Selected to the Women's Media Center's Progressive Women’s Voices Class of 2013

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"You've come a long way, baby," goes the popular slogan to sell Virginia Slim cigarettes. #WomenRule is the female-centered conference and essays focus of Politico--a favorite information hub of the Washington, DC set.

Indeed, as Helen Ruddy croons, I am Woman. Hear me Roar:

Unless it's the media.  Although women make up 51% of our nation, men write front-page newspaper bylines at a 3 to 1 ration. Women make up 29% of Sunday morning public affairs shows roundtable guests. These statistics are taken from The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2013. If you drill down more, controlling for topics ("female" subjects such as work/life balance) and race and ethnicity, the paltry numbers I cited seem like a bonanza.

The lack of women in the media is one wrong the Women's Media Center (WMC) attempts to right. Founded in 2005 by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan, through different programs, WMC addresses if and how women are represented on issues that greatly affect our families, our communities, and our nation. Advancing progressive points of view, WMC has defended conservatives such as Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and CNN host S.E. Cupp with the belief that an attack to one, regardless of political persuasion, is an attack to all. In addition to this advocacy, WMC publishes SheSource to help journalists connect with female experts and runs a series of leadership and training workshops to best prepare women and girls to position themselves in the media landscape.

I am honored to be one of twenty selected into the Women's Media Center's Progressive Women’s Voices Class of 2013 and give thanks to Voto Latino's María Teresa Kumar who tipped me off to this opportunity and recommended me. I began the year-long training last weekend in Washington, DC. Click here to read the press release to find out and connect with these "movers and shakers" including my nine DC classmates:

Heather Arnet

T.F. Charlton

Emma Davidson

Anna Therese Day

Julia Drost

Debbie Hines

Phronie Jackson

Shivana Jorawar

Diann Rust-Tierney

Our three day bootcamp took us through pitch preparations, Op-ed writing, and extensive media training. This is important because our work, though different, is underpinned by our refusal to accept the current status quo in each of our fields: whether it's Heather's forthcoming PBS documentary, "Madame Presidenta: How about U.S.?" which questions why our country hasn't elected a female President; T.F.'s research on race, adoption, and evangelical teachings; Emma's work to update South Carolina's Teen Health law to maximize their chances for a better life; Anna Therese's advocacy on behalf of Syrian refugees after spending years in the region; Julia's push to secure congressional support of the International Violence Against Women Act; Debbie's work to increase the reporting of sexual assault and help for victims; Phronie's quest to increase awareness, testing, and resources for African-American women, the group most likely to contract HIV/AIDS; Shivana's advocacy on behalf of legal im?migrant women to help them secure federal health benefits; Diann's quest to abolish the death penalty, or my own work to advocate for equal opportunities and social and economic parity for Latinos.

The media is arguably the most powerful tool to change public opinion on an issue. Now, we have more outlets to spread our message. But even new spaces continue to be stubbornly male and white. This year-long leadership and media program is critical because we are learning skills to help us break through the glass ceiling with clear, concise, and effective messages. Harnessed and focused, what we learn can turn passion into action that can eventually make our communities, our country, and our world more inclusive for all.

Where do you see the most glaring absence? Which media outlet is doing it right?

VIDEO: On CNN for the First Time: Is Best Man Holiday a "Race-based" Film?

In 1998, I stepped into the Washington bureau of CNN. I was an intern. Back in the day, interns didn't sue employers for not getting paid but instead were grateful for the opportunity to do more than answer phones, check the fax machine, and get cafecito. I did that for one week and asked my supervisor for more of a challenge. He called me "uppity."

At the time, I was a woman in a hurry--a Ph.D. candidate who found out her parachute was a very different color than the Yale blue academic regalia she would don at convocation and graduation. Older than most of my intern crew, I had to get my high heels dirty and garner experience to convince a future news director to give me a job--¡my first besides folding sweaters at The Limited in high school!--in Midland, Texas.

