Sixty Years in Journalism: Covering JFK

May 27, 2015 by  
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Any American who is old enough can remember where he or she was when President John F. Kennedy was murdered. I was in a downtown Washington deli, where I stopped enroute from Capitol Hill to the ABC News bureau to get a carry-out sandwich. I found the bureau editors, despite their state of shock, carrying out plans for continuous coverage, and I soon headed for the White House where the staff was somber and preparing for the arrival of a new President.

President Kennedy’s casket was brought to the East Room of the White House, and I was in position beside the north portico, to describe the emotional scene. The entire nation, and much of the world, was riveted by the nonstop coverage of the tragedy, from Dallas, Texas, where the fatal shots were fired, to the White House, the Capitol, St. Matthew’s Cathedral for the Funeral Requiem Mass, and the procession to Arlington National Cemetery.

A thousand days of hope and inspiration, and anxiety and some disappointment, all began on the campaign trail, where the youngest man ever to be elected President was a glamorous figure. In the days when candidates got no special protection, I watched his open car followed by hordes racing to keep up, notably young women, reaching for a handshake or just a touch. Kennedy often found he was missing a cuff link when he got out of the car. In his campaign speeches, I noted how he looked toward the balcony, even if no one was seated there, to convey an onward-and-upward expression.

Not that his campaign was smooth sailing. I was assigned to follow him to a meeting of Protestant ministers in Houston to defuse their worries about electing the first Catholic President. I sat with my recorder at the edge of the platform, as his message went out to the nation, including to skeptical primary voters in states like West Virginia.

After winning the Democratic nomination, Kennedy faced an experienced vice president as his opponent. As the cameras turned on for their first televised debate, Kennedy looked relaxed and in command. Richard Nixon looked stressed and in need of a shave. I was unaware of that dynamic. When I arrived with a colleague at my apartment to turn on my seven-inch black-and white TV, it wasn’t there. A burglar stole it. Listening on the radio, we thought Nixon probably won the debate.

Reporters are professionals who can absorb a briefing on a different subject every day and make it understandable to readers and listeners, preferably with a dose of writing style. Kennedy had those skills in spades, as did his close aide and speech writer, Theodore Sorensen. Some of the words he spoke are engraved in stone in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

President Kennedy, for the first time ever, invited live coverage of his news conferences in the auditorium of the Department of State, which seats 800. Cameras were arrayed on an aisle midway up the steps. As a broadcast reporter, I chose to sit directly in front and plug into the sound system. There was no shortage of serious issues to probe: the arms race with the Soviet Union and Kennedy’s summit with Nikita Khrushchev, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the Cuban missile crisis, the growing commitment in Indo-China, the promise to send an American to the moon and return him safely to earth, the proposed civil rights bills.

Some of Kennedy’s best known oratory was memorably serious, beginning with his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” But there were also frequent flashes of quick wit, though the comments may not seem as funny from the written transcript as they did when I heard them on the scene, or as they might be to visitors who see them on film in the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Kennedy was asked about a Republican National Committee resolution that his administration was a failure. I assume it passed unanimously, he quipped. Asked about his treatment by the press, he said, I’m reading more and enjoying it less. When we got into office, he said on another occasion, what surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we’d been saying they were. One of his best known lines was spoken not at home but introducing himself to the people of France during his state visit. I am the man, he said, who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.

Looking back now, Kennedy was more an inspiration than a total success story. He made many young people pay attention to the issues and think about careers in public service, beginning with the Peace Corps, which was created by his administration. Personal matters back then were hidden from the public: His painful Addison’s disease was an concern between him and his doctors. Womanizing was an issue between him and Jacqueline.

And finally passing civil rights bills took the political savvy and Capitol Hill experience of President Lyndon Johnson. I watched from the Senate Radio-TV Gallery as he brought Republican leader Everett McKinley Dirksen to agree that the time had come to remove a national stain. Dirksen’s heartfelt oration helped enlist Senate votes to overcome the Dixiecrats. Johnson moved ahead with major economic initiatives. from Medicare to his War on Poverty, until stymied by his decision to accelerate rather than rein in Kennedy’s commitment to Vietnam.

