Bill Cosby and his legacy


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past two weeks, you would know that there have been several allegations from multiple women claiming that Bill Cosby has committed sexual assault against them within the past three decades.

This came as a shocker for many, as the general public looked at Cosby as “America’s Favorite Dad” — the G-rated comedian who’s claim to fame was a hilarious father with no-nonsense parenting skills on “The Cosby Show,” one of the most successful television sitcoms of all time.

Whether or not the allegations are true, the sexual assault news has caused much bad press for Cosby. Associated Press announced yesterday that TV Land, a cable network known for airing throwback shows, has pulled “The Cosby Show” indefinitely from its network in light of the allegations. Netflix has also announced that a Cosby special that it was to release in late November has been postponed, and NBC announced that a show that it had in the works with Cosby will no longer be moving forward.

It is incredible to see how something like rape allegations will affect the overall legacy of someone who was known for his positive image throughout his career. Cosby’s incredible achievements will no longer be highlighted as sexual assault will cover everything that he has ever done. Networks have snatched his projects up with a quickness and stories involving Bill Cosby after the scandal has blown over will always include that he has committed sexual assault.

Cosby, 77, is aging and will reach his final days sooner than later. Will he be remembered more so for his achievements or the negatives? Will he grace the covers of People or Time or will he just be a blurb within the first pages of the magazine? It will be interesting to see how the media will portray his legacy.

Oh, CNN, did you have to?


The other day, I was in line for coffee at Starbucks and I feel a buzz go off in my pocket. I glace at my phone to see a CNN push notification.

I get plenty of these alerts a day, but this one was slightly different than the others. The alert read “Two workers trapped on scaffolding dangling off new World Trade Center tower. Open your app to watch on CNN.” The Starbucks line was pretty lengthy that day, and it would have been a perfect opportunity for me to open up my CNN app to watch two men danging off the largest building in the United States. But at that moment, I felt too annoyed to even consider watching.

CNN’s popularity is based off of the news network’s ability to quickly access newsworthy stories and I applaud CNN for that. But, at times, it makes a spectacle out of news in order to get viewership. People love drama; that’s a fact. But the moment when CNN turns something scary and serious into a cash cow opportunity is when they lose me. I know that it is their job to give the viewers what they want, but that last sentence in the alert made CNN appear trashy to me instead of a company who delivers great news.

Maybe it’s just me, but I found that alert to be very harsh. I felt like CNN was saying “we have live footage and I know that you want to see if they survive or not!” Maybe I can’t fully blame CNN; viewers have probably asked for them to show more live footage of traumatizing events that they could easily open up on an application while waiting in line at a Starbucks, like I was. Is this the way news is progressing? I wouldn’t be surprised if I received more alerts similar to this one in the future.

Protests, riots, and the news media


On Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 the annual Pumpkin Fest was held at Keene State College in Keene, N.H., a celebration where the community tries to set a world record for having the most carved and jack-o-lantern-ed pumpkins.

This seemingly sweet event changed abruptly as some of the Pumpkin Fest goers lost control and began to riot throughout the entire event, destroying property and setting many objects on fire.

The news media started to compare the riot to the Ferguson protests and that became a concern to many who have been actively following the action in Ferguson.

The Pumpkin Fest riot and the Ferguson protests are not one of the same. There has yet to be a consensus of how the festival riots even began, let alone a leading cause to the belligerence. Therefore, the media should not have compared the two events.

Once the news media heard about Ferguson, they made out the angry protesters as “rowdy animals” without listing the cause as to why they were protesting in the first place, while the Pumpkin Fest protesters were often referred to as “mischievous college students” who drank too much. The news media seemed to down play these student’s destruction while making the Ferguson protests appear wild and without cause.

Is this because the news media only reports what they can view rather than getting the full story? An outside viewpoint would have appeared the same since law enforcement used force, rubber bullets and tear gas on both the protesters and the rioters. So to someone who did not know much about either event, they would have “looked” the same. But does that mean that they should be reported as the same?

Overall, the news media must start looking deeper into the story. If not, they will continue to compare apples to oranges.

Ebola: America’s scariest word


The Ebola scare has gotten worse than ever and the news media are only adding lumber to the fire.

Saying the word ‘Ebola” around a large group of people might as well be the same as someone saying “Bomb!” in a movie theater. That word evokes so much fear among American citizens more than ever due to the recent discovery of Americans who have recently contacted the disease.

And what’s the news media’s role in this? They find every story about someone who has contacted the disease, write a story highlighting the name of the person, the area that they are from, how many people that they may have become in contact with, and continue to scare people.

People argue that the reporters are just doing their job, but I beg to differ. The news media’s job isn’t to scare people, but to inform people on what the disease is and how they can actually contact it.

As the number of affected Americans continue to rise, more federal health organizations continue to release information on how the disease is spread because large media groups fail to include how getting Ebola can actually happen.

This goes back to a common tactic that journalists use to get readership: sensationalism. If journalists think that more people will be interested in reading about a certain issue, they will amplify the story to get more readership. People love to stay informed, but the easiest way to draw in an audience that wants information is to scare them a little, so they can keep coming back for more.

