Ken Bone’s moment of instant stardom


Forget the policies. Forget the candidates. Forget the issues. The real winner of the presidential debate was Ken Bone.

The red cardigan wearing, average Joe looking, plump man was the hero America needed in this ruthless election cycle.

He was a breath of fresh air from America’s two favorite candidates attacking each other’s character and families.

He has been praised everywhere from Twitter to broadcast news networks. All for asking a relatively simple question about energy policy.

Ken Bone has just signed an endorsement deal with Uber. He literally got it, because he has become America’s newest meme and social media darling.

There has always been the overnight celebrity phenomenon in the news media, but the Internet makes the process so much easier to happen.

Before the age of the Internet, it was the mostly the press who could influence overnight stardom, but social media have made millions of more people have a voice in this process.

Journalists and businesses have to adapt to this. When someone becomes an overnight celebrity they need to get involved with them. Whether it be giving them a sponsorship like Uber or by running stories about mundane aspects of their life; like why Ken Bone wore a cardigan.

Overnight celebrities offer companies an easy way to get money and viewers. They need to embrace them to get the hits and exposure to thrive.

Ken Bone becomes Internet sensation


A man in a red sweater who asked a question at the second Presidential Debate on Sunday has became an instant Internet sensation.

Kenneth Bone asked Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job layoffs?”

kenbone18The question itself isn’t to blame for Bone’s fame.

His name and the red sweater combined with his glasses made him the perfect internet meme.

Bone told CNN on Monday morning, “I went from, last night, having seven Twitter followers, two of which were my grandmother…to now, I have several hundred,” he said. “And I don’t know why they care what I have to say, but I’m glad they’re engaged in the political process.”

Now, Bone has more than 200,000 Twitter followers.

And the fan frenzy doesn’t stop there. #KenBone was a trending topic on Twitter, people created parody accounts, and Bitmoji—the iPhone app that allows users to make cartoon versions of themselves—created a Ken Bone-themed icon.

kennethboneNot to mention the Sexy Ken Bone Halloween costume that sold out within four hours.

Internet media sensations come and go faster than Ken Bone asked his question on Sunday, so who knows when his fifteen minutes of fame will be up and the next guy will have his chance in the Internet spotlight.

Aleppo gaffe hinders Johnson campaign


In an election year with two major party candidates who have historically high disapproval ratings, Libertarian Gary Johnson sees an opportunity to send a third party to the White House.

As Johnson, who appeals particularly to young voters, has climbed to nearly 10 percent in national polls, the news media have been hesitant to give much attention to his campaign. Instead, news organizations have focused on issues that Americans are all too familiar with, such as Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and Donald Trump’s insults.

However, Johnson received a significant amount of coverage last week after an MSNBC interview during which he expressed his unfamiliarity with Aleppo, a war-torn Syrian city.screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-10-31-19-am

Johnson was chastised by several news organizations, including The New York Times, for his lack of foreign policy knowledge.

Criticism for the Aleppo gaffe was arguably the most attention the Johnson campaign has received from the news media.

The tendency of news organizations to focus coverage on the two major party candidates has made it difficult for the Johnson campaign to garner positive attention.

For Johnson, participation in the presidential debates would provide the perfect opportunity to receive good publicity and attract voters.

The Aleppo gaffe was a major setback for Johnson, who must average at least 15 percent in national polls to participate in the debates. With the first debate coming up on Sept. 26, Johnson must quickly recover from his error if he hopes to be a major contender come election day.

Trump defends penis size


The day has finally come, the day where politicians talk about their privates rather than politics.

Donald Trump assured voters on Thursday that there was “no problem” with the size of his hands — or anything else.

This came after Marco Rubio suggested Trump has small hands, a decades’ old insult from Vice Magazine who called him “a short-fingered vulgarian,” according to John Oliver.

“He’s always calling me Little Marco. And I’ll admit he’s taller than me. He’s like 6-2, which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5-2,” Rubio said in Virginia on Sunday. “And you know what they say about men with small hands? You can’t trust them.”

Apparently, Trump has never been able to forget that insult because he seemed so bothered by it.

