Should we cover celebrity fire losses?


With the extensive amount of tragedy occurring worldwide, it’s hard not only to keep up, but also to decide which event to express concern for.

I’d like to hope individuals common lack of concern regarding natural disasters and their impact is due to attention placed in other instances warranting concern. However, the coverage of the current damage caused by fires in California tell otherwise.

Plastered across various news outlets whenever a natural disaster occurs is the fatalities, those missing, and homes damaged or lost. The coverage of the Woolsey fire is the same, however differs because of celebrities that have been directly impacted.

Nearly every news media outlet has allocated special articles or segments to discuss celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Gerard Butler losing their homes, as if it is more tragic or newsworthy than those who aren’t celebrities.

This phenomenon is both good and bad.

I condone the idea of special treatment for celebrity when hundreds of others suffer as well, however I know that these types of articles draw more attention to the events and probably indirectly contribute to increased aid to other victims.

It’s a moral conundrum of whether news outlets should give celebrities individual coverage of their losses when they really are the ones who suffer the least from all those affected, or if the attention these pieces bring to the victims is all worth it in the end.

Media cover Fox News star at rally


President Trump held a rally in Missouri on Monday Nov. 5. Per usual, each news outlet had something to say regarding the event, but the points covered vary dramatically.

In The Hill’s article, “CNN’s Camerota questions ‘news organization’ status of Fox News after Hannity appears at Trump rally,” the sole focus of the piece was Sean Hannity’s presence and CNN’s reaction.

Following explicit statements that he wasn’t going to campaign with Trump, Fox News star Hannity did the exact opposite.

The piece includes quotes from CNN show host Alisyn Camerota and excerpts from Hannity’s supportive words toward Trump and his campaign during the rally.

In Fox News article, ‘Crowd at Trump rally sings ‘Amazing Grace’ after woman collapses,’ by Benjamin Brown there is not one mention of Hannity. Instead, the focus is on, what Brown paints as, Trump’s heroic gestures toward a woman who collapsed at the event.

The article covers Trumps five-minute delay to pray for the women, the crowd breaking out into singing “Amazing Grace,” and a brief history of the song itself.

Once again while both pieces contain factual information regarding the event, its the parts of the event they chose to cover that make all the difference.

Bolsonaro wins election in Brazil


After significant strife and controversy within the presidential election, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro is Brazil’s new president-elect.

While news media outlets may remain unbiased through their use of language, the angles and topics they cover regarding this election clearly convey the publication’s stance.

An article published by Fox News, “Brazil elects anti-establishment candidate Jair Bolsonaro as president,” by Frank Miles, chooses to only highlight certain aspects of the candidate and election.

Through labeling Bolsonaro as an “anti-establishment candidate” and “political outsider” and referring to his “rebel image,” Miles paints the candidate’s stance in an almost positive light.

The piece does address the reservations some had regarding Bolsonaro, but only in reference to how his supporters overcame them. Additionally, it only contains direct quotations from those who voted for Bolsonaro.

Per usual, CNN’s coverage differs dramatically from Fox’s.

In a piece headlined “Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins presidential election in Brazil,” by Flora Charner and Marcia Reverdosa, Bolsonaro’s campaign and subsequent election are portrayed as detrimental to Brazil and the world at large.

The article details how Bolsonaro plans to open parts of the Amazon rain forest to development, “the Women Against Bolsonaro march,” and parallels to Trump through their shared habit of indulging in oppressive rhetoric.

CNN’s piece, however, does include sources from both sides of the election, although the intention of the piece is clear: that Bolsonaro’s election is not a good thing.

Coverage of Trump rally in Texas varies


Unsurprisingly, following a somewhat-controversial Trump rally at the Toyota Center in Houston, news outlets varied drastically in the ways in which they covered the event.

CNN’s coverage focused mainly on Trump dubbing himself as a “nationalist,” in its article, “Donald Trump used a word he’s ‘not supposed to.’ Here’s why.” by Chris Cillizza. The piece solely focused on Trump’s use of such a label, why it was problematic, and the dangers it presents.

While CNN did have other coverage on their website regarding the rally, this piece was undoubtedly front and center.

The antithesis of CNN, Fox News, covered the event quite differently. Instead, they focused on Trump’s backing of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, for whom he previously has expressed vehement distaste.

Furthermore, the piece entitled “Trump, at Texas rally, backs Cruz, slams Democrats for ‘assault on the sovereignty’ of US,” by Nicole Darrah expanded upon Trump’s extensive aggression towards democrats and his belief that they’re responsible for the “caravans” of migrants at the U.S. border.

Lastly, the Washington Examiner‘s piece, “Trump, the Republican Beyonce, rocks Texas,” by Tiana Lowe may have had the least-biased coverage, regardless of the humorous title alluding to the fact Trump filled the same stadium Beyonce once did.

