WASHINGTON — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t know moderator Lester Holt’s political affiliation before labeling him a Democrat earlier this month, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Monday. Bloomberg Politics’ co-managing editor Mark Halperin repeatedly pressed Conway on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, questioning why Trump called the NBC anchor a Democrat if he didn’t know.… [Read more…]
The ACLU of California documents a disturbing trend by the police, and it undoubtedly will spread nationally
It goes without saying that speaking out against police violence or government overreach shouldn’t land you in a surveillance database. But it can, and it does.
The ACLU of California has received thousands of pages of public records revealing that law enforcement agencies across the state are secretly acquiring social media spying software that can sweep activists into a web of digital surveillance.
This set of public records requests is part of our ongoing work with community groups to shine a light on surveillance technologies and call for community control in decision-making around policing. Last year, we worked with local activists in Fresno to reveal that its police department was using a MediaSonar social media surveillance tool that boasted the capacity to identify so-called “threats to public safety” by monitoring hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #DontShoot, #ImUnarmed, #PoliceBrutality, and #ItsTimeforChange.
But we had a hunch that Fresno was not an isolated case.
So this summer, we requested records from 63 police departments, sheriffs, and district attorneys across California. And what we learned from the documents was alarming.
Of the responses we’ve received, 40% of the agencies (20 in total) have acquired social networking surveillance tools — many of them in the last year.
We found no evidence in the documents of any public notice, debate, community input, or lawmaker vote about use of this invasive surveillance.
And no agency produced a use policy that would limit how the tools were used and help protect civil rights and civil liberties.
The utter lack of transparency, accountability, and oversight is particularly troubling because social media surveillance software used by California law enforcement — tools like MediaSonar, X1 Social Discovery, and Geofeedia — are powerful. And our records from Fresno and several other communities reveal that some have been marketed in ways to target protesters.
Our records show that Geofeedia’s marketing materials, for instance, refer to unions and activist groups as “overt threats,” and suggest the product can be used in ways that target activists of color. At least 13 California law enforcement agencies have used or acquired Geofeedia.
In one exchange with law enforcement, a company representative suggested to San Jose Police that they should use the product to surveil the “Ferguson situation,” even though the city is roughly 2,000 miles from Ferguson, Missouri. San Jose Police did in fact use Geofeedia software to monitor South Asian, Muslim, and Sikh protesters only a few days after acquiring it.
An email to the San Diego Sheriff touts a “collection” of social media content curated by Geofeedia following the non-indictment of Darren Wilson.
And yet another promotional email invites the Los Angeles District Attorney to learn how Baltimore used the software to monitor and “stay one step ahead of the rioters” after the police killing of Freddie Gray.
Law enforcement should not be using tools that treat protesters like enemies.
The racist implications of social media surveillance technology are not surprising. We know that when law enforcement gets to conceal the use of surveillance technology, they also get to conceal its misuse. Discriminatory policing that targets communities of color is unacceptable — and secretive, sophisticated surveillance technologies supersize the impact of racial profiling and abuse.
The good news is that we’ve seen that when surveillance is forced into the light, communities have the power to call out racist policing practices and stop discriminatory surveillance in its tracks.Remember Fresno? Armed with proof of Fresno’s social media surveillance experiment, a diverse coalition of local activists known as Faith in the Valley successfully mobilized and organized to pressure the police to roll back their social media surveillance program. The community is now pushing to pass a surveillance technology ordinance to make sure all surveillance technologies are publicly debated. In Oakland, community members organized against plans to build an expansive Domain Awareness Center that would have collected and stored hundreds of terabytes of data on Oakland residents. Now Oakland has a Privacy Commission that advises the City Council on surveillance decisions and is currently drafting a surveillance technology ordinance.
