Displaying items by tag: Victoria Gaither

Wednesday, 06 May 2020 11:21

A Southeast Family Wiped Out by Coronavirus

The outbreak in the United States of the Covid 19 contagion ripped through Washington and New York. An eyewitness was and remains National Press Club NZ member Victoria Gaither. She was swept into the pandemic when an entire branch of her family was wiped out by it. In the Washington press she recorded her feelings on discovering that that for her the plague data had taken on a new face, one comprised of her own close relatives........

Washington, DC

Today news broke the drug Remdesivir might help patients recover quicker from the corona virus. Today, I also received a text saying my auntie Leslie Leake of Southeast Washington, DC died from the corona virus. While the drug isn't going to help Leslie, her daughter Nicky Leake or son John Leake Jr, who all died within weeks of contracting the deadly virus, I'm hoping it helps other Americans. 

But, today, I'm not thinking about all the other Americans just my two cousins, Nicky and John Jr, and auntie Leslie. Nicky worked at Washington Hospital Center and if you look at her Facebook page you can tell she loved her job but most of all she loved her family and children. She wanted the best for her kids and would stop at nothing to make sure they had the best. When her daughter, Eniah, graduated from high school last year, she pulled out all the stops. Eniah walked the red carpet at grandma Leslie's house, the hub, of family activity. Eniah's uncle John Jr would have been in the mix taking photos and fussing over Eniah. John Jr. was the clown! He always had a laugh and had the ability to make people laugh. A long career at the USPS, love of food, travel to Africa, and active at his family's church, Master's Child Church Worship Center. When the USPS come out with Journalist Gwen Ifill stamp John Jr. made sure I knew about it being a Broadcaster and fan of Ifill. Cousin Nicky also give me permission to use her photos in my presentation on Slavery in America in Foxton Beach, New Zealand. That was Nicky willing to help her cousin broadcaster and photojournalist. 

Mother Leake as many called her was the core, strength, glue, and lifeblood of the Leake family! She was the face of strength! Before covid-19 took her, she was heartbroken over daughter's Nicky's death but she died never knowing her youngest son, John Jr, was gone. While she was fighting for her life at George Washington Hospital, son John Jr. was fighting for his life at Howard University, so tragic and sad. In one family, three deaths and as I write, her husband John Sr. and grandson, Donte, have tested positive for the corona virus. The President calls this a silent virus but today its not silent as a church family, friends, extended family, colleagues, neighbors from near and far all grieve and asking 'why'? Why did this virus take so many in one family? Why did this invisible virus creep through the Leake family and wipe them out? Why are African American and Hispanic communities suffering from corona virus? Why, why, why? On his Facebook Live, Bishop Melvin Robinson Jr. the family's pastor, notified church members of Leslie's passing. It was just a day before he notified the church family of John Jr. passing. 

A mother, daughter, and son all gone within weeks of contracting the corona virus! The 600 Block of Alabama Ave Southeast Washington, DC will never be the same, summer cookouts, 4th of July, Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving will never be the same because at the end of the day three souls are gone. It's like the puzzle isn't complete and you can never find the pieces to put it back together again. Leslie Leake, Nicky Leake, and John Leake Jr., you are our missing piece to the puzzle! We love you!

Victoria Gaither

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Victoria Gaither with National Press Club treasurer Bryan Weyburne and Dr Ian CouttsVictoria Gaither with National Press Club treasurer Bryan Weyburne and Dr Ian Coutts

Reluctance to admit mistakes also contributes to erosion of faith in journalism claims US Broadcaster Victoria Gaither

Viewers are becoming increasingly confused about those they see on television. “Is the person a pundit, a contributor, a reporter? Asked United States broadcaster Victoria Gaither speaking to the National Press Club.

“Who exactly is what?” Miss Gaither followed up noting the growing disaffection of what she described as the “disempowered” voters, the ones who propelled Donald Trump into the presidency.

“All these new jobs crept into television news,” she observed, “and in the end, like the pollsters, they got it all wrong.”

Miss Gaither with US broadcaster Patricia Sexton

Miss Gaither with US broadcaster Patricia Sexton

The underpinning flaw in the media coverage of the presidential election and its aftermath was simply that the “quietest segment” of the population, the one far away from the coastal elites, had become “activated” and the media failed to realise it.

The mainstream’s failure to make corrections when rumour was put forward as fact, and later disproved, further contributed to the diminishing trust in the media.

There are frequent references to “fact checkers” observed the Washington National Press Club stalwart, but never is there a candid admission to the effect “we messed up.”

