“Dark”ness in Boston: When Getting It Right Goes Wrong…


♠ What Happens When A “Dark-Skinned Male” isn’t… ♠

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

— Will Rogers

DETROIT (JSC) — Greetings & salutations, people. After what has been honestly one of the more insane news weeks in memory, I almost wouldn’t know where to start if I had to do a mash-up of every horrible and amazing thing that’s happened in the last seven days. But let’s first and foremost throw thoughts and prayers out to the nearly 200 people who were injured in the heinous and senseless bombing of the Boston Marathon. Rest in Peace to the three people who were killed during the attack, and to the family of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was murdered by the two cowards on that insane Thursday night. Thoughts and prayers to the people of West, Texas as well, who are reeling from that horrific explosion at the plant that killed 14 people and obliterated most of that town. Big ups to the police departments of Boston and Watertown, Mass. as well as the FBI for their work in capturing one of the culprits while killing the other one. Incredible work. A lot of people did the damn thing in terms of their jobs. One entity that didn’t exactly have a very good week was the American news media — which, if you didn’t know, I am a member of. Never one afraid to smack my own when needed, I’m here to address the hottest of hot buttons and that’s the performance of CNN, specifically a man I had grown to respect the hell out of the last decade: John King. With one speculative statement amidst a chaotic afternoon, he may have single-handed ruined his reputation and exposed an multitude of greater problems in the news media and journalism as a whole. Let’s Go.

Continue reading “Dark”ness in Boston: When Getting It Right Goes Wrong…

Fair & Imbalanced: Why Journalism is Being Held Hostage…


♣ Apparently Getting It Right isn’t what sells these days…♣

In Journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.

— Ellen Goodman, 1980 Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — In the Fall of 1980, an incredible piece of writing hit the front page of the Washington Post. The story was so incredible that it held the city and country on the edge of its seat. It was a piece called Jimmy’s World. It was written by Janet Cooke, an extremely talented Black writer who spoke multiple languages and went to some of the best schools in the world. The story was about an eight-year-old boy in Washington, D.C. who was a heroin addict, often shot full of smack by his mother’s live-in boyfriend. The boy was a product of a rape. In the aftermath of the story being published, people in DC were aghast and outraged. Dr. Alyce Gullattee, who was the director of the Institute of Substance Abuse at Howard, claimed to know the boy and his family. DC Mayor Marion Barry claimed that the city knew Jimmy’s identity (irony abounds on that one). The story was so riveting that it was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. On April 13, 1981, Cooke won the Pulitzer. On April 15, 1981, she admitted she made the entire damn thing up. From start to finish, it was all a lie, from the boy, to the family, to the name. Hell, she even lied about speaking multiple foreign languages, and attending Vassar and the Sorbonne. She gave back her Pulitzer and was forced to resign from the Post (Then-Executive Editor Ben Bradlee wrote in his book “I can’t explain now why I let her resign rather than fire her on the spot for the grossest of negligence”). She became a pariah in the industry, never to be heard from again. No paper would ever think of hiring her. That was 1981. In 2010, she’d have been given her own blog and one hour special on Fox News. Let’s Go.
Continue reading Fair & Imbalanced: Why Journalism is Being Held Hostage…

West Coast Pop: Observations from NABJ 2010


♦ The Things We Do For Our Dreams…♦

Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be

—George Sheehan

SAN DIEGO (JSC) — I have spent the better part of the last seven years of my life trying to figure out who I am, what I want to do, and where I’m headed. I turn 31 in less than six weeks, and I have held all of two jobs that paid me more than $8.50 an hour and only one of them offered me any kind of benefits. I have lived most of the last 11 years with a hideous sense of regret that I may have, for lack of a gentler term, fucked up my one legit shot at building a great career when I bailed out of Journalism because I thought my shit smelled like spring daises and cinnamon and refused to take the criticism of my journalism instructor at Michigan State in 1999. I have felt like I basically have been playing catch up ever since that day I angrily stormed out of that classroom. Those who know me, know my struggle and how this has eaten away at me. Well, over the last two years I have been doing a ton of catching up and this week has seen the most forward movement I have made as a journalist since 1996. As you see from the Dateline, I am checking in from the left coast. San Diego. The home of beaches, the Chargers, Rey Mysterio Jr., and Jayo Felony. Let’s Go.