I've been back at CNN several times for CNN en Español--at the DC bureau and headquarters in Atlanta to speak about Election 2012 and women's issues. But I never made it on regular CNN until this past November when guest host and NPR TV critic Eric Deggans invited me to be a guest on Reliable Sources--the CNN show devoted to media matters which I have been watching since my Texas reporting days.

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Along with ThinkProgress.org's Alyssa Rosenberg (who is also another Yalie), we discussed the controversy around USA Today labeling The Best Man Holiday movie "race-based." Alyssa notes that if Best Man Holiday is "race-based", then so are ten movies not classified as such, including Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine and Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring. Do we classify these films as "wealthy white-privilege-themed"? Indeed, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander, no?

As Claytor Reports notes on my Facebook page, Best Man Holiday is about the daily things that affect most people not just the country but the world over--regardless of race and I would add ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

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Indeed, these values are universal and in the case of this film or the TV prime time drama Scandal on ABC, the lead characters are as multi-faceted as anyone else--with hopes, frailties, broken dreams, and struggles.

These characters, however, possess what I like to call, a +1 point of view. This perspective is diverse and mixed, a product of mingling with and marrying people from different backgrounds. My conclusion is not just anecdotal. It's a more representative view of our country, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Virtually every day, turn on the TV, read your newspaper online, go to the movies and what you see spotlights how out of touch Hollywood and media are, but not because they don't read the census report. The whole lot of studio heads, directors, agents, and network executives walk around with their "eyes wide shut," failing to see the changes all around them. With media centered in Los Angeles and New York City, two incredibly diverse, specifically Latino cities, the lack of diversity at the highest levels is more than an oversight. It's insight into a retro and myopic world that shapes the way our country is viewed.

The lack of diverse representation in Hollywood and media's top ranks hurts the bottom line. An off headline such as USA Today's Best Man Holiday blunder or the absence of a Latina host on The View generates the response:

Huh?/¿qué qué? They just don't "get it."

Thanks to our fragmented media word, we can click the remote or our smartphone to go to one of the ba-zillion sites that do get it. This is one business practice that eventually is bad for business.

The solution includes creating pipeline programs that recruit, retain, and promote diverse talent--easy fixes. Some are in place thanks to the continuous advocacy and efforts of organizations such as the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.

But it will take a Hercules. More than a powerful person in a position of power, change requires a champion and a believer to reign in the clacking chorus.

I can think of some "Hercules" in Hollywood who can hire and promote diverse talent.

They have the power but do they have the will?

Click below to watch my first appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources which aired on Sunday, November 24, 2013.

Can you name some "Hercules" in Hollywood who have the power to hire and promote diverse talent? If so, please list them.

Song to Teshima Walker Izrael, RIP: The VIDEO Interview with International Rockstar Juanes

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One week ago today, Teshima Walker Izrael lost her two year battle to colon cancer. The executive producer of Tell Me More on National Public Radio, she was also a champion, opening opportunities for me that didn't exist because she believed in my voice and the community it represents. Most important, she was more than a friend. She was an hermana.

Click to read more in "Song to Teshima Walker Izrael, RIP" where you will also find beautiful tributes that have poured in around the world on the NPR Tell Me More website and social media.

In July of 2012, international rockstar Juanes came to Washington, DC to participate in the World AIDS Conference where he was headlining the main entertainment event. The Colombian roquero is considered a Latin American Bono: his talent reflecting influences as diverse as Metallica and vallenatos matches the depths of his commitment to AIDS research, eradicating land mines, and breaking political stalemates through music.

Teshima OK'ed my performance chat with Juanes for broadcast when I guest hosted the following month. She also recognized that soon, he will be a household name and conducted her own interview for an interview that later aired on his playlist and his musical influences.

Always with my trusty handheld cam, I recorded it.

Click to watch Teshima Walker Izrael Interview Juanes in July 2012 for NPR's Tell Me More.

RIP, hermana.

Have you had a "champion" pass? How have you honored her memory?

