LGBTQ groups on TV is at record high


A recent study conducted by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, entitled “Where We are on TV,” found that LGBTQ representation on television is at a record-high.

With rising awareness of the under-representation of these groups in the media and on television, a multitude of large news media organizations reported on the study’s findings.

However, a majority of the news media sources that reported on these findings failed to mention the under-representation of other groups. For example, the GLAAD study found that people of color and women are extremely underrepresented on television, especially when compared to the percentage of the population these two groups account for.

While this year’s report marks a record-high percentage of black series regulars on broadcast (20 percent), black women remain underrepresented at only 38 percent of all black series regular characters.

The study also found that, this year, 44 percent of regular characters on prime-time broadcast programming are women, which is an increase of one percentage point from last year but still greatly under-represents women who make up 51 percent of the population.

I realize that race, and sometimes gender, are sensitive subjects, and that the under-representation of people of color in many facets of our society has been a topic of discussion for long enough, which may explain why media outlets such as BBC decided to focus on more positive aspects of the GLAAD annual report.

However, without attention to these issues from large media conglomerates, how is the under-representation of these groups expected to improve?

While still failing to include the GLAAD findings on the under-representation of people of color and women, CNN’s report on the GLAAD study did note that, although GLAAD found “there are more LGBTQ characters on broadcast then ever before,” 25 queer female characters across all platforms (broadcast, cable and streaming) have died since the start of 2016.

“Most of these deaths served no other purpose than to further the narrative of a more central (and often straight, cisgender) character,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO said in a press release.

“When there are so few lesbian and bisexual women on television, the decision to kill these characters in droves sends a toxic message about the worth of queer female stories,” Ellis would add.

Of the three sources listed, The Guardian was the only one that mentioned the scarcity of women of color on television, noting that “Black women have an especially difficult time breaking into the industry as they make up only 38% of all black series characters. Despite the overall increase, LGBTQ characters remain overwhelmingly white. The report found this was particularly true on cable and streaming services, where regular and recurring LGBTQ characters were 72% and 71% white respectively.”

Although The Guardian gives readers an extremely well-rounded report on the GLAAD study, the reporting done by other media outlets begs the question: Which parts of the study are important to the news media and, more importantly, why?

Did news coverage help elect Trump?


In light of the recent election of Donald Trump into the White House, I have begun to evaluate the news media’s role in Trump’s apparent success.

Although a lot of us were sure that Trump’s rhetoric would keep him out of the White House, clearly, we were wrong. Which leads me to ask, how in the name of God, did Trump get voted into the world’s most prestigious and powerful position?

Well, let us start by considering the fact that, out of all of the presidential hopefuls, Trump received the most news media coverage.

According to a study conducted by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on media and politics, Trump received 34 percent of news coverage when compared with his other GOP candidates: Jeb Bush receiving 18 percent, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson both with 14 percent, Ted Cruz with 13 percent, and last, and most certainly least, John Kasich with a mere 7 percent of all GOP media coverage.

A New York Times article written by Patrick Healey in late 2015 notes that, Trump “had planned to spend $15 million on campaign commercials this summer but did not because of the “free nationwide publicity” that the cable news networks provided.

This is due to the fact that Trump’s main business plan during the course of his campaign was to manipulate the media and, in particular, monopolize airtime.

Far too many networks fell victim to Trump’s ploys, and every raunchy, explosive, or controversial thing he said became headlines, allowing Trump to use cable’s widespread dissemination and availability to do the advertising for him.

 US News refers to Trump as “The Master of Manipulation”, and as much as I would like to disagree, Trump has done an outstanding job in using his unprecedented rhetoric, scandals, and controversies to bank on airtime.

“Trump never stopped dominating the media,” reads the headline of Farai Chideya’s FiveThirtyEight article, and “the master” manipulator, Trump seems to second that notion.

“I’ve gotten so much free advertising, it’s like nothing I’d have expected,” he told the Times. “When you look at cable television, a lot of the programs are 100 percent Trump, so why would you need more Trump during the commercial breaks?”

Well, as difficult as it may be to leave, Donald Trump is indeed the next president of this fine country and, unfortunately, I congratulate him and wish him the best for the sake of ALL mankind.

