UM men’s basketball looks ready


The 2014-15 University of Miami men’s basketball team seems to be very confident about its upcoming season, which started Nov. 6.

With transfer Angel Rodriguez from Kansas State University having to red-shirt last year, Deandre Burnett having to sit out as well because of a medical red-shirt (wrist injury) and Sheldon McClellan red-shirting after transferring from Texas, these three are expressing lots of excitement and anticipation for a successful season.

From hashtags on their Instagram pictures’ captions saying #TheReturn or #returnofthemac to their ambiance walking around campus, Miami basketball fans are expecting an expecting to see lots of talent and execution on the court.

Kristian Brown, junior majoring in sports management said what she expects out of this season. “I don’t know, there’s a lot of hype about Angel, Sheldon, Dre and the team as a whole,” Brown said. “That’s what’s getting me to want to go to the games; I gotta see this!”

On Instagram about two weeks ago, when the basketball team was getting ready for its first game, Rodriguez posted a picture of him and McClellan in their uniforms with the caption reading, “Yo Mac! It’s almost that time #TheReturn”

Also, as far back as 13 weeks ago, McClellan posted a picture of himself posing under the Miami sun with the caption, “Beautiful first day of the month in the 305!!! Life is good right now…. In case you ain’t heard, it’s almost that time #3monthsleft #WaitIsAlmostOver”

Who isn’t going to get pumped when seeing something like this? Fans are wondering what they are referring to when they say things like this, what wait? What exactly are we waiting for?

Chantz Mack, former Miami baseball player and senior in criminology, is interested to see what this team is all about.

“I’m hearing a lot of good things about these guys, I want to see what they’re all about,” Mack said. “I hear Dre was third in the nation in scoring in high school!”

The Miami Hurricanes will be playing Howard University at 7 p.m. in the Bank United Center on Friday, Nov. 14.

Media focus on Putin, China’s First Lady


At an APEC event in Beijing on Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin put a shawl over the shoulders of Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Peng Liyuan kindly accepted the offer, but seconds later she slipped the shawl off into the hands of a waiting aide.

The small act aroused media’s attention and put Chinese First Lady in the news again.

Since Peng Liyuan’s first debut as China’s First Lady in March, 2013, she grabbed the world’s attention and media began to notice her and her clothes.

Peng Liyuan sang at Chinese New Year Gala.

Peng Liyuan sang at the Chinese New Year Gala.

Peng Liyuan is China’s most enduring pop-folk icon and performing artist. She gained popularity as a singer from her regular appearances on the annual CCTV New Year’s Gala (a widely viewed Chinese television program during Chinese New Year).

She holds a master’s degree in traditional ethnic music and now serves as the dean of the Art Academy of the People’s Liberation Army. She holds the rank of a major general.

When it was announced that Xi Jinping would become China’s next president, people even joked: “Who is Xi Jinping? He is Peng Liyuan’s husband.”

At Peng’s international debut as China’s First Lady, she wore a belted overcoat, accented by a stand-up collar and a light blue scarf in Moscow. Smiling radiantly, she shook hands with the Russian hosts, a step or two behind her husband.

The glamorous and fashionable look leaves a good impression. Chinese analysts even think that Peng can similarly help burnish China’s image overseas.

“Because of her performer’s background and presence, I think she will definitely add points for her husband,” said Tian Yimiao, an associate professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. “It could make her into a diplomatic idol.”

It seems that Peng’s star power will push the diplomats into the background. The only one concern is that she might unintentionally upstage Chinese president.

Does Japan-China relationship change?


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Beijing on Nov. 10, 2014.

The meeting lasted just 25 minutes. President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan tried a new beginning; however, the atmosphere is not that optimistic.

Through body language, two leaders seemed a little awkward. Before they were seated, Premier Abe spoke to President Xi. Cameras caught that instead of listening and answering, Xi turned toward the photographers to snap an awkward, less enthusiastic handshake.