Lowe’s piece quickly and somewhat neutrally covered the main points of the rally without expansion upon any one component or point of view. She simply covered Trump’s statements of nationalism and his newfound support for Cruz.

No urgency found in climate news


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on Monday about the impact that will occur if global warming reaches an additional 1.5 degrees C.

The Summary for Policymakers emphasized the drastic, unprecedented change that will have to occur if we wish to avoid utter ‘climate catastrophe’ by 2030.

While most news outlets did well in the actual articles covering the report, problems arise in regard to the importance it was given in comparison to other stories of the day. An issue such as this impacts the entire world.

Climate change doesn’t discriminate based on political preference, race, or gender. It impacts everyone and therefore should be what every news outlet is discussing today.

Instead, many news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News focused their coverage on the Kavanaugh confirmation and, ironically, Hurricane Michael.

The way in which news outlets prioritize stories heavily plays into what their audience is and isn’t knowledgeable about. Therefore, putting articles about the IPCC’s pivotal report, puts consumers in a position where they’re less inclined to be informed about the stakes we’re up against as a planet.

News outlets’ intentions may simply be to attract as many viewers as possible. Subsequently, leading them to focus more on immediate issues in society such as the Kavanaugh confirmation.

Regardless of the motive, I still maintain that it is the responsibility of news media to deliver to Americans, and society at large, coverage of the most pressing issues. And I’m uncertain what could be more pressing than sustaining the thing that is the sole reason for our existence.

Covering Kanye West’s ‘SNL’ politics


News media bias was ever-present in the coverage of rapper Kanye West’s comments on “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend.

West embarked upon a length pro-Trump tirade after the show went off-air. His words were, per usual, caught and shared via social media.

He also expressed his opinions on the 13th Amendment first indicating he believes it should be repealed, and later on saying it needs to be amended.


In CNN’s coverage of the event by Lisa Respers France, headlined, “Kanye West stirs more outrage with 13th Amendment, slavery tweets,” the way in which the event is covered is undoubtedly influenced by the outlet’s reputation as a somewhat liberal news media source.

The headline alone makes the article feel as if the event is everyone versus, the villain of the story, West.

France then goes on to exclusively cover just the backlash West received from big stars including Chris Evans, Lana Del Rey, and Swizz Beatz.

On the other end of the spectrum, is Fox News’ article by Katherine Lam, “Chris Evans slams Kanye West’s call to ‘abolish’ the 13th Amendment.”

The headline for this piece is influential as well. It has the opposite effect of CNN’s, portraying Chris Evans, and later on others who criticized West, as the aggressors.

Another indication of Lam’s political leanings are the fact that she not only reports on West’s controversial statements but also includes comments he has made to defend himself.

Through their headlines alone, CNN and Fox News both clearly indicate their position on the comments and overall political opinions regarding President Trump.

‘WW’ coverage needs refocus


Following the launch of Weight Watchers’ rebranding efforts, including the new “WW” name, many news outlets focused their attention on the wrong issues at hand instead of addressing the core issues of diet-culture.

Initially, most of the articles covering the rebranding elaborate on the changes taking place within the company’s practices. This includes a new application, partnership with meditation app Headspace, and incentives for logging various health-related activities.

Then, the pieces go one of two ways. Exhibited in People’s article, “Weight Watchers Rebrands to WW and Refocuses on Health and Wellness” by Julie Mazziotta, many of the pieces fail to provide more than one side to the perception of the rebrand.

The article does well in explaining the new changes taking place, but the only opinion given in the piece is from CEO Mindy Grossman and major WW investor, Oprah Winfrey.

Only including opinions from sources who will undoubtedly speak in favor of the company creates a bias within the article’s content.

Another way the coverage of WW’s new look goes is portrayed in Independent’s, “Weight Watchers Rebrands as WW in Bid to Distance Itself From Dieting,” by Rachel Hosie.

Hosie also covers Grossman’s account on the rebranding of the company, but she elaborates on the backlash the company has received. She cites London-based nutritionist Laura Thomas also holds a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences at Texas A&M.

Thomas is notoriously anti-diet through her social media presence and nutrition practice. Including another opinion on the possibly dishonest intentions of Weight Watchers’ supposed well-intentioned rebranding adds credibility to the article.

Following Thomas’s feedback, however, the article goes on to elaborate on Oprah Winfrey’s role within the company.

This is where the majority of my issues arise with media coverage of this event. Many articles use Winfrey’s support and role in WW as a crutch.

Through covering the damage diet culture has on young women and the way WW promotes this, discussing the success Winfrey has had within the program devalues any good intentions the article, writer or publication may have had.

