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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 26, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EST

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inability to do everything stop us from doing something. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. mrs. wagner: i thank the gentlewoman for her leadehi and her friendshin this issue and so many others. it's now my pleasure, mr. speaker, to yield time to a brand new freshman member, representative mark walker from north carolina. combating human trafficki is a priority for congressman mark walker of north carolina, and this is his very first bill introduced here in washington. the human trafficking detection act of 2015. and it aims to help and end this unconscionable industry. north carolina is ranked as a top state for labor and sex trafficking and this vital legislation works to effectively train and inform department of homeland security personnel to better detect and intercept human traffickers and its victims. it's my pleasure to yield three minutes to the gentleman from north carolina, congressm mark walker. .
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mr. walker: thank you for allowing us to lead with an important piece of legislation. we celebrated the life of martin luther king junior. we now have the opportunity to act upon one of the greatest gin justices of our time. all across america, vulnerable young men, women children and entire families are being victimized. these human beings are being seen as a commodity valued for the profit they can return. we must not remain sigh lept but rather respond. victims can be hidden in plain sight.
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however, we know that the united states is considered a leading destination of human traffickers. it is a top source of income for organized crime and involves more than half the street gangs. from our big cities to small towns this industry is here and unless we move quickly, it will be here for some time. it is growing and must be eradicated. officers and prosecutors and non profit groups are on the front lines of this battle and pleading for our help. we hear your voices. most importantly, we hear the voices of those trapped. there is an immediate need for training to identify and rescue victims. last week i introducemy first bill h.r. 460.
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this bipartisan legislation works to effectively train and inform the department of homeland security to intercept traffickers and their victims. we took an oath promising to protect the people of this country. protect those who are victims of human trafficking. our president said is the greatest human rights of our time. well, now is the time to lead. this bill will provide the necessary training skills in identifying victims as they enter and move about this country. it is not a final step but an important one that can protect these individuals from years of abuse. let us do so with boldness
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courage averaging and dedication to those who need us the most. i yield back. mrs. wagner: thank you, congressman walker, on your first piece of legislation. it has been a pleasure for me to co-sponsor this special order on human trafficking. i look forward tomorrow to the number of bills that are going to pass in this united states house of representatives. i look forward to spea tomorrow on the save act that will go after advertisers of this heinous crime. it is my pleasure to yield my time to the gentlelady from south dakota representative noem. she has been a friend and a partner on the issue of human trafficking since her time in congress and has been a real partner to me as we move this
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legislation forward. we moved five pieces of legislation last congress and 12 tomorrow with her leadership and support on this important issue. she has h.r. 350, the human trafficking prevention, intervention and recovery act of 2015. i'm a proud co-sponsor and look forward to its passage tomorrow. i yield the remainder of my time to my friend representative noem. the speaker pro tem: under the speaker's announced policy she will control the remainder of the hour as the designee of the majority leader. mrs. noem: if you live in my state or new york city, it is impacting every single state, right in our back yards. the first step to recovery they
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say is admitting that we have a problem. we have so many people who are here tonight to speak on this important huh and address those in this country and give us many tools for law enforcement officers to make sure we address the problems we are seeing on our streets and protect as many children and victims as possible. i yield time now to the good representative from the state of florida, representative yoho. he has been very vocal. in the district, he has brought together representatives from homeland security, from local police and sheriff offices and state attorneys to raise awareness and develop best practices for ending human trafficking in florida. with that i yield two minutes to representative yoho to --
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from the state of florida. mr. yoho: i rise in solidarity in the global fight. the numbers are overwhelming. we have heard of the estimates of 22 million people being trafpkd worldwide, sometimes though they seem far away, people say that kind of stuff doesn't happen here, it heaps overseas. no, mr. speaker, this is happening in our own back yards. over one million teenagers are run away. runa ways are the most at risked. they pimped out or trafficked within the first 45 hours. a 15-year-old girl was discovered by police in a motel being abused and trafficked several times a way. her parents had been handing out
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fliers and someone recognized her picture and contacted the authorities. she went from being a runaway to a victim. that 15-year-old child would have been anybody's child, could have been yours or mine. not just them that become victims. they don't diss krim nature. traffickers are motivated by profit solely profit. average cost of a slave worldwide is roughly $90. human trafficking is a $30 billion industry and revenue for terrorists. it is shocking how little people know about this practice. it is appalling how little is put forward to the effort to stop it.
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we will pass a series of bills to streamline enfores and provide resources to victims. i commend the sponsors of these bills as well as members who say enough is enough. it is not a republican or democrat issue. taking a stand is something we must do remembering while remembering that it is awareness month. no, mr. speaker, your neighborhood and my neighborhood is not immune. no city is exempt. and these victims are part of our daily lives, quietly suffering with no where to turn. we cannot in good conditions continue our daily routines without stamping out forced labor and sex trafficking. i encourage all americans to go
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to homeland security's web site and watch the video and become familiar with the common signs of human trafficking and let's work to stamp out the scurge on this awful human affordable care act. >> i thank the gentleman. mrs. noem: i would like to go to next to vickie hartzler. last year, she held a smum hit in columbia, which was one of her successful events. she held a session with congresswoman bass where they listened to concerns regarding foster youth. with that i yield two minutes to representative hartzler from missouri. mrs. hartzler: i sure appreciate your leadership on this and the opportunity to come tonight about how horrific this crime is
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and we must stand together to put an end to it. with almost 21 million victims globally and 293,000 american youth at risk of exploitation each year this heinous crime must be stopped. this week, i'm proud to work with my colleagues to vote on legislation that will take steps to do just that. i would like to you share a story of an amazing woman that i met last year. misty was first trafficked at the age of 14 and it would be 1 more years before she would escape a world in which she was beaten and tortured regularly. when she was severely injured, she thought she was going to die. it was then she agreed to go
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with a kind police officer who found her that day. there aren't words to describe the strength and courage of this woman who testified against her trafficker and thankfully because of her testimony, this fall was found guilty of all charges. despite the horrific conditions she had to endure, she shares her story with others and has said her experience motivates to help anyone who have been in similar situations. it is women like her to inspire me to fight this scurge. it is a crime against humanity and must be stopped. thank you. and i yield back. mrs. noem: i thank the gentlewoman for telling the stories that so many of us need to hear. it is when you hear those stories, your heart is impacted and you work day in and day out and do all that we have the
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tools. i like to turn next to the good representative that will be speaking from the state of new jersey. chris smith has been a long time advocate of human rights and sponsor of the internatial megan's law which cracks down on the practice of sex tourism and sponsor of the human trafficing priorityization act. and with that i will yield three minutes to the good representative from new jersey. mr. smith: i thank my good friend and the leadership she has demonstrated. as judge poe has said so well we are leading the fight to combat human trafficking with a zerhoo toll ran rans policy. we will fight human trafficking. as the i'm author as well as
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re-authorization of the law in 2008 and 2005 i believe the bills under consideration by the house today and tomorrow will prevent the horrific trimes of human trafficking and aid the prosecution of those who exploit and abuse. special thanks to our republican leadership, especially conference chair and kevin mccarthy who made this a priority for the house and hopefully that will be extended to the senate and the president will follow the lead. when i first introduced the act in 1998 the legislation was met with a wall of skepticism and opposition they thought the bold new legislation that include sheltering, aseal umh, long jail sent eveningses and
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confiscation and tough sanctions to meet minimum stargeds were a solution in search of a problem. the term trafficking applied exclusive i i havely to weapons or drugs. especially women and children, being reduced to commodities for sale were met with surprise or indifference. . it took numerous years to muster the votes for passage. now according to the i.l.o., approximately 21 million people are victimized. some put the number as high as 36 million. subjected to modern day slavery. the i.l.o. also said traffickers make profits in excess of $150 billion a year. we do have a tier system. we have a trafficking office, an am bass tore at large, we have a robust effort on the state level. many states have passed laws that mirror what we've done on the federal level so that there
