The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Society of Professional Journalists bows to anti-Arab racism and terminates Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award

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The Society of Professional Journalists took off their hat of objectivity and pushed aside their principles of free speech to take a political position to censure Helen Helen Thomas because she had the courage to criticize supporters of the foreign Government of Israel.

It's not a secret that some members of the SPJ are biased when it comes to the Middle East and cannot make decisions based on objectivity or professional journalism ethics and they decided to punish Thomas for expressing those views critical of Israel. The SPJ received many letters of protest from American Arab journalists like myself, but true to today's SPJ's anti-Arab bias, they never acknowledged the letters.

In fact, when the SPJ voted to terminate the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award under pressure from the politically motivated campaign by the New York offices of the Anti-Defamation League, the SPJ notified only those letter writers who were either pro-Israel or whose letters defended Thomas but expressed support for Israel. NONE of the American Arabs who protested the planned moved were ever notified about the SPJ's decision. That notice came from one of the other letter writers who tried to maintain a middle-road stance criticizing Thomas but defending her right to express her views.

Helen Thomas had the absolute right to express her views on Israel and Zionism. Her critics distorted her comments and cast them falsely as anti-Semitic. The irony is that the so-called objective journalist members of the SPJ ignored the facts and accepted the accusations of anti-Semitism without challenge and against the actual facts, in making their decision.

The SPJ over the past year has taken several steps that are anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, including the closing of the Arab al-Sahafiyeen Blog and Arab Journalism SAection set up about five years ago. The section allowed American Arab journalists to discuss issues that they are facing, and what Arab journalists experience in the 10 year long wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism act and its impact on American Arabs should be a priority topic for discussion. But a bigoted SPJ president, without even discussing the issue with the American Arab members of the SPJ, ordered the Arab Section shut down, and only when he was confronted six months later did he assert that he objected to the "political" content that was being discussed.

None of the topics were focused on politics and ALL of the writings had to do with issues facing American Arabs. The fact that some of those challenges involved politics should have been irrelevant.

The reality is that the current SPJ national board has made a loud and clear proclamation of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry. Their actions are an insult to professional journalism. They have declared that the SPJ is not about protecting free speech but instead is mandated with the responsibility of protecting accepted political positions at the expense of free speech.

The SPJ has compromised its ethics and violated its own Code of Ethics by taking this clearly political action. It has declared loudly that it is no longer an objective professional journalism association but rather it is now a political lobbying group for partisan political viewpoints. Not all partisan political viewpoints, but those that it feels addresses the controversies involving the Middle East conflict.

Pathetic and shameful.

They didn't even have the decency to inform the American Arab members of SPJ who have worked so hard to help make SPJ a truly professional organization. To be slapped in the face by the SPJ board is in fact typical of the current anti-Arab and anti-Muslim attitudes that shamefully represent today's SPJ.

Hopefully, those bigots will be thrown off of the SPJ board and objective, professional journalists and communicators will take their place to weigh ALL issues fairly and through the eyes of journalists not political activists.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, January 13, 2011

University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication Hosts Group of Iraqi Journalists

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University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication
Hosts Group of Iraqi Journalists
Iraqi journalists traveling with the Journalism Curricula Development Group will be in Eugene and Portland Jan. 15-22
EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) will host seven Iraqi journalism educators from the Journalism Curricula Development Group, from Jan. 15-22. During their visit, the journalists will participate in local media tours, panels, workshops and seminars and meet with local journalists, civic leaders, scholars and students. The group will participate in a free public panel titled “Media in Iraq Today,” at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18 in the Gerlinger Hall Alumni Lounge, 1468 University St., Eugene.

“In our increasingly interconnected world, news knows no borders, ” said Peter Laufer, James Wallace Chair in Journalism. “There are critical lessons to be learned from seeing how journalists operate in other parts of the world, and our students and faculty are so fortunate to have this opportunity to exchange ideas with this group of veteran journalism educators from Iraq.”

Although much of their visit will be spent on the UO campus, members of the Iraqi group will tour The Oregonian in Portland, Ore., and The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, as well as broadcast outlets in both cities. They will also participate in curriculum workshops, panels and seminars exploring journalism education topics, such as accreditation.

The Iraqi journalists will also meet with campus groups, including the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and the Middle East Research Interest Group. They will also participate in networking events with civic and business leaders.

Members of the visiting group include:


  • Adnan Ahmed, assistant professor in the department of mass communication at the University of Baghdad
  • Abdulameer Al-Faisali, professor of electronic journalism and assistant to the dean of Media for Scientific Affairs and Higher Education at the University of Baghdad
  • Radwan Ali, lecturer at Salahaddin University
  • Sihaam Al-Shegeri, media consultant for the Journalism Freedom Observatory in Baghdad, head of media and media consultant at the ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
  • Ali Jabbar Al-Zuki, professor of media, assistant to the dean of Media for Students’ Affairs at the University of Baghdad
  • Azad Dzayi, dean of Technical Institute in Erbil and media lecturer
  • Saman Mohammad, press advisor and coordinator at the Ministry of Higher Education and press advisor and coordinator at Scientific Research for the Kurdistan Regional Government

To request an interview with members of the Iraqi group or to attend one of the panels, seminars, tours or workshops, contact Lewis Taylor at (541) 434-7038.

