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:

Twitter criticizes news covering two riots


The riots occurring in Ferguson, Mo., protesting the death of the unarmed, black teen Mike Brown, have been in the news media since early August. The ongoing social movement focuses on an issue mainly of race and civil rights.

Over the weekend, Pumpkinfest in Keene, N.H., sparked riots that stemmed from drunk college partiers.

After media coverage was released of the Keene riots, and because of some similarities between the two situations, people took to Twitter to criticize the media’s handling of both events.

Tweets such as, “The kids at #keenestate threw beer cans at cops and got arrested. Mike Brown threw his hands up and caught SIX shots” highlight the distaste for the inequality of both situations. Many of the Twitter users believe that Keene State’s riots were just as bad, but Ferguson attracted more negative media.

In an article from CNN, experts say that the two situations cannot be compared, because what happened in Keene was a riot and the events in Ferguson are part of an ongoing political movement.

The article does state, however, that Twitter was right in criticizing the media for racial discrepancies.

While Ferguson “riots” are aftermath of a unarmed teen killed by police, Keene was a riot of drunken students purely looking for a good time, which escalated into the riots. Despite the drastic differences in intentions of both situations, the media managed to use more loaded words and negative connotations when reporting on Ferguson than on Keene.

While participants in the Ferguson protests were labeled by news media as “thugs,” Keene rioters were only described as “rowdy.” Also, according to the media, Ferguson is made up of “animals destroying their community,” where Keene is just “mischief cause by booze filled revelers.”

These inconsistencies in news coverage of two similar, but drastically different, events are inexcusable. Because of the way these events are portrayed in the news, white behavior is normalized and made okay, while black behavior is condemned and allows for the prolonging of racism.

Even though Ferguson had significantly more important motives for riots, it was seen as violent and unacceptable in the media, while the events in Keene were excused as drunk kids trying to have a good time. The media’s coverage of issues like these perpetuate racism and the ongoing cycle, which is unacceptable in a society so heavily influenced by the media.

Site exposes false facts online


The Internet is possibly the easiest place to spread rumors and false facts.

News stories that have incorrect information are easily transmitted online, social media sites like Twitter allow rumors to go viral extraordinarily fast, and above all, few Internet users actually check to confirm what they’re reading is, in fact, true.

A new website, however, may change all of this. tracks the most popular stories swirling around the Internet, and deems them true or false.

The website is associated with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. According to the website, it “aims to develop the best practices for debunking misinformation.”

On the site’s homepage there is the list of rumors, along with their status – true, false, or unverified. The site also displays how many times that story was shared, essentially its popularity, and a further breakdown of how the story was spread if you click on it.

In general, the concept seems like a great idea. It exposes sources for misinformation and falsehoods, therefore further inspiring the Internet to be more credible. The website is a good start for digital journalism, to put more responsibility on journalists to make sure their information is correct and to double-check their sources. Although the website mainly focuses on absurd rumors now, hopefully it will extend to all news sources and in more depth in the future. But for now, it’s a great addition in the credibility of digital journalism.

Visit the website here:

Ebola scare hits close to home


As with any troubling issue, it only really starts to shake you once it hits close to home. This was definitely the case with the Ebola coverage in the news media lately.

Ebola had always had a constant presence in the news media – about the outbreaks in Liberia and other faraway African countries, but it was always one of those news stories on the back-burner. The status of the virus was constantly updated, and although it was always concerning, it was never a major concern for the average American.

However, with the first U.S. case reported in Dallas, news coverage is definitely now telling a different story.

All the major news outlets, like CNN for example, have multiple articles about the deadly spreading of the virus on the front pages and home sites. Once we as the public heard about the Dallas case, there were then talks about other possible cases in the Miami airport and in Washington, D.C.

Now, instead of just hearing how the Ebola virus was affecting different countries in a very general way, we are learning about the victims of Ebola, possible Ebola cases, what the virus is, how it spreads, and so forth. Once the first U.S. case bell was rung, the media jumped on the case, making Ebola possibly one of the most news media-covered stories today.

This just shows how one incident, like the Dallas case, can change how the news media covers a certain topic to accommodate and generate public interest. It also shows the closer a story hits home, the more interest the story will have.

The news media: Are we hypocrites?


An article published by The American Spectator on Sept. 23 raises an interesting point: Journalists are just as at fault in domestic violence cases as the NFL players they have been recently criticizing.

During the month of September, the news media have had a frenzy with all of the domestic violence and child abuse cases surrounding the NFL. With the release of the second Ray Rice surveillance tape, Adrian Peterson’s child abuse scandal, combined with notable cases against Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer, and Ray McDonald, media during the month of September have put the NFL on blast for all of these domestic violence issues.

The article by The American Spectator, however, asks the question: Are the media skewing these problems out of proportion, just because the NFL is a high-profile, very exposed institution?

It is possible that the NFL does not have more domestic violence cases in ratio than the rest of the country. Actually, in studies, it is found that the NFL actually has lower crime rates than the rest of the general population of the same age group. The difference is the media puts more of a spotlight on professional athletes’ faults, rather than the average Joe. Not saying this makes the NFL violence cases okay, but it is fair to point out that it may be overemphasized by the media.

