A Glaring Omission

Mediaite has been rightly called out for a big, glaring error: On our list of 28 media leaders we’ve lost this decade there was not a single person of color. Not a one.

It’s an omission we are fixing even as I type this, but that’s not the point: the point is taking responsibility for it and holding it up as yet another reminder of how easily groups are marginalized in our media. Even by people who loudly complain about being marginalized.

I am one of those people – and this mistake is my fault. Danny Groner, the author of the post, pitched the idea to me and I greenlit and oversaw it. I clicked the button to publish it and then I reviewed it – and I did not notice. I don’t blame Danny – he went through the obit looking with a media eye, and did not notice the omission, either. Except that it was my job to notice – and as someone who always keeps an eagle eye for women on lists such as these, I take responsibility for not expanding that eye further.

If this were a list of just men I’d hit the roof, Twitter madly and blog angrily. So I not only understand why black listservs and blogs are blowing it up, I applaud it. I would too, and that’s part of the goal in writing this post. Things won’t change unless examples like this are held up as things that matter.

This, by the way, is an amazing example of why we need diversity in newsrooms. Even the most well-intentioned person can’t see everything, or see from a perspective they don’t have. This is how we learn from each other – and examples like this are, hopefully, what we avoid when we do.

We’ve redressed this problem on our website, and hopefully by calling it out and drawing attention to it will take a step toward eventually redressing the fact that it is part of a pattern in the media as a whole.

It goes without saying that we deeply regret the error – except that it’s so very important to say it. Thanks to those who called this error to our attention so we could be more aware. Mediaite is better for it.


New York Senator Diane Savino, Gay Marriage Supporter, Is New Viral Hero

Diane ScavinoNew York State Senator Diane Savino is the new viral hero of the gay and progressive world (at least), thanks to her impassioned, thoughtful, rational comments in support of New York’s Marriage-Equlity bill last week, which failed with a vote of 24-38. On YouTube a clip of her speech is up to 296,215 views (this is a floor speech in the New York State Legislature, people) and there are numerous other clips of her speech on the site, adding to that total. Why? Because she’s awesome.

Savino’s great speech has garnered appreciative posts from around the web, including a must-read interview with New York’s Daily Intel where she also reveals herself to be totally cool. (Savino represents Staten Island, and her eloquence, principle and the aforementioned coolness all made Staten Island a weird place to bash as low-class and racist on SNL this weekend). She is so great she deserves to be block-quoted:

Turn on the television. We have a wedding channel on cable TV devoted to the behavior of people on the way to the altar. They spend billions of dollars, behave in the most appalling way, all in an effort to be princess for a day. You don’t have cable television? Put on network TV. We’re giving away husbands on a game show. You can watch The Bachelor, where thirty desperate women will compete to marry a 40-year-old man who has never been able to maintain a decent relationship in his life…That’s what we’ve done to marriage in America, where young women are socialized from the time they’re five years old to think of being nothing but a bride. They plan every day what they’ll wear, how they’ll look, the invitations, the whole bit, they don’t spend five minutes thinking about what it means to be a wife. People stand up there before god and man even in Senator Diaz’s church, they swear to love honor and obey, they don’t mean a word of it. So if there’s anything wrong with the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right and have abused it for decades.

Stick around, Senator Savino — I want to volunteer for your presidential campaign. Video below.



Related:

State Senator Diane Savino: Gay-Rights Defender, Karaoke Artist [Daily Intel]
Transcript: Diane Savino’s Speech on Marriage [courtneymandryk.com]


Frank Buckles, America’s Oldest WWI Veteran, Is Also Its Oldest Activist

Frank BucklesDrop everything you are doing and pay tribute to Frank Buckles, the last living World War I veteran and who seems to be the nation’s oldest living veteran as well. He is 108 years old — and he is still fighting for what he believes in. And he went to Capitol Hill to do it.

The wheelchair-bound, 108-year-old Buckles came to Capitol Hill last Thursday to support Senate legislation that would designate a WWI memorial on the National Mall — apparently there is an old one that would be re-dedicated with federal funds, and officially designated the national monument. There is currently some controversy about this because of a push to get the “official” designation for the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. Also completely worthy — it has the National World War 1 museum — but why shouldn’t the nation’s capital have one too? Can’t America honor the young, brave soldiers who fought a century ago for what this country has today in more than one place? 100,000 Americans died in WWI. I think two cities can memorialize that. Don’t make an old man come to Washington to remind you of what he did!

From CNN:

Last year, Buckles visited the District of Columbia’s World War I Memorial. In his wheelchair and bundled against the cold, he slowly toured the overgrown site and noted the names engraved along the gazebo’s marble walls are only of those who hailed from the District of Columbia.

He also saw the rundown condition of the 1930s monument and became determined to symbolically lead a drive to restore the structure and support making it a national memorial.