Media perpetuate political name-calling


The political arena of news media is a ceaseless back and forth between both journalists and politicians on opposing sides of issues. During an interview on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” former Secretary of State John Kerry found himself the brunt of heavy criticism.

During the interview, Maher prompted discussion regarding Trump’s apparent resentment towards Kerry, and the reasoning behind it.

Kerry responded with criticisms regarding Trump’s use of social media and the ways in which he seemingly prioritizes it. Then, Kerry elaborated as the audience cheered him on.

“He really is the rare combination of an 8-year-old boy — I mean, he’s got the maturity of an 8-year-old boy with the insecurity of a teenage girl. It’s just who he is,” said Kerry.

In an East Bay Times article covering the event the author, Amy B. Wang, discussed the online responses Kerry received when he compared Trump to a teenage girl.

Wang briefly discussed those who supported the humorously intended comparison, but she mainly focuses on the backlash. She points out that many found the comment offensive due to the fact that many teenage girls aren’t insecure.

While Kerry’s comments were based in a stereotype that could be offensive to some, the “newsworthiness” of this situation seems unlikely. Media sources are plastered with incessant name-calling and through covering it, we perpetuate the cycle, and give power to those engaging in the act.

Not only is the newsworthiness of these reoccurring instances questionable, but the line between what makes one situation worth covering and another not is puzzling.

More or less any statement made by politicians, especially, will receive some sort of backlash or another online. So, where do we draw the line between offensive to the point of being newsworthy and then simply not worth our time as journalists?

Dramatics dominate Florence news


At the height of hurricane season, it’s no surprise that a large storm has formed and will hit the East Coast. That being said, news coverage of the storm is verging on theatrics.

It seems that each year the news media’s coverage of natural disasters increases in sheer time allocated towards the events and in the dramatics with which the news is delivered.

While this may very well be due to an increase in the intensity of storms, the news media are not attempting to quell the general population’s discomfort regarding impending natural threats. This leaves the outlet’s intent when covering storms to question: are they just doing their best to spread breaking information for public safety or are they intentionally using fear-inducing tactics to keep a captive and large audience?

This questionable phenomenon is no different with approaching hurricane Florence.

Opening with dubbing the hurricane as “violent,” Washington Post article “Category 4 Hurricane Florence drawing closer to Carolinas and threatens ‘catastrophic’ flooding” by James Samenow, is one of many fear-inducing pieces circling the web.

Throughout the piece Samenow uses various, arguably unnecessary, phrases to describe the approaching hurricane.

Samenow describes the storm as, “monstrous” and “like a bulldozer,” and emphasizes his intentions with verbs like “unleash.”

Even the direct quotations chosen for the piece are ominous. Including one from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper saying, “Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different.”

Granted, Samenow does prove to have some educational intentions with this article through the inclusion of scientific information, quotations, and graphs via sources like The National Hurricane Center, High Plains Regional Climate Center, and The National Weather Service.

Furthermore, Samenow elaborates on various path projections and the fact that storms are very unpredictable.

The article is extremely informative, but the threatening vocabulary scattered throughout the piece points towards underlying intentions beyond informing the masses.

DeSantis comments draw criticism


Following the victories of Rep. Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum in Florida’s gubernatorial primaries, DeSantis’s word choice during an on-air interview with Fox, came under fire.

According to Rolling Stone, DeSantis stated, “The last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

The article by Bob Moser, emphasizes DeSantis’s use of the word “monkey” and quotes Gillum’s response comparing the comment to a bullhorn.

Moser later refers to President Donald Trump as, “the bullhorner-in-chief,” making his personal stance on the issue clear. Even later stating that the president, “couldn’t be more grossly mistaken…” in regard to Trump’s comment stating that Gillum is DeSantis’s ideal opponent and insinuating the ease with which he believes DeSantis will win.

Moser then continues to use phrases such as “dog-whistling” when referring to Republican candidate’s calling out their opponents on various issues.

Seemingly in support of the Republican opposition, Moser emphatically says, “Checkmate!” in support of the response by Stacey Abrams, candidate for Georgia governor, to GOP attacks on her financial status.

It’s difficult to blame the author for any bias regarding these issues when he later elaborates on further anti-black anecdotes about the Road to Power, an Idaho-based white supremacist group. During their time in Florida, Moore documents them as mocking Gillum through taunts such as, “I is Andrew Gillum. We Negroes…done made mud huts while white folks waste a bunch of time making their home out of wood an’ stone.”

The article ends on a somewhat positive note, affirming that racist jabs toward Gillum will only work in his favor during the election, giving the people something to vote against.

Although Moore may have expressed some personal opinions through various instances of pseudo-name-calling, he had evidence, anecdotes, and direct quotes in support of all claims made.

Additionally, in situations with vehement racism, it grows increasingly difficult to remain neutral which may have resulted in the over encompassing evil-versus-good feeling of the article.