Newswire: Black publishers come together in Norfolk to challenge ‘Fake News’

By Lauren Poteat (NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent)

 

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Panelists discuss the affects of “fake news” on the Black community during the NNPA’s 2018 annual convention in Norfolk, Va. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

As Donald Trump’s persistent “fake news” rhetoric continues to fester in the media, Black publishers across the nation, recently took charge of the conversation, giving way to a special forum entitled “Black Press vs. Fake News.”
The forum took place during the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) annual convention. Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of NNPA and publisher of the Chicago Crusader, the Gary Crusader and the Chicago Reader, moderated the dialogue about misinformation in mainstream media.
“What do we do in this age of fake news?” Leavell said. “Our struggles and our truths have been at the forefront of battling fake news throughout history.”
Leavell continued: “In 1827, we battled the lie that we were nothing more than three-fifths of a human, spearheaded by the Freedom’s Journal, the nation’s first Black-owned and operated newspaper, which stepped in and showed us different. In 1895, activist Ida B. Wells, who established the ‘Memphis Free Speech’ refuted the fake news of her day—concerning the mythical rape of a White woman.”
Leavell said that, throughout history, Black people have been victimized by the proliferation of fake news and misinformation, including some of our most profound Black leaders like Marcus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., leaders of the Black Panther Party and even today’s Black Lives Matter.
“All these obstacles are nothing new to us,” Leavell said. “So, while Donald Trump has been credited for popularizing the term ‘fake news’ we know this too is ‘fake news.’”
Joining in on the dialogue, additional speakers included Sarah Glover, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists; Deborah Gray-Young, the managing partner of D. Gray-Young, Inc. Consulting; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist and sociopolitical commentator; and A. Scott Bolden, the managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office of the global law firm Reed Smith. The panelists challenged Black publishers and their teams to not only report real stories, but to also report them right.
“I’m not so much concerned about what is being said, as I am with what isn’t,” Malveaux said. “We [Black people] can define what news is…For example, ‘45’ is running around bragging about how low the Black unemployment rate is, but if you research the statistics and labor market correctly, you’ll see that a large number of Black people, have actually left the labor market altogether.”
Malveaux continued: “This is the real story that needs to be told and not 45’s ‘fake news.’ This year alone over 150,000 Black women left the labor market, which represent the stories that nobody is telling.”
According to a report by CNBC, nearly 70 percent of all American citizens are concerned about “fake news” being used as a weapon.
What’s more, in a recent report by NBC, “fake news” or just overall lies, were shown to spread faster on social media than the actual truth.
Examining the critical role of Black media, which has long been the beacon of light in the Black community, alongside the new age of technology, Deborah Gray-Young, placed emphasis on millennials and their role in escaping the idea of “fake news.”
“Black media is being dismissed and not being regarded for its true worth,” Gray-Young said. “It’s time we take a page out of Donald Trump’s book and reinvigorate our bases. Then we need to take a step back and reestablish trust, particularly among young people. We’re in a time now, where millennials are asking, ‘What’s the source of true information?’ That source is the Black Press and we need to do a better job explaining that.”
Gray-Young continued: “And don’t forget about your social media. This is what young people are plugged into. It’s not just about what’s happening in the present moment anymore. Every time we report something we are participating in the documentation of history, and what comes up in Google searches are items with the highest ratings, which is what the public comes to know to be the whole truth.”
This is why the presence of the Black Press on social media is so pivotal, Gray-Young added. “Increase your SEO’s, tell your own stories and get plugged in,” Gray-Young said. Bolden said that in America, right now, “we don’t struggle with the ideals of what is right and what is wrong, but what is the truth.”
Closing out the discussion, Chairman Leavell called on mainstream media and the general public to denounce the idea of “fake news” and its message, while encouraging all Americans to support the Black Press.
“NNPA has served as a vanguard and a honest look into the lives and struggles of Black Americans for over forty years,” Leavell said. “The Black Press has been around for over 191 years. To say that there is no real news or reporting, just isn’t factual as history shows us different. Leavell continued: “As members of the Black Press it is our job to be that torch of insight and lead other generations on.”

Newswire : Is the NFL’s new National Anthem policy legal?

Civil Rights Activists, NFL Players react to new policy

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Civil rights activist Tamika Mallory speaking at demonstration against new NFL national anthem policy
Protesters held a rally in front of the National Football League’s New York City headquarters on May 25 after the league announced new rules that punish players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
Tamika Mallory said that the NFL owners were acting as a “proxy for a fascist president” and that the new policy was an attempt to “resurrect slavery in the 21st century” and punish Black players. The kneeling protests started when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the anthem and then kneeling as a protest against police brutality.
“ What is being said is that the n–gas don’t have basic rights,” Mallory said. “And I want to say today that Ida B. Wells, Dr. Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, the four little girls in Birmingham are turning over in their graves right now about the disrespect, the disgrace, that is happening in this country.”
Mallory continued: “If we, as Black people, lay down and allow this system to continue to oppress us, we are the ones to be held responsible.”
Civil rights activist and author of “The Revolt of the Black Athlete” Harry Edwards told USA TODAY that the NFL’s new national anthem policy was “the dumbest move possible.” “They put the protest movement on blast,” Edwards said. “They just created a bigger stage than ever.”
In a recent commentary for Vox.com, Harvard Law School labor professor Benjamin wrote: “This new league policy is meant to enforce a particular vision of patriotism, one that involves compliance rather than freedom of expression.”
Sachs wrote that the new anthem policy was illegal—for a host of reasons.“The clearest illegality derives from the fact that the league adopted its new policy without bargaining with the players union,” Sachs wrote. “When employees, including football players, are represented by a union, the employer—including a football league—can’t change the terms of employment without discussing the change with the union. Doing so is a flagrant violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith.”
ESPN.com reported that President Donald Trump supported the NFL’s policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, during an interview with Fox News. “I think that’s good,” Trump said. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Many players have already indicated that they are not happy with the new rule.
In a statement released on Twitter, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wrote: “While I disagree with this decision, I will not let it silence me or stop me from fighting. The national conversation around race in America that NFL players forced over the past 2 years will persist as we continue to use our voices, our time and our money to create a more fair and just criminal justice system, end police brutality and foster better educational and economic opportunities for communities of color and those struggling in this country.”
In an interview with ESPN, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin called the president “an idiot…plain and simple.”
“I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost. But he’s just being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is,” Baldwin said. “For him to say that anyone who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic, it’s not very American-like, actually to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon.”
Baldwin continued: “It’s kind of ironic to me that the president of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
In his Vox.com commentary about the NFL’s new national anthem policy, Sachs wrote that now that the owners have made it a workplace rule to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room, any player who takes the field and takes a knee is protesting an employer rule. That protest, Sachs said, “is unquestionably protected by federal labor law.”
The NFL pre-season begins in August.