Tuesday Open Thread | Remembering Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill, Award-Winning Political Reporter and Author, Dies at 61


Gwen Ifill, a groundbreaking journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and, most prominently, PBS, died on Monday at a hospice in Washington. She was 61.

The cause was complications of uterine cancer, her brother Roberto said.

In a distinguished career, Ms. Ifill was in the forefront of a journalism vanguard as a black woman in a field dominated by white men.

She achieved her highest visibility most recently, as the moderator and managing editor of the public affairs program “Washington Week” on PBS and the co-anchor and co-managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of “NewsHour,” competing with the major broadcast and cable networks for the nightly news viewership. They were the first all-female anchor team on network nightly news.

Wiki:  Gwendolyn L. “Gwen” Ifill, September 29, 1955 – November 14, 2016) was an American Peabody Award-winning journalist, television newscaster, and author. She was the moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and co-anchor and co-managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of PBS NewsHour, both of which air on PBS. Ifill was a political analyst and moderated the 2004 and 2008 American vice-presidential debates. She was the author of the best-selling book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.

Early life and education

Ifill was born in New York City, the fifth child[4] of African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister (Oliver) Urcille Ifill, Sr., a Panamanian of Barbadian descent who emigrated from Panama, and Eleanor Ifill, who was from Barbados.Her father’s ministry required the family to live in several cities in New England and on the Eastern Seaboard during her youth, where he pastored AME churches. As a child, she lived in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts church parsonages and in federally subsidized housing in Buffalo and New York City. She graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Simmons College, in Boston, Massachusetts.


While at Simmons College, Ifill interned for the Boston Herald-American and was hired after graduation by editors deeply embarrassed by an incident during her internship in which a coworker wrote her a note that read, “Nigger go home.” Later she worked for the Baltimore Evening Sun (1981–84), the Washington Post (1984–91), the New York Times (1991–94), and NBC.

In October 1999, she became the moderator of the PBS program Washington Week in Review. She was also senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Ifill appeared on various news shows, including Meet the Press.

In November 2006, Ifill co-hosted Jamestown Live!, a educational webcast commemorating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Virginia. She served on the board of the Harvard Institute of Politics, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Museum of Television and Radio, and the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates

On October 5, 2004, Ifill moderated the vice-presidential debate between the Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and the Democratic candidate and U.S. Senator from North Carolina John Edwards. Howard Kurtz described the consensus that Ifill “acquitted herself well” as moderator.

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87 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Remembering Gwen Ifill

  1. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    This is what we need to see EVERYWHERE when hateful racism rears its ugly head:

  2. rikyrah says:

    Donald Trump’s Tax Plan Would Hit Single Parents Hard

    Three major changes make Trump’s plan particularly hard on single parents.

    First, he would eliminate the head-of-household filing status, thus requiring single parents to file as individuals. By itself, that boosts tax rates for single parents at most income ranges.

    Second, although Trump would boost the standard deduction, he would eliminate personal and dependent exemptions, raising taxable income for all single parents who do not itemize.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Jason Miller ‏@longwall26 5h5 hours ago

    Bannon: I’m a racist
    Bannon’s supporters: He’s a racist
    Bannon’s opponents: He’s a racist
    Media: Is Steve Bannon a Racist? Critics Disagree

  4. rikyrah says:

    ‘You should be scared’: Trump supporters assault black woman with a brick and threaten to rape her
    15 NOV 2016 AT 17:10 ET

    An Oregon woman has filed a police report saying she was assaulted with a brick and threatened with rape by three men, with one telling her, “Now we got a president who finally feels how we feel.”

    According to KOIN, Kara Stevens stated that she was on her way into a Safeway store the day after the election when she was blindsided by a brick thrown at her, hitting her in the abdomen.

    “I just thought to myself, if I pass out from not being able to breathe and I hit the ground, it’s over,” Stevens said, adding, “I heard someone yell ‘Stupid n****r b*tch.’”

    Stevens described her assailants as three white men in their 30s or 40s who shouted at her and made references to President-elect Trump.