But my memory of John F. Kennedy in his prime remains vivid and laudatory. He was the personification of a can-do America filled with youthful promise. It was years after he fell victim to high-powered rifle shots fired at his motorcade, before I could bring myself to listen to the recording ABC Radio made of our coverage of the Kennedy funeral. It’s been more years before I could sit down and recall with reportorial equanimity what he meant to me and to our nation.

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Moms Stage Nurse-In At The Today Show After Hoda Kotb’s Controversial Breastfeeding Comment

May 26, 2015 by  
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NBC’s “Today” is under fire for airing a segment that shamed moms who post breastfeeding photos on social media.

During their “OK! Or Not OK” segment on May 21, hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford discussed nursing mothers who share pictures of themselves breastfeeding on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Appearing in avatar form, Gifford said, “There are two types of people, Hoda — those who feel the need to share their most precious moments and those who’d like to keep it private like I prefer.” Kotb responded, “I say breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, but sharing it on social media: TMI.”

Kotb’s TMI comment incensed breastfeeding mothers across the country, prompting many to respond on Twitter and Facebook and share more brelfies (yes, that’s short for breastfeeding selfies).

Shame on you @klgandhoda! Breast feeding is beautiful. @TODAYshow a public apology is necessary for ALL nursing moms!

— Manda Marie Rose (@acorrigan23) May 23, 2015

@TODAYshow breastfeeding is natural…drunk at 9am isn’t! #normalizebreastfeeding

— Heather Ientile (@heatheraientile) May 21, 2015

@TODAYshow @klgandhoda TMI. Sorry not sorry! Get over yourselves! Rude. #normalizebreastfeeding #TMI #Breastfeeding pic.twitter.com/ySvEiZNJLx

— Aly Rosema (@alyrosema) May 24, 2015

Kathie Lee & Hoda from Today Show Seeing breastfeeding is TMI for your precious eyes? So sorry to hear that maybe this will help. Spam them with your #Brelifes the more people see it the less "TMI" it is.

Posted by Breastfeeding Mama Talk on Thursday, May 21, 2015

In response to the segment, Virginia mom and breastfeeding advocate Jill DeLorenzo created a Change.org petition and organized a nurse-in during the May 23 taping of “Today.”

“The content they aired is offensive to those of us nursing our babies,” she told The Huffington Post. “It is also dangerous to highly impressionable new mothers who are just beginning their breastfeeding journeys.”

Working with fellow nursing advocates Laura Delmonico and Vanessa Simmons, DeLorenzo rallied parents in the New York area to bring their babies to Rockefeller Plaza for a “nurse-in, peaceful protest playdate,” Simmons writes on her website, Normalize Breastfeeding.

“The purpose is to show that breastfeeding is nothing to fear or hide from, in contrast to the portrayal made by Kathie Lee and Hoda. Mothers will be nursing their babies peacefully and cheerfully,” states a press release for the event.

We were there! Capturing a very important moment for our #breastfeeding community in #NYC we sure had lots of fun! Share…

Posted by Alegares Photography on Saturday, May 23, 2015

According to the press release, the moms staged the nurse-in with three demands for “Today”:

  1. Issue a public apology for the sentiments expressed on the Thursday, May 21 show that were targeted at humiliating breastfeeding mothers;
  2. Extend words of support for ALL mothers who choose to share pictures of themselves feeding their children, whether celebrity or not, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and whether covered or not;
  3. Consider airing a segment with breastfeeding mothers who describe the importance of normalizing breastfeeding.

While DeLorenzo was able to make it on camera briefly, the moms at Rockefeller Plaza found the experience rather “disappointing.” DeLorenzo told HuffPost that many of the mothers’ pro-breastfeeding signs were confiscated at the plaza entrance. “It was very upsetting that we were silenced,” participant Lisa Maloney wrote in her recap.