Playmate prosecuted in privacy case


Dani Mathers, Playboy’s 2015 Playmate of the Year, has been fired from her job, banned from all LA Fitness gyms and is now being hit with legal penalties after posting a nude locker room photo of a stranger to her Snapchat account.

Mathers is being accused of posting a photo of a naked 70-year-old woman in the shower area of a Los Angeles fitness center, with the caption, “If I cant unsee this then you can’t either,” sparking immediate backlash and, on Friday, criminal charges.

Yes that is right, Los Angeles city prosecutors have charged Mathers with a misdemeanor invasion of privacy, with the Los Angeles Times calling it a “pioneering prosecution against body-shaming.”

An article appearing in the Washington Post on July 18 written by Rachel Premack outlined the legalities of the case, noting the act is illegal under California law. A 2014 revised section of the California penal code notes that it is a misdemeanor to look “with the intent to invade the privacy of a person” into places like a changing room, where a person has “a reasonable expectation of privacy,” with a camera. Under this law, it’s illegal generally to distribute an image of the “intimate body part or parts” of another person “without the consent of or knowledge of that other person.”

As a result, Mathers has been banned from all LA Fitness centers across the United States, and has been indefinitely suspended from her job as a host on “The Heidi and Frank Show” on 95.5 KLOS in Los Angeles, TMZ reported.

Phil McCausland of NBC News, stated that the case could send “legal shockwaves,” noting that this is one of the first times someone has been criminally charged for a body-shaming social media post.

While body-shaming in itself is not a crime, it is important to note that there are circumstances in which invading or violating ones privacy to do so can be deemed as a crime.

In the midst of the social media frenzy, Dani Mathers issued a public apology via her Twitter account, saying, “I’m sorry for what I did … I need to take some time to myself now to reflect on why I did this horrible thing.”

Whether sincere or not, courts do not recognize apologies and, according to NBC News, if convicted, Mathers could face up to six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine.

The arraignment is schedule for Nov. 28.

Good deed goes unnoticed by media


Unfortunately, good deeds and good news often go unnoticed by larger news media organizations as these touching stories are often overshadowed by the hard, political news we are accustomed to seeing when we turn on the TV.

However, acts of goodwill and selflessness that serve to better a community should never go unnoticed, as service gives way to change and the betterment of the collective.

So that is why when I got wind of the generous and benevolent efforts of an elderly Canadian couple, I couldn’t dare keep it to myself.

Rick and Donna Wanless, the owners of a 25-acre farm in New Westminster, Canada, have decided to extend the use of their land to veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In partnership with a local housing project, known as Honor House, the couple plans to turn part of their farm into a sanctuary for Canadian first responders and veterans dealing with PTSD.

Honor House, also native to New Westminster, provides individuals facing PTSD a place to stay with their families while they seek treatment and rehab in nearby areas.

The farm, which will be named Honor Ranch after Honor House, will offer programs geared towards rehabilitating those veterans and first responders, and Rick says that he hopes the project will provide a bit of an escape from the everyday rigors of life.

Rick, a retired teacher, developed the idea following his encounter with first responders who rescued him after he fell of his horse. With a broken pelvis and some down time, Rick had some time to think, and says that his accident helped him realize what a great help these individuals can be.

Rick is hoping that those individuals battling with PTSD will use the ranch as a retreat, where they could camp, fish and do some boating.

Personally, I find it upsetting to note that this story of goodwill was not covered by any major news networks such as Fox, CNN, or MSNBC, as these networks need to do a better job of covering positive news, even if it’s only a short piece once daily. along with were the only two sites as of Wednesday that had written their own stories in reference to the project, and given the Wanless’ sacrifice and dedication to service, I hoped that there would be a little more coverage on the project.

However, although the noteworthy project has not gained the media attention it deserves, once the New Westminster Fire Department got word of the development, they offered to contribute by building a 300 square foot cottage on the property.

Although news is meant to be informative, I believe that news is often too negative and, sometimes, amid the daily chaos, we need something positive to remind us that this world is not all bad, a fact that is too easy to forget.