“The memorial [on the Mall], it’s an excellent idea!” he told lawmakers.

When he visited the District of Columbia memorial a year ago, Buckles said he did not expect to become the last man standing, the one left to represent Americans those who fought in World War I.

“I have to,” he told CNN, “because I’m the last living member of Americans” who fought in what at the time was called The Great War.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Thune, clashes with Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. I’m usually a big fan of McCaskill (love her on Tumblr!) but, her state’s interests aside, it is really hard to argue with an 108-year-old man who fought in World War 1. How can that not be the deciding vote? Anyway, learn about him below. What an incredible thing to do at his age. He should be honored now, as well as for all he did then.


Last surviving World War I soldier, 108, storms US Congress [AFP]
Frank Buckles [Wikipedia]


Who’s Responsible For Crashergate? Leave Desiree Rogers Alone!

Sullivan_rogers

There were several disappointments at Thursday’s Crasher-gate hearing, but chief among them were Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan’s continued insistence that the now-famous security breach posed no threat to the President, and the committee’s focus on Social Secretary Desiree Rogers‘ role in said breach.

Taken together with the media’s initial narrative on the Social Secretary’s Office, the right’s targeting of her, and a heated broadside from the White House press corps, it seems some are taking the Secret Service’s failure as an opportunity to settle scores with Desiree Rogers.

Initially, I shared the House Committee on Homeland Security’s consternation at Rogers’ absence from the hearing, but after further consideration, I’m not so sure. The committee members’ interest in Rogers seemed to involve spreading some of the blame for the Secret Service’s failure to turn away Michaele and Tareq Salahi, as they repeatedly questioned Sullivan as to whether the presence of a Social Office staffer would have prevented the breach. This is absurd on two counts.

First of all, this is the year 2009. You no longer have to actually be standing next to someone in order to communicate with them. The officers at that first checkpoint had an entire world of confirmation at their fingertips. The committee focused on the fact that there usually is a staffer present for state dinners, but they seemed ignorant of the fact that 99.99% of White House visitors are checked in by the Secret Service alone.

More absurd is the notion that the Secret Service needs backup from the White House social staff. If that’s true, Sullivan should just hang it up. This would be akin to Batman blaming a defeat on the absence of Alfred, the butler.

Since Rogers’ name first came up, however, there seems to have been a cauldron of resentment simmering just below the surface. A disgruntled former staffer came forward to complain about Rogers, and the right jumped at the chance to show how Rogers was yet another example of how Barack Obama is everything that’s wrong with the world.


>>>NEXT: A transcript of Ryan’s chat with Gibbs and a final defense of Desiree Rogers…


NYC Blogging Illuminati Young Manhattanite Seize Deadspin

Picture 4Hostile takeover! Blogger coup! Get the big guns! Call Nick Denton? Nope — false alarm — it’s just Young Manhattanite guest blogging the weekend at lawsuit magnet/sports blog Deadspin. That’s right, just a couple of friends sharing their blogs and hiding behind anonymous bylines. Nothing to see here! But isn’t Foster busy with the flagship? Him being the mouthiest and all, how are they turning out any content at all?

Let’s rewind a bit for those still reading that are not apart of the New York City clusterstock, or as we like to call them here at Mediaite, birthers. Not “teabaggers” — that’s rude. Kidding, commenters, Fox News rocks.

Anyway! This crew — who go by the group moniker Young Manhattanite and boast a high Tumblarity — are headed by shadowy patriarch Andrew Krucoff, who reigns over a stable of ball-busters, including a Giants-loving Mediaite contributor. And today, they’re guest-starring ex-Idolator (don’t click, it’s bad now!) editor Maura Johnston. Talk about a kid’s blogging heroes.

So far today at the Gawker Media jock-stop they’ve already announced No Tiger Saturday and made a “swollen-and-tingling” joke about Lee Corso. But those Winter Olympics jokes are too easy. And isn’t that called double-dipping?

It’s going to be a long weekend! But it will also be worth a read because it’s funny. At least punny. Good luck “getting it,” though, if you’re not a city-dwelling heathen (or Jewish!). Redundant? Play ball.


Winners and Losers: The Tiger Woods Edition

tiger_woods_2005_wife2It’s the weekend, which means it’s time to separate the chumps from the champs in Mediaite’s “Winners and Losers” — our scorecard of who rocked and who flopped in the week’s headlines.

I’d hoped something newsworthy — like an typhoon or solar flare or another boy-less balloon — might pop up midweek and eclipse the Tiger Woods saga as the world’s most-talked about story.

It didn’t. So, reluctantly, here are the winners and losers of the Tiger Woods car crash/cheating saga and subsequent media frenzy.

LOSER

Tiger, who went from bland but beloved megastar to disgraced moral failure as quick as one can mangle a Cadillac.

