Outrage for the rest of the world?


Last week, late Friday night, reports of terrorist attacks in France killing more than 100 people. Every local, national and international news network covered the story from the moment the attacks happened and every update that has taken place since then.

It seemed as though all of my Facebook friends changed their profile pictures with the semi-transparent overlay of the French flag. Almost four million people, gathered to march in support of France. Several world leaders flew to France to show their support and speak on the issue and express their nation’s solidarity with France.

Support for France and the outcry against the attacks was expressed worldwide via social media, news coverage, and public marches. Many people raised the question: Where is the outcry for the attacks in Nigeria? Where is the support for the people of Syria? Where is the outcry for Lebanon?

In Nigeria, it is believed that Boko Haram orchestrated a terrorist attack killing 32 people and injuring more. Thousands of Syrians are fleeing from their own country in fear of ISIS. In Lebanon, 40 people were killed and left more than 200 wounded victims of bombs at the hands of ISIS.


Where are the flags for these countries on people’s Facebook profile photos? Where is the international outcry for the victims of these attacks?

People on social media have called out several Western news networks for the biased coverage of terrorist attacks happening all around the world. In response to the claims presented on social media, CNN responded during a segment of their morning show “New Day.”

Michaela Pereira, a “New Day” co-host, raised the question if the West should be doing more to fight Boko Haram. One of the show’s guest speaker, James Marks (a military analyst and executive dean of the University of Phoenix), stated that the reason the West isn’t doing more or showing support to countries such as Nigeria or Lebanon is simply because, “they are not a priority.”

Marks also stated that, “The United States, unilaterally, could do anything it needed to do to root out Boko Haram. It would be a long-term effort, but it could be done. The U.S. has the capability…but it is not a priority—that’s the problem.

Marks went on to say, “‘Black’ West Africa is not a priority. If we were to see Boko Haram appear in ‘White Africa’, which is North Africa, we would be alarmed.”

But is the mass coverage of Paris in comparison to other countries simply a race issue? The Washington Post thinks so, but they also think several other factors are a part of the issue as indicated in their recent article, “This is why the Paris attacks have gotten more news coverage than other terrorist attacks.”

The Washington Post lists the following reasons contributing to why the attacks in Paris received mass coverage as opposed to other terrorist attacks.

  1. France is an unusual target.
  2. Paris is a top global tourist destination
  3. Random civilians were targeted using shocking tactics
  4. Are we seeing a new battleground for the Islamic State?
  5. This was a complex, coordinated attack. And that’s worrisome.

The Washington Post wrote, “The Paris attack shocked the world for many reasons. It’s true that terrorism in less-developed countries is worth our attention as well. Crises, such as the Syrian civil war, deserve much more media coverage and policy focus.”

To conclude, I agree with The Washington Post. There are several other reasons that contributed to the mass media coverage that the Paris attacks received, other than race and urbanization. However, I do believe that because France is not a Third World country, they received more coverage. The prioritization of what is considered to be news to the West is problematic, because one could conclude that the amount of coverage a nation receives indicates their level of importance and whether or not they, and their lives, matter.

Starbucks’ cup sparks outrage


This past Saturday, Starbucks unveiled its new cup design for the holiday season—and it was met with hostile response from Starbucks drinkers.

CNN History of Starbucks CupsSocial media erupted in anger upon the release of the “minimalist” red cup, claiming that Starbucks (in addition to other large companies and corporations) was attacking Christmas and Christians by not celebrating the Christmas spirit on their cups.

In previous years, Starbucks’ cups have featured designs with snowflakes, reindeer and other seasonal symbols on its cups during the holiday season.

Many people are upset because they believe that Starbucks has become more “politically correct” and instead of changing the cups design in response to consumer demand, the change was made for political correctness.

There a large group of people on social media calling for the boycott of the company and they are gaining momentum. Even Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump spoke on the controversial issue, comically being known as “Cupgate.”

“No more ‘Merry Christmas’ on Starbucks. No more,” Trump said at a speaking event in Springfield, Ill., this past Monday. “I wouldn’t buy … maybe we should boycott Starbucks — I don’t know.”