Congress Recess of Immigration Advocacy or my "Bro fest" on SiriusXM's Politics Powered by Twitter

When the lawmaker is away, immigration advocates were supposed to play hardball. Until they didn't. The plan was to show up during Congress' recess at town hall meetings in districts throughout the country, applying pressure on House Republican hold outs or those who may be on the fence to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The strategy has slightly changed, away from an immigration face off between opponent and supporters. Why? On this hot topic, opponents have at most let out a meow. Their roar is #¡DefundObamacare! as evidenced by Heritage Action's two week town halls currently underway.

That was the topic during my first "Bro Fest" on SiriusXM's Politics Powered by Twitter with hosts Lee Brenner and Slade Sohmer of the website Hypervocal.com.

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¿Bro qué?

I checked with an authority on this subject--a friend who assures me this event occurs when likeminded guys get together and beat the metaphorical drum of masculinity. He reports (in a text):

"Rule #1: Bro-fests have to occur naturally...typically over shared enthusiasm of protein shakes or Arnold Schwarzenegger's documentary [sic] 'Pumping Iron'."

When you're in Washington, add politics, especially a hot topic like immigration, to this list.

Before Lee and Slade came to me live, they closed out the previous topic before the commercial break, announcing, soon it will be:

"Viviana Hurtado Time."

Imagine that.

There's Miller Time.

Now: Viviana Hurtado Time.

Then I nuzzled my way under their big Bro wings and we had a lot of immigration things to say, but from a slightly more organic and grassroots perspective than what you hear if you tune into the usual suspects.

Firstly, advocates, led by the so-called DREAMers--those students and military service members brought to the U.S. illegally--aren't taking their foot off the advocacy accelerator during August recess. Ready to attend town halls, to put a face to a group that has been compared with objects such as dogs, anchors of the term "anchor baby" (which refers to a baby an illegal immigrant mother has with the alleged intention of gaining legalized status), or most recently drug runners with calves the size of cantaloupes, in the words of Iowa Congressman Steve King.

Secondly, these activists have never taken their eyes off President Obama, turning up the calor at least since the summer of 2011. That's when DREAMers protested the skyrocketing deportations at White House hosted meetings throughout the country and even President Obama's speech at the National Council of La Raza's annual convention which I witnessed and write about in Anatomy of an Immigration Debate: Carne Asada at NCLR.

Comprehensive immigration reform appears to be on life support. Still, if our country is closer than it's been in more than 25 years to overhauling laws that currently keep talented foreigners out, encourage employer abuse, and orphan children after deporting their parents, it's because of the DREAMers, who broke rank with the advocacy community in 2011 to apply pressure that continues to GOP lawmakers and the President.

I wouldn't underestimate these activists. Facing deportation and with their opportunities to attend college or find a job stunted, they have little to lose. Hopelessness and desperation triggers the survivor instinct. For them and the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, it's a fight to the finish.

The question is: will that finish be this Fall? 2014? 2016? And now we get into election years.

Click on the link to hear my Congress Recess of Immigration Bro Fest with Hypervocal's Lee Brenner and Slade Sohmer which aired on SiriusXM's Politics Powered by Twitter on August 6, 2013.

Click to read more of my posts on politics and immigration.

What's the future of the immigration overhaul bill once lawmakers return in the fall?

Song to Teshima Walker Izrael, RIP

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The big, grand gestures and larger-than-life types always get the credit. But it is often times those people who work quietly, discretely, yet with singular focus who can open pathways that will alter your life. For me that person was Teshima Walker Izrael, Executive Producer of NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin, who on Friday lost her courageous two year battle to cancer.

Click to read the show's Facebook page where NPR's press release, comments, and tributes have streamed in, curated on Twitter under #TeamTeshima, and Storify.