Trump video an October surprise


Just when America thought it couldn’t get anymore raunchy…

Trump, the master showman, gives yet another spectacular “locker room” performance the weekend before Monday’s debate.

The Washington Post released video footage retrieved from “Access Hollywood” of what could be acknowledged as this election’s October surprise, given the unmistakable lewd comments that Trump makes about his behavior towards women, as well as the allegations that arose following the footage’s dissemination.

These newly released wire briefs and tapes, some dating back as far as 1992, confirm the suspicions many Americans already had in regards to Donald Trumps views on, and treatment of women.

“I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump said in reference to an actress on the Access Hollywood tape. “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful … I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

“Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything,” Trump added.

The media has been all over Trump’s horrid campaign since January, and an article written by The Atlantic entitled, The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet, says that, “now his behavior toward women threatens to doom a campaign that was already limping.”

Trump’s campaign released a statement in response to the allegations saying,

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

“Locker room banter,” is it?

The things you say and do when you think no one is watching are the things that define you, not the performance that you put on with the knowledge that people are listening and judging you.

Let’s not bypass the fact that he apologizes for offending anyone, not for his comments and actions in regards to women. I guess that is the narcissistic way to apologize when you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong.

According to an article written Thursday by David Graham of The Atlantic, many women allege that this is no small talk, but are accusing Trump of sexual assault, and in one case, rape.

Remarkably, in the past 24 hours, The Washington Post has published nine stories with ‘Trump’ in the headline.

How can the media be unbiased in their reporting if a new Trump scandal emerges every week?

And in case anyone forgot, we still haven’t seen the taxes.

Is the audit finished yet, Trump?

October’s chaotic kickoff


This week has been an exciting, yet chaotic week for Miami Hurricane students and staff.

With the game against rival, FSU, this coming Saturday, Hurricane Matthew’s touchdown beginning Wednesday and in the midst of midterms, October is getting off to an interesting, and jam-packed start.

Hurricane Matthew, which has already devastated many areas of the Caribbean, has been declared as a powerful category four, with maximum sustained winds of 130 m.p.h., said the National Hurricane Center.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Monday and, according to USA today, he has warned residents to prepare for potential power outages and possible evacuations.

“We are preparing for the worst, hoping for the best and not taking any chances,” Scott said.

According to Fox News, South Carolina also declared a state of emergency on Thursday, which allows federal aid to be dispersed in addition to state and local emergency response teams.

Furthermore, The Pentagon reported that Florida, Georgia and South Carolina state governors mobilized 4,500 National Guardsmen to assist with southern communities’ efforts to weather the storm.

I just hope that Hurricane Matthew brings our Hurricane football team some hurricane-force winds that wipe out Florida State at this Saturday’s game.


Real and perceived slights


Police brutality and the use of excessive force is a major social and political issue, particularly with our nation on the brink of electing a new president. The coverage by the news media of incidents of brutality has caused major disruptions from coast-to-coast, and has many Americans on edge.

Police brutality is not a new phenomenon. If you ask a publisher or editor at one of the country’s African-American newspapers, she or he would tell you they’ve been covering these cases for a long time.

“We’ve been in business for 130 years,” said Robert Bogle, President and CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune. Tracey Williams-Dillard of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, another African-American newspaper, said “It not only feels like there’s more coverage, there is more coverage. It’s not a perception, it’s definitely real,” According to an article written by Eliott C. McLaughlin of CNN, we’re just seeing more mainstream media coverage thanks to cell phones.

Cellphone videos captured by on-the-scene eyewitnesses have brought many stories into the light that, otherwise, would have been swept under the rug. Once the video hits the mainstream, usually via social media forums, journalists can then provide follow-up. Citizens, now armed with evidence, demand accountability and pursue justice.

Black newspaper executives feel that videos lend credibility not only to black victims’ versions of events in specific situations, but also to their versions of events historically. Where a victim’s race could affect a story’s perceived veracity, video permits no such prejudice.

Not only are we in a better position to capture video of police misconduct today, we’re also better equipped to disseminate the footage via social media.

However, news organizations may not be giving the same level of scrutiny, context and analysis to the various groups who face violence at the hands of police.

