Category Archives: politics
When you visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, you can see up close why it is considered the holiest place for prayer by the Jewish people. I was there last week during a journalism fellowship with Fuenta Latina, a nonprofit that educates reporters about Israel today.
Every year, millions of Jews from all over the world visit the wall to pray. Tourists who are non-Jews also visit the wall to pay their respects. Men and women pray in separate sections.
Next week when President Donald Trump goes to Israel he will make a stop at the Western Wall. He will be the first U.S. sitting President to do so. Other presidents have visited the sacred wall but as private citizens.
People in Jerusalem I talked to are curious to learn more about the billionaire turn reality star turn U.S. President. From hotel clerks to taxi drivers they told me they look forward to Trump’s visit to Israel. but wonder if he will create more chaos than peace.
Trump is already getting bad press in Israel because it appears he has snubbed Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli TV Channel 2 is reporting that Trump’s delegation has not only turned down Netanyahu’s request to go with Trump to the wall but also someone from the delegation insulted Israeli officials claiming the wall was not Israeli Territory.
Tuesday National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster at a White House briefing confirmed “No Israeli leaders will join President Trump at the Western Wall.” McMaster would not confirm or deny whether Trump believed the Western Wall was not Israeli territory when asked by reporters.
The wall is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Israelis seized the Western Wall in the Old City from the Jordanians, along with East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, and it is not officially recognized internationally as Israeli territory.
Rebecca Aguilar is an award-winning freelance reporter with 35 years experience. She was part of the May 2017 Fuenta Latina Fellowship to Israel.
A good journalist does not allow anyone to set the ground rules for an interview or meeting. And we do our best to avoid “off-the-record” conversations.
Our job as reporters is to get the facts and share them with the public. You can’t do that if you agree to go “off-the-record” which means you can’t share anything you talked about during that discussion.
TRUMP HAD HIS WAY WITH TV JOURNALISTS
On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump had his way with some of the best TV journalists and their bosses. They were suckered into a meeting where they became his punching bags.
I watched on a live feed as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett, NBC’s Lester Holt, CBS’s Gayle King, Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos arrived to Trump Tower. According to the New York Post the meeting turned into a Trump tirade. He was finally facing the people he called “scum and liars” on the campaign trail. He took the opportunity on his turf to let them know what he thought of them and according to sources it was ugly.
I am disappointed they agreed to have an “off-the-record” meeting with the President-elect. What were they thinking? What happened to digging for the truth, standing up for journalism, and not taking his abuse anymore.
All these high-profile TV news anchors, reporters and managers missed a big opportunity to stand together as journalists and tell Mr. Trump that we won’t be humiliated, berated, intimidated, or bullied for doing our jobs. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe one of the TV anchors or reporters was brave enough to speak up for journalists in that meeting, but I guess we’ll never know since it was “off the record.”
Donald Trump played the media. Here’s hoping those high-profile TV news anchors and reporters don’t get suckered by him again in the future.
MORE ON TV JOURNALISTS AND TRUMP
Here’s a video worth watching.
Washington Post media columnists Erik Wemple and Margaret Sullivan talk about the meeting between the TV journalists and Trump, and how the broadcasters and their bosses should have known better.
Update: President of the Latin Grammy Awards addresses issue of press told not to ask winners any political questions
Gabriel Abaroa the president and CEO of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences told reporters that presenters, nominees and winners were never discouraged to talk about their political stand at the Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday.
But the same didn’t go for the media.
After the awards, she and other entertainment reporters wanted answers from the president of the Academy.
He said the nominees and presenters always do what they want when they perform, say what they want during their acceptance speeches and that type of freedom has never changed. Albaroa admitted he was concerned the Latin Grammys would be perceived as political that could have financial ramifications.
Here’s Gaby’s video:
I’ve translated some of Abaroas statements:
(:30) “We try to concentrate on the music and what happened today. And if you believe the Academy should take a position politically over a topic, we’ll think about it, consult about it, and talk about….”
(1:39) “We did not talk with any artist or told them what they should or shouldn’t say during their acceptance (speech). We’ve never done that and never will”
(2:32) “If we establish ourselves as a political platform, we can do it in the country that we live in… but remember we are international. ”
(3:07) “When we are here (press room) we are trying to help them focus on the music and the awards…”
Whether covering a political race or a red carpet event, as reporters we should never be told how to do our job. Thank you Gaby Natale for speaking up on this issue.
We start our day with President-elect Donald Trump. For those who supported him. Congratulations. For those who did not, wipe off those tears and remember your rights as Americans still exist.
But this is now a very divided country. We know that. It will be Trump’s job to figure out a way to bring all Americans together. As people of color there is a fear. Do we regress to what we had in the 1950’s or will Donald Trump figure out a way to unite us?
As women we also have our fears. Do we lose our rights to stand on an equal platform or do men feel a win for Trump means a pass to grope us when they want? Yes, that’s a valid concern after hearing the Access Hollywood tape.
LET FEAR FUEL YOUR PASSION TO DO THE RIGHT THING
But now is not the time to allow fear to hold you back. Use that fear to fuel your passion to do what is right for this country. One man, one political party, one election does not take away our voice, our strength, our power as Americans.
It hasn’t been easy for journalists either, but we still have a job to do. Learn from the journalists who covered the Trump campaign. Often they endured verbal attacks from Trump and his supporters but kept pushing forward, seeking the facts. We need to continue asking the tough questions of our President-elect as we have done with past individuals voted into office.
Donald Trump has four years to prove himself and keep those promises he made to his supporters. The clock starts now.