WINNER

TMZ — Celebrity scandals like this are the bread and butter of Harvey Levin’s rumor mill. And with no qualms about undisclosed sourcing, the gossip site easily scooped the traditional media on the most sordid details. But unlike when Jacko died, old media outlets were quick to quote TMZ’s Tiger tidbits as reputable news. The AP and ESPN even recycled their exclusive crash photos. And with that, TMZ  slips further into the mainstream.

LOSER

Golf enthusiasts, who saw their world of perfectly pressed khakis and meticulously manicured greens tarnished by scandal and deceit. Because, as it turns out, the golf legend is not a saint. The Golf Channel is particularly heartbroken, lamenting the news as the “end of an era, the end of Tiger as heroic and untouchable. He is simply human now, like us.” Wow.

WINNER

The Florida Highway Patrol, which may be the only party to emerge from this mess with any dignity. Contrary to wild speculation about search warrants and domestic violence charges, troopers handled this case by the book — Tiger didn’t want to talk, so cops took ‘no’ for an answer, issued a $164 careless driving citation and closed the case. If only that were the end of public fascination.

LOSER

Harry Reid. Yes, the scandal is so pervasive, even the Senate Majority Leader is keeping tabs. According to CNN, Reid blew off reporters actually interested in Afghanistan, quipping “get the answers from Tiger Woods” as he darted out of a closed-door briefing. Maybe invoking the embattled athlete seemed like a good escape strategy, or maybe Reid was showing off his pop culture prowess? It was lame either way.

WINNER

The New York Post – The pun-happy paper continues to cash in with fun, albeit deceptive, tabloid covers. The best: Tuesday’s “EXCLUSIVE” entitled “Tiger and Me: Beautiful ‘other woman’ reveals the truth about relationship with sports’ biggest star.” (You see, the cover craftily implies an admission from rumored mistress Rachel Uchitel. Inside: a full denial.) The second best: Wednesday’s Mad Magazine-like photoshop job and accompanying cheater/’cheetah’ wordplay.

LOSER

Me, for perpetuating this stupid story.


MTV’s Jersey Shore: The Worst Best Show Of All Time

jersey_12-5bOne of the best reactions I’ve seen to MTV’s apocalyptic case study in guidodom known as Jersey Shore came from a high school friend of mine on Facebook: “Jersey Shore is bs. They are all from NY.”

No one wants to be associated with this – including the state of New Jersey as a whole. But it happened, and two hours of reality TV later, we now live in a world where this exists. Let’s spend an inordinate amount of time reliving the experience.

We live in a society now where everyone can become famous for nothing. You can be some pseudo-plumber who asks a question of a presidential candidate that gets a news-making response, and suddenly your own opinions on political issues is something deemed worthy of public consumption. You can be a reality star on a show about your tool of a boyfriend and sleep with billionaire golfers. Everyone can be famous for nothing – and that now includes, naturally, fake-tanned, uber-egocentric, unbelievably dense “guidos” and “guidettes.”

If you weren’t one of the 1.2 million people who had the pleasure of watching the television masterpiece trainwreck that was Jersey Shore, here are your cast members, in their own words (from their introductory interviews):

Pauly D. – “I don’t try to take a lot of guys girlfriends, but it just happens.” (He’s a DJ. He’s apparently “your girlfriend’s favorite DJ.” He’s also, inexplicably, from Rhode Island, and not Staten Island or Long Island.)

Snooki – “My ultimate dream is to move to Jersey, find a nice, juiced, hot, tan guy and live my life.” (Note: this is not just a dream. It’s her ultimate dream.)

Mike “The Situation” – “If I walked in the door and see myself, I’d probably grab my girl real quick.” (He’s called “The Situation” because his abs are so ripped, they are called “The Situation.” This doesn’t stop him from using the term “The Situation” at many non-ab situations.)

Sammi “Sweetheart” – “If you’re not a guido then you can get the fuck out of my face.” (Lovely. This is the “sweetheart” of the show.)

Vinny – “I went to school, graduated college. That doesn’t shy away from, say, I don’t have fun at night. I party and fist pump with the best of them.” (This is word-for-word what college-guy Vinny said. During the rest of this article, please note that MTV is making Vinny into the “smart” one of the group.)

Jenni “Jwoww” – “I’m like a praying mantis. After I have sex with a guy I will rip their heads off.” (She has a boyfriend. She is well aware she will cheat on him in Jersey.)

Ronnie – “Take your shirt off and they come to you. It’s like a fly comes to shit.” (This is actually a very deep quote. “It’s like a fly comes to shit” should be MTV’s tagline for the entire show, and it should be said by everyone before they view each episode.)

Angelina – “If he trusts me it’s going to be great. If he doesn’t I’m going to have to move on, you know?” (Angelina has no idea what she’s in for.)

Now you know our cast members, let’s talk about the two hour show.

>>>NEXT PAGE: Full, awful, amazing recap and video of the best two minutes.