    “They yelled ‘Are you scared? Are you scared now? Because you should be,’ and then they said ‘Now we got a president who finally feels how we feel.’”

    According to Stevens she first drove home after the attack, only to go to the emergency room where doctors told her she suffered broken ribs from the assault.


  5. rikyrah says:

    GOP and Trump put deficit on back burner
    Giant infrastructure plan, major tax cut on the agenda — and so is a huge increase in the debt.

    For eight years, Republicans hammered President Barack Obama for exploding the national debt. But now a GOP-led spending spree is coming, with Donald Trump riding to the White House on trillion-dollar promises and a Republican Congress that looks likely to do his bidding. It’s a potential echo of the last time Republicans ran Washington, when then-Vice President Dick Cheney memorably remarked, ‘Deficits don’t matter.’”

    Trump campaigned heartily on a spending splurge and nothing he’s said since his shocking election suggests he will reverse course. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, are papering over divisions with the man who frequently tossed party orthodoxy aside on the trail.


  6. Ametia says:

    Check IT before you WRECK IT, Oprah

    During a Q&A between Winfrey and AvaDuVernay after a screening of the documentary “13th,” Oprah addressed the backlash to her tweet, reportedly telling the crowd, “Y’all heard about my tweet problems?” according to Entertainment Weekly.

    In the discussion, Winfrey expanded upon her initial tweet and acknowledged her mistake in calling for a unified response to an incredibly divisive moment in American history.

    “I couldn’t breathe after the election,” she said. “I was expecting tension, awkwardness, and strain … so when I saw them sitting together, I actually took a picture of the screen that said ‘President-elect Trump honored to meet Obama.’ And President Obama was being so gracious, and I heard Donald Trump say, ‘He’s a good man.’ I heard Donald Trump say, ‘I’m going to be seeking his counsel.’ I literally went [deep breath], ‘I can breathe now.’”

    Winfrey continued, “My mistake, and this is what I know to be true: You can never talk about everybody … Even in your arguments with your husband and your children. Don’t talk about what you should do, what you ought to do — you can only speak for yourself. So what I should have said was, ‘I just took a breath.’”

    The media icon also admitted that if she could do it again, she’d likely change the hashtag to #CivilityLives instead of #HopeLives because


  7. I cleaned out kitchen cabinets, threw away junk that I’m not going to use and making space to restock. How did that ish pile up?

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      It is so heartening to see this response of the student body standing up and standing with her. I hope to see this type of response happen wherever hatred or bigotry rears its ugly head.

  8. Ametia says:
    • Ametia says:

      “FREEST” That’s code for WHITE PRIVILEGE.

      >ran campaign on twitter, fighting with folks
      > Nude model wife, so-to-be. FLOTUS
      > No HX of taxes submitted
      > Ran on unadulterated RACISM, BIGOTRY, MISOGYNY, ISLAMAPHOIA,
      >FREE MEDIA TIME GALORE! and got elected

      • Liza says:

        These apologists are just making things worse.

        What are they going to say when Trump sends out the National Guard to put down the protests?

    • rikyrah says:

      coon on the pole

  9. That’s bullshit. They’ve already started. Some sick and shut ins can’t go out to shop and depend on others to do it for them. It’s unfair targeting of welfare recipients.


  10. rikyrah says:

    Obama Is Warning America About Trump’s Presidency. Are You Listening?
    November 15, 2016

    President Barack Obama’s remarks about Donald Trump in his Monday press conference contained some of the most ominous words I’ve heard since news networks began calling the election for Trump early last Wednesday morning. But you may not have heard them.


    There is a text and a subtext to everything politicians say in public, even ones without more elections to run. It was the subtext of Obama’s press conference that unnerved me.

    On the surface, his comments were reassuring. He was chipper. He did not doomsay. He searched for the generous and hopeful things to say about Trump and Trump’s designs on the presidency. But the sum total of his remarks, on close reading, were frightening—a stage-setting, at the very least, for an administration that Obama expects will be hobbled by incompetence and likely to fail.