Although the nurse-in was “not a complete success,” Maloney added, “we will continue to bring light to a cause that is so important. We made connection and will continue to support together.”

nurse in

One way that the participants are continuing their work is through DeLorenzo’s Change.org petition, which asks NBC to “stop shaming and censoring breastfeeding moms.” With over 900 signatures, the petition is currently just shy of its 1,000 signature goal.

NBC has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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Trial Of Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian In Iran To Be Closed To Public

May 25, 2015 by  
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WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) – The trial in Iran of jailed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian will be closed to the public when it starts on Tuesday, his brother said on Monday.

Rezaian, who is Iranian-American and faces unspecified charges, will be in Revolutionary Court with only his attorney and family members are excluded, his brother Ali Rezaian told Reuters Television.

Jason Rezaian, the Post’s Tehran bureau chief, has been in Tehran’s Evin prison since his arrest in July. Iran has not elaborated on the charges, but the Post has said he was charged with espionage.

“I think the only reason you could possibly imagine that the trial would be closed would be to prevent people from seeing the lack of evidence,” Ali Rezaian said.

“It’s unlike the Iranian court system, Iranian government, to keep things private when they can go out and use propaganda up against people.”

Ali Rezaian said the family had hoped that Rezaian’s wife, journalist Yeganeh Salehi, and his mother would be allowed to attend the trial. He said his brother had lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in prison.

Rezaian, who is from Marin County, California, was arrested at his home in Tehran alongside his wife and two Iranian-U.S. friends who have not been named.

Salehi was freed on bail while the couple were released. The three have not been publicly charged.

Citing his lawyer, the Post said in April that Rezaian faces espionage charges for allegedly collecting confidential information about domestic and foreign policy and handing it to “hostile governments.”

Douglas Jehl, the Post’s foreign editor, called the charges baseless. “What Jason did was act as a journalist, which involves gathering information, verifying information, and ultimately publishing it,” he told Reuters Television.

A spokesman for the Iranian special interests section in Washington, which acts as Tehran’s embassy, could not be reached for comment.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called the charges against Rezaian “vague” and pressed Iran to release all American detainees.

Tehran and six major world powers, including the United States, are trying to meet a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal to end a decade-old standoff with the West.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in April that an intelligence operative, possibly linked to the U.S. government, may have “taken advantage” of Rezaian.

(Reporting by Nadine Alfa, writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Dan Savage Points Out Hypocrisy Of Duggar Family Values

May 24, 2015 by  
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LGBT advocate Dan Savage noted the hypocrisy inherent in the Duggar family’s anti-trans agenda in light of Josh Duggar’s apparent admission that he molested five underage girls when he was a teenager.

“Particularly when religious conservatives want to talk about it, they want to point a finger at non-family. They want to point a finger at people that they define as the enemies of families or not from or having families of their own — LGBT people, particularly trans people increasingly with these anti-trans bathroom bills,” Savage said on Friday night’s episode of “All In with Chris Hayes.”

“That is what the Duggars have dug in on,” Savage continued, “is attacking trans people and opposing this LGBT civil rights bill in Fayetteville, where they were out there arguing that the threat to little girls in Fayetteville were transwomen when they knew, when they were covering for someone who had demonstrated, at least at that age, was a threat to little girls himself.”

josh duggar
Josh Duggar, executive director of FRC Action, speaks at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock on Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

In August 2014, the family’s matriarch, Michelle Duggar, campaigned against an anti-discrimination bill in her home state of Arkansas.

In a robocall, Duggar is recorded saying:

Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of northwest Arkansas women and children. The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men — yes, I said men — to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area?

After the sexual abuse allegations surfaced this week, Josh Duggar resigned from his position as executive director of the conservative and anti-LGBT group Family Research Council Action, the Washington Post reported.

TLC pulled the Duggars’ “19 Kids and Counting” show in the wake of the controversy.