But what is really upsetting, is the fact that we have grown men arguing about the size of their penises rather than the real problems in politics. And if that wasn’t enough, news outlets are reporting it.

Not to say that journalists are not to report it but don’t give more attention to it than it already needs. Journalists should not be entertaining their inappropriate jokes between presidential candidates as much as they have been.

My personal Facebook account has been flooded with this unusual joke and it makes me wonder why we care journalists are having a field day with it. Maybe it brings in more readers, which I must argue that it is a good way to bring in readers but it shouldn’t be your top priority. This belongs at the end of your broadcast.

Journalists have a job to report things and tell the truth, but this joke is way too revealing.

‘Baby Hitler’ goes viral on social media


Reuters reported on Tuesday that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said if he had the opportunity to kill Adolf Hitler when the German autocrat was an infant, he would. The White House later tweeted the article featuring his answer with a comment, “Gotta do it.”

In an interview with the Huffington Post series that covers the campaign trail with the candidates running for president, this former Florida governor’s responded “Hell yeah, I would!” to the question: if given the opportunity, would you go back in time to kill baby Adolf Hitler?

“The problem with going back in history and doing that, as we know from the series — what’s the name of the Michael Fox movies? It could have a dangerous effect on everything else. But I’d do it, Hitler,”said Bush.

This odd question was picked via the e-mail address that Bush distributes widely to public audiences, and in fact, it had already become a controversial question when The New York Times Magazine ran a poll over the weekend last month asking readers if they would go back in time and kill baby Hitler. The result showed that 42 percent of respondents said they would, 30 percent said they would not and the left respondents were not sure about it.

The response on social media to Bush’s comments and The New York Times Magazine went viral. Most of them were comical, but it is still a sensitive question involved an adult kill an infant. Therefore, on Wednesday, when Ben Carson was asked the similar question, but there was a slight difference. The question was whether or not he would “abort” a baby Hitler and he responded that he was not in favor of aborting anybody.

In that case, whatever the respond to that question is, it will lead a new roar on the internet.

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.

Myanmar elections and social media


An opposition candidate in Myanmar is recovering after being attacked by men at a campaign rally.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) candidate Naing Ngan Lin was rushed to hospital with head and hand injuries from wielding knives and swords, but the party said his life was not in danger.

The Myanmar government rules its nation through authoritative practices. Since the late eighties, many Myanmar citizens have expressed extreme distaste in the violence and censorship of media.

Myanmar has fallen behind the rest of the world with new technology. The government, however, refuses to adapt to technology since it maintains a stronghold on all information relevant to the elections.

Cell phones and social media have recently become somewhat accessible for wealthy citizens of Myanmar. This allows for virtual communication among individuals, universities, governments and everything in-between.

Mobile phones pose a risk to the Myanmar government during election time because the government will lose authoritative control over content posted.

The upcoming election has the potential to drastically change Myanmar’s participation socially, politically and economically in modern-day society. If Myanmar citizens use social media, other countries will pay closer attention to what the people want.

I plan on closely following the election coverage from Myanmar from news outlets, but more importantly, social media.

Joe Biden and CBS’ ’60 Minutes’


Vice President Joe Biden made an announcement last week that he will not seek the 2016 nomination of the Democratic Party for president. Although it ended the subject about whether he will step back or not, the speculation of the reason came as follow.

On Sunday, Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, appeared on CBS “60 Minutes,” telling about the reason he decided not to seek the nomination: the impact of the loss of his son, Beau, and his views on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The vice president said in the interview that he knew he couldn’t win because he thought he and his staff couldn’t put together the campaign that their supporters deserved and contributors deserved. He also explained the reason — “the single most important thing in deciding not to run” is the loss of his son, Beau. The loss overturned the schedules.

Beau Biden supported Joe Biden to run for the president and thought he could win, while Maureen Dowd in The New York Times wrote about it and described Beau on his death bed said to his father, ”Dad, you’ve got to run.” This description was proved false in the interview.

Biden also discussed his comments reported by The New York Times last week that he didn’t mean to aim at Hillary Clinton herself and that they are friends.

“Go back and find anybody who says, for the four years we worked together, Hillary and I weren’t friends,” Biden said.