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I don't pretend to know Teshima as friends do from her hometown of Southside Chicago or colleagues throughout her career. In Washington where climbers and hanger ons stake out "chance meetings," I really met Teshima on accident. It was the beginning of 2011. I had just started The Wise Latina Club which is really the first time I've dipped my toe in the waters of my true, authentic voice. Not the years of studying postmodern literary theory. Certainly not the decade I spent reporting and anchoring on television. A dear friend syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, who I met at the beginning of my journalism career when I crashed conferences, staying on friend's couches, and wearing cheap Le Suits, was a member of Tell Me More's all guy weekly roundtable Barber Shop. In town from San Diego for a conference, the only way two busy Busy Game people could connect is if I met him at NPR, grabbed a quick lunch, before Ruben was off to another meeting before heading to the airport.

I reconnected with a woman who had recruited me to ABC, met another "alphabet soup" alum host Michel Martin, and Teshima, all welcoming me to their corner of NPR--the little team that could.

I'm sure I did the Washington thing--collected business cards and exchanged mine ordered on sale at Vistaprint.

On one side: "Viviana Hurtado, Blogger-in-Chief".

On the other: "Latino = Mainstream" .

Both mini-manifestos, my voice more a meow than a roar but significant because I was beginning to break my silence.

I kept writing, experimenting with form, topics, point of view, as I exorcised demons and the trauma of failure, and hoped for rebirth and reconciliation with myself.

Then one day a TMM producer called and asked if I would be on the Beauty Shop, a women's thinker, journo, academic, and blogger hot and water cooler topics roundtable.

Teshima was reading TWLC.

After a few months of doing the Beauty Shop, Teshima called me into her office.

¡Gulp! What had I done?

I'm going to be canned.

I'll just be grateful for this opportunity.

"Viviana, how would you like to guest host while Michel is away?," Teshima asked, not behind the authority of her desk but both of us sitting around a table--a Lean In circle before Sheryl Sandberg coined this phrase to promote female leadership and support.

This would not be the last time Teshima would push, pinch, shove, but always embrace me. Known to call colleagues and friends "Sis," we called each other Hermana.

And she was.

Unlike others who don't have the time or courage to put their hand in the fire for someone, she leaned in.

And hard.

Not for her but for me and many others, finding out about, creating opportunities, burning through her own political capital in service of others when she contacted decision makers and argued:

You need to invest in her.

You've got to give her a shot.

We shared triumphs--like my nearly eighteen minute long interview and live performance with international rock star Juanes, who I had been chasing for four years which you can listen to by clicking here.

His people called me at 10AM and said, Juanes has a cancellation and can be at the NPR studio at 4PM. You have to understand, I have the clout of a kitty cat at NPR. Still, ni corta ni perezosa, I called Teshima and fought to tape and hold this interview until I guest hosted on the grounds that it would draw a new audience to the show and introduce TMM loyalists to a rising voice in "mainstream" music.

The math was against me: this interview would cost muchos dólares in the form of overtime for sound technicians, engineers, and producers to set up in Studio 4A, tuning tens of thousands of dollars worth of speakers, sound boards, and going to NPR storage (it exists) to collect crazy guitars over which musicians experience minor orgasms. We even had cafecito and brownies for Juanes and his crew.

Teshima found the money and gave the green light. I conducted arguably the raddest interview of my career--rad because every hunch turned into a bulls eye: we made news of Juanes' intention to cross over and sing in English--months before his hot Grammy performance. I stretched way beyond my hard news, politics mold. The insatiable hunger from people who don't regularly tune in to NPR to hear more about this artist/social activista crashed the NPR website during the live performance.

She saw so clearly that Juanes' potential has not crested and jumped in, to record her own interview on this Colombian roqueros' musical influences which range from Metallica to Marley for later broadcast.

As so many will say, it was rarely all work with Teshima. We also supported each other on a vulnerable and personal level, confiding in each other the highest peaks and lowest valleys that come when you love hombres complicados.

I never saw Teshima again, but we stayed connected, texting notes between Washington and Chicago, her hometown where she had moved to live out her last days with family.

On Sundays during the end of the Lord Hear Our Prayer at Georgetown's Dahlgren chapel, the priest leading mass would ask us to say the name of loved ones to whom we wanted to send love, mercy, and faith.