    Obama kept returning to three basic themes: that Trump will be given every opportunity to succeed, thanks to the tutelage Obama and his team will be providing, and the fact Trump won’t be inheriting massive crises—which should give him the kind of running room Obama never enjoyed; that the work of a presidency is ceaseless, and much of it highly detail-oriented; and finally that Trump’s grasp of what he’s been elected to do is at best remedial.

    Obama may be subtly trying to communicate to the Trump transition team that they need to make massive strides, and quickly, or they will be, in Obama’s words, “swamped.” But his expectation that Trump and his entourage will get their act together is clearly very low.

    “The most important point I made,” Obama told reporters at the White House, referring to his conversation last week with Trump, “was that how you staff—particularly your chief of staff, your national security adviser, your White House counsel, how you set up a process and a system to surface information, generate options for a president, understanding that ultimately the president is gong to be the final decision maker, that that’s something that’s going to have to be attended to right away.”

    This was all accurate, but it was a way of saying that Trump is the first president in living memory not to have even passing knowledge of how a White House operation runs.

    Obama repeatedly touted the fact that Trump will be inheriting many advantages: low unemployment, rising incomes and wages, a historically low uninsurance rate, stable financial systems, a high stock market, strong international alliances, and cheap gasoline. Given the baseline Trump will inherit, Obama’s reminder that “the American people will judge over the next couple of years whether they like what they see” suggests a suspicion that many of these metrics will worsen once Trump takes over.

    When he was stumping for Hillary Clinton, Obama frequently noted the basic aspects of the presidency: that the office wouldn’t change Trump’s temperamental failures, but only magnify them. On Monday, Obama suggested that the only way around this potentially catastrophic problem would be to outsource aspects of the job which don’t suit his temperament to less erratic people.


    • Ametia says:


      YOU GOT ONE!

      Trump’ will dump his responsibilities on whomever he thinks or feels will make him look good. He and his spawns will milk his 15 minutes of fame for every penny it’s worth, before they attempt to further drag America down into the gutter.

  11. Liza says:

    Senate blocks $60 billion infrastructure plan, another part of Obama jobs bill https://t.co/12CDzx2Gya— Traci Blackmon (@pastortraci) November 15, 2016


    • Ametia says:

      That’s right House Dems, go celebrate Thanksgiving with your family & friends. We understand how TOUGH it’s been on each and everyone of you, while our bridges and roads are crumbling, and racist POS is about to slide his orange pasty ass into the Oval Office leather, while the media continues to chisel him into some stable pragmatist.



    • Liza says:

      “Tell Donald Trump to reject hate and bigotry.”

      That’s kind of like teaching a pig to sing, isn’t it? Good luck with that.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “Twitter is used extensively by terrorist organizations and other criminals.”

      So what this statement of declaration is saying is< The majority of Twitter users who are BLACK FOLKS, by the way, are "OTHER CRIMINALS"?

  12. Ametia says:


    So POTUS is traveling down that river in EGYPT called “DENIAL”, huh Dana Milbank?

    • Ametia says:

      President Barack Obama says that Donald Trump tapped into a troubling strain of rhetoric playing on Americans’ fears of globalization to win the presidency.

      Speaking in Athens, Greece, Obama said he recognized an “anger and fear in the American population” over threats of mechanization and globalization, but that Republican officials didn’t use facts when making their case about the US economy.

      “You’ve seen some of the rhetoric among Republican elected officials and activists and media. Some of it pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to facts, but being used effectively to mobilize people,” Obama said at a news conference. “And obviously President-elect Trump tapped into that particular strain within the Republican Party and then was able to broaden that enough and get enough votes to win the election.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    Ms. Ifill…gone way too soon

    • Ametia says:

      Gwen was a Caribbean girl.

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      I deeply admired and respected Ms. Gwen Ifill. She did not shy away from asking the necessary questions and went to the heart of things that needed to be covered that others in the media avoided.

      Losing her is a crushing blow to honest, incisive reporting.

      May she rest in peace.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Morning, Everyone.

  15. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone.

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