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are more tools in the toolbox to put these traffickers behind bars and liberate the women and children. for the past 15 years we have seen progress on a number of anti-trafficking fronts, including laws over 3 -- inlewding -- including laws, over 300 laws around the world, to combat trafficking, and an estimated 125,000 victims have been rescued worldwide. we also, over the past decade, have had funded some 100 task forces. 5,000 law enforcement officers have been trained. still there are fa too little prosecutions and far too few liberations of those who ha been trafficked. the best estimates available now are that there are at least 100,000 american children mostly runaways average age of niche enslavement 13 years old. 13-year-old girls are exploited
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in the commercial sex industry each year. these children, when found, they're often unnecessarily charged for prostitution. fined or put in juvenile detention, when there are other options available. they need to be protected, not prosecuted. again i want to thank our leadership for making this such a high priority. this is modern day slavery. i thank my good friend and colleague for her leadership. we have to end modern day slavery. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman for his continued leadership on this issue. for years he has invested time and effort and heart and soul into protecting as many victims as possible and for that we will always be grateful. i want to turn now to the representative from minnesota. mrs. noem: representative paulsen has been a longtime defender of the victims of human trafficking. in 2006 when he was a member of the minnesota state legislature he was author of legislation that formed the first statewide human trafficking task force that task force was the first step toward minnesota's safe
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harbor law, the legislation he'll have here on the floor this week is modeled after that on a federal level and i certainly appreciate his time and investment in protecting as many children and victims as possible. with that, i yield three minutes to representative paulsen. mr. pall seb: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i want to thank you for your leadership, along with representative wagner in coordinating what this truly is. when you hear the words sex trafficking and human trafficking, a lot of people just think this is something that happens in faraway countries. it doesn't happen in the united states. it's sad to say it is happening here in our own back yards, know theegs traffickers are exploiting young girls for their own financial gain. right in our own communities. we're talking 12-year-old 13-year-old 14-year-old young girls. it's hard to imagine but it's true. it's happening in our cities our suburbs and rural towns. i real ires how critical it is now to educate our community about what i learned from actually speaking and talking to
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some of these victims. i remember speaking with deanna. she's age 13 and she tells the story about how within days of meeting this so-called boyfriend, she finds herself in philadelphia and chicago being trafficked. and as the wherewithal to escape with her life. but then i meet a mother of another young girl who was violently raped and murdered just last february. you know. and the only good news i can tell you, mr. speaker is that the twin cities which is home now to minneapolis being number 13 in the level of sex trafficking, human traffici that occurs, is also hom many leaders now in the fight against human trafficking. over the last two years, i have met with great leaders that are inspiring the community to make a different and -- difference and pass model legislation that's being replicated across the country. i think of aknee to carter breaking through. grant smider, a police officer, first officer in minneapolis, who was dedicated to working with trafficking vict s he leads his department in teaching
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local law enforcement in minnesota and other states around the country about thousand build trust and beer relationships with at-risk youth. we've also got county attorneys like john shaw who is leading the fight, getting convictions for a lot of abusers. nonprofits have been good as well, catholic charities, harriet tubman's place and others making a difference. it gives you hope that such a large and passionate group of people are working together to put an end to modern day slavery. the message is spreading. we need more safe harbor laws. we need them. because minnesota became the fifth state in the country to approve safe harbor legislation that means we're treating these children as victims giving them the services they need, not treating them as critics. that's critical. after it went into effect in minnesota, guess what? we started arresting more johns than ever before. trafficking convictions more than doubled.
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and it's time that we bring what is working in minnesota to the national level as well. i know tomorrow we'll be voting on this legislation to have this safe harbor legislation that i've authored pass with bipartisan support. a numb of other issues legislation, will pass with bipartisan support. the good news is as the gentlewoman knows, this is about saving lives and we're going to make a difference. with that, i'm happy to yield back. mrs. noem: i thank the gentleman for his work on safe harbor laws. what they do is make sure the victims are not prosecuted, that they're treated like the victims they truly are. it's so important we get his bill passed tomorrow along with my bill and the other bills that will be coming to the floor. a lot of time and effort has been put into these to make sure they're right, that they give the tools to our law enforcement officers to make sure this industry is ended as soon as possible. i now would like to turn to the gentleman from minnesota, representative emer from minnesota's sixth congressional district a member of the house foreign affairs committee on africa, global health, global
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human rights and international organizations and the western hemisphere. as part of his responsibility through his committee work he, works closely with the committee to oversee federal agencies, from n.g.o.'s, to discuss and improve responses to human trafficng. i yield four minutes to the representative from minnesota. mr. 'emer: i thank my colleagues -- mr., emmer: -- mr. emmer: boe co-ha ram kidnapped hundreds of girls with an intent to sell them into slavery. this sparked outrage but a distracted world turned their attention and backs on these young women. we are in the midst of a global crisis. on every continent and in every nation, millions of human beings are sold and enslaved forced into labor and prostitution
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against their will. in the united states alone, hundreds of thousands are trafficked by transnational drug cartels and criminal organizations. the justice department estimates there are more than 200,000 children across the u.s. at risk of trafficking. human trafficking is a $30 billion per year enterprise with thousands trafficked annually. this is not just an american problem. but there is work that we can do at home to combat this growing problem. congress must do everything within its power and authority to ensure that resources and judicial tools are being used to improve prosecutions, protect victims, and prevent future trafficking. thankfully, we are not starting with nothing. one way we can combat trafficing is through safe harbor laws that have been instituted across the country, including my home state of minnesota. i'd like to thank my colleague, senator amy klobuchar, for her work on protecting victims and forwarding safe harbor laws at the national level. her leadership and with the
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support of countless others including especially my colleagues john kline and erik paulsen comes from an ongoing effort from everyday minnesotans looking to make an impact and rescue young men and women trapped in the sex trade. there's also an existing network of organizations that provide services to victims of traffiing that are life-altering and life-savoring. in my district, three such organizations stand out. breaking free and heartland girls ranch help women escape sexual exploitation through housing, mental health support and education. the link in carver county provides programs to youth and works with at-risk children to help them reach their full potential. organizations like these are vital in the fight against trafficing. they -- trafficking. they make a real difference and their efforts should be celebrated. congress will take important votes tomorrow to streamline agency processes and responses and improve the effectiveness of grant awards and expand the
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scope of outreach and child protection initiatives. to our collective shame, the tragedy of human trafficking persists. the words spoken ton and the votes cast in this chamber tomorrow cannot be merely symbolic gestures, they must be followed by action and constant vigilance. our children deserve nothing less. with that, i yield back. mrs. noem: i thank the gentleman for his words and actions and the actions we'll be taking on the house floor this week. i turn now to the gentlewoman from virginia, representative comstock, a leader in the fight against human trafficking in virginia. i yield two minutes to the representative from virgini ms. come spock: thank you -- ms. comstock: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to join my colleagues for the opportunity to recognize this month as human slavery and trafficking prevention month and i thank my colleagues, congresswoman ann wagner and kristi noem for organizing this effort. i appreciate how we're working
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together to raise awareness about this terrible crime happening in my district in northern virginia, in the shenandoah value, throughout virginia and throughout the country. this criminal enterprise knows no boundaries. the fairfax county police department in my district established the northern virginia human traffickg task force to crack down on the scourge. in the past 12 months alone to give you an idea of this in a local area, the task force has had 156 leads 109 victim recoveries, 267 victims identified and 73 suspects. mr. speaker, while we have done great work to combat this terrible crime in virginia we clearly have more work to do on every level. the local level, state level, and national level. four years ago, virginia for example, was at the bottom of the polaris project's anti-human trafficking state rankings.