Teshima.

At the beginning of June, I learned I would travel to Chicago to speak at BlogHer '13. I texted:

Hermana, I'll be in town and would love to see uuuu!!!

Teshima responded: I would love to see you too hermana. Maybe I can go to your hotel and visit. It will be good for me. I'll give you an update after the 8th [of July].

I never heard again from Teshima. I kept texting, likely stupid-checking-in-I'm-here-tell-me-your-address-I-can-go-to-uuuu!!! nonsense, my respect of her space masking my fear that she had crossed a border from which there is no return.

Four days before she left us, The Terrible Thought became Truth. Teshima was nearing the end.

I sent my last text:

"Hola hermana! Thinking about you and sending you warm healing vibes, candles lit! Tight abrazo! XXX"

Despite my exclamation pointed Catholic hocus pocus, the treatment that ravaged her body, and the countless love and prayers of so many family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, strangers, and listeners, Teshima didn't make it.

I am better because of you and will try every day to emulate your compassion, grace, humility, and kindness. Thank you for teaching, challenging, listening, guiding, and valuing my voice and the community it represents.

Thank you for believing in me.

Que en paz descanses hermana.

Rest in Peace, Sis.

Please share your memories in celebration of Teshima.

Immigration Losers: GOP and "The Deportation Prez" or What I Said on MSNBC

Washington's groupthink has the immigration heat solely turned up on the GOP. They certainly are in the news--with some House Republican holdouts threatening to derail an overhaul to the immigration laws, Speaker John Boehner unable to tame his unruly conference, and the crazies--the Congressman Steve Kings of the world, who compare immigrants to dogs, liken DREAMers--students and military service members brought to the U.S. illegally--to drug runners with calves the size of cantaloupes from hauling tons of weed across the border. Immigration_Congress_Recess_GOP_Obama_Viviana_Hurtado-TheWiseLatinaClub

If you're obsessed with the immigration debate like your faithful scribe, you know that the Latino advocacy community never let President Obama off the hook. In Spanish language media, activists, lead by the DREAMers, have never stopped criticizing the record removals on this President's watch. The summer of 2011 is a turning point because they break from the broader Latino advocacy community which kept its discontent with the White House entre nos--amongst themselves--and protest at White House hosted town halls and the President's speech at the NCLR annual convention which I witnessed and write about in "Anatomy of an Immigration Debate: Carne Asada at NCLR." To them he became and still is the "Deportation President".

The DREAMers' very public and social media savvy squeeze on the Administration in the run up to Election 2012 not only results in the pressing of the pause button in the deportations of DREAMers, but in being closer than we've been in twenty-five years to reforming our immigration laws.

If immigration reform falls apart, it's not just going to be the Republicans who get heat in future elections. Activists will demand the President offer relief--an equally urgent yet messy proposition because of the high and growing numbers of mixed status families, neighborhoods, and congregations.

Can the President offer relief to an estimated eleven million illegal immigrants--a de facto expansion of the DREAMer deferred action program? I don't see this: polls show Americans may support some kind of immigration reform, with an overwhelming majority in favor of putting DREAMers on a path to citizenship. But if the frame changes away from a process that would bring millions into the American fold to one large and sweeping action by one person?

Forget the right wing Internuts. This won't sit well with Americans.

Republicans may own immigration's failure but, they, the President, and Democrats equally inherit its political consequences.

This was the main topic discussed on MSNBC's Thomas Roberts show during the Agenda Panel roundtable with Salon's Joan Walsh and MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin. We also discussed Vice President Joe Biden's smoke signals that he hasn't ruled out running in 2016, Hils be darned.

Click below to watch my appearance which aired on August 14, 2013.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Click to read more of my posts on politics and immigration.
 
If immigration reform fails, who shoulders most of the blame?

The Wise Latina Club's Moment of Zen...¡on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart!