The network did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

H/T Advocate

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Josh Duggar Records Destroyed By Arkansas Police At Judge’s Request

May 23, 2015 by  
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Police in Arkansas have destroyed records detailing the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar.

“The judge ordered us yesterday to expunge that record,” Springdale Police spokesman Scott Lewis told The Associated Press on Friday. “As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned this report doesn’t exist.”

Lewis also told the AP that these types of records are usually kept indefinitely.

A 2006 police report, which was obtained by In Touch before its destruction, indicates that family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar knew as early as 2002 that Josh Duggar — who was 14 at the time — was accused of sexually abusing an underage girl. The teen was ultimately accused of inappropriately touching five underage girls, some of whom were his sisters, between 2002 and 2003.

Police did not find out about the allegations until 2006, when they were tipped off to a letter discussing the incidents, the AP reports. A family friend had lent another person a book, and the letter was stuck inside.

The police report obtained by In Touch indicates Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar told police in 2006 that they had disciplined their son themselves.

The couple allegedly said that they sent Josh Duggar to a “Christian program” that “consisted of physical hard work and counseling.” Michelle Duggar later admitted that they actually just sent him to live with a family friend to help with a home remodeling business, according to In Touch.

Both Josh Duggar, now 27, and his parents acknowledged the incidents and publicly apologized in Facebook posts on Thursday.

TLC pulled all airings of “19 Kids and Counting” from its lineup the day after Duggar admitted the allegations were true.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee voiced his support for the judge’s decision to destroy the records in a Facebook post Friday. “There was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed — not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims,” Huckabee wrote.

The Duggar family has “a long and active history of political advocacy for social conservative causes,” CNN noted. Josh Duggar resigned from his position at the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group and lobbying organization, on Thursday. According to the AP, Duggar was previously “a public face” of the group.


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The Pakistani Friends and the Foes of the New York Times

May 23, 2015 by  
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There are rare occasions when the launching of a new media company makes top headlines on other news organizations. For example, in 2013 when Al-Jazeera announced the launching of a channel from the United States after purchasing Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million, big U.S. newspapers and networks reported about it. The launching of Al-Jazeera American generated a great hype among the media analysts. Some believed it would usher in a new epoch of investigative journalism and others feared it would give a tough time to the existing networks. Then came Al-Jazeera America and nothing happened. Mere hype does not define the impact of a news organization.

For many months the media in Pakistan has been going through the same phase that the American media experienced at the time of the anchoring of Al-Jazeera America. A new news network, BOL, was going on pre-launch campaign that was almost similar to the hype the Doha-based network had triggered. Some anticipated a media earthquake that will shake the foundations of many established television networks while others hoped that for the first time in the country’s history journalists would be paid handsomely for the hard work they do. Then there came the New York Times story revealing that Axact, a software company that was funding the BOL project, was actually engaged in a global fraud of churning out fake degrees. The revelation was so big that it nearly derailed the launch of the new channel or jeopardized the employment of hundreds of media workers, including several nationally acclaimed star journalists.

Shaken by the NYT disclosure, the owners of BOL launched their test transmission ahead of the scheduled date for its launch. It is strange that the Pakistani government has allowed the network to go on air in spite of the major scandal. The government has already initiated an investigation into the scandal that surrounds the news channel’s parent company, Axact. However, the authorities should have prevented the channel from going on air unless it proved that the money that is being invested in the network did not come from fraud and illegal means. It is dangerous to authorize a media company to go on air when its parent company is under federal investigation. This is clearly a conflict of interest. The network, in spite of being in its testing mode, can interfere in the investigations and mislead the public opinion. Media should not be given in the hands of those who simultaneously face charges of breaking the law because they can exploit the media to influence the law, the lawmakers and those who enforce it.

Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, the CEO of BOL, has also emerged as the main spokesman for Axact and BOL since the NYT broke the story. His speeches and interviews are worrying because of his lack of understanding of journalism and how the media in Pakistan works.

