Tags: Brokaw | Denies | Charge

Tom Brokaw Angrily Denies NBC Racist Charge

By    |   Monday, 04 August 2008 08:17 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Tom Brokaw Angrily Denies NBC Racism Charge
2. Study: Illegal Aliens Are Leaving the U.S.
3. Chris Matthews Serious About Senate Run
4. Zimbabwe Running Out of Money — Literally
5. CNN 'Serbia' Footage Actually Hungary — for Hype
6. We Heard: Drew Carey, Bernard Goetz, Catsimatidis, More

1. Tom Brokaw Angrily Denies NBC Racism Charge

NBC's "Meet the Press" interim moderator Tom Brokaw has responded sharply to a charge that the network is racist for hiring only white males to host the show.

The charge came from Scott Pellegrino in an article carried by CounterPunch, a mostly left-wing newsletter and Web site.

Pellegrino, a veteran talk-radio producer, pointed out that there have been nine permanent hosts of "Meet the Press" since 1953 — "all of them white and all of them male, as though the civil rights and women's movements never happened."

He then initiated an e-mail exchange with Brokaw, asking in his first e-mail to Brokaw's assistant if the veteran newsman thought it would be "appropriate" for NBC to hire a person of color as the next "Meet the Press" host.

Brokaw responded in an e-mail disclosed by Pellegrino that he is "not in charge" of selecting the next permanent host following the death of Tim Russert. But he stated that there are many men and women "of all colors and backgrounds who are on the long list of possibilities."

Pellegrino, president and CEO of PopDebate and CollegiateDebates — which tout themselves as "the Web's premier portal for stimulating intellectual exchange among the globe's sharpest minds" — replied the same day. He said that while Brokaw is not in charge of picking the next host, he more than anyone else at NBC has the "gravitas" to influence the choice.

When Brokaw did not respond for six days, Pellegrino ratcheted up the vitriol in an e-mail with the subject line "Mr. Brokaw, very disappointed in your cowardly silence," asking: "Where is your conscience? Is your life nothing more than an exclusive white-male country club?"

Brokaw angrily responded: "What kind of self-aggrandizing stunt is this?" He went out to document his long career reporting on issues of race and "advocating racial fairness and justice," citing among other works a "prize-winning documentary called 'Separate and Unequal' about the economic and social consequences of the continuing racism in America."

He called Pellegrino a "cheap shot columnist looking for an easy headline."

In a later e-mail Brokaw wrote: "If I say publicly that NBC must choose an African-American as the new host and then NBC management decides on an African-American man or woman based entirely on merit, what do you think the reaction will be? Oh, he/she got the job simply because they're black."

In his next e-mail Pellegrino called NBC a "racist" media company, along with several other media entities he named.

At that point Steve Capus, president of NBC News, sent an e-mail to Pellegrino stating that "Tom has finishing communicating with you," adding that Pellegrino is "more intent on pathetic cheap shots and deranged rants."

Editor's Note:

2. Study: Illegal Aliens Are Leaving the U.S.

Amid alarmed cries that the illegal immigration problem is spiraling out of control, the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. has actually declined since last summer — and many who have left have returned home on their own.

A report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), based on Census Bureau data, estimates that the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. has gone down by 11 percent through May after peaking in August 2007.

That means the illegal population has declined 1.3 million since last summer, from 12.5 million to 11.2 million.

"The estimated decline of the illegal population is at least seven times larger than the number of illegal aliens removed by the government in the last 10 months, so most of the decline is due to illegal immigrants leaving the country on their own," the report asserts.

The CIS maintains that stepped-up enforcement rather than the sluggish economy is leading to the decline in illegal aliens, which began before there was a significant rise in their unemployment rate.

The report points out that the fenced portion of the U.S. border has increased significantly in the past 18 months, the number of Border Patrol agents has more than doubled in recent years, and the number of detention beds used to hold illegals has more than doubled since 2000.

According to the CIS, the evidence "indicates that illegal immigrants respond to changing incentives and that many would return home on their own if they felt enforcement was a real possibility."

The CIS also notes that when Congress failed to pass legislation last summer that would legalize illegal immigrants, the illegal alien population began to decline almost immediately.

If that decline were to be sustained, the illegal population would drop by one half in the next five years, according to the CIS.

The organization concludes: "It is sometimes argued that illegal immigrants are so permanently attached to their lives in the United States that no amount of enforcement would ever make a large share of them return to their home countries. The findings of this report . . . contradict that."

The Christian Science Monitor in an editorial attributes the "success story" disclosed by the CIS study to "Washington's wake-up call last summer to beef up enforcement, from plugged leaks in the border to cracking down on employers who hired illegal workers."

The Monitor adds, "John McCain only reluctantly came around to the 'enforcement first' idea last year while Barack Obama opposes it. Perhaps this study will make them true converts."

Editor's Note:

3. Chris Matthews Serious About Senate Run

When "Hardball" host Chris Matthews began floating the idea that he might seek Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's seat in 2010, observers suspected he was trying to bolster his position in contract talks with MSNBC.

But Matthews is "still serious" about running for office, Paul Bedard reports in his Washington Whispers column in U.S. News & World Report.

Sources close to Matthews "now tell us that he's eager to reach out to important Pennsylvania voting groups and leaders and has even won the backing of his wife," according to Bedard. "One big concern: his nasty hit on Sen. Hillary Clinton as a 'she devil,' for which he was slammed as sexist."

On the NBC-syndicated "Chris Matthews Show" last Nov. 18, Matthews teased a discussion by asking, "'She Devil?' Republicans are absolutely demonizing Hillary Clinton."