Instead, there is an attempt to “gloss over” the incident.

This behaviour constantly “erodes” the quiet segment of the electorate’s “faith in journalism,” as does the mainstream’s continuing to ignore these same people

With media lawyer Graham Holmes

With media lawyer Graham Holmes

In her no-notes address and commenting on president Trump’s role as an agent of change Miss Gaither urged the US mainstream to accept the shifts that the “unfiltered” president had wrought in this activation of the hitherto quiet segment, as she described the demographic.

This portion of the electorate will remain “activated” regardless of whether the mainstream approved of this state of affairs.

The closure of newspapers in the Midwest of the United States was a contributor to this sense this new quiet constituency had of “losing their voice.”

Miss Gaither who is a radio entrepreneur in the Central Districts of New Zealand had returned to this country only days before reported the strong current media interest in several recent events here.

Printer Jeff Beaumont with Melody Criglington and Gail Isaac

Printer Jeff Beaumont with Melody Criglington and Gail Isaac

One was the pick up on the picaresque holidaying family of gypsies or “travellers” from Britain strewing their refuse over beauty spots, standing over any locals seeking to challenge them, and generally behaving like an outlaw band.

Another was the coverage of prime minister Jacinda Ardern giving birth while in office and then taking Baby Neave with her to proceedings at the United Nations.

Earthquakes were routinely covered.

She noted the heavy coverage about the United States in New Zealand, which contrasted with the paucity of news from and about the United Kingdom, notably about Brexit.

Emmy-award winning Miss Gaither began her career at ABC with Ted Koppel and worked throughout the United States, notably in Baltimore and the Midwest.

The speaker displayed a selection of Beltway accessories

The speaker displayed a selection of Beltway accessories

Conceding the continuing unease in Washington due to the presidential unpredictability and the between- tweets-apprehension she also discounted the slew of inquiries, especially the long-running one conducted by Robert Mueller as an example of investigation overload.

Beyond the beltway and the political classes there existed an investigation fatigue in which investigation communiques “went in one ear and out the other.”

Contrary to the impression radiated by the US media, president Trump’s base “Hispanics-you-name them” still held firm.

Neither, as the mainstream had predicted, had president Trump “fractionated” the Republican Party.

Recalling that her great great grandmother had been a slave, Miss Gaither clarified overseas impressions about racial allegiances, notably one prevalent in the Commonwealth to the effect that it was the Democrat Party that was historically tied to the emancipation of slaves.

In the historical event it was the Republican Party under President Lincoln that had been responsible for ending slavery.

It was the Democratic Party’s failure to see that loyalties it had subsequently built up were fraying that was still another still only partially recognised factor leading to the Trump ascendancy, she commented.

Central Districts visitors Brian and Carole Jackson with Martin Jenkins

Central Districts visitors Brian and Carole Jackson with Martin Jenkins

New Zealand she concluded was a victim of the US mainstream media’s being dazzled by the Beltway- coastal enclave elites and political classes and their corresponding inability to peer into the middle of their own country and thus analyse what was actually going on.

New Zealand media feeds came exclusively from this self-same mainstream media with its deliberate narrow opinion and news gathering catchment.

Thus New Zealand and without understanding it became the passive victim of this restricted coverage, confined as it was, and is, to news and opinions derived from unrepresentative socio-geographic zones.

In place of taking an objective analysis of events, and learning from them, the mainstream instead was wringing its collective hands and asking itself “How did all this happen?”

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Washington Club Member
Runs Central Districts
Radio Station

Washington National Press Club member Victoria Gaither (pictured at right) is now running a radio station in the heart of New Zealand’s Central Districts.

She worked for many years for ABC and NBC and began her career with ABC’s Ted Koppell one of the signature broadcaster anchors during the heyday of network television.

After her tour as news anchor, reporter, and producer she anticipated the present era of narrow-casting and decided to focus on community broadcasting.

It was now that she encountered New Zealand community broadcast specialist Stu Frith. The result is the Central Districts station, International Connection Radio.

The region has long been regarded as favourable to news media in all its forms. In recent memory the two main centres, Wanganui and Palmerston North, each supported morning and afternoon daily newspapers.

In the Westminster sphere, New Zealand was a pioneer in the introduction of private radio and the region has long hosted an in-depth variety of broadcasters.

The station is based in the old flax port town of Foxton which remains the region’s heritage focus.

She has found the area quite literally receptive to the introduction of enhanced community participation broadcasting which she describes as being in essence a form of networking.