“Obviously, Xi did not want to create a warm or courteous atmosphere,” said Kazuhiko Togo, director of the Institute for World Affairs at Kyoto Sangyo University interviewing with The New York Times. “It was a very delicate balancing act for Xi.”

Chinese news media also maintains negative opinion. The news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as saying: “Severe difficulties have emerged in Sino-Japanese relations in recent years, and the rights and wrongs behind them are crystal clear.”

Nonetheless, Abe holds an optimistic opinion.

“Japan and China, we need each other,” Abe told a news conference at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. “We are in a way inseparably bound together.”

The tension between Japan and China has been existed in recent years. It started with the crisis over the islands. In September 2012, the Japanese government purchase Diaoyu island in China from a private owner.

The Chinese, who claim the islands were wrongfully taken from them by Japan at the end of the 19th century, sent squadrons of paramilitary vessels into the waters around the islands, and Japanese Coast Guard boats fended them off in what became a cat-and-mouse-game.

From World War II to nowadays, Japan and China had conflicts on many issues. Those contradictions are unable to be melted by a 25 minute meeting. In the future, it is possible that two countries can get long with one another.

Let the teams decide who’s best


There has obviously been a lot of controversy in the news lately about everything from Ebola to athlete conduct. Something has been rarely talked about however, is the new college football playoff system.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea. The Southeastern Conference is not as dominant anymore as teams from all across the nation begin to land top recruits and coaches. There’s more of an even playing field. Every conference gets an opportunity to prove its worth.

However, there are a couple things I am not thrilled with. The sportscasters seem to lose their minds every week whenever a team gets upset. All they can talk about is how it will affect the playoffs. They need to relax and actually analyze past and future match-ups because, as we see literally every year, it all works itself out. The cream rises to the top.

The other issue will be the post-season fallout. If one team gets blown out in a game, the entire year’s conversation will be about how undeserving they were to be in the playoffs and how they didn’t play a strong enough schedule. This will affect the playoffs for years to come because analysts will reason that since one conference was destroyed in the playoffs before, history will repeat itself. This leads to an imbalance in conferences once again and the cycle will repeat.

Gives other teams a chance.

Do news media exacerbate the problem?


It’s an age-old question: can the news media be blamed for exacerbating an issue? Do the means by which an issue is covered or relayed to the public really affect the way the audience perceives an issue?

The answer is absolutely yes.

Numerous times throughout history, the media covered issues in such a way that caused unnecessary, misguided, and even angry reactions from the public.

When it comes to the “crisis” of Ebola in the United States, that is exactly what occurred.

In early October, the media released that the first case of Ebola had arrived in the United States, carried by a Liberian man named Thomas Duncan who had just returned from a trip to West Africa.

Duncan was hospitalized in Texas, where he died eight days after his diagnosis. While he was being treated, two of the nurses caring for him were infected with the disease, however they were treated successfully and declared safe.

When all of this started happening just over a month ago, every news media website, TV station, radio station, you name it, was reporting about it.

It was everywhere.

Naturally, people took to social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, to spread the news and their feelings of terror. This only made the problem seem worse.

Pretty soon, Ebola was “the new plague” and people across the nation were terrified of catching it and ran the other way as soon as someone coughed or sneezed by them!

This fear was only worsened by the media exacerbating the issue and making it seem like Ebola was an airborne virus that one could catch at any moment, when in fact Ebola can only be transmitted through bodily fluids, blood and objects such as needles.

If the media hadn’t blown the Ebola issue way out of proportion and shared more of the facts with people before alerting everyone to take precautions, it wouldn’t have become such a huge issue.

But never fear! It appears the last known case of Ebola in the United States was just cured last night in NYC and our country is safe once more. That is, until the news media find another disease with which to scare everyone.

‘Unseen influences’ taint media


Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS News reporter, alleged her computer was hacked by a government agency for reasons that include an attempt to conceal the causes of the 2012 Benghazi attack.

