Friday, October 03, 2014

Ben Smith's Diversity Fetish



By EVAN GAHR




It sounds like a great opportunity—if you have sufficient melanin. 


Columbia University Journalism School and BuzzFeed.com last Thursday breathlessly announced a one-year investigative reporting fellowship, with an $85,000 stipend, plus benefits. 


But only reporters of a certain hue were eligible for the program. 


"Are you an experienced journalist of color who wants to move into investigative reporting? Then apply!" Buzzfeed chirped.


The idea is to redress the heinous under-representation of minorities among the hallowed ranks of investigative reporters.


This is a horrific problem, BuzzFeed and Columbia Journalism School believe, because . . . well, that is not clear.


Is there a black way to do investigative reporting and a white way?

Were stories by Washington Post reporter Carol Leonning and Washington examiner Susan Crabtree about the Secret Service letting an armed, convicted felon into an elevator with Barack 
Obama somehow deficient because both women are white?  


Apart from the palpable foolishness of the supposed need for this kind of program, it also ran afoul of the law. Jeff Zuckerman, a high-powered employment lawyer, told dcgadfly.blogspot.com that the outright refusal to consider whites for the fellowship is “illegal.”


Zuckerman, who was chief of staff to Clarence Thomas when the taciturn jurist was EEOC chairman, said that, “You can’t just set a quota like this. They can reach out to encourage minority journalists [to apply for the fellowship].  But simply to say ‘no whites allowed’” violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 


I am white and Jewish. But I decided to apply to the program anyway.  Three letters of recommendation were needed and Daily Caller media blogger Betsy Rothstein, knowing how enamored BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith is of the Daily Caller and Tucker Carlson, generously agreed to write one. 

I also asked Smith if I joined a tanning salon would that qualify me as a “journalist of color.”  And reminded him of what Zuckerman said. 

Smith replied that my application would be considered.  And  the BuzzFeed.com announcement was amended to say the program was now open to to “journalists of color” and “persons of diverse background.”


But what exactly qualifies a “diverse background? Smith dodged the Weekly Standard’s inquiry and hung up on this reporter when he asked if being a white Jew qualifies as a “diverse background.” (Video/audio bellow)


video 

So questions persist. But they probably will not be asked by the rest of the media: diversity uber alles.

Zuckerman, the former Clarence Thomas aide, says that Columbia Journalism School and BuzzFeed opening the program to persons with “diverse backgrounds” is simply “code for saying, ‘we are not going to take any whites.’”

He said the exclusionary policy shows that universities like Columbia “are the last bastions of racism in America.”

Twitter:@EvanGahr

 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Capitol Police Arrested for DUI, Anthrax Hoax But Keep Their Jobs