For example, he has been complaining that the story against his company was published because his professional rivals had egged the NYT reporter to pursue his investigations. Well, if that is true what is wrong with that? Isn’t it how reporters are supposed to work? It is surprising that the CEO of an upcoming news organization does not know that reporters always use the opponents of leaders and companies as the source of a big story. It is pretty obvious that a journalist does not get a scoop against a leader or a company by speaking to their spokespersons.

It does not matter who tips a reporter about a story that mortifies certain people nor does it exempt the wrongdoer from his or her actions only because their rivals tipped the reporter. For ages, journalists have been checking-in with people’s opponents and competitors to get ideas for their next scoop. If Mr. Shaikh did not know this journalistic practice, his ignorance may cause the decline of his media empire one day through one of his own investigative reporters by the virtue of a leaked internal memo. Having a lot of money is not enough to run a big media company. It is also important to know how the people who work there maneuver and bring story ideas at the morning editorial meeting table.

In another attempt to provide a clear explanation about the origins of Axact’s revenue, the BOL officials and staff have raised questions on the integrity of the NYT because its local partner for the International New York Times in Pakistan is the Express Tribune, a paper owned by one of BOL’s biggest competitors. Any follower of the Pakistani media would consider such conclusions as absurd. In spite of being NYT’s partner in Pakistan, the Express Tribune does not have even half of the independence, professional integrity and reliability of its New York-based partner. As a matter of fact, media critics have ridiculed the Tribune for its frequently unconditional submission to the Pakistani military establishment, the Taliban and even the political parties.

On March 22, 2014, for instance, the NYT reported, “An article about Pakistan’s relationship to Al Qaeda, and its knowledge of Osama bin Laden’s last hiding place within its borders, was censored from the front page of about 9,000 copies of the International New York Times in Pakistan on Saturday, apparently removed by a local paper that has a partnership to distribute The Times.”

An insider’s shocking account on how the Tribune actually compromises its journalistic integrity by succumbing to pressure from the Pakistani military was published in Foreign Policy on November 20, 2014. Neha Ansari, a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), who had previously worked as a senior sub-editor at the paper’s Karachi office, wrote, “there is a more elusive problem within the country’s press landscape: the collusion of Pakistan’s powerful military and the nation’s media outlets. I experienced this first-hand while I worked as a journalist at the Express Tribune.”

Similarly, when Imtiaz Alam, a veteran journalist working for the television channel of the same group that owns the Tribune, protested against his organization’s pro-military policy in the wake of an assassination attempt on a fellow journalist, Hamid Mir, the newspaper brazenly stood on the army’s side although the targeted journalist had blamed Pakistan’s spymasters for trying to kill him. The Tribune accused the respected journalist of “spitting venom, making wild accusations against the ISI”.

The battle between BOL and the Tribune is not for the supremacy of independent journalism. It is, unfortunately, a competition between two media groups to prove who is the real darling of the Pakistani military. In this contest, both sides use the NYT to make arguments in their favor and against the opponents. Alas, the Times has got bad friends and foes in Pakistan.

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Here Are A Few The Things The LGBT Community Will Still Be Fighting For After Marriage

May 22, 2015 by  
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court may make history this summer if it rules same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional.

Such a decision would be a huge win for gay marriage advocates, but it doesn’t mean the fight for LGBT rights will be close to being over. The LGBT community will still be fighting legal battles for decades — while facing continued discrimination.

“We can pass all of the laws we want and talk about public policy until we run out of air, but until our society stops thinking of queer people as deviant or corrupt or sinful or in any way less than non-queer people, nothing is going to change,” said Noah Michelson, editorial director of The Huffington Post Voices and founding editor of HuffPost Gay Voices.

“It’s probably the most difficult thing we face,” Michelson continued. “And the only way to do it is to come out as queer whenever we can. And once we’re out, we need to talk openly and honestly about our lives and who we love and how we have sex. It’s only after we’ve challenged and changed the most basic and fundamental viewpoints about who we are that we can really begin to think about true liberation and true equality.”