Moreover, Biden addressed his disappointment with Donald Trump directly and called him a showman. He wanted Trump to reconsider his remarks on immigrants.

CNN, NBC, The New York Times and many mainstream media covered this interview and they put particular emphasis on a different aspect of the story. CNN mostly covered “no Hollywood Moment” and the headline from NBC referred to Biden’s comment that he couldn’t win. The New York Times, which was mentioned twice in the interview, tells more about his family concerns. However, none of them made a comment about Biden’s disappointment with Trump.

Canada gets a ‘good-looking PM’


Justin Trudeau, 43-year-old political leader, makes his way to the stage at Liberal party headquarters in Montreal on Monday, Oct. 19, after winning the 42nd Canadian general election. As the elder son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau has a handsome looking and great enthusiasm is sports. He is called by foreign media as the “sexiest leader in the world.”

“Canada’s Good Looking PM” has become a heated discussion, and Justin Trudeau and his government even built a Chinese micro blog account for Chinese Internet users. It is one of the most searched topic in micro blogs and has more than 60.000 followers.

Justin Trudeau and his government updated their campaign and their election platform such as Justin Trudeau promised to respond to Canada’s economic slowdown by running modest deficits and building infrastructure. He has refused to raise Canada’s corporate tax rate. He has been noncommittal on the new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he has promised, vaguely, that Canada will have a more progressive climate change policy.

According to CBC News, messages of congratulations to Justin Trudeau are coming in from world leaders. Reuters reported Tuesday that The White House congratulated Trudeau on his win.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi offered a warm welcome on Twitter, “Looking forward to seeing you at G20,” and other welcoming tweets came from India, Mexican Malaysia and The Maldives.

Although the Canadian media coverage says that the liberal win trends worldwide, many U.S. coverage may prefer to conclude that the winning of Justin Trudeau is “low expectation and high relief.” The victory denied a fourth term to Harper and his Conservative party, and people would like to see him clean up the mess at this term.

Chafee’s campaign comes to end


When I was going through the news this morning, I noticed that among the headlines regarding the primary race for the upcoming 2016 election was Lincoln Chafee’s announcement that he was ending his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Being that Chafee is the former governor of Rhode Island, my home state, I had been keeping up with his campaign since he announced his participation this past June. Since then, he hasn’t had an overwhelming amount of support behind him – Hillary Clinton has surely been stealing the spotlight lately, especially this past week where she did well in the debates and her competition, Virginia Senator Jim Webb as well as Vice President Joe Biden, both dropped out. The fact that he followed suit isn’t exactly groundbreaking news to many.

Regardless, seeing the announcement brought back a few memories of when he was actively governing my home state that made me think about all the pressures that politicians face when they constantly have the media watching their every move.

Chafee’s son, Caleb, was actually a high school classmate of mine when I attended Portsmouth Abbey School. He was in the graduating class above mine and we were good friends, as we both boarded on campus and it was a close-knit community. The week of his graduation, all the seniors ended their classes earlier than the rest of the students, and we had final exams while they were celebrating “grad week” – an annual week notorious for off-campus parties.

Caleb threw a party at his house while his parents were out of town and one girl who attended it ended up being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. Everyone there was obviously under age, and the police inevitably got involved. Suffice to say, it stirred up a lot of publicity seeing as the party took place at the governor’s house and Rhode Island has a strict social host law which left Gov. Chafee responsible for the events that took place there. It was a bit of a local scandal in the weeks surrounding the incident.

Obviously what had happened was innocent enough, and there wasn’t that much damage done by the news media to Chafee’s reputation in the aftermath, but it did leave an impact on Caleb’s personal life (he ended up having to defer a year from Brown to do community service abroad in order to restore the University’s confidence in him as a freshman admit).

At the time, I didn’t really know much about the news media’s role in politics, but now that I’m a journalism major, it makes me more fully understand how critical that role is. Had the incident happened this past spring, Chafee may never have decided to even enter the race at all, considering it would have occurred in entirely different circumstances.

The incident would have been magnified under the lens of the news media and entire nation would have known about it — and it would have been used as a weapon against him by his competitors.  The things that occur to a person have an entirely different meaning when that person is a potential presidential candidate and it is the media that is single-handedly responsible for this fact.