And in Santa Clara County, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, a diverse coalition successfully organized against plans to buy a Stingray cell phone tracker and then worked to enact a comprehensive surveillance technology ordinance that requires transparency, accountability, and oversight for all surveillance technologies.In this spirit, a powerful coalition of national organizations is launching a multi-city legislative initiative, Community Control Over Police Surveillance (CCOPS), to introduce more local laws to bring transparency and community control to the acquisition and use of local police surveillance technologies. Here in California, community members are working in Palo Alto, Fresno, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz to ensure that similar laws are introduced in their cities.
Whether it’s social networking surveillance, stingrays, or something else we haven’t heard of yet — it’s time to push secret surveillance into the light.
We have the power to stop discriminatory surveillance and put control where it belongs — in the hands of the community.
Nicole Ozer is the Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Director at the ACLU of California. Media inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black females still depicted as loud, angry, bossy, unkind, tough, aggressive, big, violent, confrontational, sexualized and objectified.
African-American girls don’t often see themselves depicted in a positive way in the media. That was the finding of a study done by Gholnecsar E. Muhammad at Georgia State University and Sherell A. McArthur at Boston University published in Multicultural Perspectives. It shows how stereotypical media images affect black girls’ sense of themselves and how society… [Read more…]
The network was set to offer a comedy lineup led only by white men
Widely criticized for a lack of diversity in its fall lineup, CBS is hoping to remedy the situation, at least partly, by adding a redeveloped comedy “Superior Donuts,” starring comedian Jermaine Fowler.
CBS has eight new shows for 2016-17 but the entire comedy lineup was set to feature white men: Kevin James in “Kevin Can Wait”; Joel McHale in “The Great Indoors” and Matt LeBlanc in “Man With a Plan.”
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Superior Donuts was shot as a development project. Now, because of the the dust-up about the overall lack of diversity, CBS decided to reshoot the pilot with new actors and has ordered 13 episodes of the show.
Based on the play by Tracy Letts, the comedy follows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop (Judd Hirsch, who replaced Brian d’Arcy James), his new young employee (played by Fowler) and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago.
“This show has been very high on our radar since we first put it into development last winter,” CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller told The Hollywood Reporter. “Jermaine Fowler is a rising young star, Judd Hirsch is a comedy legend and the entire cast is full of great comedic talent. We’re very excited to expand our comedy lineup with Superior Donuts.”
Boxing promoter Don King introduced Donald Trump at a black church event with African-American pastors Wednesday, but shocked TV viewers when he dropped the N-word.
King, 85, made the gaffe when he was trying to explain the plight of black people in the U.S.
“America needs Donald Trump, we need Donald Trump … especially black people,” King, who is supporting Trump’s presidential bid, said at the event in Cleveland Heights.
“They told me, you got to try to imitate and emulate the white man and then you can be successful so we tried that,” King said.
“If you’re poor, you’re a poor negro. I would use the N-word. But if you’re rich, you’re a rich negro,” King said. “If you’re intelligent and intellectual, you’re an intellectual negro.”
Then King made the gaffe.
“If you’re a dancing and sliding and gliding n—-r, I mean negro, you’re a glancing and sliding and gliding negro,” he said.
At least one white man seated behind Trump and King chuckled, while others in the audience could be heard gasping in shock.
Then King made a confusing comment about white women that didn’t go over so well in a black church. Trump said:
“What I’m trying to say to you is that the white women, and I put it in these kind of (words) so you understand what I’m saying, the white woman and the slave, the people of color,” King said. “When the system was created, they did not get heard. The first will be last and the last will be first.”
Here’s a video clip of the ‘N-word’ incident:
Here's video of Don King accidentally dropping the N-word while introducing Donald Trump at a Cleveland church pic.twitter.com/HK4FWpVEC0
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 21, 2016
In Oklahoma, for example, purse snatching can put a man behind bars for life
We hear all about controversial police shootings — and deservedly so. But finally, new attention is being given to abuses in prison sentencing guidelines. In a 10-week investigation, The Medill Justice Project has probed the complex issues involved in the three-strikes laws that have swept the country.
The so-called “three strikes and you’re out” laws are proving devastating to black men, many of whom are serving life prison sentences for a series of relative minor offenses. To be sure, men of all colors are being imprisoned other three strikes laws, but African-Americans are being hit hard.
In an excellent example of investigating reporting, the Medill Justice Project has examined not only three strikes laws, but also prison overcrowding, the costs of incarceration, prosecutors’ discretion in pursuing convictions and the case of prisoner Rodney Fisher, a Tulsa man convicted of multiple burglaries and robberies in the 1980s and sentenced under the habitual offender law to 52 years in prison.
In 2004, Fisher was found guilty of escaping from a minimum-security prison, yet again triggering the state’s habitual offender law. Typically, the sentence for a prison escape would range from two to seven years. But because Fisher had already been convicted of multiple felonies, the law allowed for the punishment to be multiplied. The range suddenly rose to six years to life.
Fisher got life.
Under Oklahoma law, those convicted of murder can serve as little as 10 years. A robbery sentence can bring less time than that. Some nonetheless say Fisher, now 52, got what he deserved. Others point to action in states that have reformed draconian sentences. In Oklahoma, leaders are beginning to grapple with the consequences of one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation and the consequences of its habitual offender law.
“The three-strikes laws raise important issues about crime and punishment in the United States that need to be addressed but offer no easy answers,” said Northwestern University Prof. Alec Klein, MJP’s director.
Three Northwestern University students at The Medill Justice Project worked in collaboration with Oklahoma Journalists for Justice, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization based in Tulsa.
Read more about the investigation at the Medill Justice Project.
Decision to withhold the data prompted a backlash
In a policy reversal, The American Society of News Editors has released diversity figures for individual U.S. newsrooms.
New ASNE President Mizell Stewart III said the organization decided that “the need for transparency outweighed a good-faith effort to improve response rates on the annual survey.” Stewart is vice president for news operations at Gannett and the USA Today Network. In a statement he said:
“The ASNE survey is seen in the industry as an important tool to measure newsroom diversity. Its value is diminished without highlighting progress, or recognizing the lack thereof, at the individual newsroom level.”
On Sept. 9, ASNE released its annual Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey but did not release percentages of minority staffing for individual newsrooms. ASNE hoped more news organizations would participate in the overall diversity survey if their individual hiring numbers were not disclosed. Some media organizations have admitted being embarrassed by their inability to hire more women and minorities.
The decision not to disclose specific diversity figures caused an uproar in media circles, prompting the reversal. Still, Stewart said in a statement that “fewer than 20” news organizations requested that their figures not be released. He said their request is being honored.
The association is releasing the figures for 733 other news organizations. The list is available on the ASNE website.
She’s an editor-in-residence for Elle.com, which is backing Marley Mag, a zine of her very own.
When Marley Dias started her #1000BlackGirlBooks social media campaign to collect books featuring black girls as main characters, she didn’t expect to exceed her goal of a thousand books. Dias, an Essex County middle-schooler, came up with the campaign after becoming frustrated with the lack of black, female main characters in books she had to read… [Read more…]
There is no secret to the campaign strategy of Donald Trump. He simply has not been asked the right questions to reveal it.
It’s clear that Donald Trump isn’t interested in African American support. One economic graph reveals why.
What isn’t quite clear is why Trump has so little interest in disrupting the voting bloc Secretary Hillary Clinton has secured across the landscape of African Americans.
Equally unclear is why Trump can hold a virtually all-white rally in Jackson, Mississippi, which has an 80 percent African American population, and not receive any questions from journalists about the chronic economic and social conditions of black residents in the capital city of Mississippi, which amount to economic apartheid.
What is abundantly clear, however, is Trump’s visit to Jackson defines the entire strategy for his campaign. As a businessman, Trump claims he is keenly aware of the economic conditions of the country. And he may be.
The plight of African Americans in Jackson, MS is an excellent barometer of the systemic economic divides nationwide along racial fault lines. This is an arena in which Trump has pulled the wool over the eyes of journalists at all levels, local, regional and national.
There’s only one economic graphic anyone needs to see to fully understand why Trump has marginal interest in courting the votes of Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. And with even a cursory glance at this one chart, it’s easy to see why Trump has zero interest in the African American vote.
Under a president Trump, America would likely pursue a course of economic apartheid, in which nearly all of the means of producing wealth, power and influence in America would remain under control of white Americans, just as it was a mere 50 years ago.
Ironically, with demographic shifts leading toward a minority majority nation by mid-century, coupled with the fastest rate of entrepreneurial growth occurring among Hispanic and black populations, Trump and Secretary Clinton have both ignored an easy win in the argument over who would be better for minority populations with regard to the economy and jobs. Both candidates have ignored the single most important looming economic question: Who will create the jobs of tomorrow?
JOB CREATION CRISIS
I asked this important question in a previous commentary, One Economic Question That Could Decide the Next President. I provided detailed data on why business productivity and job-creation among Americans of color is the most important issue the nation must address. Still, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have addressed this question. And unless they are repeatedly asked to do so by journalists, there’s likely no chance they will wade into these tumultuous waters.
Yet, America is currently facing an entrepreneurial crisis. Today, more businesses close each year than are being created. This means fewer jobs. The speed at which technology startups can accelerate and become job-producers is amazing, but there simply aren’t enough successful scalable startups to overcome the deficit in business closures and job losses.
Naturally, an entrepreneurship crisis would require an intentional focus on investing in developing a more robust entrepreneurial pipeline within existing growth sectors, such as minorities and women. Yet, there has been no national discourse on this issue and no plan by either candidate to address it.
SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL ECONOMIC STRATEGIES
Meanwhile, Clinton and Trump both suggest they can grow the economy and jobs with strategies that focus entirely on investing in the white-dominated private business sector through government tax incentives to lure jobs from overseas and other measures that also inure to the benefit of white-owned corporations and mature small businesses, leaving the entrepreneurial pipeline among nonwhites to languish unnoticed.
Minority populations fear such strategies. Throughout the economic growth of America, wherein the white-dominated business landscape has benefited tremendously, African Americans have continued to endure unemployment rates that are nearly twice the rate of white unemployment regardless of the level of education. All the evidence shows that regardless of the economic growth of the white private sector, communities of color will continue to suffer disproportionately. The solution is to empower underrepresented populations to compete in the private business sector as job creators.
There is no secret to the campaign strategy of Donald Trump. He simply has not been asked the right questions to reveal it. As we head down the home stretch, my hope is to see journalists conduct due diligence on data that induce questions about how the candidates will build a more inclusive America, with greater economic opportunity and shared prosperity for all.
I hope to see a line of relentless questioning that compel the candidates to address issues that empower underrepresented populations to be more productive in the private business sector and assume a larger role in producing a greater share of GDP productivity and more jobs. In building a 21st century inclusive landscape, it cannot be a mirror image of the past exclusionary policies and practices established by white supremacists and sustained by white privilege. We must transition our economic landscape to invest in all of America’s extraordinarily talented multicultural and multiracial populations.
The nation relies upon journalists who are privileged to ask the candidates questions, to frame the issues of the economy and jobs around strategies for an economic evolution, if there ever is to be one.
Too often, Latinos are portrayed in the media as the reason for what ails America.
Reporters are supposed to be impartial and paint a well-rounded picture when writing their stories. This means reporting and getting as much information as possible to present the facts.
A recent article in the Boston Globe set out to find out why white, middle-class people are supporting Donald Trump. The article, “Being white, and a minority, in Georgia” written by Annie Linskey, answered the question – many long-time residents felt recent Latino immigrants were taking over their community.