Today, reporters announced that an Ebola patient is being contained at a hospital on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. I know many students that attend Howard, including my sister. Not only is she scared and worried about contacting the disease, her fellow classmates are feeling the same way.

The media failed to include information to these students on why the person is being contained and the safety precautions that the school will be taking to keep the students safe. The media dropped the news like a bomb and people are scattering around for information.

That is not very fair of the news media, which have a platform that they should use to inform rather than to scare. They should focus on creating more material used to help people than creating a scandalous story.

Does Hope Solo have female privilege?


The tables have turned and people are outraged. But do they have a right to be?

Hope Solo, 33-year-old goal keeper for the USA women’s soccer team, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence against her sister and 17-year-old cousin.

Within the past month, an uncanny amount of domestic violence charges have been released among male athletes and have caused much controversial discussion. People asked why the athletes were suspended (with pay) because of a “private matter” that we, the public, has no right to know or get involved in.

Now this female soccer player has a domestic violence charge over her head, the media seems to have backed away from the story, and she is still playing for the team with no suspension.

People, especially men, are upset. But should they be?

Many are saying that it is unfair that Solo faces the same charges as NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson but is still being allowed to play for her team. People think that Solo is receiving special privileges simply because she is a woman, and since she is a huge role model for many girls around the world, the media and the National Women’s Soccer League do not want to taint her image.

But are the media not blowing up this story simply because it is not as “scandalous” as a man knocking out his wife or beating his son? Maybe the media does not want to cover a story of a woman who had a family brawl.

Family brawls, unless you are Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Solange in an elevator, are not very newsworthy and are not as controversial as the domestic violence situations that Rice and Peterson found themselves in. And the National Women’s Soccer League seems to think the same thing.

Should the NWSL punish Solo for her actions just as the NFL has punished athletes for theirs?

Journalism and social media’s influence


This September has been a great news month for many journalists. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has captured more towns and oil fields in Syria and President Barack Obama has made an executive decision to soon deploy troops into the area to fight ISIS. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to spread and the president made executive decision after the ISIS news to deploy troops to the area to “fight” the disease.

However, I heard more about certain news stories than others and I can’t help to think that the result was from social media. I saw more articles and think pieces on both NFL stars Ray Rice, who was accused of domestic violence, and Adrian Peterson, who is facing child abuse charges, than any of the executive decisions that President Barack Obama made and many other political policy news.

Is it because they monitor what people are talking about on social media and chase the more dramatic, sensationalist stories in order to sell papers and get page clicks?

The “trending meter” on Twitter and Facebook are important tools for a journalist. They can see what people are talking about from a regional, national and worldwide standpoint. I sat and monitored what people were talking about on twitter these past two weeks, and I saw more tweets about the athletes than tweets about politics.

Why is it that generally we are more concerned about scandals than issues that can directly affect our nation? Because we are more concerned about these shocking events, stories about national government issues are being flooded out by the journalists who write about those shocking events. I am not saying that the Rice and Peterson stories lack importance; personally, I am glad that the stories were reported because each lead to powerful discussions about domestic violence and abuse. However, more and more people know every detail about those stories, but lack proper knowledge on ISIS and the affect they have on our country. Is social media more of a clutch for journalists than a useful tool?

Social media play an important impact on journalism and what news the media feel is more important to cover. However, should journalists be so influenced by the people that use social media that they choose to write stories based on what’s trending?

Killed black men portrayed negatively


“He’s no saint!”

“He was always a trouble maker.”

These phrases were thrown around constantly as the stories of slain 17-year–old Trayvon Martin and 18-year-old Michael Brown developed.

When the news got out about their murders, the families did what was told: They both handed in pictures of their sons and told the media a brief message about how they did not deserve to die.

But as the story developed, the news media took their own spin on each story. They dug into their background and tried to find any sort of dirt that made the two dead men look unclean.

Martin, killed by neighborhood watch participant George Zimmerman, was suspended from school, and Brown, killed by Ferguson police officer Darrin Wilson, had handwritten raps showing that he was a “criminal and a thug.”

The media used different pictures as well. Martin’s sweet, smiling face was replaced with him in a black hoodie, straight faced as he stared into the camera. Brown’s cap and gown picture was replaced with him in more casual, “urban” clothing, looming over a stoop and holding up a peace sign, which many thought was a gang related.

This sudden change caused the popular opinion to change. These teenagers were now “thugs” that were “up to no good” before they were murdered. Is the goal to make black victims look more like villains?  Should their murders and image not be taken as seriously as others simply because of the color of their skin?

However, it seems that the media does the opposite to non-black murders.

James Holmes, the man who took 12 peoples’ lives in Aurora, Col., in 2012, was shown in the media as a man who not only shot up a movie theater, but a man with multiple degrees in neuroscience. The media even started to use his graduation picture instead of his mug shot.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspect of the Boston bombing terrorist attacks in 2013, was made out to be a great student with a good family. Rolling Stone even made his picture the cover of their issue, with him titled as “The Bomber.” The media showed him as an exception from other American terrorists.

These examples are night and day, but clearly show media’s objective. It seems as if no one wants to hear positive aspects about an unfairly murdered black man’s past.