Continue reading West Coast Pop: Observations from NABJ 2010

Forgetting Sarah Palin: Why Do People Still Care About This Woman…?


Whatever Happened To Bowing Out Gracefully?

“You can’t legislate intelligence and common sense into people”

— Will Rogers

DETROIT — Imagine, if you will, that you were the head coach of a basketball team. You had this unknown point guard suddenly show up on the scene. You signed the kid the day before a big game and you toss him into the lineup when you find your team in a 23-point hole in the 3rd quarter. You figure you have nothing to lose. This PG, gets on the floor with a basic grasp of the offense and runs the plays you feed him to perfection. He’s hitting teammates at the right spots. He’s running the pick-and-roll to perfection. He even made a killer 18-foot jumper off of an iso. Next thing you know, you’ve trimmed the lead to six points with that guard on the floor. Just as it seems like you are ready to make that push in the 4th to try to win the game, that damn point guard decides he’s gonna start running his own plays and goes into business for himself. He’s no longer running the offense through the post. He’s jacking up 28-foot jumpers with 14 seconds left on the shot clock. He’s leaving his man on defense. He’s trying to drive on three guys and gets his shot tossed. Next thing you know, that lead has ballooned to 28. Game over. You Lose the game…and your job. Ladies and gentlemen, this particular point guard’s jersey number was 2. The name on the back: Palin. Let’s get down to business. Continue reading Forgetting Sarah Palin: Why Do People Still Care About This Woman…?

Doing The Right Thing: My Beef w/Tyler Perry…


We Can Do Better All By Ourselves

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DETROIT — It has been just over a month since I last checked in with you guys in the bloggosphere. For that, I sincerely apologize. But now that I’m back, I’m here to put a foot up the ass of someone who has been dodging it for a long time. That man is Tyler Perry. I know what you’re probably thinking: “But Jay, his movies are so touching and uplifting and they have a really valid, positive message that everyone can relate to.” The problem is, while that may be true, I can never seem to get to the proverbial knowing is half the battlemoment in any of his televised/motion picture fecal matter because I’m too busy being assailed and bombarded by just about every modern negative black stereotype you can think of, with the ringmaster of this circus loudly prancing around like a taller, lighter, slightly younger version of Flavor Flav wearing your Grandmother’s Dress and a wig instead of a Viking helmet and a clock.
Continue reading Doing The Right Thing: My Beef w/Tyler Perry…

Pardon The Interruption: Respect Takes a Vacation…


Just Because You Think It, Doesn’t Mean You Have To Say It…

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

— Jackie Robinson

DETROIT — I will be the first to admit that I have not always been the nicest guy in the world nor have I always said the nicest things. I freely admit that I have been an asshole at various stretches of my now 30 years and, as such, I know an asshole when I see one. Last week we were introduced to three different kinds of asshole behavior on three very different but public arenas. Each was egregious in its own special way and included a brand new face, one you unexpectedly saw lose it, and one of the usual suspects. Obviously I’m talking about Congressman Joe Wilson (R-S. Carolina), Tennis Superstar Serena Willams, and Rapper/Producer/Egomaniac Kanye West. Each of them acted like an a-hole last week. But there are varying levels of asshole-edness that were exemplified by each of them last week, and what better place than JSC than to break it down. This is a non-scientific analysis of the level of true asshole that each of these people exemplified in the last week ranking from 3 down to 1 (With #1 being the most offensive).
Continue reading Pardon The Interruption: Respect Takes a Vacation…

Fear of a Black President: How Health Care and Fear Don’t Mix…


This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things…

Often fear of one evil leads us into a worse.

—Nicholas Boileau-Despresaux

DETROIT — As I have spent the last couple of weeks being completely mesmerized by the clusterfudge that has become the debate turned debacle associated with the proposed health care bill, I cannot help but find a disturbing amount of humor in this entire thing. Most of you (well, the grown ups anyway) have seen the angry mob-like scenes at town hall meetings the past couple of weeks. Hordes of belligerent, angry White people frantically screaming at the top of their lungs about such big words as “Fascism”, and “Socialism”, and crying about how their rights are “being taken away from them” and my personal favorite: “I Want MY Country Back“. That last little ditty was shrieked at a town hall meeting in Arkansas. My initial response to all this buffoonery was “Are you (blank)ing kiddin’ me!?”

Continue reading Fear of a Black President: How Health Care and Fear Don’t Mix…