The Daily Caller - http://dailycaller.com -
Lawsuit: Capitol Police Officers Keep Jobs After DUIs, Anthrax Hoax
Posted By Evan Gahr On 10:01 AM 09/30/2014 In | No Comments
Freelance Exclusive
    The United States Capitol Police has declined to dismiss a number of its officers who have been arrested for a range of offenses, including driving under the influence, assault and domestic violence, according to a lawsuit against the agency.
    All of the officers kept their jobs — after being suspended, placed on administrative leave or given light duty as their cases were adjudicated. In one case, an officer who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges was allowed to retire honorably.
    The allegations — which paint a disturbing portrait of the Capitol Police — are included in a federal lawsuit quietly filed last month by a veteran officer.
    Leonard Ross, who is black, was forced to retire after his ex-wife obtained a restraining order against him for “an alleged act of assault” at her home.
    But Ross believes the agency used the restraining order merely as a pretext to fire him. The Waldorf, Md., resident says he was actually fired for being party to an ongoing racial discrimination class action lawsuit against the department.
    Federal law expressly prohibits dismissing or demoting an employee for alleging illegal discrimination. Ross claimed that other officers who had more serious run-ins with the law or just acted inappropriately were treated far less harshly because none had charged the department with equal opportunity violations.
    Alleging racial discrimination as well, Ross said that none of those officers was black.
    Officer Victor Bryant was arrested for assault and given administrative leave from Aug. 14, 2009 to Feb. 7, 2011. He was re-instated after a one-week suspension.
    Officer Thomas McMahon was arrested for “entering a property with intent to damage.” He was placed on administrative leave for “over a year.” He then returned to work after a 30-day suspension.
    Officer Daniel Nutter was arrested for driving under the influence and reckless driving. After some light duty, he was fully reinstated.
    Officer Carlos Rivas was also arrested for DUI. He was put on light duty then assumed his normal job responsibilities.
    Officer John Erickson was also arrested for DUI and put on light duty before returning to work. He has “since been suspended for falsifying his time and attendance records [but] remains employed by the agency.”
    Sergeant Alicia Sullivan got light duty and then returned to work after her DUI arrest.
    Officer J.J. Pickett was arrested for “committing an anthrax hoax.” Pickett got convicted for lying to police about his prank — passing off a sugary substitute he left in the Cannon House Office Building basement as anthrax — but got his job back.
    Officer Larita Carney was given four to six months light duty for DUI, then charged with assault and placed in a diversion program. She is currently “working on background investigations.”
    Officer Roby Kennedy was “caught drinking alcohol on duty” and “making disparaging statements about Hispanics in a YouTube video” but “remains on the force.”
    Sergeant Dennis Bell was sentenced to five years in jail for distribution of child pornography but was allowed to retire and even given a retirement badge.
    “There is no reasonable non-discriminatory explanation why Mr. Ross was treated so differently than these comparators,” his lawsuit says.
    The United States Capitol Police have not yet replied to the complaint.
    But other police departments do not accord their officers the kind of gentle treatment that Ross alleges.
    The New York Police Department public information office told The Daily Caller that any cop arrested is immediately suspended without pay for 30 days.
    Boston Police Department Sergeant Mike McCarthy said officers are automatically placed on administrative leave with pay.
    Philadelphia police officers are suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss.
    According to his lawsuit, Ross was hired in 1987. He had an unblemished employment record until he joined a 2001 class action lawsuit against the Capitol Police for historical and ongoing racial discrimination.
    The following year, Ross sued the Capitol Police individually, for retaliation and racial discrimination, alleging that he was wrongly denied a promotion to sergeant and subjected to unequal discipline compared to white officers.
    In 2005, his individual claim was folded into the class action lawsuit, which has since been repeatedly amended, as some litigants settled and others passed away.
    In 2011, Ross kicked off a series of events that culminated in his dismissal when he told superiors that his ex-wife, Capitol Police officer Felicia McDonald, was “having an improper relationship with a convicted felon” in violation of departmental rules.
    McDonald was suspended in May 2012. She “asked Mr. Ross to permit their two daughters” for whom he had physical custody “to reside with her.”
    Ross refused. On June 30, 2012 when Ross went to McDonald’s home and “collected” his eight-year-old daughter, the child’s 18-year-old sister called the police. McDonald was not home at the time.
    Thirteen days later, she obtained a “one-year Civil Protective order” against Ross “for an alleged act of assault,” which the lawsuit does not specify. He was barred from keeping a gun or having any contact with his ex-wife or visiting her home. But no criminal or civil charges were filed.
    Ross was placed on administrative leave.
    In August 2013, Ross resigned in lieu of termination and loss of his pension.
    Ross sued the Capitol Police on Aug. 15, 2014 in Washington federal district court for violating the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act, which applied the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Congress.
    TheDC emailed detailed inquiries about the lawsuit to the Capital Police Information Office, asking about the total number of arrested officers since 2009, whether any of the arrested officers provided personal security for congressional leaders, and its general policies on such arrests.
    Officer Shennell Antrobus responded: “The USCP does not comment on personnel matters or pending litigation.”
    Leonard Ross and his lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

    Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com
    URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/30/lawsuit-capitol-police-officers-keep-jobs-after-duis-anthrax-hoax/

    This is a freelance article. I don't represent any of the papers for which I write.  


    I only represent myself. But given my record that should count for quite a bit.

    Twitter @EvanGahr

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    NotParody: James Clyburn says "sexting" is great get out the vote tooll

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/11/james-clyburn-recommends-sexting-to-c-span-caller-video/

    This journalist's exclusive freelance piece for the Daily Caller.