Here are some of the battles LGBT advocates will continue to face, even if the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage:

1. Workplace discrimination

There’s still no federal law protecting LGBT employees from discrimination. Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., have passed employee non-discrimination laws, but it’s still legal in many places — even the U.S. Congress — for employers to fire workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Critics also have said religious freedom laws, which allow individuals or corporations to cite “religious beliefs” in a legal defense if they refuse to serve LGBT customers, are discriminatory. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a religious freedom bill into law this year, but asked that the law be revised after backlash from LGBT supporters.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) followed suit, asking his state legislature to revise a bill similar to Indiana’s.

But not all governors are changing their minds. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) issued an executive order in May protecting businesses that refuse to serve customers planning same-sex weddings.

2. Lack of gender-neutral restrooms in public places

3. Gay conversion therapy

Only three states prohibit so-called gay conversion therapy, despite opposition from the American Psychological Association. The most recent governor to prohibit the practice was Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), the nation’s first openly bisexual governor.

governor kate brown

President Barack Obama is greeted by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) at the Oregon Air National Guard Base May 7, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. Brown is the nation’s first openly bisexual governor. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Housing discrimination

5. Acceptance in sports, politics, entertainment, business and more

6. Health risks, and education about how to lower them

A 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzing data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that LGBT students were more likely to face health risks because of factors like tobacco use, weight management and drug use. The report suggested school health policies should be developed to help sexual minority youths.

7. Restrictions on gay men giving blood

In May, the Food and Drug Administration finally recommended lifting the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, which has been in place since 1985. But the new proposed policy says men will have to wait at least one year after engaging in gay sex before being able to donate.

Dr. Eli Adashi, professor of medical science at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, told The Huffington Post in December that the one-year waiting period “is not any more warranted than a lifetime ban.” According to research by The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, a 12-month deferral excludes thousands of potential donations from the nation’s blood supply.

8. Jury selection

In January 2014, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that gay people can’t be excluded from a jury based on sexual orientation. The ruling mirrored a 1986 Supreme Court ruling that found jurors couldn’t be dismissed based on race, and another that declared the same for female jurors.

But a Supreme Court challenge could occur future. As Slate points out, the Supreme Court has never declared gays a protected class. Also, the 9th Circuit’s ruling clashes with an earlier decision from the 8th Circuit.

9. Transgender military service

10. Youth homelessness

According to a 2012 study by The Williams Institute, 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT. The most frequently cited factor contributing to that group’s homelessness was rejection by family members based on sexual identity.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, homeless LGBT youth are at a heightened risk of violence, abuse and exploitation, and can experience both physical and mental strains because of discrimination and the stigma of being LGBT.

11. Adoption, custody, surrogacy and other parenting issues

12. Discrimination of youth in foster care

13. Violence

A report released in 2013 by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs revealed the transgender community was more likely to experience physical violence, police violence and discrimination than cisgender people.

14. Placement and treatment of trans people in prisons and immigrant detention centers

15. Discrimination in jails and prisons

16. Suicide

The Williams Institute report from 2014 showed the prevalence of suicide attempts among trans and gender non-confirming adults who responded to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey was 41 percent. Of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, 10 percent to 20 percent report attempting suicide. That’s compared with the 4.6 percent rate of the overall U.S. population that reports attempting suicide.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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(VIDEO) comScore Readies Measurement Tool for Connected TV’s

May 21, 2015 by  
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Responding to a dramatic increase in video consumption on connected TV’s, comScore is readying a measurement tool to tabulate views on the devices and will roll it out this year in the U.S., says Serge Matta, CEO in this video interview with Beet.TV.   He says that comScore is already measuring OTT consumption for publishers including Hulu with a system that is not “100 percent there yet.”

In the interview, Matta explains the investment with WPP and the strategic alliance with its Kantar unit to bring comSore measurement solutions to global television operators.

We spoke it him yesterday at the LUMA Partner’s annual adtech leadership conference in New York.

comScore has reached an all time high stock price this week, with a valuation now in excess of $2 billion.