A special kind of schizophrenia exists among television journalists--we want to one day be invited on The Daily Show with John Stewart, but we equally fear it. In this day when we're doing more with less, most of us are one second from being forever known, not for breaking a story about corruption or stealing public funds, but as the live shot reporter who was drenched when the sprinklers turned on.

Or the anchor who dropped an F-bomb.

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In my case, while on a panel discussing the latest tawdry chapter of Internet Privates Exhibitionist and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, well, a word was said as I write about in "Dem 'War on Women'? OR My First GIF Thanks to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts."

Jon Stewart may be on hiatus but his staff isn't.

They watched.

They clipped the video to close the show.

And I am on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, for a nanosecond.

Click here to watch The Moment of Zen which aired on July 31, 2013.

How did you turn a moment of "Oh, bleep" in to a Moment of Zen?

UPDATE: Published in HuffPost Media! Beso to Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos or What I Said on MSNBC about The Washington Post Buy

Latinos are serious PDA people, and not the air kiss type. Spend an afternoon at Casa Hurtado and there's a whole lotta hand holding, abrazos, and just overall velcro-dom. So when I read on Twitter that Amazon founder and e-commerce pioneer Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million of his own dólares which I speak about on MSNBC's Thomas Roberts show, I blew him a beso. And he deserves it: while he may have an eye on his legacy, it's not every day that someone tries to save, not just the nation's capital newspaper of record, but the journalism industry. Beso_Amazon_Founder_Jeff Bezos_MSNBC_The_Washington_Post

Journalism, as opposed to media, revitalizes democracy because of its mission to inform citizens. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen as much as it did in the Golden Age of CBS's Walter Cronkite or the Post's own Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Leaps of technology are allowing us to access and consume information directly, eliminating the need for a gatekeeper. This act is as revolutionary as Gutenberg's printing press which made books available to more than the powerful scribes. Six centuries apart, each act cuts out the middleman, arming more people with the power that comes from forming their own judgement and opinion.

In the 21st Century, the sustaining walls of journalism give way--a business model under pressured by plummeting advertising rates worsened by a declining economy. Then there's the media culture itself--mushrooming, fragmented, and cluttered, exposing the best and worst of the venerable newspapers of record--The Washington Post and The New York Times.

There is a legitimate reason why a large swath of the country feels these newspapers, television networks, and even NPR make up the "liberal, media elite." It is true. Little diversity of thought, class, race, ethnicity, and geography exists at these institutions, especially at the top. Together they form an echo chamber that is out of touch with the needs and circumstances of real Americans, often times with reporters, columnists, and managers too ensconced in their comfy proximity to privilege to do their jobs--holding the people in power accountable. Who broke the latest chapter of New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's sexual exhibitionism? A website better known for raunchy sex gossip--TheDirty.com--which I write about in "'Dem War on Women'? OR My First GIF Thanks to MSNBC's Thomas Roberts." Same goes for the story of NSA surveillance fugitive Edward Snowdon--exposed not by one of the News Usual Suspects but by blogger and attorney Glenn Greenwald, a columnist since August of 2012 for The Guardian.

And yet, social media, blogs, and websites rarely have the perspective, analysis, and judgment to place information within a larger context of the values foundational to our society. The Anthony Weiner story is not about Bill and Hills but about trust--how can New Yorkers trust this Privates Internet Flasher Sociopath to lead arguably the world's premier city? Watergate was never about Richard Nixon's personality, swaddled in sweat and paranoia, but about the abuse of power and our collective repudiation of it which dates back to 1776.

Our country is at yet one more transformational moment--demographically as we become more racially and ethnically mixed; politically as a vocal minority thrives with polarization and the silent majority tunes out, disgusted; and economically as we struggle to keep our footing amidst the dynamism of global capital.

Onto this stage Mr. Bezos steps. Not free of valid criticisms, he can infuse The Post and the industry with the same innovation and opening Amazon created for e-commerce and publishing. An opportunity exists to make journalism more participatory and personal, to reach and engage newer audiences such as Latinos and youth, both groups over-indexing on the use of mobile devices and technology. But unlike the Buzzfeeds of the world, we must continue to go deep. To tell the important stories of our budget battles and entitlement reform, we must hook consumers of news with the bubbly and viral sensibility of Sharknado yet with the breadth, depth, and staying power of The Great Works.