About the School of Journalism and Communication
The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) fosters the development of outstanding journalists by emphasizing ethics, social responsibility and public interest. The program combines professional practice with a broad-based liberal arts education and has given rise to nine Pulitzer Prize winners. The SOJC’s undergraduate and graduate programs prepare students to be leaders in journalism and communication by exposing them to hundreds of industry professionals a year, internship and networking opportunities, and involvement in award-winning publications and organizations.


Saturday, January 08, 2011

Society of Professional Journalists continues to block free speech in Helen Thomas controversy

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Society of Professional Journalists block free speech and skewers debate posting a hateful letter from the Anti-Defamation League President Abe Foxman and a letter from a former Wayne State University graduate. The SPJ IGNORED the protest letters of many American Arabs who challenged the bigoted and biased and racist actions of the SPJ.

We applaud the balanced comments from Lloyd Weston. We denounce the vicious attack from Abe Foxman. We wonder why the SPJ refused to publish ANY of the MANY letters they received from American Arab Journalists, many of whom have been SPJ members longer than the executive committee members who are making the decision.

It is but ANOTHER example of an outrageous display of bias from the SPJ which claims to champion free speech, except when it involves issues of the Middle East critical of Israel and a political movement called Zionism.

Click to read the two letters published by the SPJ:

The SPJ leadership has decided to act on the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award not by bringing it to its membership.

We will keep you posted on this very racist-driven move by the SPJ President and selected officers.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, January 07, 2011

Repealing the Affordable Care Act will Hurt the Economy

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Repealing the Affordable Care Act will Hurt the Economy

By Stephanie Cutter

The House Republican Health Care Plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away all the new freedom and control it gives the American people over their health care and gives it back to insurance companies will not only raise costs for individuals and businesses, but it will hurt our economy.  

Since the President signed the Affordable Care Act into law last March, the economy has created over 1 million private sector jobs, including the 113,000 private sector jobs created in December announced today.   So, at a time when our economy is getting stronger, repealing the law would hamper that important economic progress by increasing costs on individuals and businesses, weakening the benefits and protections that Americans with private insurance are already enjoying, and adding more than a trillion dollars to our deficits.  

Opponents’ claim that the law is “job-killing” is in direct contradiction to what has actually been happening in the economy since enactment.  In fact, repealing the law would likely slow down the growth of our economy.    Here are the facts:

·         Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the economy has created over 1 million private sector jobs.  The unemployment rate is 9.4%, lower than it was in March 2010—9.7%.   
·         In the period during and right after the enactment of the law, the economy grew by 2.7%.(Can’t we include the entire 10 months?...No just looked at the tps again and I don’t think that would be accurate.)

·         Consumer confidence in a range of areas have improved, including retail and food sales by 4%, and auto sales by 7% since the enactment of the law.

·         Slowing the growth of health care costs—as the Affordable Care Act does—will have the likely impact of creating more jobs since businesses will have to spend less on health care for their employees.  This reduction could create more than 300,000 additional jobs

·         The law widely expands coverage to Americans, thereby reducing the hidden tax of about $1,000 that families with insurance pay each year in additional premium costs to cover the uncompensated costs of the uninsured. 

·         The law reduces small businesses’ health care expenses by giving them $40 billion worth of tax credits and through the creation of new, competitive state-based insurance Exchanges.  Exchanges will enable individuals and small businesses to pool together and use their market strength to buy coverage at a lower cost, the same way large employers do today, giving them the freedom to launch their own companies without worrying whether health care will be available when they need it.

·         The law will lower the deficit by over $100 billion this decade and by over $1 trillion in the following decade. 

Repealing the Affordable Care Act would have a devastating impact on our economy.  In addition to hurting some of the economic progress that has been made over the past ten months the Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the law would add over a quarter of a trillion dollars--$230 billion—to the deficit in the first decade, and more than a trillion dollars in the second decade; increase the number of uninsured to 32 million Americans; increase premiums for large employers; and will force consumers who buy coverage on the individual market to pay more out of pocket for fewer benefits.

In addition, Harvard Economist David Cutler found in a report released today by the Center for American that repealing the law would significantly increase costs and reduce job growth.  It will “…revert us back to the old system for financing and delivering health care and lead to substantial increases in total medical spending” by:

·         Adding up to $2,000 annually to family premiums and increasing overall medical spending $125 billion by the end of this decade.   
·         Preventing 250,000 to 400,000 jobs from being created annually over the next decade. 

·         Suppressing entrepreneurship among workers who may have started new businesses, or sought new opportunities in the economy since they will no longer be free from worrying whether affordable coverage would be available to them in the new Exchanges, when they need it the most. 

Again, these facts speak for themselves.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act would hurt families, businesses, and our economy.  

Read more about how many jobs our economy has created here:
Read the full Center for American Progress report on the economic consequences of repealing the law here: