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Four strikes for mainstream media in the week that changed America.

Why it matters: The protests are raising not just assaults on journalism from outside, but also long-standing problems about the lack of diversity from within the ranks of journalists and power structure dominated by white men. 

1. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is accused of barring two African American journalists from covering protests in the city because of "apparent bias":

  • Photojournalist Michael Santiago, part of a team that won a Pulitzer for the paper in 2019 for covering the Tree of Life synagogue massacre, tweeted that the P-G is silencing two of its most prominent black journalists "during one of the most important civil rights stories that is happening across our country!"
  • "The controversy publicly kicked off Friday," the WashPost reports, "when Alexis Johnson, another black Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist, reported that the newspaper’s management had barred her from covering local protests Monday after a tweet from her went viral."
  • Colleagues — including Santiago, who took the photos — have repeatedly reposted it with: "I stand with @alexisjreports."
  • P-G managing editor Karen Kane told AP that the paper can't comment on personnel matters.

2. The headline on the New York Times op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that ignited a newsroom revolt ("Send In the Troops") was written by ... The New York Times.

  • I know that because I read it in The New York Times. His op-ed wasn't published in the Sunday paper, as had been planned. But a 300-word editors' note has been added: "[T]he tone of the essay in places is needlessly harsh. ... Editors should have offered suggestions to address those problems. The headline — which was written by The Times, not Senator Cotton — was incendiary and should not have been used."
  • Cotton's Senate campaign yesterday blasted out a fundraising email boasting: "I’ve caused a total meltdown from the media."

3. Stan Wischnowski, 58, executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, resigned yesterday "after discontent among the newspaper’s staff erupted over a headline on a column about the impact of the civil unrest following the police killing of George Floyd," The Inquirer reports.

  • Tuesday's print paper carried the idiotic headline "Buildings Matter, Too" on a column by Pulitzer-winning architecture critic Inga Saffron.
  • With the grace and deftness that only legacy media can muster, that headline was replaced with: "Damaging buildings disproportionately hurts the people protesters are trying to uplift."
  • Wischnowski apologized to readers and staff.

4. Fox News apologized for a graphic Friday that tried to correlate the performance of the S&P 500 with the deaths of George Floyd, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Go deeper

Jul 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Press freedom incidents have surged during police protests

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There have been over 546 total press freedom incidents in the U.S. in the past few months, with roughly 137 — over 25% — coming from law enforcement, according to new data from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

The state of play: Of the 125 physical attacks on the press during the recent protests, 77 have come from law enforcement.

Hundreds of corporations sign statement opposing restrictive voting bills

Former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault. Photo: Earl Gibson III/WireImage)

Hundreds of companies and executives released a letter on Wednesday condemning legislation that restricts "any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot," per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the most concerted action yet by big business in opposition to GOP-sponsored bills at the state level that limit mail-in ballots, implement new voter ID requirements and slash registration options, among other measures.

36 mins ago - Axios Twin Cities

Brooklyn Center mayor in the spotlight after Daunte Wright shooting

Mike Elliott has moved swiftly after the death of Daunte Wright. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

The killing of Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer has thrust Mayor Mike Elliott into the national spotlight.

The big picture: Elliott, with the backing of the city council, has acted quickly and boldly in the wake of the shooting. He fired longtime city manager Curt Boganey, took control of the police department and called for the firing of officer Kim Potter, who resigned on Tuesday.