Honestly, I don’t think many people are surprised that Donald Trump would comment on this issue during a speaking event; bringing up “Cupgate” provided Trump with a moment of comedic relief and an opportunity to implicitly express his support of Christianity and the celebration of Christmas.

However, I am surprised by the amount of coverage that this story is getting from national news networks. CNN did a story today (and I’m guessing they’ve been covering it since “Cupgate” emerged), in which they actually went through the history of Starbucks’ holiday cups for the past 5 years.

CNN news anchor, Carol Costello, had to hold back moments of laughter as they covered the story—mirroring my exact sentiments. How is this newsworthy? Why is the design on a cup of coffee national news?

The triviality of the coverage was made strikingly clear, because as soon as the coverage of the coffee cup was over, CNN’s next segment was regarding a battle taking place in Iraq to reclaim a key city from ISIS. Yet we are discussing a coffee cup’s design.

And now, the story has gained even more momentum as Dunkin’ Donuts has come into play with the release of their more “festive” holiday cup featuring the word “Joy” in red script surrounded by green pine branches.

It goes without saying that ratings are important for any news organization—it is how they make money. But at what cost? I’m sure the coverage of the Starbucks “Cupgate” provided news networks with a bump in ratings, but was it worth it when there are so many other important topics and events the news should be covering? I think that the cup design is something worth talking about, but it should not be covered as national news.

Carson: Fact-checking or dirt digging?


Despite Ben Carson’s quiet and often soft-spoken demeanor, according to his book “Gifted Hands,” he had a troubled and violent childhood growing up in the city of Detroit.

Recently several news organizations, including CNN, have begun “digging up dirt” on the Republican candidate, with Carson’s claim of a rough childhood at the center of the coverage.

As candidates are running for the highest and most powerful position in the United States and perhaps the world, it is expected that old skeletons will be hunted down and taken out of the candidates’ closets. But is there a point of going too far?

Despite Carson’s public claims of his troubled childhood, as well as those mentioned in his book, CNN has assigned a journalist to investigate Carson’s claims and has reached out to past neighbors and childhood friends of Carson in the hopes of either validating or invalidating Carson’s story.

Carson has often spoken about a particular incident during his childhood in which he tried to stab a friend with a knife over a disagreement about a radio.  The journalist assigned to investigate Carson’s story has been researching the candidate in regards to his claims for the past month and CNN has asked Carson to aid the network in finding witnesses who saw the stabbing attempt as well as the victim of the attack.

Carson has declined to provide CNN with these names and for some news reporters Carson’s unwillingness to help raises further suspicion of whether or not his claims of his childhood are true. Perhaps Carson is not willing to provide the names of witnesses or the victim of his attack, not to hide the truth, but to protect the lives and privacy of those involved.

Every candidate running for president has had their lives turned upside down and scrutinized from what they wear to what they wrote in their high school newspaper 30 years ago. I think Carson is making the right decision not to provide CNN with the names of witnesses or the victim to protect them from the harsh and often unforgiving spotlight of public opinion and news media.

Carson is not alone when it comes to news networks “digging up dirt” and publicly scrutinizing his past. Recently, several news organizations, in addition to Donald Trump, have called out Marco Rubio for his personal use of a credit card that was only to be used for political purposes relating to the Republican Party. CNN has went as far as to list out the date, location, and exact dollar amounts used for personal use.

I do think that this information is pertinent for the American public to be aware of as it pertains to Rubio’s misuse of a professionally provided credit card. However, as illustrated with Ben Carson, I do think that sometimes the media can cross the line between fact-checking and digging for dirt.

Chaotic GOP debate causes concern


This past Wednesday night, I gathered with a group of students inside the faculty master apartment at Mahoney Residential College to watch the Republican presidential candidates debate.

Personally, I had several expectations for the debate based off of the previous Republican debate hosted by Fox. However, what myself and millions of people watched Wednesday night, was truly unexpected.

First off, there were 10 candidates on the stage. With so many candidates, it is hard to keep track of everyone’s stance on serious matters, such as reforming the tax code, to less relevant issues, such as the regulation of fantasy sports gambling.

But, what further complicated the already difficult matter of keeping track of all of the candidates’ viewpoints were the moderators. It became apparent very quickly that the moderators were not in control of the debate as candidates not only cut each other off, but also interrupted, talked over and even challenged the moderators.