Attkisson recently discussed “the unseen influences on and manipulation of the images and information the public receives in the media.” She quite her job at CBS News because she did not like the way the network avoided stories it feared would illicit pushback from corporations or politicians. She warned that “unseen and undisclosed paid interests are behind the images.” In essence, “PR officials and propagandists may organize and fan out… to manipulate information and give the impression that there is great support for or opposition to an issue or person,” she explained.

What this means for the public is that content must be digested and contemplated thoroughly. People must become more active readers and think critically to decide whether a story is likely to be reliable.

This places undue burden on the public, since people can’t be experts in every field and since their full-time job is not as an investigative journalist.

The press is fundamental to a healthy democracy. For it to function properly, networks must not be agenda-driven, accept bribery, or be fearful of government or corporate retaliation. As one opinion columnist for The Guardian put it, the media need to stop being a “lapdog” and return to being a “watchdog.” Every appropriate measure must be taken to present accurate, unbiased information to the people it serves, the public.

‘Nightcrawler’ focuses on local TV news


In the new film “Nightcrawler,” Jake Gyllenhaal plays a freelance videographer journalist who lives by the motto: “It bleeds, it leads.”

The filmmakers, Dan and Tony Gilroy, have said in interviews that their purpose behind making this movie was not simply to entertain, but rather to force people to consider and acknowledge what news media has become in the digital age.

Dan Gilroy was critical about local news.

“(Local news) is all about selling the statistically disproved narrative that urban crime is creeping into the suburbs. To spread fear and grab viewers. They package it all like news, but it comes out as a narrative to spread fear,” he stated.

Gilroy also stressed the idea that filmmakers, just like journalists, serve as a bridge between true news and the public. As this bridge, journalists must evaluate every piece of information that is presented to them and judge it based on validity and urgency before releasing it to public knowledge.

“The facility and ease with which these images are now coming at us, we have to decide on a minute-by-minute basis what we let in and what we don’t,” Gilroy said. “The viewers are the users of the images that get shown on TV. We are part of that system; whatever is being fed to us, and we consume it like fast food, keeps coming because we seem to demand it.”

Although many people may agree with this assumption about news media, it is also important to acknowledge the audience of the film and recognize their motivations for watching it in the first place.

Since this particular movie contains a lot of violence, one could that the graphic content is what draws viewers, and not the exposure of news media and journalism truths. This fact will also be important to considers when reviewing the reasons for the successes and/or failures of the movie.

Movie Pilot’s Lisa Carol Fremont argues: “We are a society weaned on and fattened up by rubbernecking journalism and worse than that, we are complicit in it. Lou (Gyllenhaal’s character) is just another cog in this giant machine that seems to celebrate real life violence, heartache and human ugliness.”

Fremont agrees with the notion that “Nightcrawler” as a film isn’t so much a reflection of the news industry as it is on the audience and its escalating taste for thrill and violence.

The role of the fixer


Amanda Lindhout was a Canadian freelance journalist when she was taken by Islamist insurgents in Somalia around 2008. Daniel Pearl was working for the Wall Street Journal when he was kidnapped by Pakistani militants in 2002 for investigating further into the “shoe-bomber” case. Steven Sotloff was an American freelance journalist when he was taken by ISIL militants in Syria last year.

A lot of the times, we don’t hear about these journalists unfortunately until their deaths or rescues are brought to the forefront. We don’t tend to hear about how the journalists made their way through enemy territories, how they managed to efficiently communicate during their time there, where they found their sources.

At the source of all of this maneuvering, this bribing and threatening, this sneaking around and truth-seeking are the fixers, those who work behind the scenes. In reality, the journalist has a stuntman.

Lindhout, after 15 months of captivity, shared her story with the world in her novel A House in the Sky. In this, she expressed something of concern: the fixer’s tendency to prioritize big-name papers over freelancers. However, she later expressed something of even more concern: the fixer’s deaths going unnoticed.

