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Questions, Videos Fuel Sandra Bland Story

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July 22, 2015

Interaction in police stop, past suicide attempt at issue; NAHJ hires nonprofit veteran as executive director; Cosby mounts media campaign to save his reputation; Coates: "I don't think Cornel West knows who I am"; editors honor Dori Maynard with diversity award; lack of newsroom diversity attributed to hiring mindset; AP placing 1 million minutes of historic footage online; NABJ calls Stephen A. Smith wrong -- no Stuart Scott snub; Des Moines Register: Time for Trump to drop out; Confederate monument debate takes a westward turn (7/22/15)

Updated July 23

Interaction in Police Stop, Past Suicide Attempt at Issue

NAHJ Hires Nonprofit Veteran as Executive Director

Cosby Mounts Media Campaign to Save His Reputation

Coates: "I Don't Think Cornel West Knows Who I Am"

Editors Honor Dori Maynard With Diversity Award

Lack of Newsroom Diversity Attributed to Hiring Mindset

NABJ Calls Stephen A. Smith Wrong — No Stuart Scott Snub

After the National Association of Black Journalists announced 11 inductees into its Hall of Fame Monday, sports commentator Stephen A. Smith took to the airwaves for an indignant and lengthy denunciation of NABJ for rejecting the nomination of Stuart Scott, the popular ESPN anchor who died of cancer in January.

In a nearly eight-minute segment on his SiriusXM show (audio) that created buzz in black sports journalism circles, Smith told listeners that "his nomination was recommended by the Hall of Fame Committee" of NABJ. 

"The board has the final say. They elected not to do it. I have one simple question for the National Association of Black Journalists: What the hell do you exist for?"

But NABJ President Bob Butler and Maureen Bunyan, an NABJ co-founder who chaired the Hall of Fame Committee, told Journal-isms that Smith had his facts wrong.

"Stuart Scott was NOT...was NOT nominated to the Hall of Fame," Bunyan wrote by email.

"I repeat.... NO One...nominated him...NO one ...before his death or after his death.

"No nomination of Mr. Scott EVER Came before the Hall of Fame Committee which researches & recommends Nominees to the NABJ Board for its approval.

"Therefore, he could Not have been 'rejected' by the NABJ Board.

"I took part in the Board meeting during which the Nominations were presented to the Board for its discussion. At NO time was there a discussion of Mr. Scott's nomination, since there was NONE... Therefore he could not have been 'rejected' as Mr. Smith has apparently been informed.

"Mr. Smith is very welcome to submit a nomination of Mr Scott for the next class of Hall of Fame Inductees. The nomination forms, requirements and process are posted on the NABJ website."

Des Moines Register: Time for Trump to Drop Out

The Des Moines Register, the largest paper in the state that hosts the all-important Iowa caucuses, called Tuesday for Donald Trump to get out of the Republican presidential race. "Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side show," it said in a headline over its editorial.

"People who run for public office typically perform a great public service, regardless of whether they win on Election Day," the editorial began. "That's particularly true of presidential candidates, most of whom must devote two years of their lives to hard-fought campaigns that involve staggering personal and financial sacrifices, all in an effort to serve their country.

"And then there's Trump.

"In the five weeks since he announced his campaign to seek the GOP nomination for president, Trump has been more focused on promoting himself, and his brand, than in addressing the problems facing the nation.

"If he were merely a self-absorbed, B-list celebrity, his unchecked ego could be tolerated as a source of mild amusement. But he now wants to become president, which means that he aspires to be the leader of the free world and the keeper of our nuclear launch codes. . . ."

Confederate Monument Debate Takes a Westward Turn

As Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday that Dylann Roof, the accused Charleston, S.C., church shooter, would now face federal hate crime charges, the debate over Confederate symbols — such as the battle flag Roof has been pictured brandishing — continued.

Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and James Ragland of the Dallas Morning News, both black columnists, warned against taking down Confederate monuments. "Losing the Confederate flag is one thing, jettisoning history is another," Norman wrote Friday. The headline over Ragland's column Wednesday read, "We can't avoid America's Confederate history by removing it from view."

The San Antonio Express-News, however, editorialized against arguments that cast the monuments as the equivalent of history. "Names on public places are generally meant to honor the bearers of those names," it said on Monday. "And statues in public parks — such as the tribute to Confederate soldiers in Travis Park — are not generally placed there to provide mere history lessons, though they can serve that purpose. They are erected to honor people. . . ."

The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., took exception to a move in the state Legislature to make it more difficult for a locality to remove controversial monuments. "It's hard to say whether the law or just the timing is bad," an editorial said Wednesday. "GOP legislators, having long advocated against big government, now want to interfere, again, in local governance in North Carolina. . . ." 

In the West, Montana-based Todd Wilkinson wrote for Writers on the Range, a column service of High Country News, that his part of the country has its Confederate equivalents. "Should Custer be celebrated as a hero of conquest or recast as the bigoted, egotistical, narcissistic villain he apparently was?" Wilkinson asked Friday in the syndicated column.

"Does he deserve to have his name attached to towns, counties, a state park and a national forest, or should his name, like the Confederate flag, be removed?

"Travel anywhere in Western Indian Country, as I have done on assignment for a quarter-century, and you will find few names deemed more offensive to Native people.

"We forget it wasn't all that long ago that the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument was called the Custer Battlefield by the National Park Service, which manages it.. . . ."

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