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now we're at the top because we passed many of the kinds of bills we will be able to pass here tomorrow and additional bills that will be here tomorrow. i'm honored to be able to join my colleagues and with our faith-base based organizations and law enforcement officials and to be able to continue this work now on a national level and to be able to vote for these important bills that we will be addressing tomorrow. i thank you very much and i yield back my time. mrs. noem: i thank the gentlewoman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from south dakota's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> mr. speaker i send to the desk a privilege red port from the committee on rules -- privileged report from the commieen rules for fi youhod the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 351 to provide for expedited approval of exportation of natural gas and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed.
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le for what purpose does the gentlelady from tennessee sk recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: who objecti. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. speaker. i am so pleased to come to the floor. at the end of the special order hour that mrs. noem and ms. wagner have organized to join my colleagues in talking about the bills that are before us. human trafficking is an issue that affects every single county and community across this country. every sickle one. -- single one. in my state of tennessee and in the greater nashville area we have a wonderful organization, end slavery tennessee, that is doing great work to reach out, to minister, and to help. i am so pleased that this week we are going to take the time to bring to the floor legislation that will be of help in training
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our medical personnel that will also empower and encourage our law enforcement organizations and our faith-based and not for profit organizations. this is a tragedy. modern day slavery. that is taking place. the sex trafficking and the human trafficking and i'm so pleased that congress is standing together to do something about it. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expir. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempoth objectn. >> mr. speaker -- mr. franks: i'm honored to stand here in support of h.r. 469, the strengthening child welfare response to trafficngct. this is one of many pieces of legislation this week that we're going to be doing in the congress and i'm so grateful to all of the people that have been involved in this critically important issue. i would especially mention the co-chair of the congressional
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foster youth caucus, karen bass for introducing this groundbreaking legislation. hubert humphries said a society is measured by how it treats those in the dawn of life, those in the shadows of life and those in the twilight of life. this is such a critical issue to protect the 400,000 children in traffickers know how to exploit children. we must put the structures in place to treat child victims like victims instead of treating them like criminals. i remind us all that our first job is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance h te. fot e es the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? without objection.
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>> mr. speaker, although slavery was abolished 150 years ago. human trafficking involves the use of fraud and coercion to control other people. according to the f.b.i. sex trafficking is the fastest growing business of sex crimes in the world. 29 million victims exist and hundreds of those are here in the united states. california is not excluded from this criminal activity. in my congressional district, there are have been lots of cases. they are lured by false promises, by new jobs and usually between the ages of 12-14 when first becoming victims.
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mr. speaker if there is one thing we can agree on, it's this. we must put an end to human trafficking and bring those responsible to justice. we can stop human trafficking in our communities both atlanta home and abroad. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. >> i move that the house do now stand a journed. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say a. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. the house stands
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>> we are proud that many have been in leadership positions over the years. i'm proud that one of our newest members the president of the capital press club. thank you, hazel, to have the national press club to have the venue of the 70th celebration.
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thank you for joining the national press club. and above all, thank you for working hard, so hard to ensure the success of this evening's program. as we announce at the 70th anniversary celebration. we felt it was appropriate, so appropriate and so timely to have what we have described as a cutting-edge forum to discuss race in america in the light of recent events from ferguson to staten island. we want this to be a best practices look at the journalism that came out of the events in those cities and identify what was well done and what date of birth done better and other conflicts that our panelists want to raise. everything we say tonight will be said with the hope that
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journalism can always be improved. to the extent that the questions can aim toward that goal we are very, very grateful. i will ask my friend hazel, to give her welcoming remarks and introduce our panel and thank you for being here despite the fear of the weather. we are so grateful to you all being here. hazel, my friend. >> thank you. let's give him a hand. and it was an honor for me to join the national press club and then to join the national press club in this very important forum this evening. in 1903, webdubois the problem
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of the 20th century was the color line. 1127 years later, in the 1 century, here we are continually discussing the color lines, with the back drep drop of the police killing of michael brown in ferguson missouri, with the backdrop of the police killing of eric garner in staten island new york. here we are, as journalists speaking from the standpoint of the higher ground. our high standards of journalism that we love to talk about and that we really aspire to have. and yet, when it comes to afflicting the comfortable and
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comforting the question is, are we measuring up? the question is, tonight, when it comes to issues of race in america and race coverage in america, how are we doing? and what can we do better. and we have an outstanding panel, a stellar panel to discuss those issues. i'm going to introduce each one of them, and then one at a time, in their own way they are going to speak for five minutes on that question, how are we doing what we can do better in our own way and we will ask questions of them and hand it over to them. there are two microphones on either side of the room. when the time comes, you will line up and prepare to fire away
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your questions. but first, we have the web editor of the st. louis and reporter for the newspaper. she was the st. louis american's most active reporter during the crisis during the police killing of michael brown junior. her coverage has been republished nationwide by black newspapers around the country. let's welcome her. [applause] and then we have paul. he is media coverage reporter for the "washington post." paul's articles cover issues from everything from free speesh to abuses and raceist comments
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and hate speech. his beat expands into media conflicts of interests, political oversights of journalists and the hiring processes of media agencies. let's give paul a hand. [applause] >> next to paul, we have a white house correspondent for the urban network that is has radio stations. she has conducted exclusive interviews with three presidents. president obama, george w. bush and bill clinton. following this forum she will sign her new book "the presidency in black and white my upclose view of american presidents and race in america."
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jeff johnson hopes he isn't caught up. pardon? he is on his way and will introduce him when he gets here. we'll go to afina a general assignment reporter out of ccnn. she was a white house producer with nbc where she produced story segments and was a reporter foyer misnbc. and covered campaigns of hillary clinton and barack obama during the 2008 election cycle. remember that? let's give her a hand. [applause] >> sitting next to her is mr.
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gilbert, he is editor of the " st. louis post dispatch." . he would be receiving the national press foundation benjamin c. bradley award as editor of the year. [applause] for guiding his news organization through the police shooting of michael brown in ferguson missouri. he will receive that award on february 18 right here in d.c. and next to gilbert is mr. roland martin, an author. he is a columnist and host of "news one now with roland martin."
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he is a syndicated columnist. he is a former cnn contributor and author of speak of a black man's view of america. and "barack obama road to the white house." let's give him a hand. let's give this entire panel a hand. and we are going to start with you. >> hi, everybody. i guess i'll go ahead and get started -- the reason why i'm here and that's ferguson. i remember august 9 like it was 10 seconds ago. i was doing my my business of social media and a man held a sign that said the ferguson
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police department just murdered my unarmed son. down the street ferguson? is this real? i wanted to get down there. because people were gathering. i'm an entertainment reporter. and yeah, i know. of all things. and i couldn't remember like to this day, like i could remember all of the pre-events that kicked off ferguson, i couldn't remember one joke he told and nothing negative to mr. cozz by, and what's happening. and i got home and i just -- i remember thinking, what does this mean. i felt something different about this.
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>> three things about that episode, two of which are small and one of which i think is large. first of all, i watched a lot of the television coverage, cnn, fox, misnbc and i'll exempt my friends on the panel who are in print and radio. but television didn't tell us
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something that was going on in ferguson and that was how many people were truly involved in this and hofere how large a community was involved. i'm sure that the gee oggra if i was obvious to your readers but not obvious to my people. i couldn't tell whether the northern part of st. louis was on fire or it was a couple of blocks away. and i think that was the basic failure of what was going on in terms of the coverage. the next step, also got me, which was why was ferguson different than the protests that evolved in new york and oakland and los angeles and chicago? ferguson did turn violent. no analysis in the media why
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ferguson ended up the way it did and why there was an equal amount of grievance but not like the death of michael brown, why there wasn't the same kind of reaction. new york was very peaceful. new york was peaceful and chicago was peaceful. was it the police response or police nonresponse or something that the political structure of those communities did? was it the media that portrayed those protests in a more responsible way. i would like to see some follow-up on that. the other part of this is something that came home to me when i saw the movie "selma" a few days ago and the person portraying martin luther thing
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-- king said and that was the optics of violent protests. king wasn't advocating violent protests, but he understood to get the media involved to galvanize the media attention, there had to be action and drama. and that is why selma was sleggetted. and martin luther king knew that the sheriff was going to overreact and beat those protests and going to shock the nation. and the reason it shocked the nation is because the media came running and the media were sympathetic.