Although these are uncertain times, Mr. Bezo's embrace of invention, his almost neurotic attention to detail, his patience and investment in the long view, give The Washington Post and the industry the best shot at relevancy and survival. The time is ripe for a full-throated journalism that forgoes the shallow, the easy, the spin, and the theatrics to stand up for the little guy. Not doing so will be the kiss of death to our craft and democracy.

Jeff Bezo's purchase of the Washington Post was the main topic on MSNBC's The Thomas Roberts Show "Agenda" round table with MSNBC's Irin Carmon and Rachel Maddow Show producer and blogger Steve Benen. We also spoke about the congressional recess of advocacy as immigration supporters plan to keep up the pressure by attending lawmakers' town hall meetings.

Click below to watch this segment which aired on August 6, 2013.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Click here to read Washington Post Buy: Why We Need Jeff Bezos to Save Journalism picked up by the HuffPost Media.

Do you get your information from newspapers--in print or online--or from other sources?

Dem "War on Women"? OR My First GIF Thanks to MSNBC's Thomas Roberts

The topic is Anthony Weiner and how his campaign, if not his marriage and family, is flying off the rails. I'm thinking about the GOP field day brought to you by Weinerlandia and another lascivious, aging politician--San Diego Mayor Bob Filner--who is accused by at least eight women of sexual harassment.

In the case of the New York City mayoral hopeful, his campaign went from bad to worse when former intern Olivia Nuzzi published a so-called exposé on an unknown website. These hungry outlets fueled by our 24/7 web confessional culture should not be discounted because they're breaking news left and right. Case in point: TheDirty.com which brought Weinergate 2.0 to New York voters and the world's attention.

What astounded me are not any crazy secrets she uncovered, but what a campaign rookie she is. My years covering politics have taught me that "office space" normally consists of elbowing your way to a cramped corner of the card table. If an intern is lucky enough to get paid, good luck getting your money since campaigns are notoriously deadbeat, taking months to make payroll. As one of my 70+ year old consiglieres once advised, "Thinking about going to work on a campaign? Get your money first put into an escrow account."

Still when faced with this novice's political kiss and tell, combined with the grueling pace of any campaign, and the devolving yak yak YUCK factor of her viejo verde boss, Weiner communications director Barbara Morgan lost it, going off on a swear word laced tirade of terms that refer to women and their privates which I can't publish on this family friendly blog. I've started to hear "Democratic war on women" from my Republicans sources.

Hold it right there Bucko! Really? From the party with members trying to roll back women's reproductive rights? Did you forget Texas Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis and her thirteen hour filibuster earlier this month to keep clinics accessible? But they have a point: horny, middle-aged politicians, combined with denigrating, vile language that debases women's self worth, weakens any Dem edge.

Women are turned off.

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Then MSNBC host Thomas Roberts said the word "batsh*t" to describe another Weinerland woman--Sydney Feathers--who was on the other end of the candidate's sexts and is milking her 15 minutes of fame on shock jock Howard Stern's radio show and considering a career as a porn star. Thomas walked it back right away, worried about language and propriety. Know what? He's been working non-stop triple duty, filling in on the super duper early morning show plus Morning Joe. Burning the morning, afternoon, and midnight oil aside, chances are, in this sexting circus, this is a misdemeanor offense.

Still, leader of the new media pack BuzzFeed noticed and my first GIF was born. Click here to watch me diplomatically smile (did I just hear?), smile (nah...), and smile (well maybe, and know what, Thomas has been bustin' major behind). TY for the hat tip: BuzzFeed reporter Adrian Carrasquillo.

Do these scandals hurt the Democrats' standing with women?

On Telemundo’s Sunday Public Affairs Show for L4LL’s Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program

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