    I represent myself only.  Although given my record that should suffice.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2014

    Little Luke Gets Huge Meet the Press Bonus, says source

    Update: Luke Russert twets bonus denial. My response below
     




    Washington bureau worker bees are incredulous that the under-qualified Luke Russert landed a $500,000 bonus for his new gig as a panelist on the revamped “Meet the Press,” says a well-informed source. 

    “I don’t think there is anybody but Comcast management who thinks he deserves that. They can ask him sports scores,” the source snarked about Russert, who worked for ESPN and co-hosted an XM Satellite Radio sports show before he nespotized his way into the hallowed ranks of NBC News correspondents.  

    "The crew at NBC [meaning engineers and cameramen] have been talking about this since last week. There are no secrets in the building,"says the source, let's call this person MDL (moderately deep-throated).

    Why are they carping  at Luke if he is well-liked and his father is so revered? 
    MDL says they are concerned that more more money for the on-air talent (or in Little Luke's case the not  particularly talented) would lead to job cutbacks for them.
     "You always know where the shit is falling."
     

    In the past, NBC has used the salaries for on-air talent and producers  to justify job cutbacks or better pay for the crew,  says MDL. "We already spend this much money on the show," is the typical refrain.

    By shows MDL means various shows on NBC and MSNBC not just Meet the Press. 
    UPDATE: NBC’s Erika Masonhall  denied the story to Daily Caller Media blogger Betsy Rothstein, who labeled Gahr Washington's "resident phone  enthusiast" because of his Pantheresque penchant for getting elusive people, such as Washington Post executive editor Marty Barron,  on the phone.  “We don’t typically comment on contracts, but in this case we  feel it’s warranted: this is absolutely untrue.”

    To quote Stalinist journalist Claud Cockburn, "Never believe anything until it has been officially denied."  But this was really a non-denial denial. She denied he got$500,000 but that leaves open the possibility he received another amount. 

    Did he? 

    It is also well to note that NBC lied about another story by this reporter when he confronted Keith Olbermann outside the disgraced broadcaster's home about his outstanding tax warrant. 

    Update: Luke tweeted on Wednesday after the Page Six report was published that he has not received a single penny from NBC for MTP.  

    Is he gong to post his contract online to back up his tweet?  Washington public figures release their private sector contracts all the time.

    Also, this non- blog blog faxed him for comment Tuesday morning but he did not respond.  Why did he ignore Media blogger Betsy Rothstein's Daily Caller item on this story later that day? Or just call Page Six himself? As the current CBS evening news anchor once did.

    Evan Gahr, a former press critic for the late New York Post editorial page editor Eric Breindel, has written for almost every major conservative publication but was also purged, under White House pressure, by the neo-con Hudson Institute. And blacklisted by AEI magazine editor Karl Zinsmeister for thought crimes. 

    Former Washington Post and New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove dubbed Gahr a "Washington gadfly"
    in one of the many items on his scoops. 

    Twitter:@EvanGahr






     



     

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    Chuck Todd's Ex-Camerman Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit ment Lawsuit

    This is a FREELANCE article
    - The Daily Caller - http://dailycaller.com -
    NBC News Quietly Settles Cameraman’s Age Discrimination Suit
    Posted By Evan Gahr On 10:13 AM 09/05/2014 In | No Comments
    A former cameraman for Chuck Todd, who debuts as “Meet the Press” anchor this Sunday, has quietly settled his age discrimination lawsuit against NBC.
    But NBC News, which periodically accuses businesses of age discrimination, continues to keep the lawsuit under wraps.
    George Hyatt, who worked on Todd’s “Daily Rundown” show on MSNBC, claimed an NBC Washington bureau manager abruptly fired him not long after telling subordinates that he wanted to hire “young blood.”
    Hyatt, an NBC cameraman for three decades until his 2011 dismissal, first filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.
    The investigative body ruled in 2012 that NBC had fired him for “legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.”
    But after getting a “right to sue letter” from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Hyatt sued NBC in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 7, 2013.
    NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC News, contended in court papers that Hyatt was fired solely for poor performance. The company’s motion to dismiss also argued that Hyatt’s contract prohibited discrimination lawsuits against the company.
    The judge assigned to the case rejected NBC’s request to throw it out, instead referring both parties last November to mediation before a federal magistrate.
    It was settled on July 11, 2014, with no public notice.
    The terms of the settlement, as is standard for employment cases, could not be determined from court papers.
    The agreement simply stated that each side had agreed to have the case dismissed with prejudice — meaning it cannot be re-filed — and both parties would pay their own legal fees.
    Hyatt, now 61, previously told The Daily Caller he wanted either money or his job back to settle his case. He is not currently employed by NBC, according to a Washington switchboard operator and the news desk.
    Employment lawyer Morris Fischer told TheDC that NBC likely forked over cash to make Hyatt’s embarrassing lawsuit disappear.
    “Usually, an age discrimination case that settles involves money. How much was paid in this case is anyone’s guess.”
    Lawyers for both Hyatt and NBC would not comment.
    Todd last year told TheDC that he knew nothing of Hyatt’s dismissal or lawsuit, and despite being the show’s host, was not responsible for how the cameraman was treated. Pressed further on Hyatt’s allegations, the normally loquacious newsman hung up the phone, saying “Buddy, all of this sounds like a joke to me.”
    Hyatt had told TheDC that Todd was not complicit in his dismissal, but he hoped Todd would “speak out” on his behalf.
    Todd did not respond to repeated inquiries about the settlement.

    Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com
    URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/05/nbc-news-quietly-settles-cameramans-age-discrimination-suit/





    By EVAN GAHR 

    New York is paying $100,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against Columbia University’s renowned psychiatric care and research institute.

    Eric Dratte claimed that New York State Psychiatric Institute officials repeatedly shrugged off her complaints about sexual harassment by a co-worker because she was his ex-lover.

    The New York State Office of Mental Health is picking up the tab for Dratte’s federal lawsuit because Columbia University runs the New York State Psychiatric Institute under its auspices. 

    Dratte alleged that after she broke up with Kwame El he harassed her for years, saying “you have a pretty little pussy” and “all women want me because I am a big black man.”

    El also made sexually laden anti-Semitic remarks to another co-worker, the lawsuit says.

    But Institute officials either ignored protests about El or just shuffled him between posts, according to the lawsuit.

    Dratte and El, who both worked as aides at the New York State Psychiatric Institute’s Audobon Clinic, an outpatient facility in Washington Heights, started dating in 1997.

    After Dratte got pregnant and had an abortion, she dumped El in 1998. The harassment allegedly ensued almost immediately.

    Dratte first notified her supervisors about El in 1999 but they pooh-poohed her concerns. Dr. Stephanie Lemelle “simply told plaintiff that she (Plaintiff) had been in a relationship with Kwame El and ‘should know how he is.’”

    In 2001, after El exposed his penis to Dratte she complained to a different supervisor, Dr Pelligrino Sarti. El was transferred to another clinic. But in 2003 he was sent back to the Audobon Clinic.

    After another employee filed a sexual harassment complaint against him in 2005 El was again transferred to a different clinic.

    He returned to Audobon Clinic in 2007 and again tormented Dratte, saying, “You should have never have killed my baby.”

    The lawsuit claims that El “would also make sexually harassing remarks about other female employees.”

    In 2012, he allegedly told Dratte that another co-worker, Laura Panitz, “needs to be fucked” because she is Jewish.

    Dratte and Panitz complained to Audobon Clinic director Jean Marie Bradford. But she told Dratte to just deal with it because of her previous relationship with El, the lawsuit says.

    Dratte also complained to New York State Psychiatric Institute clinical director David Lowenthal but he did nothing to “remedy the harassment and/or prevent future harassment.”

    Dratte sued the New York State Psychiatric Institute late last year for discrimination based on gender and creating a hostile work environment.  

    The case was settled on April 30, 2014. The settlement has not been reported elsewhere, according to Google.

    New York State Office of Mental Health spokesman Benjamin Rosen told the Daily Caller that El has been suspended without pay pending an investigation. “The Office of Mental Health has a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment in the workplace. All allegations of sexual harassment are investigated and appropriate actions are taken in response, up to and including termination.”  

    New York State Psychiatric Institute director Jeffrey Lieberman and clinical director David Lowenthal did not respond to requests for comment.

    Erica Shnayder, the lawyer for Dratte, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

    Twitter: @EvanGahr