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and in that sense, we know one thing about ferguson shall that violence did get the media's teaning and we will remember selma more so. >> it is an honor to be here this evening, especially in the midst of a storm. but to let you know how much race is an issue in this country that you came out to hear it. i covered the white house the past 18 years and i found at the white house, everything comes to the white house from war to peace and everything in between. and between war and peace there are matters of race as well. and since i began covering the white house and three presidents and researching for the book
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it's interesting how people think that race is not always on the forefront of the white house, and that's not always true, but doesn't make it to the front page of the noast. it may go into the bmp section or c section. but race does matter. one of the first writings from someone, a black person from the white house was paul jengs. he wrote a slave in the white house. he was a slave for president madison. you don't hear about that, do you? race played a part way back. it was before kennedy and l.b.y. lincoln. we didn't hear about that kind of thing. the sad part of is, i'm an african-american women i'm the
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only one in the white house that deals on that white house. when something comes to a moment, they talk about it. in my book, president clinton talks about it, race factors in. it has to be that moment. it has to be a ferguson, a selma, a bloody sunday. but we have people in st. louis. we have everyone around. we cover these things daily and sad when the african-americans is so much so and prevalent in education to housing to catching a cab in new york it's prevalent, in crime it's prifflebt lent in drugs, and you
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hear about it when there is a moment. and the sad part is, this is on the president's table. we have melanie campbell, she meets with the president quite a bit, talking about issues of race. melanie, please stand up. we have people like that who come to the white house and you don't hear about that and it is interesting, but race matters. it's not ju a black or latino issue but it's an everybody issue. >> thanks for having me. >> i'm excited to hear what everybody has to say about this issue and good to talk about how we are covering about race and one of the most exciting things
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we have heard kenya mentioned which is the thrilling side bar conversations that came about when question started talking about the ferguson and the garner issue. i covered the street protests after the decision not to prosecute the officer. i asked a couple of friends how they thought in terms of what we were covering race. they said you are covering it, at least. that's a start. but i think it goes beyond that. we got beyond the headlines and it can be harder to go and have real conversations on television. certainly i did a good job of trying to look at the issues
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behind of the headlines and the protest and vial ns and many ways we can do better. as journalists, our mission has to be more than providing a mega phone. we have to also hopefully bring some light so it's not just heat. and i think we have a ways to go. but i saw some of that in the coverage like these thrilling side bar covers. it depends on the media. people in print and radio have different challenges. but certainly in print you have seen issues behind the problems in ferguson and the good reporting we saw and the traffic tickets and towns like ferguson were interacting with the poorer
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residents in the black community. television ens up being about compelling pictures. there is a focus on the big crowds and there can be a focus on violence and context matters to paul's point. i think we have had a good start and we have to continue to do so. and to do so with a wide range of voices and i think that specifically, the reason this is so important, there are so many people who don't think about race on a daily basis. they don't get the struggles that people who are minorities may be dealing with. and that became clear to me, well many times, but during the coverage of the garner protests.
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the reaction i got was remarkable on twitter. a lot of people just didn't get it. one -- one night i tookal picture of a young black male, 12 13, who was walking with his family. younger sibblings and his mother and holding a sign that said i could be next. i tweeted it out. and a bunch of people thought it was moving. they repeated and thought it hit high pressure system for them. a lot of other people on twitter said, as long as he baves himself, he will be fine. they don't get the issue at hand. and so that he the example i wanted to give. but very important for us to
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cover. we may be criticized for focusing on the pictures and the dramatic of the pictures but it's our role to tell that story. we have to back that up with discussions and panel discussions far away from the action. to some extent we managed to do that. >> is this on? we are going to bring up our seventh panelist. mr. jeff johnson. jeff is an award-winning journalist. motivational speaker. only a few weeks ago he conducted an interview with president obama on the rt police shootings of unarmed black men. jeff also served as a national director for the youth and college division of the naacp.
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let's move on to gilbert and move on to jeff. >> i have prepared remarks and go through these >> it's a little bit different when you consider that it's in your backyard. i know many of you are from st. louis. it's different from how you feel county courthouse.
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the ferguson-related issues have defined race relations over the past months. it has laid bare long-standing racial profiling, concentrated -- last three decades is not exceptional in the issues it raised to the country. many probably thought such an event would happen elsewhere where crime and poverty is worse but not in ferguson. ferguson has demonstrated how people of different races and backgrounds can live in close proximity, yet live very 235r apart. these are complex issues. i want two things to talk about when we talk about race coverage in america. that is the tone of the public discourse and the issue of demographics. the political polarizeation have given rise to harsh. constructive conversations are harder to kict after class nationality, race, and geography which makes well meaning news coverage subject to intense criticism across the entire
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spectrum. this has been true with ferguson coverage and its many issues. too many in the public take an us versus them position. from various quarters ill mow tist or bias are assigned to the news media. news contrary to one's perspectives is viewed as bias of censorship. an individual is never part of the problem. it's those people creating problems and they must change. furthermore, political extremism have made popular the knee-jerk conversations that undermine solid news reporting and distract from seening slices. some politics divide by fear and threats associatesed with the changing complex of america. social media has become a
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vehicle for hate, intolerance and the deliberate spread of hoaxes and misinformation. we saw this in ferguson. social media and websites that espouses a political agenda are part of the american fabric. they're here to stay. yet their presence to assert a specific agenda complicates roles of news organizations. journalists are squeezed by buysed confirmation which some people cling to preconceived notions. these factors have further impaired understanding and constructive conversations about race. it affects how we cover race. let me speak to demographics quickly. the change in america are undenyble. this creates fear in people who see a threat to their way of life. the change of demographics is
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inexorable and so is the backlash. the hispanic population is 54 million right now, the largest minority group in the country. it will double by 2050. the largest number of the undocumented immigrants are hispanics. yet the growth in hispanics will result from births, not immigration. some feel under siege and unable to understand the legality of immigrants or other minorities who retain their ancestral language while they fully embrace american culture. to some, culture is a zero sum game. so it rings hollow to them. that includes many elected officials. it may be present but it may not be recognized. nativism is common to america.
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now it's some people from latin america who are being targeted. harsh rhetoric harbors ignorance and stereotypes. for some americans spanish language or bilingual news coverage occurs in a vacuum apart from them. they're not hearing it, but i do not underestimate the role of ethnic media in this country. mainstream media is to -- what we need are more voices and more viewpoints across the spectrum and that's the role the mainstream media must play. thank you. all right. certainly glad hbo to be here with you as well as the panel. let me be clear and concise as i
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can be. and that is media's coverage of race in america is shameful, deplorable abdomen and hypocritical. media cannot cover race when it's unwilling to look at its own shop. how can media do stories on the lack of diversity in the academy when it comes to whether or not "selma" should have been nominated for best director or best actor while deciding what goes in the next news cast. how can immediate ya talk about how it needs to broaden its tent when the same media outlets have virtually no minorities in executive positions? how can media talk about income and equality in this country and talk about job disparity when
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when you look at the folks who are in news rooms those who are making those making six and seven-figure salaries and who are making five-figure salaries? i dealt with it for six years on cnn, the austin american-statesman, i challenged my boss to say how can we talk about race in america when we are unwilling to face it in our nuremings. you have virtually all white men deciding what's going to be the story of the day. you can't talk about race in america if a black woman comes up missing. a white blue eyed woman comes up missing, it's wall-to-wall coverage. why that is the case. when a it would woman comes up missing in america they see their mother, their daughter,
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their niece. but when a black woman comes up missing, that's not what they see. whether a woman comes up missing, you cover one how do you explain how you don't cover the other? it shouldn't have to be community protests for networks or newspapers to cover those stories. when you come up missing the first 72 hours are most critical. but it's six weeked weeks later when we start doing the protests when someone says let's do a story. the one problem we have is nobody reports on us. media relies on media blogs and media blogs -- and also -- or media websites but the question is who challenges us? who calls us into question? and so when we're talking about who leads that conversation, it really has to be a question of
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who is deciding what goes on in the newscast, what's going to be the lead story, what is going to be on that particular front page and who is informing those decisions and their particular backgrounds? i used to sit there and go -- i would listen to some of these conversations and literally look at folks and go, are you serious? you actually asked that question? or that's a particular angle that you decided to take? give you an example. to understand how you you have to broaden and link things and if you are not a person of color where you actually -- you actually have lived this, you don't understand it. so when all the stories are being reported about the sony e-mails being hacked and a sony executive calling kevin hart a whore for wanting to get paid more money, the position was he was getting paid $3 million. to understand how folks see that folks say he's getting $3. that's more than enough. but the reality is this.
