When you have to offer a second apology for something you said, you might have messed up the first one. As well as what you said in the first place.
That’s where Whoopi Goldberg of ABC’s “The View” finds herself following comments she made about Jewish people and Nazi Germany. And that controversy has led to a two-week suspension from the daily show. ABC News president Kim Godwin put out a statement late Tuesday night saying Goldberg has been suspended for her “wrong and hurtful comments.”
Godwin went on to say, “While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments. The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities.”
It all started on Monday when “The View” discussed “Maus,” the graphic novel about the Holocaust that has been removed from a school district’s curriculum in Tennessee. During the panel discussion, Goldberg said, “Let’s be truthful about it because Holocaust isn’t about race. It’s not about race. It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man.”
Co-host Ana Navarro pushed back by saying, “But it’s about white supremacists going after Jews.”
But Goldberg snapped back, “But these are two white groups of people! The minute you turn it into race it goes down this alley. Let’s talk about it for what it is. It’s how people treat each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white, Jews, it’s each other.”
Almost immediately, Goldberg came under criticism for her remarks, including from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who tweeted, “No @WhoopiGoldberg, the #Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race. They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous. #ENOUGH.”
Goldberg tweeted out an apology on Monday that said, in part, “I’m sorry for the hurt that I have caused. … The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver (sic).”
Greenblatt quote-tweeted Goldberg’s tweet and wrote, “Thanks @WhoopiGoldberg for correcting your prior statement and acknowledging the #Holocaust for what it was. As #antisemitism surges to historic levels, I hope we can work together to combat ignorance of that horrific crime and the hate that threatens all.”
But there was another twist to this. Between her comments on “The View” and her apology on Twitter, Goldberg’s guest appearance on Monday’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” was taped. That show didn’t air until Monday night. On the show, she sort of apologized for what she said, but kind of reiterated what she said, too.
“It upset a lot of people, which was never ever, ever my intention,” Goldberg said. “I feel, being Black, when we talk about race, it’s a very different thing to me. So I said I thought the Holocaust wasn’t about race. And people got very angry and still are angry. I’m getting a lot of mail from folks and a lot of real anger. But I thought it was a salient discussion because as a Black person, I think of race as being something that I can see. So I see you and know what race you are. I thought it (the Holocaust) was more about man’s inhumanity to man. … People said, ‘No, no, we are a race.’ I felt differently. I respect everything everyone is saying to me.”
She added, “I don’t want to fake apologize. I am very upset that people misunderstood what I was saying. And because of it, they are saying I am anti-Semitic and denying the Holocaust and all these other things that would never occur to me to do. I thought we were having a discussion about race, which everyone is having.”
The conversation, which you can watch here, went back and forth, with Colbert asking Goldberg if she realized Nazis considered their attempt to exterminate Jewish people to be a racial issue. Goldberg responded by saying, “This is what’s interesting to me: The Nazis lied. They had issues with ethnicity. Most of the Nazis were white people and most of the people they were attacking were white people. So to me, I’m thinking, ‘How can you say it’s about race when you’re fighting each other?’ … Don’t write me anymore, I know how you feel. I’ll take your word for it and never bring it up again.”
But because “The Late Show” aired after her Twitter apology, Goldberg had to address the issue again on Tuesday’s “The View.”
Goldberg opened Tuesday’s show by saying, “Yesterday on our show, I misspoke. I tweeted about it last night but I want you to hear it from me directly. I said something that I feel a responsibility for not leaving unexamined because my words upset so many people, which was never my intention. I understand why now, and for that, I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful, and it helped me understand some different things.”
She added, “I said the Holocaust wasn’t about race and was instead about man’s inhumanity to man. But it is indeed about race because Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race.”
Goldberg went on to say, “Now, words matter and mine are no exception. I regret my comments, as I said, and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people as they know and y’all know, because I’ve always done that.”
In addition to a much better apology, Goldberg and “The View” had Greenblatt as a guest. He said on the show, “There’s no question that the Holocaust was about race. That’s how the Nazis saw it as they perpetrated the systematic annihilation of the Jewish people across continents, across countries, with deliberate and ruthless cruelty.”
Goldberg’s apology seemed sincere and her latest remarks do seem to indicate she understands what she said was wrong.
And Greenblatt thanked and forgave Goldberg by tweeting, “Deeply appreciate @WhoopiGoldberg inviting me on to @TheView today to have an important discussion on the importance of educating about the Holocaust. Whoopi has been a long-time ally of the Jewish community and @ADL and her apology is very much welcome.”