But the way the story was written – the lack of context – was a source of consternation for some.
Monica Rhor, a Houston-based journalist and narrative writer, voiced her concerns about the story’s lack of context.
“I think the idea for the story – a look at why support for Trump is strong in that area and who Trump supporters are — is valid,” said Rhor, who previously worked at the Boston Globe as an immigration reporter. “But to me, the story lacked context. It allowed people to disparage Latino immigrants and to blame all their perceived troubles on that community without offering any real evidence to support or refute that. As a result, the story appeared to validate the image of Latinos as dirty, loud lawbreakers.”
Marisol Bello, a former journalist at USA Today and now a senior writer at the Center for Community Change, a national social justice organization, agreed that the piece is a completely valid and important story. However, the lack of context was the biggest issue with the story, Bello said.
“The problem with this story was that it gave voice to what these voters said including a very high level of bigotry and fear and anxiety about these “newcomers” without ever providing any context about what they were saying about these immigrants. The story would have benefited from more Latino immigrant voices among the new arrivals specifically,” Bello said.
This lack of proper context is not new — and it continues. Also this week, Internet controversy erupted when Philly.com published a story about a white family that enrolled their two sons in a virtually all-black elementary school in Philadelphia. Some readers thought the author of the story seemed amazed that the white kids seemed happy with their new surroundings and quickly made friends.
When the context on such articles is wrong, it can reinforce stereotypes, such as with Latino immigrants in Georgia.
Jillian Báez, assistant professor and graduate studies coordinator in the department of media culture at College of Staten Island-CUNY, said although the Boston Globe writer did explain why Norcross is an attractive town for immigrants, the reader is given little context to the myriad reasons why Latino immigrants are leaving their home countries.
“These reasons shift depending on the country of origin and can include war, political repression, and/or dire economic conditions,” Báez said.
In the article, Linskey quotes resident James Bell as saying that Latinos who live in the neighborhood don’t care about their property. He goes on to describe overflowing garbage cans and litter in the streets. Linskey appears to take him at his word and apparently did not go to the neighborhood to verify for herself what Bell described.
Bello also found this troubling.
“The story never challenges these really bigoted ideas by these residents,” Bello said. “Like this whole exchange: ‘The Latinos just throw it in your face. They’re here for the money. They don’t want to be American,’ Bell said. ‘They don’t care about America.’”
Linskey quoted two Latinos in the article – one an immigrant from Colombia who arrived in the community in 1999 and who now owns a construction business. The other was a Cuban immigrant who ran for local public office in 2010. Neither could be classified as recent immigrants.
Báez also noted the choice of Latinos that Linskey chose to interview.
“The immigrant sources selected are not representative of the larger Latina/o immigrant community in Georgia in terms of ethnicity and class. Most of the Latina/o immigrants in that area are Mexican from a poor or working class background. One source is a Colombian immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1999 on a student visa. The source mentioned later in the article is Cuban and had enough cultural capital to run as an elected official. However, none of the sources is reflective of the larger Latina/o immigrant community–none are Mexican or overtly economically disadvantaged. In this way, the author flattens differences amongst immigrants,” Báez said.
Linskey starts her article describing a Latino man selling coconuts out of the back of his pickup,
but he is never interviewed. He seems to fit the profile of the recent immigrant to Norcross.
“On Twitter, she said she tried to talk to the coconut vendor but he would not talk to her. Yet she used him as an image representing the negative side of change in the opening and closing scenes. I wonder if she speaks Spanish? I suspect not,” Rhor said.
But there is another overarching theme that emerged from the reporting and execution of this article – would these concerns and issues been avoided had there been more diversity in the newsroom?
“This story points to the very critical need for why you need more journalists of color, editor and reporters, in the newsroom,” Bello said.
Added Rhor, “I think it’s important to note that this is just one example of why diverse voices are needed in newsrooms, and how lack of diversity can lead to inaccurate portrayals of communities of color.”