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kevin hart gave a band $50,000. when he's able to make four, five $6 million he has the capacity to give more to support more when you suppress his income you limit his ability to give. you limit his built to create wealth to pass down to the next generation so his kids when they turn of age they're now able to walk into a situation where they might have 10 20 million dollars because daddy made that over his career. you're limiting the capacity for his children and his children's children to do with that wealth what whites have done in america for years. if you don't have that context all you simply see is he wanted more money for social media tweets. and that's one of the fundamental flaws that we have is that you do not have divers executive leadership and if we want to cut right to the chase
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and be honest and show the picture. i remember being on cnn talking about rap music. they kept showing roughly simmons and i said stop show me the c.e.o. of the record labels. i said show me the skist of the record labels. i guarantee you they don't look like the rappers. the executive committee is the one that says no we're not going to release that song with the n-word we're not going to release that particular song where women are being accused but we chose to show the faces of the rappers, but knots those in charge. that's the flaw of media because we are unable to look at ourselves in the mirror and we want to question the rest of america. [applause] >> i won't attempt to be as
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passionate as roland. i don't know if it's possible. i'm appreciate active of the invitation and appreciate to be here. apologize for being late. driving from baltimore was more than a notion. i to be brief and not redundant what i thought about more than anything else is really what is the responsibility of those of us that want to consume cent, and as i've looked -- content and as i've looked at media and played roles in varying outlets i real lies that most folks that i see these days don't really want to do news, anyway. they want to do entertainment that's dressed as news. and there are a lot of people that are looking to those folks that are dressed as news to provide news when executives
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have no interest in providing news. they want to provide entertainment. they are less interested in providing any kind of critical analysis as much as they are who are people who can shout at each other, proclaiming to be representatives of one side or another so that we will tweet about one of those two sides, reverberate the conversation that in many cases is incredibly unsophisticated and dried sales for the advertisers that are ensuring that those networks, in many cases continue to put content on air. but at some point, when are we responsible for helping to promote the kind of content that we that we claim isn't there. when i think about african-americans, people of color, those concerned about race being discussed there are two things i'm concerned with. one is that we don't often support the outlets that traditionally ensure that race
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coverage has a level of integrity. so whether that's the black press, whether those are black websites whether those are black news agencies -- i'm not saying any black news agency. i'm saying there are those who have a level of integrity to sure that the race conversations take place without it being race baiting. the second thing, not to belabor the point, is that i am frustrated with our inabout to create infrastructure that provides voices to be comfortable with the same old stuff. every time it's some black stuff, the same five people are the -- are the gods and goddesses of black tough. and i don't see new voices. i don't see younger voices. i don't see fringe voice. i don't see voices that aren't a part of old school institutional infrastructure and oftentimes those voices use relationships
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that they have within these outlets to block younger voices or fringe voice from the african-american community. so you have -- until people really started raising hell in ferguson, you didn't hear real voicings from ferguson, and it wasn't until the protests popped off as a result of talking to young people on the street, you began to be like wait a minute this isn't a leaderless some movement, they may not be a part of the urban league or a member of the church, but they are leading on the ground. i think until we as a community begin to challenge this notion that everybody that has been a leader is not the leader, that everybody has been the voice are not all the voices, and we do two things. because i would love to see the organizations that are providing, that are looking for talents, that are looking at folks at universities around the country, that are looking at
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local leadership that have datas bases of voices that can be on air and the moment that -- if we're going to be honest, it's not just black folks. you got the token white dude that is the dude to talk every time there is something surrounding black people. they call michael skonik because he works for russell simons and he's got to know about black people. hello? and i have nothing against mike. i like mike. but at some point we got to get out of this tokenism on both sides when it comes to conversations about race. we've got to push to see that there are more legitimate sophisticated conversations that aren't just the same old back-and-forth talking points, challenge institutions that actually position themselves as the authorities on black thought when in many cases, the
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divertity of black thought, latino thought, asian thought, is more than we give credit for and whether they support blogs, whether they are papers, networks whether they are individuals that are pushing to have these conversations, supporting them so that we can begin to see the kind of conversation i don't think we often have at some of the majoroutlets. >> thank you. yes. >> interesting when jetch brought up that point. i remember when i was filling in for carve belling brown at cnn. and the supreme court made a decision in a louisville -- in a kentucky desegregation -- busing deseg obligation case. they automatically said he booked a conservative who likes the decision. and i went, you do know there could be some liberals who like it, too. then i said, well, why don't we call jonathan kozul to -- i said because -- so they called him. i said who is that?
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i said trust me, call him. he was just -- he was -- they said we want to find somebody black. i said i know it's a bugs decision but he's a perfect voice because he hates the decision. i said did you also look at who filed the lawsuit? that was a black parent who was a part of the lawsuit because she didn't want her kid going all the way across town. so the boxes that we chose, find a black person who hates the supreme court decision find me a white male conservative who likes the supreme court decision and then we'll have a conversation. as opposed to saying, no no, why don't i find two of the most passionate voices who disagree on this. forget the labels and the ideasology and say this is where they stand ifment we literally fall into those boxes and that's what drives the race conversation and that's what ends up being a talking point
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deal as opposed to a real substan tiff dialogue on the issue of race in america. >> let's get further into that dialogue. i see a sign in the audience right there on the front row. it says black lives matter. very plain and very simple. that has been the clarion call of all of the marchings and rallies, the protests that have taken place ever since michael brown was killed this summer. and yet just this morning i watched a major network interview a police chief and he kept saying, see black people don't -- they keep calling us, they want us there. they don't seem to get the point that it's not that they don't -- black people don't want them there. it's just that they don't want them shooting unarmed black men.
