George Takei’s latest slur

George TakeiGeorge Takei’s latest racial/ethnic slur happened today on Facebook.

Earlier this afternoon I tweeted about a Facebook post made by George Takei. Please retweet it when you get the chance.

Specifically, here’s just the graphic he posted on Facebook this afternoon:

George Takei

The use of the term “gypped” is a slur against people of Romani origin, who are often called Gypsies. AP Style says the terms Gypsies and Roma be used to interchangeably to describe the ethnic groups.

You would think Takei would know better, but there appears to be a lot of ignorance and indifference about the usage of the term. If the Roma were a bigger ethnic group in the US, maybe there would be more awareness of the issue.

Takei is usually a pretty consistent advocate on issues of equality, whether it be because of his own captivity in a Japanese interment camp in the U.S. during World War II or his activism for gay “marriage.”

In fact, Takei changed it to the text below (an even worse pun) without updating the status itself to indicate it was changed. Instead he made a comment pleading ignorance buried in the thread on the status saying: “Oh myyy, that was not something I was aware of. Thanks for pointing it out. I certainly will keep it in mind.”

Generally the rule with blogs, newspaper articles, and social media is that you put any apologies and what was updated in the original post or status itself. Only if you’re trying to hide it do you react like George Takei did.

George Takei

George Takei’s Past Use of Racial Slurs

Takei’s strident activism on the same-sex “marriage” issue is what got him in trouble before.

Here’s a report in The Hill from July 2, 2015:

Actor and gay rights advocate George Takei is slamming Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after his dissent to last week’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide claimed that the government can neither give nor take away human dignity.

“He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry,” the former “Star Trek” star said in an interview with Fox 10 this week in Phoenix, standing alongside his longtime partner and husband.

That same day The Federalist reported on Takei doubling down on his remarks and saying they weren’t racist. In his explanation, he compared Thomas to a black buffoon and said he was a traitor to his race.

Takei later apologized publicly for the original remarks.

What do  you think? Do you really think George Takei was ignorant of “gypped” being a slur? Do you find it hard to believe in light of his previous comments Clarence Thomas?

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Sun finally corrects Jack Mehoff story

Jack Mehoff Story

As I wrote before, The Baltimore Sun published a story quoting “Jack Mehoff” after reporter Ian Duncan fell hook, line, and sinker when interviewing a Donald Trump supporter at an event Wednesday night on the Eastern Shore. The Jack Mehoff story was published online at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday and remained untouched until midday today.

Today at 12:55 p.m., Duncan made the following tweet:

The Sun retweeted it shortly thereafter. I asked both Duncan and the Sun via Twitter if correction notice would be added to tomorrow’s print edition of the paper. So far, I have received no reply from either.

I received a response after this piece was posted via The Sun on Twitter:

If you look at the story you’ll see the line the original error was in changed just the last name from Mehoff to Morris:

Jack Mehoff Story

Here’s the text:

Jack Morris, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

There was also a correction notice at the bottom of the story:

Jack Morris, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

Here’s a screen capture:

Jack Morris - Pull

The time stamp at the top of the story still shows 10:44 p.m. on April 20.

How The Sun Screwed Up – Then fixed the Jack Mehoff Story

The prank was totally missed by the reporter Ian Duncan it seems. I noted yesterday his tweet following the attention the story got indicated he was totally fooled and maybe even that he didn’t care. Ultimately the fact that it appeared in the print edition, went viral online, and ended up being corrected is above his pay grade.

At least one editor let it slip through. As I asked on Twitter, did any editor even ask a question about the name?

Since then, there have been attempts to defend the fact that the name could have been real, citing phone listings. I noticed the phone listing research was flawed and showed what I found when I researched state judicial records (both civil and criminal.)

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite flat out said there would be no correction, based on his misreading of the Duncan tweet on Thursday.

I will be checking now to see if a correction appears in tomorrow’s print edition, assuming I get no reply to my queries with Duncan and The Sun.

I also wonder how they tracked down Jack Morris. I assume they verified his identity by requiring him to produce his driver’s license, passport, or another method of identification. If not, they should have after being burned once already. If they didn’t already have protocols in place for this kind of thing, I’d hope they learned from it this week enough to develop them.

The Sun’s former corrections and clarifications page on their site still shows their committment to transparency with a 404 Not Found error.

Multiple people were to blame including the reporter and his editor(s). I’m not sure how the process unfolded on their end, but it took them from 10:44 p.m. Wednesday until midday Friday to get it fixed. I’m not sure that is a short or a long period of time because they’ve been so silent on the issue. It’d be nice if they actually talked about how it happened and how they’re making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Baltimore Sun hasn’t corrected Jack Mehoff story

Jack Mehoff 3

The above screen capture is from a search of baltimoresun.com for story corrections. The search result indicates it’s the Corrections and Clarifications page at http://www.baltimoresun.com/corrections. The Baltimore Sun has apparently decided it no longer has a need for a page detailing corrections. They apparently don’t even see the need for correcting a story in which they quoted someone named “Jack Mehoff” this week.

That would match the philosophy they are following in their non-response to the Ian Duncan story in The Baltimore Sun Thursday quoting someone named “Jack Mehoff” at a Donald Trump event on the Eastern Shore.

As of 11 a.m. today, the original Ian Duncan story filed online at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday night still contains this line:

Jack Mehoff, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

When I originally wrote about this yesterday morning, I expected a correction or update of some sort, perhaps with an editor’s note. Maybe I should’ve known better, but my expectations for The Sun to do the right thing were apparently too high.

Here’s a tweet from yesterday showing that the story appeared in the print edition:

The newspaper made one response via Twitter, telling the person who made the above tweet:

Editors are looking into this. Thanks for pointing it out.

I’m not sure what is taking them so long, unless they’re just stalling and hoping people forget about it.

Baltimore Sun embarrased by Jack Mehoff story

Even though they seem to be ignoring the issue and hoping it goes down the memory hole, it has already gotten the newspaper plenty of unwanted attention.

Erik Wemple of The Washington Post wrote the following about it:

Contacted about this dicey name, Duncan declined to comment and instead pointed the Erik Wemple Blog to his Twitter account:

Wemple and media critic Jim Romenesko noted that there were anywhere from 1-3 phone listings for people named Jack Mehoff in Maryland. However, that is meaningless. I know people who have given fake names for phone listings going back 20 years because phone companies have traditionally charged for having an unlisted number, but don’t if you give an alias.

They should have checked other databases, like the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. I discovered searching for the last name of Mehoff there that one person, a Jackson Five Mehoff born in 1985, was charged with disturbing the peace in Upper Marlboro in 2010. The charges were nolle prossed a few weeks later. I suspect the charges were dropped when officials figured out it was a fake name. There was no known address for this suspect, only a date of birth and physical description.

In other words, there’s only one person, who would be 31 now, with the right last name showing up in all of the civil and criminal case information online in Maryland.

Mediaite also wrote about it:

To the delight of fifth-graders everywhere, The Baltimore Sun has set the internet on fire by publishing a report on a Donald Trump rally in Maryland that featured a quote from a Trump supporter with a, shall we say, extremely suspect moniker

Noted hack Tommy Christopher defends Ian Duncan in the Mediaite piece, by saying among other things:

The best part is that the name and the quote remain in the story, because unless he can track down that supporter, as Duncan points out, there’s really nothing to correct

The above Christopher comment is referring to Duncan’s tweet that says

At this point I have no way to prove I didn’t meet a real life Jack Mehoff who is a Trump supporter. But erm… Yeah.

Way to read something into it that isn’t there, Tommy.

In the past, Christopher has been regularly embroiled in controversy for saying dumb things – like his statement that the NSA scandal is a “white people problem.”  Christopher has been fired from Mediaite at least once and later returned.

If the best defense that The Baltimore Sun and Ian Duncan have going for them is the above one from Tommy Christopher, it shows they’ve failed.

Jack Mehoff and the Lack of Transparency at the Baltimore Sun

The fact that The Baltimore Sun published the story in the print edition and still has it uncorrected online shows systemic problems at the paper.

If Ian Duncan had been the only one to fall for the apparent prank, it would’ve only reflected on him in a bad way.

For it to get past the fact checking of an editor possibly shows a rush to get the story published that outweighed a concern for the truth.

I’d like to know if any editor actually questioned Duncan about the Jack Mehoff name Wednesday night as he filed his story.

After the breakdown that led to the quote being included, it doesn’t seem like Duncan really cares that much about it. His tweets on the matter seem pretty apathetic, rather than defensive/accurate like Tommy Christopher asserts.

The fact that what had been a page on the Sun website to list clarifications and corrections is now gone shows all you need to know about the Sun and transparency.

I tried to reach Mike Hunt, Mike Rotch, and Amanda Huginkiss for their comment on this matter but they were unavailable.

Anti-Trump Ad Airing in Baltimore

Anti-Trump

Earlier today, The Washington Post reported on a memo by an Anti-Trump Super PAC that will be airing ads in the Baltimore television market.

The group says in the memo that Trump has a “nearly impossible path” moving forward and counters Trump campaign talking points that he will have 1,400 delegates after the primaries and will win a first ballot nomination in Cleveland.

From the story:

In its Thursday analysis, Our Principles PAC calls the Trump campaign’s prediction “detached from reality.”

“In order to secure 1,400 delegates, he would have to win 82% of all remaining delegates, a task simply not possible for him or any candidate at this stage in the process,” the memorandum states. It goes on to detail how Trump faces many obstacles and that “there are dozens of viable and plausible outcomes that will leave Trump well short of the required 1,237 delegates.”

Looking ahead to the five primaries in the Northeast on April 26, sometimes called the “Acela Primary,” Our Principles PAC concedes that Trump is likely to have sweeping victories: “… our planning assumes Trump can win nearly all of the bound delegates without improving his very slim chances.”

Watch the Anti-Trump Ad

Read the Anti-Trump Memo

Here’s the Our Principles PAC memo:

TO: INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: OUR PRINCIPLES PAC

SUBJECT: DELEGATE MATH UPDATE – NEW YORK REALITY CHECK

DATE: APRIL 21, 2016

Read More…

Baltimore Sun quotes “Jack Mehoff” in Trump story

Baltimore Sun

A friend in DC posted about a story from The Baltimore Sun on Facebook today.

Ian Duncan, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, filed a story at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday night about the visit of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to the Eastern Shore yesterday.

From the story:

Jack Mehoff, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

Here’s the screenshot from Duncan’s story if you don’t believe it (and for when they eventually change it – likely without an editor’s note):

jack mehoff

Mr. Mehoff – whatever his real name is – is identified as 19 years old in the story. It appears Duncan and his editors were fooled by a grade school prank worthy of Bart Simpson.

The Jack Mehoff name is all over Google and even has an Urban Dictionary entry. Black Sheep, a movie featuring the late great Chris Farley, even used this prank:

Bart Simpson made a habit of making prank calls to Moe’s Tavern on The Simpsons. Here are a few of his best examples:

The Baltimore Sun is not alone

There’s a Wikipedia entry on gag names that includes one of the most famous media pranks I remember. James Scott of the Charleston Post & Courier quoted a protester at the Master’s golf tournament in Augusta named “Heywood Jablome.” The protester was there counter-protesting Martha Burke’s protests over Augusta National’s lack of women members at the time. There are other examples in the Wikipedia entry.

Additionally, in 2013,  KTVU and USA Today were both pranked by someone calling himself “Jack Mehoff.”

Jack Mehoff 2

It’s one thing if a reporter falls for it, but it’s even more embarassing if it survives being edited. Despite the lateness of the hour this story did make the print edition today.