“We as women do a lot of incredible things in this world
other than just procreate.” — Jennifer Anniston

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img_0615We lost a giant in journalism.

Gwen Ifill’s death would be sad at any time—but her passing from endometrial cancer two weeks ago is particularly poignant after a campaign season that featured the nation’s political media falling on its face in failure.

As a pioneering African American reporter, author, presidential-debate moderator and Peabody-award winning journalist, she was named co-anchor and co-managing editor of PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff. She was and is an inspiration to me during my quest to go back to journalism school to make sure I was doing the right thing in my profession.

RELATED: GWEN IFILL DEBUNKS 5 MYTHS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

Over the course of her life Ifill received 15 honorary doctorates from global universities, including Georgetown, Bates and Skidmore College (my undergraduate alma mater).

(Writer’s note: if someone from Skidmore brass reads this and can speak to me about their experiences with Ifill in 2010 I’d be happy to add it here.)

“She didn’t mind telling anyone when she thought they were wrong, on camera. She kept it respectful. She was one of the most graceful interrupters I have ever seen.” — Judy Woodruff

In a year when we as a country chose bombastic, ill-tempered, Twitter-ranting man-child Donald Trump to be president—enabled uncuriously by our nation’s media—it’s all the more sad to have lost Ifill’s light in our darkness. We need more Gwen Ifills, not fewer.

I voted for Clinton, but the nation’s media was all in for Trump—and it showed. Ifill’s passing is a reminder that classical journalism practice has, sadly, died along with her.

Watch her poise with another late great journalist and moderator, Tim Russert, who anchored Meet the Press— a show that is, today, a hapless shell of what it once was.

 

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Jennifer Aniston appeared on Ellen yesterday and has some wise words for women—all genders, frankly. Looking fabulous as always, the former Rachel Green spoke about the objectification of female celebrities and how Anniston had been hounded about whether or not she was preggers.

“We need to take responsibility for what we ingest in our brains,” she said. “We as women do a lot of incredible things in this world. And not that procreating is not—we just get boxed in. Whatever the horrible headline is, women have to break out of that. Women are [oftentimes] the authors of some of these tabloid articles. So we have to stop listening to them and stop buying them.

“We have to support each other, especially at this time,” she added. “To love each other, to support and to be proud of women no matter what your choice is in life. It’s up to us what makes us happy and fulfilled.”

Her Huffington Post piece is a fabulous statement of strength and courage and you should definitely read it. Point of personal privilege: I grew up watching Friends and absolutely adore her. After re-watching the seasons, I have newfound respect for her comedic presence on the show—and for her as a genuine person.

Sidebar: a Friends reunion is, apparently, not gonna happen. The write-up is here and the ITV follows below. As I’ve written before, they’re leaving money on the table and keeping us from enjoying our comfort food again.

 

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I had been waiting for the right week to debut this semi-regular feature on CrankyYank, and now we have it. This week’s Big Fucking Douchebag is Delta’s Unidentified & Unhinged Passenger Man-child, who decided to yell at the voices in his head long enough to scare the entire plane.

He’s since been banned for life from the airline, and Delta has gotten its fair share of organized boycotts and flak for how it handled the situation. Why didn’t the crew intervene right then and there? Would like to know the answer to that.

A firsthand account via AM Joy, below.

In the coming weeks, I’ll occasionally be highlighting the idiocy from all corners of the country and need your help. Think of it as Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person in the World, but on a blog and with far-less-sassy graphics.

Please e-mail me with your tips and CY BFD nominations and I’ll of course credit you. Or you can Tweet me @bywillpollock.

 

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>> BREAKING: The New York Times declines to accept any 2016 awards as a means to apologize for fucking up our country

Wouldn’t that be a neat headline?

We don’t live in that alternate universe, sadly. Even despite our media’s failings—as I’ve outlined countless times in this space—there are journalists committing amazing acts of their craft all over. These are professionals who deserve respect and recognition in a sea of money-grubbing suits who only care about one thing: the almighty dollar.

Actually, now more than ever it’s critical to call out and celebrate journalists doing amazing things. Because even in the profit-media realm there are great people working their asses off to bring us stories that might otherwise go untold.

These are professionals who deserve respect and recognition in a sea of money-grubbing suits who only care about one thing: the almighty dollar.

With all credit and h/t to Rob “Reenage” O’Connor, here are two examples of journalists making statements at awards ceremonies that transcend politics.

Esteemed journalist and personal heroine Christiane Amanpour talks about the slippery slope of presidential acrimony toward the media. “A great America requires a great, free and safe press. It’s an appeal to protect journalism itself. To recommit to robust, fact-based reporting without fear and favor.

“Don’t stand for being called lying or crooked or failing. we have to stand up together.”

(Writer’s note: Remember, I keep a running resource list of Trusted Newsers at the footer below so you can check out the work their doing and find them—either on TV, radio or the web.)

Marty Baron, editor of the Washington Post, recently received the 2nd-annual Hitchens Prize, named after the late Christopher Hitchens. His acceptance speech—in which he cited Amanpour’s speech at the Committee to Protect Journalists—is a soaring affirmation of reclaiming what journalism is, and who we serve. The nut graf:

“Every day as I walk into our newsroom, I confront a wall that articulates a set of principles that were established in 1933 by a new owner for The Post, Eugene Meyer, whose family went on to publish The Post for 80 years.

The principles begin like this: “The first mission of a newspaper is to tell the truth as nearly as the truth may be ascertained.”

The public expects that of us. If we fail to pursue the truth and to tell it unflinchingly—because we’re fearful that we’ll be unpopular, or because powerful interests (including the White House and the Congress) will assail us, or because we worry about financial repercussions to advertising or subscriptions—the public will not forgive us.”

“The truth is not meant to be hidden,” he added. “It is not meant to be suppressed. It is not meant to be ignored. It is not meant to be disguised. It is not meant to be manipulated. It is not meant to be falsified. Otherwise, wrongdoing will persist.”

His full remarks, below.

 

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I took the week off last week because I needed to unplug from reporting and politics—and I immersed myself in Food Channel programming. (Sidebar: Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives gets the unplugging job done quite nicely.)

For this week’s Cure Your Crankies / Calming Capsule I turned to my great friend, Florida-based photographer and artist Leesa Brown, for some inspiration. She did not disappoint.

cyh8wekxuaa-5ks
“Wingspan” by Leesa Brown

I’m particularly smitten by this one, of the sun shining through a great egret’s wingspan. To be able to capture this moment with the light balance to perfect is a remarkable feat. Wonderful stuff. Please make sure to follow Leesa on Twitter and Facebook for lots of other great compositions.

I usually install a header image that corresponds with my lead story, but Leesa’s capture is so good that I wanted you to be greeted by this amazing image right off the top. My great thanks to her, as always, for always being a fabulous collaborator. ❏

That’s a wrap guys. We’ll see you right back here next Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.

 

Writer’s note: CrankyYank turns 1 year old this week, and I couldn’t be any more thankful to you, my readers, for inspiring me to take on new things. To look at stories in different ways and investigate alternative reporting modalities; and to stick with what is my core belief that independent journalism is your best alternative to profit media. Thank you so much! Cheers to another year in 2017.


Will Pollocksideways is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist focusing on pop-culture, politics, journalism & media, retail, real estate, travel, politics, and human interest.

He is the author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.

Make sure to comment often—cranky loves company.

Support independent authors, writers, artists, journalists and professionals. Buy a book, leave a review, start a discussion. Our success as a nation depends on your engagement and involvement.

 

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