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question: what can the media do to finally get that and reports that? anybody. >> let me say this. that's something that the white house has had to deal with because here you have a black president who has taken the fore front in talking about, i can't believe, wearing a t-shirt and talking about travon and then when the situations have happened with ferguson, with new york, and with cleveland, there's a fine line about how do you support the police officers who are the ones who are in the community trying to help and then also calling out the ones who are abusing authority? there's got to be some confined of way that as reporters rs and as someone from 2 community and as the white house and the attorney general can report -- and we report on the fact that there is support for law enforcement. and there is support for law enforcement. we need law enforcement. but at the same time you need to root out the evil that is in the department that's been going on
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for decades. people have to understand, and particularly law enforcement we will support you but it's a mutual situation. it's a cyclical issue. but you have at the same time to support the community. we have to start taking more about community policing. because many of these neighborhoods didn't have it. i mean, i watched when that poor child was laying in the street, i saw how the police were on one side -- sometimes you take your reporter hat off and you think as a person. and i said, wait a minute. i'm from baltimore where they have community policing, strong community policing town. i saw that crime line and i saw the black people on one side and the police officers on the other. it was no communication. it was us versus them. and anytime you have that kind of situation in a community it's going to powder keg and it did. and it's got to be a situation where there are reports on this from the community, because we
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have experienced and also from mainstream america. it has to come out beyond the faurnings it has to come out beyond new york ifment has to be made a priority issue for this country. >> go ahead. >> so i think it's interesting what april just said. you can both support law enforcement and also support the idea that law enforcement should not be shooting unarmed black men. i think that often our role and our duty is to make sure that the context is always a part of any conversation under a made me think of the situation between de blasio, mayor de blasio and the nypd, the conflict, and a lot of that -- had to do a lot of things, but one of the things that was brault up by the police side of the complicate was that mayor de blasio shared the fact that he had a conversation with his son that many people all across the country can relate to which is telling his black
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son to be careful, to act a certain way, act respectfully, don't talk back to the plirks and that -- there's not enough context in the reporting of that situation. there's not enough people saying, wait a second, this is not just a de blasio conversation this is a conversation that the president would have with his son if he had a son. and his daughters. it's a kansas that any black -- any parent of a black child -- let's put it that way -- should be having and is having, and i think that that part of that conversation, what didn't appear enough when you saw the reporting about the conflict between mayor de blasio and the police department, and i think that's when we fall down we, broadly speaking, in the media if we don't bring up both sides of this. let's talk about why each side is saying what they said. >> i have a couple of very quick examples. just this week we did a story on
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-- in the city of st. louis which is probably 10 miles from ferguson. where there's a middle class african-american neighborhood dealing with a violent crime problem where they're trying to take back their neighborhood. they aren't anti-police. they're anti-crime. we did it through their lens of -- a lot of them were elderly or raised families and to changed around them. we were able to see this is what is going on in our city. these weren't protesters. this was people trying to take back their neighborhood. a couple of months ago, a ferguson cop i think three african-american cops in ferguson from his viewpoint, what it was like amid the protests, amid all the tension to be african-american, the names he was called and why he was doing and how he saw are did protesters were upset.
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you have to get different voices you have to get it from a different angle. some of the local coverage that we've done has done this but it's not always seen on a national scale, so people don't see this as it is and it's really close to home. >> we have to stop this notion of you're racist you're not racist. if you look at every debate and something happens. and the person go, oh, no, no, i've known them for so long they're not ratists. but there's a whole lot between racists and not racists. there are perceptions and things you thought growing up, different views in your background. because we never want to deal that because that forms who we are. and but then you say, oh, no, racists, we're conservative. i can tell you right now i've had to deal with a whole lot of racism from some white liberals. got real quiet.
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i understand. and so you're dealing with them. i literally had -- we did a show on tv 1 where i had black gay people on the show talking about racism in the lgbt community jose antonio vargas gave a speech on that. saying how can there be any quality movement when there's inquality. so there's this fear of really dealing with that. so we sit here and play games and they go you know so and so, he's not racist. as opposed to what exactly drivers that. when you see us talking about affirmative action or hiring, here's a very small thing that happened that people ignore. we allow the conversation to go forth by saying, yes, we're always looking for qualified minorities. well why are you using the qualifier "qualified."
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you never hear anybody saying i'm looking for some qualified white folks. that is assumed. dr. king rarely talked about equality. he tacked about freedom, inalienable rights. what he was saying is i want the same thing that somebody white in america has. the moment they're born they have all their rights as a citizen. that's a different conversation. coming off his birthday, we have this limited view. we talk about the "i have a dream "speeches and look at part of it. when we talked about his "mountaintop" speech but he talks about other things. we have this nice cartoon character we have as opposed to the radical person that he was.
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if we want to have honest conversations, go there, but we really don't so we have these really surface-level fake, nice, cute discussions and we always go back to watching our favorite television show. >> thank you, roland. we planned this so that we would have a half-hour of what hazel rightly called a town hall atmosphere. i can't say enough on behalf of hazel how graflte we are for a very large turnout despite the warnings of a cataclysmic storm i'm so grateful that we had 100% turnout of our panel. i have my students, after 40 years as a practitioner, and my mantra is objectivity, objectivity. they walk in and they see the initials r.a.f., responsibility, accuracy, fairness. that's what i teach. i maybe am naive, i realize that
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what many newspapers and columnists and others are practicing does not fit into those guidelines. and we just have to keep trying land trying. i devote the >> we just have to keep trying and trying. i devote the rest of my life as a teacher to doing that. one of the columnists that i ask my students to read is the works of fari. i know he's white and i'm white but please don't look at us in that way. look at us as really trying to be objective. paul, you've listened for an hour. could you give us a summing up, from your perspective as the washington post, not the formal title of media critic, but that is what you're associated with. what is your reaction of what you're hearing tonight, any comments? >> here's the comment i would make. in the day-to-day of doing what we do, there is not the same
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level of heat and passion that you're getting up here. and that's very, very important, because when people like say roland or jeff come to us and say, look, you're not doing this or you have done this wrong, it does get our attention. and in the day-to-day, you go through -- you work on, you know, automatic pilot to a certain extent. you work on what you've done before. and you're not getting, in many ways, the sense of what's bubbling out there. and as i was listening to roland, i was thinking to myself, wouldn't it be nice if we in the media would be ahead of these things, if we could anticipate these things, not react to them? not go nuts when a trayvon happens, when a michael brown happens or an eric garner happens. could we have covered police shootings before then? well, yes, of course we could. i will say this plug for my
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newspaper. 1998, we covered very extensively the issue of police shootings in prince george's county. they had a series of problems that never exploded into the headlines like michael brown never exploded into the headlines like eric garner or trayvon martin. and we did a tremendous series of stories about police shootings. it brought about reform in the prince george's county police force and the story won the pulitzer prize that year. if we could only bottle this passion and bring it in every single day and be ahead of the next wave, i think we could do a lot of social good as well as do a lot of good journalism. >> thank you paul. hazel, go ahead. and before we get to the audience -- please go ahead and thank you for coming.
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>> i think the interesting thing about that is that when we look at the stories that get a ton of media attention, it's not really about the victims themselves. it's about the community's response to the victims. and so despite the great work you all did to talk about shootings in prince george's county, if we can look in communities where there's been violence taking place and how the community reacted to it determined how much media came in to report it. so if we're looking at cleveland and tamir rice and we understand that what happened to this 12-year-old boy is deplorable, there was no national media around two people that got shot at 135 times by the police. so the police -- the mayor of cleveland did an administrative review of a chase that involved nearly 60 cars and 100 officers from cleveland into east cleveland. the administrative review, by the mayor and the city, was done even as citizens were just
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saying fire the white police chief! but the mayor said no, did a review unemotionally suspended supervisors that didn't call police officers off the chase suspended officers that continued on the chase, even after they had been called off to which an arbitrator came in later and even after police officers had been fired, police officers had been demoted police officers had lost pay and reduction in pay, the arbitrator came back, put reintaited officers to this -- reinstated officers to this place where they were, made the city pay back pay. and then a judge, about two weeks ago, validated the arbitrator. nobody said anything! no marches, no protests, no mobilization. but that same city my hometown wants to be up in arms about tamir rice.