Under the New Zealand club’s reciprocal arrangement with the Washington National Press Club, Victoria Gaither enjoys full membership rights.






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Wednesday, 30 June 2010 21:57

Past Speakers

Among those who have spoken to the National Press Club in recent years have been:

HE Syed Ibne Abbas
Richard V Allen
HE Robert Alston
Guillermo Altares
Hon Jim Anderton, MP
Lord Archer
Ed Asner
Rowan Atkinson
Tim Barnett, MP
Kim Beazley
Sir James Belich
Michael Bentine
Sir Paul Beresford
Georgina Beyer MP
HE Saaed Bhatti
Acker Bilk
Sir Gordon Bisson
Michael Bloomberg
Sir Chay Blythe
Michelle Boag
Rt Hon Jim Bolger
Tom Bradley
Don Brash
Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun
Simon Brickles
Baroness Brigstock
Geraldine Brooks
Gerry Brownlee MP
Tom Burns
Elizabeth Calder
Alastair Cooke
Sir Roger Cork
Pam Corkery
HE Robert Cotton
Baroness Caroline Cox
Ian Cross
Hon Dr. Michael Cullen, MP
David Cunliffe MP
Dr. Theodore Dalrymple
Trevor de Cleene, MP
Bernard Diedrich
HE Gary Domingo
John Douglas
Karl du Fresne
Hon. Peter Dunne, MP
Dick Emery
Hon. Bill English, MP
Patrick Ensor
James Fallows
HE Richard Fell
Ian Fletcher
Frederick Forsyth

  Dr Liam Fox
Ian Fraser
Victoria Gaither
Nicholas Garland
Sir Douglas Graham
Nicky Hager
Christopher Harder
Cynthia Heimel
Paul Henry
Gerald Hensley
Chaim Herzog
Charlton Heston
Claire Hollingworth
Marc Holtzman
Michael Horton
Barry Humphries
Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt
Glenda Jackson
Paul Johnson
Sue Kedgley
Thomas Keneally
John Key MP
Peter Kittakachorn
Air Vice Marshall Robin Klitscher
Philip Knightley
Winnie Laban MP
Rt Hon Lee Kuan Yew
HH The Dalai Lama
Rt Hon David Lange
Connie Lawn
Judy Lessing
Lord Levene
Bernard Levin
Andrew Little MP
Gerald Long
Dr Sharon Lord
Carolyn Machado
Peter Mahon
Ron Mark MP
HE Otto Mattei
Dame Judith Mayhew
Murry McCully MP
Gerald McGhie
Patrick McGovern
Hon Don McKinnon
Tony Molloy QC
Sir Nick Montagu
Tony Molloy QC
Mike Moore, MP
Trevor Morley
Malcolm Muggeridge
Viscount Monckton

Dame Thea Muldoon
Hon Robert Muldoon
Steve Norris
Barrie Osborne
Terence O'Brien
Hon Winston Peters
Sir William Pickering
Daniel Pipes
Jean Plantureux (Plantu)
John Platts Mills QC
Kawana Pohe
Hon Richard Prebble
Gordon Ramsay
George Reedy
Hon Robert Reich
James Reston
Elliot Richardson
Commissioner Robbie Robinson
John Ralston Saul
Rt Hon Jenny Shipley, MP
Peter Shirtcliffe
Prince Norodom Sihanouk
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo
Sir Dryden Spring
Ambassador Charles Swindells
Peter Switzer
Hon. John Tamihere, MP
Oliver Tambo
Nandor Tanczos, MP
Lord Tebbit
Mark Tier
Lester Thurow
Peter Troughton
Hon Taria Turia MP
Simon Upton
Sir Peter Ustinov
Count Otto Von Lambsdorff
Terry Waite
Kurt Waldheim
Asher Wallfish
Peter Walters
John Wareham
Auberon Waugh
Terence White
HE Martin Williams
Maj. Gen Peter Williams
Ian Wishart
Martin Wolf
Richard Woods
David Yallop

Hon solicitor: Jack Hodder LLM

Lifetime Achievement Award Holders
Peter Arnett, Sir Geoffrey Cox, Pat Booth, Frank Haden, Connie Lawn, Sir Terry McLean, Graham Stewart MNZM

Life Members
Denis Adam, Tim Birch, Paul Cavanagh, Catherine de la Roche, Gavin Ellis, Rt Hon. Jonathan Hunt ONZ,
Jack Kelleher, Ralph Lenton, Warren Page, Pat Plunket, Paul Prince, Derek Round MNZM, Graham Stewart, Sir Christopher Harris

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