This week, Ilene Prusher, a multimedia journalist based in Jerusalem, visited the University of Miami to talk about her book: Baghdad Fixer. Journalists like Lindhout and Prusher have acknowledged the sacrifices that fixers make for journalists and essentially, the truth.

Just like the journalist, the fixer pursues the story — many times endangering him or herself and family. Many do not know the story of Yosef Abobaker, Steven Sotloff’s fixer who was also kidnapped on that fateful day and tried his best to save Sotloff. Although Abobaker was released, he was threatened by ISIS. After he was freed, he was never interviewed by any American officials or investigators.

All I propose is that if the world paid more attention to these unknown heroes, a lot more information could be offered up — helping journalists from nations and publications everywhere.

To read the story on Yosef Abobaker:

The cost of delaying immigration reform


President Obama’s decision to postpone immigration reform cost some Democrats their seats in the midterm elections.

Democrat’s performance among the Hispanic community was not as good as in previous years.

Certainly, Hispanics are not happy with Obama’s job about the immigration reform. There have been more than enough excuses to postpone this reform and nothing has been done other than deporting undocumented immigrants and separating Hispanic families.

“The ideal candidate for a Latino is one who recognizes the value of family and the importance of not tearing families apart and keeping them strong,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO and president of Voto Latino. “They would be on a platform to pass immigration form and they would see it as the civil rights issue of our time. They would have a frank conversation with America saying we will not be economically viable without the immigrants and their labor and their sweat.”

On the other hand, Republicans improved performance among Latinos in Tuesday’s elections.

President’s decline to act on immigration before midterm elections also made Republicans take control of some “Democratic territories.”

Latinos make up a large portion of the United States and they have a big influence on Election Day.

Clearly, lower Hispanic votes for Democrats affected some Democratic candidates in the midterm elections, including Charlie Crist, who lost his race for governor in Florida.

Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign focused on unemployment and tax decreases in Florida, but also criticized Crist as a political opportunist and “supporter of President Barack Obama” and certainly, not many people in Florida like what Obama is doing according to the election results.

Exit polls indicate that the Republicans had more Hispanic votes from 27 percent in 2012 to 35 percent in Tuesday’s elections.

The president’s delayed action on immigration led to Democratic positions losses leaving Obama with a Republican-controlled Senate.

“There could be civil war among Democrats unless Barack Obama uses his authority to suspend deportations of undocumented immigrants,” warned Luis Gutierrez, the U.S Representative for Illinois’s 4th Congressional district.

The NBC News political team speculated: “Given the current situation, we think the White House wishes it went ahead and issued that executive action on immigration back in the summer.”

Tuesday’s results could have been different for Democrats if the president had taken different actions regarding the immigration issues.

Reporter too attractive for athletes?


Katarina Sreckovic, a 25-year-old sports reporter, found herself in some sort of trouble with the Red Star Belgrade soccer club for distracting its players while reporting on the sideline.

“I admit it was a problem at the start, but I think they’ve got used to me now. It was tough, though, because for a while it seemed as if they might not be able to work with me at all,” Sreckovic told CEN“I was also asked to go away a couple of times because I was a distraction on the pitch and players complained that they couldn’t concentrate.”

This is ridiculous to me because as long as Sreckovic (or any other “attractive” reporter) is doing her job, strictly reporting, being professional and not doing anything purposely to distract these athletes, then she is in good standing. Maybe The Red Star Belgrade soccer club needs to focus more on its players and making sure their heads are in the game, rather than sitting there, checking out the reporter.

Also, the fact that the players complained that they are incapable of concentrating is astounding. They must be hormonal teenagers seeing a woman for the very first time. These players either do not care about the game or are just very immature.