You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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Fox News Guest Accuses Network Of Creating ‘Cloud Of Corruption’ Around Hillary Clinton

May 20, 2015 by  
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Fox News’ Megyn Kelly found herself defending her own network Tuesday night after attempting to criticize Hillary Clinton following a new report that Clinton had a controversial email history with Sidney Blumenthal.

Kelly brought on former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton to discuss a New York Times report published Tuesday that revealed Blumenthal, a longtime friend of Clinton, had sent reports about Libya intelligence to Clinton’s private email address during her time as secretary of state.

Kelly said the situation “raises questions about [Clinton's] judgment,” but Burton argued that everyone in the White House has friends who send them information, and said the story will have little effect on Clinton’s reputation. He added that he found the Times report to be “a confusing story” and unclear.

Kelly pressed Burton further on why there seemed to be a “cloud of corruption that follows” Clinton, to which Burton replied, “Maybe it just only follows her around on your network.”

But it was The New York Times that broke both stories about Clinton’s private email account and her relationship with Blumenthal, Kelly pushed back.

“The right is going to take these news reports and they’re going to talk about them as much as they can, because they think that they can really make ground by going after anything that smells like scandal,” Burton said. He told Kelly that if Republicans continue to talk about Hillary Clinton at this rate, they “don’t stand a chance” in the 2016 presidential election.

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India May Have Just Published Its First ‘Gay Groom Wanted’ Ad

May 19, 2015 by  
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An newspaper in India — where gay sex was made a criminal offense in 2013 — just ran what may be the country’s first man-seeking-man matrimonial ad.

The ad, which ran this week in MiD DAY, an English-language newspaper in India, seeks a husband for Mumbai-based equal rights activist Harish Iyer. Iyer’s mother submitted the ad and was rejected by three other publications before MiD DAY accepted it.

In a Facebook post, Iyer thanked MiD DAY and its editor, Sachin Kalbag, and shared an image of the ad originally posted by Gaysi Family, an India-based gay rights group.

thanks Mid-day, thanks Sachin Kalbag

Posted by Harrish Iyer on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The ad, which reads, “Seeking 25-40, Well-placed, Animal-Loving, Vegetarian GROOM for my SON (36, 5’11″) who works with an NGO, Caste No Bar (Though IYER Preferred),” was rejected by The Times of India, The Hindustan Times and the website dna, Iyer told BuzzFeed.

None of those publications responded immediately to HuffPost’s request for comment.

The ad has sparked some criticism for its closing parenthetical, “Though IYER Preferred.” Iyers are an upper-class rank of India’s caste system with which Iyer shares a name. He defended that portion of the ad to HuffPost India, saying it was a way for his family to try and match him with someone of a similar upbringing.

“My Mom would be happy if it was a Dalit Muslim yet vegetarian and animal loving guy,” Iyer said. “But she would love it if he happens to come from a familiar territory that she knows about. So, not really caste discrimination. It’s like you (author) saying that I would love people from any caste as an alliance, but I would love to enjoy machher jhol (fish curry, a Bengali staple) with him if he was Bengali.”

Although The Times of India refused to print the ad, it interviewed Iyer about his decision to create one.

“My mom worries about me too much,” he told the paper. “She is constantly thinking that I am getting old, will be alone, and all those concerns a mother has. So, she and I had a discussion last week and decided to go ahead with placing a matrimonial ad looking for a gay person.”

“My mum called me this morning saying three people have responded so far,” Iyer continued. “She asked me what to do next, how to proceed, so I told her, ‘proceed like you would have if you were looking for a girl for me.’”

In a statement to BuzzFeed, Kalbag said running the ad was a no-brainer.

“A marriage is a meeting of minds, of souls,” he wrote. “At mid-day, we believe that human rights should be applicable to all, regardless of religion, caste, colour, sexual orientation, etc. Therefore, a mother seeking a union for her gay son is perfectly normal. Why should it be any different? In fact, why should we even be talking about it? In an equal society, which we all strive for, this should be routine.”

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