While the media have been constantly criticizing the league and painting it as “a veritable athletic Evil Empire of domestic abuse,” according to the article, The American Spectator points the finger back at those same journalists, who are not in positions to be putting the blame on others.

Five NFL cases, as mentioned before, have put the pressure on the NFL to better itself from the violence-ridden entity it appears to be now. As the article points out, however, ten cases can be found within the media recently. This is twice as many as the NFL.

These cases range from ESPN to ABC, CBS, NBC, and The New York Times. The difference between these cases and those of the NFL? Domestic violence cases by the media aren’t lumped together for the public to over-scrutinize and cast a shadow over all of the media.

I’m not saying at all that the NFL shouldn’t be concerned about its role with domestic violence. It should be. Domestic violence is never okay, and with so many fans looking to the NFL, it should make a good example of these cases, taking measures to punish the offenders.

However, maybe the media should do the same and take a second look to try to better itself, before pointing fingers at others.

You can read The American Spectator article mentioned here:

Twitter gives stars platform to fight back


For the past few years, Twitter has been a main source of news for young people. They find out about breaking stories and everything relevant in current events. In a way, Twitter could be viewed as a young person’s newspaper.

However, with the rise of Twitter, celebrities have been given an easy platform to get their thoughts and opinions across, no matter how offending, or if it makes a major brand look bad. Twitter cuts out the middleman, and lets celebrities interact with fans directly.

This new direct contact between celebrities and fans can be problematic, however. In the recent case of Cee Lo Green, one stupid comment can ruin a celebrity’s whole image and, in the recent cases of Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna, uncensored criticisms can ruin the image of a major company.

Earlier this month, Cee Lo Green tweeted controversial statements about rape, one of which claimed rape isn’t “real” unless the victim remembers it. This moment of ignorance on the famous singer’s part cost him a huge loss in fan base, even after deleting the tweets and making a public apology.

In the case of Green, we can see how easily it is for public figures to reach their fans and how quickly a public image can change.

This also happened in the case of Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna. Although they didn’t ruin their own images, they used Twitter as a platform to fight back against attacks from big corporations and voice their own opinions.

Shonda Rhimes is the creator of many shows, like “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Recently, she was described as an “angry black woman” in a New York Times feature, after which, she took to Twitter to give her own thoughts. After voicing her displeasure, other figures such as Kerry Washington criticized the Times writer too. The Twitter backlash proves that the growing popularity of Twitter certainly changes the way the media can criticize celebrities – because they will not get away with it anymore without a fight.

A similar case happened recently with singer Rihanna, after CBS pulled her song from “Thursday Night Football” following the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. Initially, CBS pulled the song the week immediately following the release of the second Rice video, because they felt Rihanna, a famous victim of domestic abuse from Chris Brown, would give the wrong message.

Rihanna reacted through Twitter, writing, “CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, Fuck you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this.” CBS then had to deal with the disapproval of many Rihanna fans, which ultimately led them to pull her song for good.

These recent events involving celebrities shows just how impacting social media can be, especially as Twitter gives stars a chance to bite back at the media.

Media exposes Ray Rice scandal


Social media play a huge role in the lives of everyone today. More importantly, when a breaking news story is released, it is almost impossible to not hear of it on Facebook, Twitter or any similar social media outlet, while everyone gives out their own opinions.

This is why social media played a key role in the termination of a football player’s contract and indefinite suspension from the NFL.

Ray Rice was caught on camera dragging his unconscious fiancee out of a casino elevator way back in February. So why did it take almost seven months to give him a punishment fit for his horrifying act?

When the first video was released and widely covered by news and sports media, there was public shock, but of a relatively small scale. People were disgusted, but forgot about it in due time, and Rice only suffered a two-game suspension.

It wasn’t until TMZ released a second video, making the attack more visual, that the NFL and Ravens alike stepped up Rice’s punishment.

What is the difference between the release of the two videos? Public backlash.

After the release of the first video, it was a trending story for no more than a few days, quick to be forgotten in a league where crimes like this aren’t that foreign. However, it has been a week since the second was released, and new developments in the story are coming out everyday.

The public became so outraged, it took to social media, making this story a trending topic on Twitter and Facebook for over a week. In a society where the average internet user’s attention span is minimal, this was a long time. The public influence concerning this story was strong enough to end a man’s career, and make NFL reconsider policies.

It is clear the effect social media and the public’s opinion had on this Ray Rice situation. What is not clear, however, is the reason why it took this high level of intensely bad publicity to make the NFL take appropriate measures in the punishment.

Although social media is a blessing, allowing powerful entities like the NFL to hear the voices of the public, it should not have been the driving force to ultimately force the NFL to suspend Rice indefinitely.

The NFL leadership claimed to not have seen the second video until Monday, although law enforcement officials confirm it was sent to the league office in April. Even still, everyone knew what had happened on that elevator and the NFL should have taken appropriate measures then, rather than wait to see if the situation would blow over.

With all these facts known, the NFL has portrayed itself in a horrible light and the influence and backlash of social media are not going to help the league out or lead people to forget about it anytime soon. Let’s just hope the league handles the next situation better than it did this one.