Sreckovic worked very hard to keep her job because, according to her, it is her “dream job.” In my opinion, she should not have to sacrifice her dream job for some men that cannot seem to control themselves.

“Backpacking” — not just for tourism


Journalism has entered a new era. With tight budgets and evolving technologies, adaptation has become a staple. (Adaptation towards the “minimalist” for the most part, though. Cutting on the middlemen, who represent “unnecessary” expenses when having technology handy that make things easy.)

As a result, efficiency and productivity has boosted within the industry. Tools for instant, global, visual communication have paralleled and managed to adjustment throughout this evolutionary process destined  for convenience.

Unintentionally, this has propelled a new form of journalism.

As mentioned before, the countless benefits of new technology continue to open up the door to better and improved tools for journalists and thus the industry.

Now we can all easily fit a video camera, laptop, editing software and hard drive into one backpack. And with this concept in mind people started to wonder … if you already got it all wouldn’t you be also able to do it all?

Here the birth of “Backpack Journalism”

The term expects for one to be an “all-inclusive journalist.” A multi-tasker. A complete combo.

It requires for the journalist to be a reporter, photographer and videographer, as well as an editor and producer of stories. It is a one-person team. This takes out the cost of having other members of a “crew” on site.

Some producers see the method as a key to unlocking new techniques of storytelling and certainly, for some instances, developing personalized or in-depth approaches to the occurrence of the event.

Agree or disagree one thing is certain.You’ll be traveling for many miles if you really want to “get the heart of the matter” of your story no?. And hey, wouldn’t this be an alternative form of tourism? Time to pack those bags!

Are Kylie Jenner’s lips news?


One of the younger members of the infamous Kardashian clan has been grabbing the media’s attention lately. That’s not surprising, considering the reality TV star family has been know to do whatever it takes to stay in the spotlight.

The odd part about it is that the focus is not aimed directly at Kylie Jenner, but at her lips. 

People (who clearly pay way too close of attention to celebrities) have noticed that Jenner’s lips appear much poutier than they did a year ago and are throwing around accusations that the 17-year-old received lip injections.

The story may not be the lead item of the six o’clock news, but it is being covered by sources such as Yahoo!, which millions of people see every day when they go to the site to check their emails (

Even ABC News ran a short follow-up story with Kim Kardashian about her take on the matter (

Whether or not she did actually get lip injections is besides the point. Everyone knows celebrities do ridiculous things to stay beautiful. The Kardaishan family especially is known for their drastic beauty measures.

Take one look at Bruce Jenner’s face, which is more plastic than skin at this point, and you’ll see what I mean; Or, google “Kim Kardashian Vampire Facial” for another example (which was covered by CBS News at one point, no less).

So, this really shouldn’t even be news. Yet, it is. As the digital age makes news so much more readily available, celebrity gossip (and what should, frankly, be considered too much information) is weaving its way from places like “Access Hollywood” into more mainstream and credible news sources.

When media creates the drama


I’ll admit that I over exaggerate in regular conversation, and in that context it’s a little more accepted. But if I were reporting a news story, regardless of the topic (sports, national, local), I would be sure to reign in my drama-like tendencies. But it seems that some journalists do the opposite. Not only the entertainment and gossip journalists, but sports and news journalists too.

The saying “no news is good news” is not necessarily true for media outlets. Drama and disputes appeal to viewers/readers. Plain and simple. So what’s a journalist to do when there isn’t any drama one day? They create it…and audiences soak it up.

By asking inciting and provoking questions to subjects, journalists can create a story out of nothing. For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 1-3, and for the last 20 minutes on Sports Center reporters have been discussing “what’s going wrong.” They brought up possible behind-the-scenes feuds and egos. But is anything really wrong? Maybe if they had a severe losing record halfway through the season, but they’ve only played 4 games. Like LeBron, and before him Aaron Rodgers said, “r-e-l-a-x.”