Although the incident happened years ago and is water under the bridge at this point in time, especially since Chafee is no longer campaigning, it’s very interesting to me how I can look at the things that have happened in the past now with the eyes of a journalist, rather than just another on-looker.

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.

Can a woman become president?


Would Hillary make a good president? Who is her strongest opponent in the presidential race? Can a woman even be a good president?

The elderly and wise say that if a woman manages her own household, well, then she can handle anything in life. Meaning, a woman can definitely make a promising leader. Great examples of successful women leaders are Veronica Bachelet, president of Chile, and Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. However, the opposite is true in regards to Dilma Rouseff, president of Brazil, and Cristina Kirchner, president of Argentina. Both are facing serious corruption scandals and leave questions.

So, how would Hillary face such problems? Would she be ready to face the comments about her husband’s infidelity during her campaign? How would she deal with terrorism? Would she act cold-blooded and put emotions aside or would she negotiate with terrorists?

Some believe that a woman’s more emotional nature could affect her decision making.

Now, let’s remember. Hillary Clinton ran for presidency once before and there is no doubt that her failures and the experience she gained from them will only help her now. She knows that if she doesn’t win this time, it won’t happen. As a mother and grandmother, she has said that she wishes every child in the country the same possibilities of success her granddaughter will have.

Lastly, Bill Clinton’s presidency worked well not only due to his friendliness and good use of the press, but also because of his wife’s contributions. I am sure many Americans have tons of questions and wonder what it would be like for a woman to run this nation. For now, we can only sit back and wait to see what happens.

“When families are strong, America is strong,” — Hillary Clinton.

CNN strives for neutral in Scotland vote


One of the biggest stories in world news this week is the Scottish independence referendum results. In the months leading up to the vote, many news sources were covering the politicians speeches and polling public opinion.

imageI’ve been watching a lot of CNN’s coverage of the story, and I’ve noticed that there is an obvious effort to stay neutral.

For example, there was an open mic video that consisted of clips of Scottish voters expressing their views on the referendum and freedom from the UK. Although it was not blatantly alternating between yes and no voters, the video made sure to have an equal amount of people both opposed and supportive of the referendum.

The BBC focused more on how an independent Scotland might influence the economy. Much of the coverage focused on fluctuating share prices and volatility in the weeks leading up to the vote. The coverage also stressed the uncertainty of which currency an independent Scotland would adopt.

By attempting to foresee the possible economic changes that an independent Scotland would bring about, the BBC’s coverage of the story tended to focus on predictions and polling to see where the public stands. Finally, the referendum did not pass, with a slight majority of “no” votes.

BBC worked to avoid misrepresentation


With Scotland’s independence on the line, the historic referendum permeated newsrooms around the world this week.

News organizations reported as usual, interviewing voters who expressed their reasons for voting “Yes” or “No” for Scottish independence. Such reporting came to a halt at 6 a.m. on voting day for several news organizations.

On Sept. 18, BBC News was entirely devoid of opinion on the subject of Scottish independence. Following its code of practice, the BBC reported only uncontroversial factual accounts such as the number of polling stations, the percentage of the electorate registered to vote, and even the weather in a “commitment to impartiality and fairness.”

These sorts of practices are vital to avoid misrepresentation and to ensure that the outcome of an election truly reflects the population’s beliefs as a whole. If an election is predicted to be neck and neck, it is likely that more people will go to the polls. If, on the other hand, reported polling suggests a landslide victory, supporters of the minority party may feel that there is no hope so why bother voting? Or quite the opposite, if the popular candidate is “sure to win,” people may feel that it’s okay not to make it to the polls because so many other people will vote in favor of their cause. If enough people have that mentality, the minority opinion might win after all!

Having said that, as journalists, we must ensure that proper polling techniques were used, such as obtaining a representative sample, before reporting results. We certainly don’t want another case of the 1936 Literary Digest blunder. This applies even when sharing the results of a poll conducted by another organization. The information given to the public may bias their actions and we as journalists don’t want to be responsible for changing the course of history against true public opinion.