The debate was two hours of utter chaos and the Republican candidates are not happy about it. Their discontent has been broadcast and shared on various networks and social media sites, with new reports of the candidates coming together to protest the RNC and demand control over who moderates the upcoming debates as well as what questions are asked.

While I understand, that the candidates are upset, I think it would not be a true or fair debate if candidates had the ability to control virtually all aspects of the debate. While Ben Carson believes that debates should not be a game of “gotcha” questions, I disagree. Yes, a debate’s main purpose is to allow candidates to share and explain their platform on several issues and policies affecting the country, but it is also an opportunity for their ideals to be tested and challenged in front of the public.

A debate should not be a time where candidates walk on stage and present their ideals unchallenged and unquestioned–that is the whole point of a debate. While I agree with the candidates that Wednesday’s debate was chaotic, it should not serve as the catalyst to grant candidates full reign over all aspects of a debate.

Hillary emerges as victorious at hearing


If you checked major news networks online today, most of them displayed the following headlines:

ABC: “The ‘get Hillary’ committee did not get Hillary”

Politico: “Clinton Survives 11-hour Benghazi grilling”

Tribune: “11-hour grilling of Clinton reveals little new on Benghazi attacks”

USA Today: “No clear wins for GOP at Benghazi hearing”

Over the course of the past few months, Hillary Clinton has been questioned — and most people would say attacked — regarding the use of her personal email service in relation to the Benghazi attacks that took place in 2012 killing four people.

It seems as though Hillary Clinton has been questioned about the use of her private email server since the beginning of her campaign.

Hillary was questioned and provided testimony for more 11 hours yesterday, being questioned by a House Select Committee on Benghazi. Nearly all news organizations provided extensive and in-depth coverage of the meetings, with CNN providing hourly updates on their website and on live news.

Based on what I have seen, what is happening to Hillary Clinton is the political equivalent of a witch hunt during the Salem trials. Hillary Clinton has been questioned beyond the point of acceptability regarding this issue and each time, her response is the same and clear. The fact that the media has still continued to cover this issue in regards to Hillary Clinton is unbelievable, as well as the fact that this special committee was even created.

Comparatively, the news has covered Donald Trump in a similar fashion, but the coverage has only seemed to benefit him. However, with Hillary Clinton, the coverage of this issue is affecting her campaign.

Her numbers have gone down in the polls and her trustworthiness has been damaged and questioned by a large majority of the American public. However, there is hope for Hillary with this situation. As indicated by the news/article titles above, it is clear that most news networks believe that Hillary not only survived the 11-hour meeting, but that she has gained an ability to turn the tide and direction of the Benghazi story and her private email server.

As a young voter, I did question Hillary’s trustworthiness because of the coverage of the Benghazi “email scandal.” After completing my own research on the topic, my views have changed and I am proud that Hillary was able to not only successfully survive yesterday’s meeting, but that she may now be able to gain control over the situation and thus her campaign.

Coverage of debate may sway voters


The first Democratic Debate took place this past Tuesday, hosted by CNN and sponsored by Facebook. The debate featured Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee. According to Fortune.com, more people watched NCIS (a popular TV Show on CBS) as opposed to the Democratic Debate Tuesday night, with 15.3 million total viewers.

Before, during, and after the debate, people took to various social media outlets to voice their thoughts and opinions of the debate. One of the dormitories on the University of Miami campus, Mahoney Residential College, held a watch party for the debate in the one of the faculty masters’ apartment.  Therefore, I did not have to turn to social media in order to receive live commentary from my peers.

We all watched the debate, laughed at its funny moments, clapped when were all in agreement with what one of the candidates had said, and groaned when in disagreement. In between commercial breaks we held quick discussions about our thoughts on the candidates so far.

At the end, we all had our own opinions of who to vote for as the democratic candidate. However, at no point during our discussion did we declare “winners” and “losers.” We all took what the candidates had to say at face value and decided whether or not we agreed with their values.

But the next day, I was bombarded by all major news networks declaring who they thought were the “winners” and “losers” of the debate. Of course in my mind (as well as most people), I had already determined who I thought best represented what I sought in a presidential candidate, but I was interested to see and hear what the news networks had to say.

As I read and watched several news stories from various news networks, it became clear that the person I thought did the “best” or “won” was not what the news thought. As I watched more coverage of the debate, I began to question my choice: Did I pick the best candidate? I began to second guess my decision wondering if I had made the right decision.

After speaking with several of my friends, a majority of them expressed the same sentiments. After watching the debate, they had an idea of who they wanted to potentially vote for. But after watching several news networks declare the same person as the “winner,” they began to doubt their choice as it was not in agreement with the majority of news organizations.

While I think that news organizations should report on the debates, I think they should do it objectively. Declaring “winners” and “losers” of a debate that was not designed to have a winner, can confuse and sway the public. Instead of selecting winners and losers, the news should highlight each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses during the debate, providing the public with unbiased information and enabling voters to make well-informed decisions.

The Democratic Debate did not have any winners or losers. Instead, the Democratic Debate showcased the strengths, weaknesses, values, and opinions of each candidate, and coverage of the debate should reflect that.

Not releasing shooters’ identity is wrong


The shooting that occurred at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, was a complete tragedy. The shooting follows a string of multiple shootings that have occurred in the U.S. during the past few years. From the Sandy Hook shooting to the shooting at FSU, the U.S. has seen a startling uptake in mass shootings.

Some people argue that the cause of these mass shootings is lax gun control laws, while others believe the cause stems from the people who carry out these acts. Based on what I have seen, it appears as though most news organizations have taken the stance that while lax gun control laws play a role, the person is the main cause of these shootings.

Most news networks, including CNN, have taken the stance of not releasing the shooter’s name of the Oregon College shooting. According to CNN, the shooter “killed to be famous,” and they would not give him that during their broadcasts. The Douglas County sheriff has also taken the stance to not release the gunman’s name, not wanting to make him infamous.

With most of the past shootings, most news organizations have taken the route of not releasing the shooter’s name hoping it would discourage people from committing these acts in the hopes of gaining infamy from coverage of the tragedy. As we can see based on what happened in Oregon, this tactic does not seem be working.

I do not agree with the decision to not publicly release the shooter’s name. I think that people should be able to know who did this crime so we can try to figure out why this happened.

As more details of the shooting come out, we are learning that there were signs that this man suffered from some ideological and personal issues. I don’t think hiding the shooter’s identity will discourage these actions from taking place. I believe that, as a country, we have to come together and focus on what is causing people to commit these heinous actions. While more gun control laws are needed, I think we need to first focus on the people committing the murders and not the weapons used.

CNN plays a Trump card


CNN was put on the defense this past Wednesday, after commenting on the lack of attendance at an event held by Donald Trump (current Republican candidate for president) at the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce annual conference.

The following day, Trump went on the defense claiming that the reason there were photos or videos of the room being half-empty was because everyone “rushed” to the front of the room when he began speaking. He then went on to personally attack the CNN reporter who covered the story, calling her “terrible” and a “horrible reporter.”

But the CNN reporter was, in fact, reporting what had truly taken place at this event. The room was half-empty before Trump began speaking and after he began speaking. And of the half-full room of attendees, the majority of the people were white, disputing Trump’s claim that there were “many African Americans there.”

I watch the news on a daily basis and, based on what I have seen in regards to the coverage of Donald Trump’s campaign for presidency, it seems as though most news organizations have been tip-toeing around Trump afraid of his reaction.

This past week, Trump recently announced via Twitter that he was done with FOX and would not be doing any more shows with the network. But Trump has done this before. He threw a similar temper tantrum with FOX in August. Shortly after, he spoke with Fox’s network Chief Roger Ailes who “smoothed” things over and Trump was back on Fox.

As Trump has been garnering a large amount of attention from viewers, news networks are inclined to satiate the candidate and not ruffle his feathers in order to have him on their broadcasts for higher ratings. But it seems as though, more and more networks are reaching their limit with the brash candidate.

Shortly after CNN covered the story, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press reported on the story as well — mirroring CNN’s report. They all came to same conclusion: Donald Trump did speak to a half-empty room which consisted mainly of white people.