But ABC still decided to suspend her. CNN’s Oliver Darcy wrote, “(Goldberg’s) comments bothered staffers across ABC News. While some accepted her apology, others believed disciplinary action was warranted, according to conversations with employees.”
The GOAT retires
The greatest football player in the history of the NFL (and that’s not even a debate, is it?) officially retired on Tuesday. Tom Brady — the quarterback who played in a remarkable 10 Super Bowls, winning seven of them — ended speculation and announced his retirement in a lengthy Instagram post.
At 44, Brady just finished his 22nd NFL season, and showed he still had plenty of elite-level football left in him. His Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their division and a playoff game before falling to the Los Angeles Rams in an overtime playoff game last week. Brady led the NFL in passing yards and touchdown passes this season, and will get serious consideration for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award.
In 20 seasons with the New England Patriots and two more with the Bucs, Brady set a bunch of NFL records, including most passing yards (84,250) and touchdown passes (624). But it’s the seven Super Bowl titles that set him apart as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and one of the best team-sports athletes in American sports history.
When talking about the greatest North American athletes of all time, Brady stands among giants — a mountain-top list that includes Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Wayne Gretzky.
Here’s some of the coverage from around the country:
- The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy with “Tom Brady goes down as the greatest athlete in the storied history of Boston sports.”
- The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian with “What is Tom Brady’s lasting legacy?”
- ESPN with “Tom Brady’s most memorable moment against all 32 NFL teams.”
- The Ringer’s Kevin Clark with “Tom Brady Remade the NFL in His Image and Changed Football Forever.”
- The Tampa Bay Times’ John Romano with “What Tom Brady and the Bucs gave each other should not be forgotten.”
- The New York Times’ Bill Pennington with “Tom Brady’s Impact Was Best Measured in Goose Bumps.”
- The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins with “On paper, Tom Brady was unremarkable. On the field, he grew into a legend.”
A sigh of relief
Many football fans are sad to see Brady retire. But two men who probably are not broken up about it? ESPN reporters Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington. The two reporters broke the news last Saturday that Brady was planning on retiring.
But that’s when things got interesting. Brady didn’t comment on the reports and said on his weekly podcast late Monday night that he still hadn’t come to a decision. Others, including the Bucs and Brady’s father, said they had not been told by Brady or anyone in his camp that he was retiring.
For a couple days, we were left to wonder if Brady really was retiring, and some even joked that Brady might return for another season just to spite those who reported his playing days were over.
It would appear, however, that Schefter and Darlington were right all along. While Brady said on the podcast that he was still deciding, it’s hard to imagine he had a thoughtful and lengthy statement just a few hours later. It’s most likely that Brady hesitated to confirm the ESPN report because he wanted to have more control over the news he was retiring.
Throughout it all, ESPN backed its reporters and geared much of its programming as if Brady would retire.
Still, Schefter, Darlington and ESPN will sleep a little easier knowing that they were not wrong.
The White House weighs in
White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the controversy surrounding Spotify and podcaster Joe Rogan. As I wrote in my Tuesday newsletter, several musicians, including legends Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, have asked Spotify to take down their music in protest over misinformation about COVID-19 that has been said on Rogan’s extremely popular podcast. Spotify said it will add advisories and links to reliable news sources on any podcast that discusses COVID-19 — which appears to be some sort of attempt to acknowledge some responsibility for what is said on podcasts, while not agitating podcast hosts and listeners.
When asked about it Tuesday, Psaki said, “This disclaimer, it’s a positive step, but we want every platform to be doing more to be calling out mis- and disinformation, while also uplifting accurate information. Ultimately, our view is that it is a positive step, but there is more that can be done.”
Psaki added, “Our hope is that all major tech platforms, and all major news sources for that matter, be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19. That certainly includes Spotify.”
From the Times to the Post
Big news in the journalism world. Taylor Lorenz, who covers technology at The New York Times, is headed to The Washington Post to become a columnist.
In its announcement, The Post said Lorenz’s columns “will feature the illuminating reporting she is known for and will focus on how technology is reshaping culture, how we communicate and connect, and the ways online influencers are reorienting our world.”
Lorenz had good things to say about the Times in a Twitter thread, tweeting, “I really can’t express how much love and gratitude I have for NYT. Since joining the NYT I’ve gotten to write some of my favorite stories, helped produce a documentary, covered major breaking news and got to work with some of the best writers and editors in the world.”