When you think of police brutality in the U.S., you think of black males being brutalized; however, black females have been victimized as well. According to an article written by Meredith Clark in USAToday, “black and brown women and girls are additionally brutalized in ways that men often aren’t,” says Clark. “And the data shows that police incidents involving women of color occur at a disproportionately high level compared with media coverage.”

More than 20 women of color have been killed in police-related incidents including Sandra Bland, who died in police custody in Texas on July 13, 2015.

Additionally, there are many who criticize the under-representation of incidents of police brutality at the top English-language networks. An article in the Huffington Post Feb. 24, 2015, raised the question of how major television networks cover police violence cases in which the victims are Hispanic. For example, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, a Mexican migrant worker, who was shot and killed by police officers on Feb. 10, 2015 in Pasco, Washington, gained coverage by Univision, the top-rated Spanish-language channel numerous times.  However, the case was not portrayed with the same ferocity by Fox News or CNN, the two leading national news channels.

I am sure that the news media would prefer not to continuously inundate the public with tale after tale of police brutality, as it is an unfortunate reality and construct of our society and justice system.

The question is: Which story is more worthy of attention and, most importantly, why?

UM’s Richt receives warm welcome


University of Miami Football Coach Mark Richt continues to set a positive example for the UM football players.

Richt was recently named Honorary Head Coach for the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, an organization that recognizes student-athletes and their efforts in service as well as enriching the lives of individuals in need.

Since becoming the 24th football coach at the university in December 2015, Richt has received nothing but praise for his performance both on and off the field.

Besides his football acumen, Richt is known for his strong faith, emphasis on academics, integrity and community service. According to an article appearing in USAToday, Richt’s greatest virtue is his willingness to do the right thing for the program, even if it was against his self-interest as a coach trying to keep his job. Georgia players, whether star player or backup, were going to face discipline for off-season infractions — usually to a greater degree than their counterparts at other SEC schools.

However, Richt has left a favorable impression wherever he has treaded. The Miami Herald reported that fans attending an Atlanta Falcons game at the Georgia Dome were quite upset when the announcement of Richt’s departure came over the public-address system.  Despite a somewhat tumultuous end to his career at the University of Georgia, DawgNation’s Seth Emerson and Chip Towers quoted Georgia Athletics Director Greg McGarity who said, “Mark has touched thousands of lives over the past 15 years – he has a huge heart and his positive influence has affected many people, young and old.”

While bestowing the Honorary Coaching Award to Richt, Todd Berry, AFCA Executive Director, lavished him with praise. “We get to honor one of our own members, Coach Mark Richt from the University of Miami. His dedication to community service goes hand in hand for why this award was established in 1992”.

The UM fans and alumni are anxiously hoping that Richt will return the football program to its illustrious position in the college football universe. According to The Miami Herald, season ticket renewal rates are at an astonishing 87 percent.

In the midst of football season, this is a hectic, yet lively time for the first year coach of the Hurricanes, and in an interview conducted by the Sun-Sentinel, Richt indicated that he believes his players are adjusting well to changes, and added, “It’s been busy, but it’s been good.”

While I have not had the honor of speaking with Richt, I am looking forward to witnessing this season with the man many believe is currently one of the University of Miami’s best assets.

Campaign stretches health privacy limits


In light of Hillary Clinton’s recent health scare at the 9/11 Memorial site’s 15-year observation, there has been increased pressure on the presidential nominees to release their medical records.

In an effort to promote the transparency both candidates speak so frequently on, both Donald Trump and Clinton have both made some degree of information regarding their health public.

While it is interesting to note Trump’s slight battle with obesity and his genetic link to Alzheimer’s, and Hillary’s bout of pneumonia and previous blood clots; elected official or not, would you want your medical records made public for the world to judge?

Although the health and medical condition of our elected officials is essential in regards to their capacity to handle their position, it is similarly important to preserve their right to privacy and individual liberty as human beings and, despite their status, I believe matters of health are quite personal.

“Trump plays chicken on health records” read the headline of the Sept. 15 Time Magazine politics page. While the headline mockingly accuses Trump of being scared to release the one-page medical report done by his physician, Harold Bornstein, Trump did in fact make his medical records public on Wednesday, Sept. 14 during a taping of “The Dr. Oz Show.”

