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Groundbreaking White House Reporter Dies

Lee Thornton, an African-American woman who broke network barriers when she started reporting from the West Wing, was 71.

By Chris Hoenig


Lee Thornton, the first Black woman to earn the coveted White House beat for one of the nation's major news networks, has died.

Thornton covered the Carter administration for CBS News starting in 1977, just three years after joining the network. After leaving the White House, she became the first Black co-host on NPR's All Things Considered, joining the program on weekends in 1982. Thornton then moved to CNN, where she produced Both Sides With Jesse Jackson in the early '90s.

Thornton followed a path laid by Alice Allison Dunnigan, the first Black woman to get White House press credentials. (Dunnigan was the White House correspondent for the Associated Negro Press starting in 1948.) Like Dunnigan, Thornton also had a passion for teaching, where she began her career; she left broadcasting in 1997 to become a journalism professor at the University of Maryland.

After earning a master's degree at Michigan State University and a doctorate from Northwestern University, Thornton worked as a speech therapist and communications instructor. She started her broadcasting career at a Cincinnati TV station.

Thornton, who died on Sept. 25 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, is survived by her sister, Marilyn Thornton, and mother, Betty. She was 71.

Black Women Have Higher Rates of Life-Threatening Birth Complications

New study shows women of color have a 70 percent higher rate of major birth problems, even when they suffer the same health ailments as white women.

REUTERS

The University of Michigan released a study that shows women of color have higher rates of major birth problems. Many required emergency treatment such as blood transfusions — a staggering three-quarters of cases —for women suffering a serious hemorrhage.

The study of 40,873 women between 2012-2015 revealed Black women had 70 percent higher rate of severe birth-related health issues than white women, and that a disparity existed in terms of needing life-saving treatment—50.5 Black mothers vs. 40.9 white mothers per 10,000.

Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts, according to the C.D.C.

"Celebrities like Serena Williams who have shared their birth-related emergency stories publicly have drawn the national spotlight to the urgent need to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care for women around the time of delivery. To drive and target those changes, we need specific data like these," said Lindsay Admon, M.D., M.Sc., the study's lead author.

Williams, who has a history of blood clots, began feeling short of breath in the hospital the day after her daughter Alexis Olympia was born. A nurse said her pain medication was likely confusing her, but Williams was persistent and it saved her life.

"Situations like these are often considered near misses, and looking at them allows us to get a better picture of who the high-risk women really are," said Admon, an obstetrician at Michigan Medicine's Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital, and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Maternal Morbidity: Study reveals disparities by race and ethnicity.

All women who had chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, depression or substance use issues before giving birth had a higher risk for the continuation of those problems post-child birth, but women of color with two or more conditions were two to three times more likely to have major birth problems than white women.

White women had higher rates of depression and substance use issues than any other group, but the risk for birth problems was lower than women of color with the same health issues.

While Medicaid pays for almost two-thirds of all births among women of color, access to care is another issue that affects births and post birth health. Medicaid pays for more than a third of births of white and Asian women.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Blacks and Latinos were more likely than whites to face barriers in access to health care.

Between 2013 and 2015, disparities with whites narrowed for Blacks and Latinos in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, including the percentage of uninsured working-age adults, the percentage who skipped care because of costs, and the percentage who lacked a regular care provider.

Medicaid pays for most procedures for women of color.

Old White Republican Bullies Attack Kavanaugh's Accuser and Anita Hill

"You're talking about history … I'd hate to have someone ask me what I did 35 years ago," said Senator Charles Grassley. Maybe somebody should.

REUTERS

Senators Orrin Hatch and Charles Grassley, both now in their mid 80s, were there for the Clarence Thomas hearings, and they bullied Anita Hill. Forty-one Republicans and 11 Democrats voted to give Clarence Thomas a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Now, they're bullying Christine Blasey Ford.

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Woman Accusing Brett Kavanaugh of Sexual Assault Willing to Testify Before Senate Panel

Lawyer said of her client: "She believes, that but for his inebriation and his inability to take her clothes off, he would have raped her."

