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"Appearing on ESPN this week, journalism Professor Kevin Blackistone railed against the military influence on professional sporting events, decrying 'The Star-Spangled Banner' as a 'war anthem' that should be abandoned along with other military-style icons of pre-game ritual,"Andrew Kirell reported Friday for Mediaite.
"Blackistone made the comments during an Around the Horn segment on Northwestern University's controversial new uniform prominently featuring the American flag. Along with this new uniform, the guest said, people should reject 'the rest of the military symbolism embraced in sports: whether it's the singing of a war anthem to open every game, whether it's going to get a hot dog and being able to sign up for the Army at the same time, whether it's the NFL's embrace of the mythology of the Pat Tillman story.'
"He added that the national anthem has been sung before every game since the 1917 World Series, but 'it's time for people to back away.' . . ."Blackistone made the same argument in a February 2011 column for AOL Sports.
Blackistone told Journal-isms by email, "Much of the reaction was the same then as it is today. My email box is inundated with racial epithets and other name calling, calls to leave the country and demands are made of my employers to cut me loose.
"The difference this time is I've been elevated to a bull's eye by http://www.breitbart.com/ and the #tcot movement that has taken to Twitter to equate my comments with an attack on the country, veterans, Wounded Warriors, God, etc. Part of the campaign has reached this crescendo on Twitter:
"'Truth Rules @PCtypesCanSukit 12h
"'@KMSSTV Someone should get a rope & string Kevin Blackistone up to a tall tree. If he doesn't like the National Anthem then move to Africa.'
"This all because I've come to believe through study and observation that the now routine use of so much military symbolism in sport, especially that which is commercial and promotional, desensitizes us to war and elevates sport to a gravity that is untrue. I actually spend a few days in my JOUR458G class discussing nationalism and militarism in sports with readings by Michael Butterworth (Ritual in the 'Church of Baseball': Suppressing the Discourse of Democracy After 9/11), Samantha King (Offensive Lines: Sport-State Synergy in an Era of Perpetual War) and Kyle Kusz (From NASCAR Nation to Pat Tillman. Notes on Sport and the Politics of White Cultural Nationalism in Post-9/11 America).
"Then there is the small matter of the uniforms at my alma mater, Northwestern, which spurred this debate, being in violation of the US flag code which seeks to protect the dignity of the flag and those who uphold it around the world. I suspect I should've pointed that out to the legions of vile critics. . . ."
Blackistone's LinkedIn profile describes him as a panelist on "Around the Horn," occupant of the Shirley Povich Chair in Sports Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, and an occasional contributor to Politico, NPR and PBS. He was a sports columnist for the Dallas Morning News from September 1990 to September 2006 and AOL Sports from October 2007 to March 2011.
Apoorva Mandavilli is internship coordinator at the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Department at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University.
Last weekend, she went to Gainesville, Fla., for a joint meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.
Did she stand out?
"If you're a young, white science journalist with good taste in eyeglass frames and dirty-blond hair, congratulations! You could have walked into any conversation in any room at the conference and felt instantly at home," Mandavilli wrote Friday for medium.com. "I was born and raised in India, and look the part, so I wasn't engaged in any mirroring. I had one brief conversation at the conference with a male journalist of Indian descent, and a longer one with an Asian-American one. I spotted a couple of East Asian women, and heard rumors of an African-American woman.
"Did I mention there were nearly 500 journalists at the conference?
"Perhaps to you all this seems normal. But I live in New York, where all colors, races and classes mingle constantly, and where this degree of — I'm just going to say it, 'whiteness'— is just not normal. More to the point, it’s not healthy for the field.
"To stay relevant, science journalism needs fresh ideas — and the homogeneous group I saw at the conference is inherently limited in the ideas it can offer. Newsrooms everywhere are grappling with this problem, and we can learn from them what's working and what's not. But first, we have to acknowledge that this is a problem.
"Without diversity in newsrooms, what you get is a small group of (mostly privileged) people writing for another small group of (mostly privileged) people. Entire stories are missed, and those that do get written have the same, tired perspectives, missing nuances of color, race, class, gender and ethnicity. . . ."
"Even though many in Africa continue to face serious financial adversity, their economic outlook is more positive than many others around the world, and they are hopeful about their children's future," the Pew Research Center reported on Friday. "Overall, Africans, along with Asians and Latin Americans, tend to express more positive views about economic conditions than do Europeans and Middle Easterners. Similarly, optimism for the next generation is higher in Africa, Asia, and Latin America."
The report, part of a 39-nation survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, also found that "by many measures the economic outlook is far more grim in other parts of the world. In particular, most Middle Eastern and European publics surveyed offer overwhelmingly gloomy assessments of their economic situations — less than 5% describe economic conditions as good in Spain, Italy, and Greece – and in both regions there is relatively little optimism about the next generation's economic prospects. In contrast, Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans tend to believe today's children will be better off financially than their parents. . . ."