Even in non-sports journalism, like the news surrounding the Ebola crisis, reporters can cause a stir over, well, nothing. I understand that Ebola is a very serious, life-threatening issue, but we need to reign in the drama. If we listened to the doctors and not solely the reporters “interpreting” the doctors, we would know just how difficult it is to catch Ebola and that the chances of getting it in America are less than being struck by lightning.

The next time there’s a slow news day, journalists should embrace the downtime and not create trouble for the public and more work for themselves.


The changing face of online news


With the transformation of news reporting to an online medium, traditional forms of breaking the news have been replaced by new, constantly updated platforms. The pervasiveness of these platforms is enhanced by their interactivity.

However, while in the past the online news environment was dominated by the same news corporations that controlled print news journalism, recently the online shift has enabled new forms of news websites to emerge.

One particular website that has infiltrated the online news arena and is fighting to claim its place in the list of reputable news sources is Buzzfeed. Originally, Buzzfeed’s main purpose was providing information that already existed on the Internet in an entertaining and engaging format. However, after establishing Buzzfeed News, the website has transitioned into breaking news in a similar manner to other online news sources.

Buzzfeed appeals to a younger audience through its informal format. The high use of images, videos and gifs presents human interest news stories in an compelling way. This is furthered by the ability for users to comment on the stories, often leading to incredibly high levels of shares for many news articles.

This highlights the main attribute that sets Buzzfeed apart from its competitors, the way that it capitalizes on the blurred boundary between print and online media that has been created by social media.

However, while this format has gained popularity with the younger generation, which consists of heavy social media users who favor interactive articles, the lack of a traditional news format can force readers to question the credibility of the news reported.

Satire shouldn’t be our only news source


Midterm elections are finally over. The Republicans now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. While this isn’t really a problem, the way that the news covered the elections was abysmal. It seemed like the only thing that the news cares about was how the president was going to get along with Congress if Republicans won the majority. Policies and state legislature seats seemed to go unnoticed by everyone—everyone except the big three satirical news shows: “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report” and “Last Week Tonight.”

While these shows bring significant amounts of laughter to millions across the nation, it is a little sad that they seem to be the most legitimate news source at times. They seem to highlight the true issues of the elections in a way that people want to watch. I will admit that due to the fact that “Last Week Tonight” airs on HBO, John Oliver has a little more leeway to peel back the layers of politics without worrying about angering sponsors.

However, that is an issue in and of itself in other news organizations. They are so afraid of angering candidates that would pay money to put advertisements on their channel that they don’t ever delve into the real issues of elections.

Satirical news is fantastic and entertaining, but it needs to be balanced by true, in-depth journalism that pulls no punches.

Military move to deter news media


According to the recorded telephone calls obtained by the Associated Press, Ferguson, Mo. police officials admitted the no-fly zone was put in effect to dissuade the news media from covering the Mike Brown protests.

Originally, police claimed the order was for the safety of the city. Now, word has come out that it was actually intended to prevent news helicopters from covering the protests that have been shadowing Ferguson.

The protests have been a hot topic in the news media for a while. It has been four months since the shooting of Michael Brown and news is still coming out about the issue in the news media.

Constantly, the news media have been scrutinized for the way they have handled the situation, but this new discovery could take some heat off the media.

If the law enforcement had issued the no-fly zone to purely restrict media coverage, it is an undeniable violation of the rights we are guaranteed under the First Amendment.

So far, government officials haven’t responded to these allegations, but the clear violation of basic constitutional rights, denied by the people who are trying to protect us, is clearly very troubling.

Media battle through cartoons


On Sept. 23, India successfully launched its first Mars mission. Shortly after, The New York Times ran a political cartoon mocking the country that can be construed as racist.

The caricature depicts an Indian man, leading a cow, into a building marked “Elite Space Club,” which is full of white men in suits.

The Times soon experienced relentless backlash, to which they took to Facebook to publicly apologize.

The best part of this story is how the Indian media handled this offense.