She added, “Being a reporter at NYT has been an ultimate dream. My colleagues are some of my favorite ppl on the planet. The hardest part of leaving is not being able to work with such incredible group of friends every day. It’s an amazing place, I’m excited to support them from the outside.”
Lorenz also thanked the editors at the Times.
But, her move appears generated by the idea that the Post is a better place for her to do what she wants to do.
Lorenz told Vanity Fair’s Charlotte Klein that she felt she had to “prove to people” that her reporting on stories about the creator economy and emerging platforms were worthwhile. She told Klein, “There’s not room for the commentary aspect.” She said she wants to take what she did at the Times and “blow it up bigger.”
Lorenz also spoke highly of the Post’s social media presence, especially TikTok, and other platforms, including podcasting and streaming.
From Klein’s story:
“I think that other legacy news organizations might share a different view where it’s always about service of the bigger brand and of course I’m on board with that,” she said, noting, “I’m not trying to be a YouTuber here.” But, she added, “I think there’s a balance, and I just felt like I kind of hit a ceiling” at the Times. “Like, okay, this is great, but what can I do to really expand?”
Lorenz joined the Times in 2019 from The Atlantic. She will be based in Los Angeles.
This time, the Post gets a big-time Times reporter. But just a month ago, investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Fahrenthold left the Post for the Times.
Black History Month
Tuesday was the first day of Black History Month. The image above is from a special section produced by USA Today that highlights the year 1972 and the push for economic and political change in America’s inner cities in the 1970s. Click here to get it online. In addition, Nichelle Smith, enterprise editor for racism and history at USA Today, writes, “In the crucible of historic change, I grew up Black and proud.”
Here are a few more pieces that you might find interesting:
- NPR’s Jonathan Franklin with “Here’s the story behind Black History Month — and why it’s celebrated in February.”
- Also from NPR, Greg Allen with “Remembering the man who ‘laid the groundwork for the modern civil rights movement.’”
- From Esquire’s Richard Morgan: “29 Days in February That Created Black History Month.”
- Commentator Angela Rye is joining ESPN as a special contributor. Through features, commentaries, and essays across various shows and platforms, Rye will offer perspective on sports-related matters of race and culture and social justice issues. Rye will continue hosting her podcast, “On One with Angela Rye.” In a statement, Rye said, “Sports plays a critical role in our culture, bringing joy to us all in the midst of unprecedented challenges. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give culturally relevant stories a voice on this iconic platform.”
- Here’s quite the story: The Guardian’s Jim Waterson with “Vice Media secretly organised $20m Saudi government festival.”
- Chuck Klosterman has a new book about the 1990s. Alexandra Jacobs reviews it for The New York Times.
- The Los Angeles Times is doing some shuffling with its newsroom leadership. Shelby Grad, who has been California and metro editor since 2014, will become deputy managing editor for news. Hector Becerra will become deputy managing editor for California and metro. And B.J. Terhune will become assistant managing editor for news. Here’s the Times’ announcement with all the details.
- Orange County Register sports columnist Mark Whicker is retiring after 35 years as a columnist. His final column: “The stories don’t end when a storyteller leaves.”
- Tom Howard, who has directed ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” since it started in 2001, is retiring. Awful Announcing’s Andrew Bucholtz has more, including a clip from “PTI” commemorating the occasion.
- Axios’ Sara Fischer with “BuzzFeed limits hiring after rough public debut.”
- CNN anchor Don Lemon, it was announced Tuesday, will host a weekly show on CNN+ when the streaming network launches this spring.
- The Winter Olympics kick off Friday in Beijing. To get you ready, the streaming NBC News NOW will air a special “Stars of Team USA” that debuts tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern and again at 1 a.m. Eastern, with additional airings in the coming days. Interviews and profiles include athletes such as skier Mikaela Shiffrin, snowboarders Shaun White and Chloe Kim, and the U.S. figure skating team. And NBC is bringing out its own stars for the program, including Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker. Savannah Sellers will host.
- Former NFL head coach Brian Flores will be on “CBS Mornings” this morning to talk about his blockbuster race discrimination lawsuit against the NFL. Here are the details of the suit from ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques.
- NBC News’ Mike Hixenbaugh with “Banned: Books on race and sexuality are disappearing from Texas schools in record numbers.”
- From The New York Times, Michael Levy with “The Loneliest Mountaineer on Everest.”
- Washington Post contributing columnist Leana S. Wen with “Yes, more variants may emerge in the future. That’s why we should lift restrictions now.”
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