REUTERS TV

Christine Blasey Ford will relive trauma from more than 30 years ago as her alleged attacker, Brett Kavanaugh, sits through confirmation hearings, which could place him in a seat of power over law for a generation.

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White Police Officer Charged With Manslaughter for Shooting Black Man in His Own Apartment

Dallas family protested the officer being free and on leave for three days after the killing.

SCREENSHOT FROM "CBS THIS MORNING" BROADCAST

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who is white, fatally shot a 26-year-old Black man, Botham Jean, in his own apartment on Thursday, claiming she entered what she thought was her own home.

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Obama to Trump: We're Supposed to Stand up to Discrimination and to Nazi Sympathizers

To voters: You can make sure that white nationalists don't feel empowered to march in Charlottesville in the middle of the day.

CLICK ON DETRIOT

Former President Barack Obama kicked off his campaigning for November's midterms, on Friday afternoon, and took jabs at President Trump and the spineless backbones of his Republican constituents.

Obama spared no expense rebuking the administration's actions that have emboldened racists.

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Angela Rye Questions What it Would be Like Working in Trump's White House

"Should I go work for the KKK and try to help them not be so racist? Probably not," Rye stated.

The absence of diversity in the President Trump's administration has been a subject of ongoing debate.

In an interview on Thursday with "The Breakfast Club," a radio show based in New York City, Angela Rye, an attorney, political commentator and a leader of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, implied that the predominantly white, White House is intentional.

"This is the least diverse White House in decades," Rye said. "They are definitely trying to bring it back to the real white house."

According to an analysis from The New York Times, Trump's cabinet contains more white men than that of the last six presidents. Trump's 24-member advisory body has four women and four minorities.

The radio show hosts asked Rye if Black people should aspire to work in the White House to try and bring about change.

Rye responded: "Should I go work for the KKK and try to help them not be so racist? Probably not."

Trump's racism has been well documented, from calling immigrants "animals," "criminals," and "rapists," to his "sh**hole countries" comment about African countries, to saying Maxine Waters has a "low IQ," and calling Black athletes "sons of bitches."

Related Story: If You Support Trump, You Hate Who I Am

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said she "can't guarantee" that Trump has never used a racial epithet, yet also said the White House values diversity, and is trying to increase it.

After being pressed by reporters to give numbers of Black staffers in the West Wing, Sanders said, "I'm not going to do a count — the same way I'm not going to do a sit-down and count up the [number of Black] staffers that are in your news organizations."

In April, the White House drew backlash for its lack of diversity after releasing a photo of spring interns who appeared to be all white.

Obama's White House had seven women and 10 minorities in his first 22-member Cabinet, including Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor who sat in the West Wing, in many meetings including the situation room.

That's 32% female and 45% minorities for Obama, and 17% female and minorities for Trump.

Of Trump's White House: "There's not a single Black person shaping policy, sitting in the White House," said Rye. "Steven Miller, a bigot, is shaping immigration policy."

Fox News Slammed for Confusing Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle in Botched Tribute

"It's probably hard for anyone who works at Fox News to tell Black people apart because they've never worked with any."

TWITTER

Fox News attempted to pay tribute to icon Aretha Franklin, who passed away Thursday at age 76, but the network failed.

In a video tribute, viewers noticed that a graphic around the 3-minute 30-second mark had a glaring error, which anyone who understood and appreciated Black culture would have recognized.

The picture of Franklin alongside the text "1942-2018" is accurate. However, the picture in the upper right corner of a woman singing is actually Patti LaBelle.

Fox News issued a statement of apology:

"We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin's family and friends. Our intention was to honor the icon using a secondary image of her performing with Patti LaBelle in the full screen graphic, but the image of Ms. Franklin was obscured in that process, which we deeply regret."

However, the image in question was taken during LaBelle's 2014 performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for former President Barack Obama. Franklin was present at the event, but she did not perform with LaBelle.

Fox News is incorrect, again.

Twitter users, celebrities included, threw down the hammer at the network:

Since the preseason opener for the Miami Dolphins, where three players, Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, and Robert Quinn, kneeled/raised fists during the national anthem, the protests have been met with criticism from local police.

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