They did not come back with a retort right away, no. They waited for the perfect opportunity to passive aggressively mock the U.S. back, which conveniently came in the form of a failed space mission.

On Oct. 28, an unmanned rocket – resulting in no injuries or deaths – exploded during liftoff. This proved perfect ammunition for the Indian media comeback.

Following the accident, the Hindustan Times ran a cartoon depicting an Indian couple observing the explosion, exclaiming, “It’s not rocket science for us!” The explosion took place in the “Elite Space Club.”

This little correspondence between two country’s newspapers is entertaining, and something most readers would never pick up on. I commend the Hindustan Times for approaching the situation in more of a light-hearted manner than most media outlets would take. They accepted the offense and acknowledged it in humor, all while creating an interesting story to look at from a media perspective.

You can take a look at both of the cartoons here:

Journalism becomes propaganda


Across the world in Pakistan, drone attacks are decimating life left and right, leaving numerous people dead, homeless and/or grievously injured. Curiously, these news stories rarely have airtime running longer than a minute and are often relegated to footnote status in newspapers and on news sites.

On Oct. 29, drone victims from Pakistan visited the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., to speak about the collateral damage inflicted by fighting terrorism. Nabila Rehman, 10, her father and her older brother all came to the U.S. to speak on the behalf of their fellow Pakistanis and obtain answers as to why drone strikes were the most effective method to fighting terrorism when they had a very high cost — people’s lives.

Almost shockingly, their experiences and statements fell on deaf ears with only five of 435 representatives even showing up for their hearing. As the story trickled down, almost no news outlets picked up the narrative.

Comparing this experience to that of Malala Yousafzai, who was brutally shot in the head by a Taliban fighter in 2012, shows that the U.S. cares only for the stories that conveniently line up with its current action plan.

After Yousafzai’s attack and subsequent recovery, the U.S. and Western media applauded her and turned her into the face of what the “anti-Taliban” can accomplish. Oddly enough, when Yousafzai asked President Barack Obama to stop drone attacks, she was immediately reduced to cute, little girl status from her initial framing as a brave woman fighting for freedom and justice.

Both Rehman’s and Yosafzai’s stories have similarities but their paths have been almost exactly perpendicular in nature when it comes to their news media portrayal. Rehman’s story, though equally compelling in nature compared to Yousafzai’s, frames the U.S. in a bad light and in that sense is relegated to the back burner to be picked up by independent news sources.

This is unfair in treatment and goes against some of the most basic ethics of journalism, namely to stay unbiased and report all news fairly. Without remaining cognizant of these tenets news outlets easily fall into becoming propaganda machines for the government.

Media shape attitudes toward disabled


In 2010, the United States Census Bureau reported that 56.7 million Americans, or nearly one in five, are living with a disability. For comprising such a large portion of the population, people with disabilities and policy issues related to disability are under-represented in the media.

To make matters worse, when the media do include people with disabilities in their reporting, it is generally approached from one of two ways. Either it is suggested that people with disabilities should be pitied or the individual is portrayed as heroic. Stories often describe an individual who “struggles” with disability X, yet achieves something “remarkable.”

A recent story about a girl with cerebral palsy who won the title of Homecoming Queen is a case in point. The story emphasized that her winning was not the result of “pity” votes. The takeaway point seemed to be that it is remarkable that she won and legitimately at that.

Why should it be so surprising that she won?

In no way am I attempting to downplay the young lady’s accomplishment. Being named Homecoming Queen is certainly special and she certainly deserves all of the attention that surrounds being queen. Stories just shouldn’t be framed in a way that suggest to the public that succeeding while living with a disability is unusual or extraordinary.

The news media have a powerful role in creating perceptions and influencing the views of the public. Reporting that pities people with disabilities or on the other extreme deems them heroic for doing things not generally seen as heroic are an obstacle to the acceptance of people with disabilities into society.