upset if I write something that’s even the least bit critical of you.” The president replied, “Then I will be calling her from now on about your writing.” Michael Cottman of Black America Web said first lady Michelle Obama wished him a happy birthday after his wife, Melanie Trottman of the Wall Street Journal, told her it was coming up. It’s on Sunday.
Lynn Jimenez, business reporter for KGO-AM radio in San Francisco, has been off the air since Nov. 18 to tend to her ailing father, Rich Lieberman reported Tuesday for the Rich Lieberman Report. “In fact, Jimenez donated one of her kidneys to her father and wrote extensively about it and what it felt like.”
Irving W. Washington III, formerly program manager for the National Association of Black Journalists and consulting scholarship manager for the Online News Association, has been promoted to director of operations at ONA. “In this role, Irving will be responsible for directing the overall business operations of the organization, managing the annual conference, and overseeing programmatic objectives for the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship, MJ Bear Fellowship and Online Journalism Awards,” ONA announced on Tuesday.
“More than 60 percent of federal agencies have not responded to calls by Congress or President Barack Obama to update their Freedom of Information Act regulations, according to a National Security Archive report released today,” Lilly Chapa reported Tuesday for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Lauren Harper, a research assistant at the Archive, “said that many agencies, particularly the smaller ones, say they suffer from a lack of resources when it comes to their FOIA work.”
“According to multiple Fox sources,” Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes “has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air — for now,” Gabriel Sherman reported Tuesday for New York magazine. “For Karl Rove and Dick Morris — a pair of pundits perhaps most closely aligned with Fox’s anti-Obama campaign — Ailes’s orders mean new rules. Ailes’s deputy, Fox News programming chief Bill Shine, has sent out orders mandating that producers must get permission before booking Rove or Morris.”
“Gawker Media, the online-only publisher that owns brands such as Jezebel, Gizmodo and, of course, Gawker, has taken a strategic move to expand its network into the Hispanic marketplace with the acquisition of Guanabee Media,” TJ Raphael reported Tuesday for Folio:. Raphael interviewed Daniel Mauser, publisher and founder of Guanabee Media and Gawker Media’s new head of International Business, Latin America.
David Honig, president and executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, is urging the Federal Communications Commission to relax its prohibition against a company owning both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city. “. . . We must ensure that journalism — particularly at the local level — does not continue to deteriorate,” Honig wrote Tuesday. “Relaxing the cross-ownership ban would provide newspapers with immediate relief. Cross-owned newspapers and television stations pool resources and collaborate on investigative projects. FCC-commissioned studies have concluded that television stations that are cross-owned with newspapers provide more public affairs programs and local news than other stations.”
A television version of the Root 100, the annual list of African American achievers and influencers between 25 and 45, debuted Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ASPiRE, a new black-oriented cable network. The interview series is called “The Root 100″ and is hosted by Suzanne Malveaux, a 2010 and 2011 honoree, Stacy-Ann Ellis reported for the Root. ASPiRE was founded by Magic Johnson. The weekly show is to highlight 24 honorees for 2012.
Latina magazine’s “Inspiring Latina of the Week” is Cindy Rodriguez, an editor at CNN who writes and edits content for Latinos. “Part of my job will be serving as a liaison between CNN Español, CNN Mexico and CNN International to help spot newsworthy topics and trends that best serve the acculturated Latino audience in the U.S.,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez, 29, who is Peruvian-American, was instrumental in the launch of Latino Voices at the Huffington Post and worked there as an editor, Laura Hernandez reported Tuesday.
“Although the goals were set independently,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav “says that his joint venture with Oprah Winfrey is growing fast enough that it doesn’t have to expand to 85M homes — from 80M now — to fulfill his prediction that it will break even in the second half of 2013,” David Lieberman reported Tuesday for Deadline New York. ” ‘The ratings growth has been fantastic,’ he told investors and analysts on Day 2 of the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.”
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, hometown newspaper for Washington Post writer Wil Haygood, wrote Sunday about the movie adaptation of Haygood’s 2008 story about butler Eugene Allen, who worked for eight presidents in his 34 years at the White House. “With Lee Daniels (Precious) directing, the cast includes a roster of A-list actors, including Robin Williams and Melissa Leo as the Eisenhowers, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as the Reagans, and Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lenny Kravitz as other butlers,” Amy Saunders wrote.
“Reporters in Tunisia say they face pressure that undermines their financial and editorial independence,” Houda Trabelsi wrote Tuesday for Magharebia, a website sponsored by the United States Africa Command targeting Northwest Africa but based in Washington. “We noticed that there was a clear improvement in the freedom of press in Tunisia after the revolution,” researcher Judith Pies said. “Yet, we still observed attempts by the government to interfere in the media sector.”
“The International Press Institute (IPI) is deeply concerned for the well-being of jailed Cuban journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez, who has been on a hunger strike since Nov. 10 to protest prison conditions,” Scott Griffen reported Wednesday for the International Press Institute.
“Journalists were among the many victims when police and protesters clashed violently during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s inauguration in Mexico City on 1 December, resulting in more than 80 arrests and leaving around 20 people seriously injured,” Reporters Without Borders reported. “Those arrested including two photographers — Mircea Topoleanu, . . . a 32-year-old Romanian freelancer, and Brandon Daniel Bazán, a freelancer working for the magazine Café MX. They are still being held in the city’s Reclusorio Norte prison.”
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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.