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so one of the challenges with media is that often we don't have consistent leadership in communities. when you have consistent leadership in communities, in that same city the same week that tamir rice was killed, the same week, there was a shooting where a man rolls up to a house breaks down the door, goes inside shoots two adult people, shoots at a nine-year-old little girl comes out of the house, shoots a 41-year-old pregnant woman in the car, who was waiting outside. the parent of the nine-year-old. runs out to try to save her two-year-old little brother, who is hiding in the back seat of this car. this guy goes off, runs off. five people dead. no marches. no protests. no tweets. and so my concern about this whole notion of the media's responsibility i think we do have a lot of responsibility. i think how we talk about race is clear. i think what we do there. but similar to how we look at
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even the president of the united states, there are times when leadership and citizens have to push infrastructure to do things the right way. and when you lack leadership or when a community is schizophrenic about what they want to be in arms about, it ensures that there is schizophrenic media, because they're really not there oftentimes to cover the shooting. they're there to cover the response of the shooting. and therein lies one of the issues that we deal with as we talk about race, because until we get pissed off about something, the media doesn't often show up. and if we don't ensure that there is sophistication around the conversation, then very seldom does the media report a sophisticated conversation. >> thank you. i think we've gone a little over an hour. and hazel and i will just confer. let's go to the q&a. we will do it in our traditional
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way. line up behind the microphone, that side or that side and we will call on each one, as we always do at our news conferences and lunch i don't knows, we always -- luncheons we always tell people, ask a good question but without a peach. bob, you get the opportunity to ask the first concise, good question. >> and minor and hazel -- myron reason andand hazel, thanks so much. what do you do when the facts don't take you to objectivity? in this case, i want to bring it right to ferguson and staten island. in ferguson, the prosecutor gave the jury the wrong information inaccurately telling them the lu law says the police can shoot a fleeing suspect, even though that law was overturned 35 years earlier by the supreme court? and the prosecutor in staten island blue blew off the person that
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shot the video dismissing him in ten minutes without detailed questions of what he saw. so in the mission michigan chronicle we wrote an article. and for defrauding the court and for giving wrong information untimely information to the jury. the aclu has filed -- the aclu has filed a suit and a grand juror has filed a suit now on exactly that point. why is there not more attention in the media to that very critical and timely lawsuit? isn't the prosecutor's conflict of interest with the police a reason that justice has never been provided in these prosecutions? >> is there one or two panelists
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who would like to respond? >> all those things you talked about, we covered. we wrote about it in st. louis. i don't know if america saw much of those -- much of that information was on our front page, the debate lack and forth, certainly the lawsuit of the grand jury and others. i think our community is well informed. unfortunately, it may not be seeping out to the rest of the country, and i think that's a problem, because we often get distracted by another story and move on. but we have been koffing many of those -- covering many of those issues you put forth in before we go to the other side of the room for our next question town hall style gilbert congratulations again on your award. i have to say that before i ask this question. he's editor of the year. i saw a story that was actually publisherredred in the st. louis america about how your newspaper was being picketed by the
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protesters. i don't know all of the issues pertaining to why they were picketing the st. louis post dispatch but i do know that the st. louis post dispatch tried to get the juvenile record of michael brown. could you just quickly say -- and that's the kind f to thing that -- the kind of thing that causes the racial divide. we don't quite get -- well, at least some black people don't quite get why a newspaper would go after the juvenile record of a child who is now dead? and so what was the thinking that goes into that, so we can understand how this racial divide comes about? >> we heard a lot about that. it's trying to gather the facts and the information. it's really simple. but it becomes complicated. it wasn't about race. there were a lot of people in the community who were saying he was a thug, he had a criminal record. so we said let's find out. >> and you found out that you were wrong? >> we found out that he was not. that exactly refuted what had
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been charged against him in the court of public opinion, without fact. so we said let's find the facts. and yes, we caught heat from that and we got heat from benjamin crump. i was quoted in our paper -- it actually showed that michael brown was not a felon, although you look at social media and elsewhere, that was what the accusations were. so we didn't know what we would find. but we were going to gather the facts, the same when we released information regarding the autopsy. we got a lot of heat. why are you reloosing releasing? because it's public information. we weren't taking sides. we were accused by many sides that somehow we had an ill motive. the idea was let's find facts and let them speak for themselves. so that's why we did that. why was the st. louis american on the story? there were probably ten people out front who were protesting us. it didn't gather much steam. but we got flak from every side. we got flak from the protesters
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the police people, media critics, about all kinds of angles. we were seen as having a motive. that's not what we were trying to do. we were trying to gather information that was authoritative and accurate. >> next question. please be concise. >> i will try to be. my name is kimon. i think one of the things that needs to be said is that community control rof of the police is what this struggle is what this is all about. community control. the system is clearly not working. i wish i had time to go into my definition of community control but you can go to popular resistance top 5 to read it. i want to talk about the media's role being complicit in all of this. i myself, as a community media person, i went out to the al
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sharpton event before the young people took the mic away from him. and we was chanting "we won't stop till they jail killer cops." i had the mic, i had the speaker, and i was giving it to the crowds, and that was the chant. "we won't stop till they jail killer cops." once the officers were killed in new york -- this is what c-span broadcast -- once the cops were killed in new york, fox news gets their hands on it. they chop it up. now that same chant says, "we won't stop, kill a cop." >> i have to correct you. that wasn't fox news. that was a local affiliate which is different from a fox news cable network. go ahead. >> granted. fax 45 baltimore. >> thank you. >> on wbf -- something. so thank you. but i want to talk about the media's role in being complicit in all of this. this is one example among many.
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we can point to a lot of these issues. that's one question. finally, my second question is this. now that we've seen them announce, despite the irregularities that the young man first pointed out in the michael brown case in ferguson, and now they have just announced that there won't be federal charges about, and we've seen all the other cases of no indictments theindictment, what can we do to force this system to acknowledge the wrongdoing, wrestling power out of their hands or at least sharing it? what is the issue and what do we have to do at this point? the media being come plis sits and what do -- complicit and what do we now that we've seen the process take place? >> rol land, did you want to speak to that? >> the question is not, what can we do? that's up to you. to hold one accountable, that's a public policy decision.
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that means how do you get a special prosecutor? that means changing state law. i mean i've had ferguson activists on t.v. 1. with all we heard over the last six months, there's not been a single state senator or representative who has stepped up to sponsor legislation to create a special prosecutor in the case of police who kill somebody. so the pressure has to be on them. this is also different than what we saw during the black freedom movement because the whole "black lives matter" infrastructure, if you will, you're going to have to actually change state law and local law because you're not going to pass a federal law. i think johnson is trying to pass a particular bill that says if you get federal funds and do not make a move, we can deny the funds to you. that's a different deal. but that's where it's not incumbent upon those who are protesting to take boots on the ground and shift into public policy. we talk about this all the time, in order to begin to make that
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move as well. so that's not our job. that's your job. our job is to cover you trying to do that. >> roland, you make a good point. may i interject? what the questioner is asking what can the newspapers dock, do, i hope you'll agree. we report it. we have comments editorials. but at the end of the day, the community has an important role and we the press will report on it. >> if you're in maryland, who is going to bring it to the committee for you to cover it? >> thank you for the question. i just want to get as many questions. hazel and i agreed we'll try to get as many questions as possible. another succinct question, please. they can be hard just keep them concise. >> my name is brandon. i'm a senior at howard university. my question is about the role of individuals who aren't necessarily communicating
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through official media channels like news, print newspapers, et cetera. i have a blog where i write about social issues and pop culture from a racially critical perspective. so i wanted to know about, what is it that you think is the role of persons like myself who are not necessarily communicating through those channels, in advancing this dialogue and conversation about race? >> does anybody wish to respond? >> well, i mean, here's the obvious thing. we live in a wonderful age where everyone is a publisher everyone is a t.v. station and everyone has the power to broadcast whatever they think. keep on keepin' on. i mean, we can't guarantee you an awed yerns audience, but you have now powered that. when i was your age, i couldn't
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even dream of it. >> when i went to school at ohio state, our dream was to own a paper. you needed $2 million to buy a printing press. now you can publish with a $100 social device, so your message can go out. i'm pleased you could join us tonight. are you satisfied with that response? >> april wants to respond as well. >> there's one of the wonderful students of howard university, in telecom? >> i'm a sociology major. >> nonetheless, i think -- and this is my personal opinion -- if you have a blog, podcast what have you, you have a responsibility. you have a responsibility because so many people go out there, screaming fire, when there's not. and you have a responsibility to tell the truth. as someone who has gone through howard university, institution of higher learning, you have a responsibility to tell the truth and get it out there accurately. there's so many people not telling the truth, not telling the story correctly. particularly they're telling the stoirp story about our community that's not about our community.