The issue has now become the extent to which he has informed the public, as Trump’s one-page summary was not an extensive review of his health.

CNN’s Brian Stelter and MJ Lee refer to Trump as a “master showman,” claiming that “the TV appearance gives the appearance of transparency, but the summary by Bornstein will fall far short of experts’ calls for detailed information about Trump’s health and medical history.”

The New York Times agreed, stating that “the information Mrs. Clinton has made public is more extensive than the details and assessments” given by Trump’s physician, Bornstein. Although Clinton’s records can be deemed as more “extensive”, her physician, Lisa Bardack, failed to include basic information such as her weight and height.

CNN also refers to Bornstein as “hyperbolic,” in saying that, if elected, Trump would be the healthiest president in history and, according to The New York Times, David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to President Obama, tweeted that the Republican nominee would rival William Howard Taft in terms of portliness.

While I am not a supporter of Donald Trump, nor his campaign or policies, I am a firm believer in morality and The Golden Rule. I don’t think that is appropriate to weight-shame, and I think we’ve witnessed a slight double standard; would Plouffe have made the comment if the Republican nominee was an obese woman?

I don’t think so.

So, more importantly, Mr. Trump … where are your income tax records?

Turner case highlights racial issues


Twenty-year-old Brock Turner, a former swimmer at Stanford University was arrested Jan. 18, 2015, after two graduate students discovered him on top of an unconscious woman outside Kappa Alpha fraternity at approximately 1 a.m.

Following the incident, Turner withdrew from Stanford and was found guilty of three felony charges: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.

The maximum sentence for his crimes are 14 years in the state of California.

However, Turner got off with a mere six-month sentence, only serving three, under a California law that gives credit for time served.

Well, Judge Aaron Persky, you’ve officially set yet another standard for white-privilege and legal precedent.

Given Turner’s circumstance, he is no “true” criminal, right?

The seriousness and severity of rape should never be taken lightly or handled with leniency. Not only does it mock the pain and suffering experienced by the victim, light sentences and leniency for privileged individuals sets a precedent for the continuation of injustices.

Would the news media response have made more of a difference if Turner was black, or if it was a black judge deciding the same ruling?

Turner is no victim of college-drinking culture, America’s political and social constructs or social pressures.Turner is a felon, who has been let off by the hands of biased judging and white-washed, misogynistic loopholes in our justice system.

It is disturbing that some media outlets have cast Turner to be the victim of a broken system.

For example, a Sept. 4 CNN article written by Emanuella Grinberg and Janette Gagon is slightly misfocused in my opinion, and does too much work making the case that Turner is an athlete, and that it is not unusual for someone with a strong athletic and academic background to be sentenced leniently, if sentenced at all.

Although that assertion is probably true, the media as a whole tends to flee from topics of race.

Yet, this is white-privilege at its finest, and should be called as such.

Too much justification, too many excuses, and not enough sympathy and advocacy for victims of sexual assault and rape feed into the system and culture surrounding this very issue itself.

Large media corporations and conglomerates, like CNN, should not just report the news and statistics; they should speak out against unjust social constructs and unfairly punished injustices.

These media corporations help influence the beliefs and understanding of our community, and if more was done, the case could have possibly been overturned.

However, the case did get a generous response from many notable figures and outlets showing their advocacy for victims of sexual assault, and speaking out against the current culture.

The cast of HBO’s Girls created a brilliant message, entitled Why We’re So Quick To Disbelieve, in an effort to combat efforts to attack victim testimony in these cases.

USA swimming banned Turner for life and released the statement, “USA Swimming condemns the crime and actions committed by Brock Turner, and all acts of sexual misconduct,” USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman told ABC News. “Brock Turner is not a member of USA Swimming and, should he apply, he would not be eligible for membership.

Last but not least, as a result of the media outcry, California has moved to set a minimum amount of time to be served in sexual assault cases.

I truly hope that this case serves to set the stage for a movement towards more victim advocacy and support versus simple storytelling.

Media outlets should stand by victims of injustice with confidence and solidarity, without fear of being “biased,” actively seeking justice on the behalf of deserving survivors.