They didn’t beat around the bush or come up with excuses for the candidate. They simply reported on what actually happened, supporting CNN as a news organization. The Associated Press wrote in their article that, “CNN’s assessment appears to have been the correct one.”

I applaud CNN and the other news networks that stood behind CNN, for finally calling a spade, a spade Trump.

Teen’s arrest reveals Islamaphobia


On the heels of the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a 14-year-old Texas high school student, Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school. He was arrested by five police officers and interrogated for more than an hour. During the interrogation, Mohamed was not allowed to call his parents.

Police and officials state that Mohamed was pulled out of class and arrested because they believed his home-made clock was actually a bomb. However, as this story begins to gather more attention from the media and the public, doubts are surfacing in regards to the motives of the police and school officials.

Casting the most doubt for most people is the fact that if police and school officials truly believed that Mohamed had a bomb, why didn’t they evacuate the school? Why didn’t they call the bomb squad?

Mohamed’s parents immigrated from Sudan and are Muslims. Mohamed’s parents believe that their son was targeted due to his race and religion. And people on social media agree as well. After Mohmaed’s arrest, the hashtags #IStandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed were retweeted and included in hundreds of thousands of posts and tweets.

Adding more flames to the fire, at a rally held by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, one of his supporters stated that the current president, Barack Obama, is Muslim. Instead of correcting or disputing the supporter’s claim, Trump only shook his head in agreement. The supporter then went on to perpetuate negative stereotypes against people practicing the religion stating that there are Muslim people building camps to kill us all.

Negative sentiments against those who practice Islam and are of Middle-Eastern or African descent cannot be traced to one source. However, for most Americans, Islamophobia (dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims) stemmed from the 9/11 attacks in 2001. And the fear of Muslims is still being propagated and perpetuated among several news organizations. With the rise of ISIS, fear-mongering has increased on several news platforms, in particular Fox News.

As journalists, we have a responsibility to report what is going on in our world. However, I believe that several news organizations have crossed the line between objective reporting and fear-mongering. Inaccurate coverage of terrorism has lead people to fear all Muslims, which is a detriment to society. Mohamed is a bright young man who has the potential to contribute something great to our country. Yet instead of embracing his talents, we assumed that because he is Muslim, he must also be a terrorist because of what we have been programmed to believe.

Camerawoman kicks fleeing refugees


As the refugee crisis in Europe continues to gain attention in the international and national news, a Hungarian camerawoman has also entered in the spotlight for her cruel actions captured on camera.

At a relocation camp in Roske, Hungary (near the Hungarian-Serbian border), hundreds of migrants, frustrated with conditions of the camp, pushed through police lines attempting to cross the border into Serbia.

As crowds of migrants began fleeing the police, a Hungarian camerawoman, identified as Petra Laszlo, began intentionally kicking and tripping people. The first video to emerge displayed Laszlo tripping a man as he ran while carrying his child. After being tripped, the man fell unto the ground and on top of his child. All the while, Laszlo recorded the entire thing.

Soon after the first, a second video emerged capturing Laszlo forcefully kick a young woman and other men as they fled from police.

U.S. news organizations picked up the story after videos and pictures of Laszlo’s behavior had been circulated through social media.

After reaching national and international news coverage, Laszlo’s employer, N1TV issued a statement denouncing Laszlo’s behavior as unacceptable and that her employment had been terminated.

Laszlo’s actions elicited anger and disappointment from social media users all around the world, which is completely understandable and expected.

After watching the videos and watching the coverage on the news, I was also outraged at her behavior. But now, the only thing I would like to know is why?

Why did Laszlo begin kicking and tripping people? In the first video, where Laszlo trips the man carrying his child, she makes sure to aim the camera directly on the man and his child as she trips them and as they fall to the ground.

This leads me to wonder if Laszlo did all of this just to create the “perfect shot.” Some reporters have been known to “stretch the truth” or flat-out lie to make a story seem more exciting or dangerous. The acts of sensationalizing stories and fear mongering the public are all too common in news today.

Although unfair, Laszlo’s actions reflected poorly on every professional in the journalism industry. From this point on, any video coverage of the migrant crisis in Europe will be viewed with a critical and eye from the public.