While he spoke, an image of Clinton appeared on screen with the words "She Devil?" below it. Later, an image of Clinton with devil horns appeared on screen.

An associate told Bedard, "He is concerned he ruined it with the women vote."

Matthews's contract expires next year, and New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich wrote in April that NBC officials would like to renew it for considerably less than the $5 million a year he is making now.

Editor's Note:

4. Zimbabwe Running Out of Money — Literally

Hyperinflation is raging so fiercely in the beleaguered African nation of Zimbabwe that it threatens to wipe out the supply of local currency.

With prices in the country doubling every few days, the official inflation rate is running at more than 2 million percent — and at least four times faster in reality, according to The Economist.

That has forced the central bank to print ever larger denominations. The largest denomination banknote in mid-July was 50 billion Zimbabwean dollars — then worth about 70 U.S. cents.

But with residents forced to carry baskets full of currency to buy a loaf of bread, the supply of the zimdollar — the Zimbabwean dollar — has been dwindling. What's more, the German company that was providing Zimbabwe with the paper for its banknotes canceled its contract.

The runaway inflation has caused unusual hardships for the country:

A minibus driver taking commuters into the capital of Harare charges one price in the morning — and a higher price for the trip home in the evening. Some Zimbabweans haven't bothered to bend over and pick up a banknote worth hundreds of thousands of local dollars lying on the pavement, The Economist reports. Restaurants and shops raise their prices several times a day. A civil servant paid in Zimbabwean dollars earns the equivalent of less than $2 a month — enough to buy two loaves of bread, which in late July cost 200 billion zimdollars in Harare. Zimbabweans spend their local dollars as fast as possible or change them into hard currency on the black market. Gasoline and rents are now paid largely in U.S. dollars or the South African rand, and rents are increasingly paid for in groceries. An estimated 80 percent of the work force is unemployed, and many with jobs don't earn enough to pay for bus fare to their workplaces, The Associated Press reports. About a third of the citizens are dependent on foreign food aid.

The government has now taken steps to deal with the currency crisis, knocking 10 zeroes off the inflated currency. New banknotes are being issued, and on Aug. 1, 10 billion zimdollars became one zimdollar.

President Robert Mugabe's critics blame his land reform program, which sought to seize land from white commercial farmers, for much of the nation's economic crisis. It has also been attributed in varying degrees to government economic mismanagement, government prohibitions on relief efforts from foreign non-governmental organizations, a drought affecting the entire region, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Mugabe has repeatedly blamed sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the European Union and the United States for the state of Zimbabwe's economy.

The Economist notes that Zimbabwe's hyperinflation has not attained Hungary's level after World War II, when inflation reached 42 quadrillion percent a month, "but it could yet get there."

Editor's Note:

5. CNN 'Belgrade' Footage Actually Shot in Budapest to Ratchet Hype

Some of the footage CNN used in a video covering a recent demonstration in Belgrade, Serbia, actually depicted a protest in Hungary.

Unrest in Belgrade turned violent on Tuesday as Serbians protested the government's decision to allow the extradition of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes.

But some CNN footage showed evidence of an underground train system. Belgrade does not have a subway. Budapest, the Hungarian capital, does.

The video also showed police with a water cannon, which Hungarian police used during the Budapest protest, the Serbian news agency Tanjug reported.

According to the Web site B92, CNN "showed the video on its Web site, with scenes of hooligan and police violence in the Serbian capital spiced with footage of demonstrations held in Budapest earlier."

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT "The Price Is Right" host Drew Carey is betting on Barack Obama to win the White House — he won money when he wagered on Obama in the Democratic primaries, the New York Post reports.

Carey said simply, "I think you should follow the money."

THAT Bernard Goetz, who was dubbed the "subway vigilante" after he shot four threatening teenagers in 1984, is running for a seat on the Independence Party State Committee in New York.

He will be running in the 66th Assembly District, the New York Sun reported.

Goetz was accosted by the four teens in a Manhattan subway car — with one of the teens demanding money. Goetz, who had been mugged on two earlier occasions, shot all four teens, leaving one of them permanently paralyzed.

Many people in New York, which was then in the midst of a crime wave, were sympathetic to Goetz. But he was eventually convicted on gun possession charges and spent eight months in prison. He ran for mayor in 2001.

THAT residents of the Greek island of Lesbos have failed in their attempt to ban the use of the word "lesbian" to refer to gay women.

The three residents argued that use of the word in its sexual context violated the human rights of the islanders, who call themselves Lesbians, BBC News reported.

The island's name was applied to gay women because the female poet Sappho of Lesbos wrote love poems about both women and men around 600 B.C.

A court in Athens ruled against the plaintiffs, who were ordered to pay court costs of about $360.

THAT billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis is preparing a run for New York City mayor in 2009 by assembling a team of political aides to manage his campaign.

Catsimatidis, a Democrat during the Clinton administration but now a Republican, has named Robert Ryan, who ran George Pataki's 1994 gubernatorial campaign in New York, as executive director of his exploratory committee, according to the New York Sun.

He has also brought in Alan Bernikow, a retired CEO of Deloitte & Touche, as the committee's treasurer, and hired McLaughlin & Associates, the polling company employed by Arnold Schwarzenegger during his two gubernatorial campaigns in California.

Catsimatidis is chairman of the Red Apple Group, a private company with holdings that include the Gristedes supermarket chain.

Editor's Note:

Editor's Note:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Tom Brokaw Angrily Denies NBC Racism Charge2. Study: Illegal Aliens Are Leaving the U.S.3. Chris Matthews Serious About Senate Run4. Zimbabwe Running Out of Money — Literally5. CNN 'Serbia' Footage Actually Hungary — for...
Monday, 04 August 2008 08:17 PM
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