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so you have responsibility. and i challenge anyone out there who gets a blog, any kind of twitter page, whatever, go out there and be responsible and tell the truth. find out the facts. and that's the problem. everybody can be a journalist now and that's a big problem. there's a lot of responsibility in being a journalist. >> thank you april. >> next question. >> hello. how are you guys doing today? my name is caleb. i'm 19. we're a group of teenagers who want to affect the world through giving back. >> i'm brandon. i helped raise $160,000 to build a school in ethiopia. >> i've been able to purchase four more investment properties through my company. >> i'm the publisher author, financial independence. >> and once again, my name is caleb and i led a national youth movement in jamaica that motivates thousands of youth
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throughout the country to get involved in their community. our question is, why not promote more images on media on youth leading their communities? does that make sense? yeah, yeah yeah. [laughter] >> can i also like touch on this for two seconds? like i know that you guys, you know, want us to ask a question so you can give the answer. i do want to make a statement. my problem with my views on the media, our problem is we're not all, you know, shooting basketballs and we're not all rapping and we're not all getting shot outside. you know, our biggest problem is when i'm around, you know, people of like 12 to 13 to 14 and they're looking up for a new role model that they want to strive to be, i'm sorry, it's not something the president of the united states, it's not the people that are in front of me today and it's not their fault that they don't want to be that
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person. it's because in their mind, it's very esoteric. what they are told to believe through the media is they can only be a basketball player, an nfl player, a rapper or an athlete. what we wanted to say was we need a platform to be able to promote, you know, young entrepreneurship young business owners and give, you know, our generation, you know a new look, you know, on a brighter future. >> we want to support you. there are a couple of outlets already out there. some are more -- some get more followers and get more play than others but the root, i think is doing a fantastic job of doing that very thing. and it's young people in tech, the root 100. i think they do a great job. but i think black enterprise is doing the same thing. i also think that there is something that bt is doing. i want to get y'all's
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information. it's a relatively new initiative but it's his bt health. health, image and service. it's all about black men, young men and not-so-young men. what you all are doing in a real way is the kind of content that i think they're looking for to do that. but there's a ton of outlets out there that i think are looking for that kind of content. and i think we have to realize when you're looking at some of the mainstream media outlets that oftentimes they're not getting as many viewers as some of the digit outlets are getting. so what we used to look at as i want to get a feature on cnn, because if they show me on heros, then i'm going to blow up. but the number of people watching heros isn't the same number watching hip-hop. so utilizing the outlets out there and creating partnerships is a real way to get yourself and your story in front of people that aren't going to see it at all if they're watching television, because the very
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people you're talking about impacting aren't watching the networks you're talking about, where they're not showing pictures of you in the first place. so stop looking to them to validate you and begin using the other outlets out there. >> i have to ask you, what is your outreach? have you been, in terms of a publicity standpoint, have you been reaching out to those people? did you specifically start with black media? like who? >> whut, few weeks ago. >> okay. morning show t, steve harvey morning show, doug banks. you have seven nationally syndicated shows. i have the only black morning news show in america. you have black newspapers, black magazines. there's literally a major infrastructure there. part of the deal is not do a story on us. it's also making us aware of exactly who you are as well, and so when you bring that to the
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table, look, we have this, this, then that sort of helps that story out as well. so the onus is not always on us covering it. it's also reaching out to nontraditional outlets to get your story told as well. >> i think they need a publicist so they can put it out there. >> well, i got my own show. all you gotta do is give me your e-mail. i mean -- just sayin'. and i don't have to ask anybody because it's my damn show. >> ha ha! >> well, i just want to piggy piggyback and concur with what roland said. we want to create that counternarrative. like in our business section this past week, we showed a woman who got recently past -- recently passed the national bar association. she wasn't america's next top model. she wasn't, you know the next olympic athlete.
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but a lot of the times because we are overwhelmed as media outlets ourselves, the best thing you can do is put your information out there, because chances are, if we have a story about young black men, entrepreneurs, we are going to do something with it because we want to create that counternarrative that there's more to being a young black successful man than having a ball or a microphone. >> i can't speak for the washington post, paul, but i think they would as well. next question. i'm sorry? are we ready for the next question? please, on this side of the room. >> good evening. >> identify yourself, and a nice succinct question. >> my name is walter, doctoral candidate, howard university. why is it the mainstream media is letting police chiefs around the country off the hook? i'm apolled that they -- appalled that they take the high
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road of the thought that there could be racist police officers or there could be a bias? they need a history lesson. do we need them all to sit in and watch "selma"? the entire backdrop of racism and injustice in america is local law enforcement and the black community. so all of a sudden, when you bring the thought up, they're like, how could you dare think such a thing, that my officers would treat a black different person differently? that has been our history for 100 years. not politicians but local law enforcement. why is it that when you do interviews with them on national t.v., no one says, but wait a minute. remember? we let them get a platform to say my guys will take the high road because we care about the community. we don't remind them of history and how that lingers in our minds as a community.
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>> paul has volunteered. >> i don't want to defend police chiefs but i do want to prevent stereotyping of every single police chief in america. there are thousands of them. they're not aught all racists or killers. we've got to figure out which is which. >> we need to understand the source of where we are coming from. >> how about this? how about the fact that i don't hear a lot of people who aren't in the media, and i'm not defending the media, but i don't hear a lot of folks who are not in the media connecting the current protests to the election of over 35 mayors in less than 11 months. almost all of those mayors are going to select or supervise police chiefs. so if we're going to be serious about, how do we begin to make these protests real, it's not just about a gangster reporter pointing his finger at a police chief and saying, don't you believe in racism? it's about how do we ensure that the people that are elected are held accountable to choosing the
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kind of police chiefs that are about community policing that have a history of community policing, that understand it that are moving in the direction of shifting some of the d.n.a. of certain departments from control to service? because a lot of the conversations are about the antic waited methodology of policing in the united states. but we don't shift it through interviews with police chiefs. we shift it through holding accountable elected officials who are going to choose police chiefs, and what is the community saying they want those police chiefs to look like when they make that a primary factor in who they elect? and you've got less than 11 months where where you've got cities like chicago and indianapolis and jacksonville and columbus ohio, and other cities that are going to be electing mayors who are responsible for that very thing. so that's not to say we shouldn't be accountable to asking them our questions. it is to say if you want to see shifts, it's not just going to
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be from asking a police chief a question about racism. it's going to be about electing mayors and selecting police chiefs and safety directors who understand what 21st century needs to look like. >> the point about how we as journalists oftentimes are trying to mediate the conversation. certainly you have to ask the tough questions in one on one interviews. other times there's a panel where you have to maker sure you let -- have to make sure you let in the disagreeing voices on this. i think a lot of times you're not going to have someone doing the interview very keen on calling someone a racist, simply because that ends the conversation. once you start throwing around accusations, people shut down. part f to our role -- part of our role is also to ask these questions about what's next. so it goes beyond that interview with that police chief or panel with the different people and their different opinions. it's all about, okay so what do you want to do next?
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what are you going to do about this law or the way the grand jury functions? what's the next step besides the protests and the marches and the sort of headline grabbing moment? i think that's where sometimes the media falls down, is not asking that question and not following up enough, because we've moved on to the next thing. >> on 60 minutes last night about the tamir rice case and the police chief of cleveland, i recommend it highly. >> over at this side now. >> thank you. hello? good evening. my name is darrell. i would like to ask the panelists to comment on the fact that, with the case in new york, with the two cops shot you had representatives of the police union and police department trying to make the association of one man's actions, ismaaiyl brinsley, who killed the two cops, when the entire issue was about bad cops and cops that have done the things that we
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know with the case in new york and the case in ferguson. from the coverage i've seen, it essentially silenced the debate and shifted it to something else. so i was wondering if the panelists can comment on>> his job is to defend his officers at all costs. union leaders, even when they know it was absolutely heinous and wrong, they are going to defend. that is what he is paid to do. he is not paid to offer an objective viewpoint. problem is when those of us in media are unwilling to challenge him when he comes on the air with his comments or unwilling to say, in this particular case