Disney’s ‘Wrinkle in Time’ omits Christ


Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” film is facing backlash and controversy for the blatant omission of the Christian ideals and various Biblical passages that are prevalent throughout Madeleine L’Engle’s original novel.

L’Engle passed away in 2007.  The writer was a devout Christian who used her book, A Wrinkle in Time, to express her thoughts about God.

“If I’ve ever written a book that says what I feel about God and the universe, that is it,”  L’Engle wrote in her journal about the book.  “This is my psalm of praise to life, my stand for life against death.”

After the release of the film adaption of the story, many noted the omission of the Christian themes of the book.  The screenwriter for the film, Jennifer Lee, gave an interview with Uproxx in which she explained why she decided to remove the Biblical references and Christian values.

“What I looked at, one of the reasons Madeleine L’Engle’s . . . had that strong Christian element to it wasn’t just because she was Christian, but because she was frustrated with things that needed to be said to her in the world and she wasn’t finding a way to say it and she wanted to stay true to her faith,” said Lee.

Lee noted that there are Christian themes central to the book, A Wrinkle in Time, but she opted to omit or alter these for the move in order to portray a more inclusive and secular message.

“That’s what inclusiveness is to me in this film, is really looking at all of us have a role to play in this no matter where we come from or what we look like,” Lee told Uproxx.

In an article discussing the controversy, CBN emphasized L’Engle’s deep faith and how the author said her book spurred from her personal relationship with God.  CBN, in a covert manner, expressed that Lee’s adaption of the story was an attack on the Christian faith.

“It appears Lee believes espousing such Biblical truths are somewhat irrelevant and outdated in today’s modern world,” wrote CBN.

Movieguide gave a more neutral perspective on the differences between the book and the film.  Their review of the film expressed that although Christianity is omitted from the film, it still does send children a positive message.

“Overall, ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ has a positive moral, redemptive message about a relationship between a father and a daughter being restored, as well as a clear picture of good versus evil.”

Nevertheless, Movieguide did make note that the omission of the Christian themes of the story was a dramatic alteration of the book.

“A Wrinkle In Time is based on the best-selling novel by Madeline L’Engle.  However, many of the faith statements and themes in Madeline’s book aren’t included in the movie.  Instead, the movie adds lots of New Age content, including an emphasis on being one with the universe and the energy people create with positive or negative thoughts.  At one point, one character mentions every ‘spiritual,’ ‘religious,’ and historical icon, but seems to exclude Jesus Christ, as if Christianity was the one thing they didn’t want to include.  In the book, however, Jesus is the iconic figure.”

Vox wrote a lengthy article about the film giving L’Engle’s life story growing up in the Episcopalian Church and facing persecution for her fantasy writing.  In its coverage, Vox chose to discuss the trend in Hollywood of shying away from religious undertones in children’s movies from an analytical perspective on the matter.

“This may be, in part, due to the demands on big-budget fantasy ‘family’ films to easily lend themselves to theme park rides and merchandising sales, something harder to do with films that take a divisive or complicated approach to faith.  ‘Good triumphs over evil’ is a lot more salable and straightforward than ‘the universe exists because God became man,’ even if the paradox of the latter lends Wrinkle its existential weight,” said Vox writer Tara Burton.

The Washington Post covered the response to the new film with a lengthy story on L’Engle and an interview with Sarah Arthur, author of a upcoming biography of L’Engle titled “A Light So Lovely.”

“There are a lot of people who believe the strength that you need to fight the darkness is in you,” Arthur said. “But it’s because they were connected to the source of light who is Jesus.  If it’s unmoored from Madeleine’s Christian faith, it’s missing a big piece of the spiritual thrust of what she was doing,” said Arthur to The Washington Post.

The Washington Post article, similarly to the Vox article, took a more analytical approach to how Christian themes are translated from children’s books to movies and the effect that has on the box office crowds.

“Early reviews of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ are mixed, drawing a 44 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  And a film starring Oprah, who is also controversial among some conservative Christians, might not attract the same kind of crowd that soaked up films such as ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ ‘The Blind Side’ and Disney’s adaptation of Lewis’s ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’” said Washington Post writer Sarah Bailey.

Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fall


A Cirque du Soleil performer died Saturday night during a performance held in Tampa, Fla.

The Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group stated that aerialist Yann Arnuad fell more than 15 feet while performing during the show ” VOLTA”. He immediately received medical attention and was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Daniel Lamar, president and CEO of the entertainment company said in a statement, “The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him.”

The last two performances of VOLTA have been cancelled due to the tragic events.

Julien Martinez was in the audience Saturday night and told CNN affiliate WFLA that he witnessed the accident. He noticed that the performer was straining to hold onto the rope.

“It was awful,” he said of the fall. “You heard all the cries of the audience. There were children there and they were freaking out.”

” it kinds of colors our opinions of what is going on behind the scenes,” Martinez said. “What is the cost of our entertainment at that point?”

This is the second tragedy to happen to one of Cirque du Soleil performers. In June 2013, 31-year-old acrobat and aerialist Sarah Guillot Guard died after a fall during a show in Las Vegas.

After this incident, the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Cirque du Soleil and casino for violations which resulted in both facing thousands of dollars in fines.

The news media covered this story in a very respectful manner. This is an issue that could be reported in a hateful way due to people not agreeing with acrobats being made to do unsafe stunts.

The reporting was also informative; when reading it, I felt as if I was there witnessing it myself.

Pepe the Frog creator sues ‘InfoWars’


Matt Furie, creator of Pepe the Frog, is suing Alex Jones’ “news show” “Infowars” after a poster featuring the character showed up for sale on the site’s merchandise page.

“MAGA” poster for sale on the Infowars website

Though it started out as an innocent comic character in Furie’s comic “Boys Club” in 2005, the image and its various versions such as “Sad Pepe” or “Smug Pepe” quickly spread across the web as a popular meme.

Many consider it to be the first major meme and was used by Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and was the most retweeted meme on Twitter in 2015.

However in 2016, as the presidential election began, Pepe was adopted by the republican party after candidate Donald Trump retweeted a version of “Trump Pepe” that featured his blonde hair, suit and stance at the presidential podium.

His son, Donald J. Trump Jr. also retweeted a parody of the movie poster for “The Expendables” that featured Pepe as part of the Trump family on the poster and other popular right-wing and conservative figures.

As the right wing became more and more extreme and radicalized up to and following

A common use of the original Pepe and “Sad Pepe” meme on Twitter.

the election, so did the causes, groups, and alt-right news sources Pepe was associated with, to the point where the Anti-Defamation League, a watchdog group opposed to antisemitism, added Pepe to its hate symbol database.

The image became deeply associated with hate groups and white supremacists and the Trump campaign did not distance themselves from it.

“Infowars,” a sensationalized “news source” hosted by extreme conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, is yet another outlet taking Furie’s image and continuing the misconstrued message now associated with the character.

A screenshot from the ADL website with examples of the hijacked Pepe images

Jones called the lawsuit “frivolous” and insists the suit is part of a larger attempt by news media outlets to make Infowars “public enemy number one.”

This will not be the first time Furie has had to sue over the depiction of Pepe however. A children’s book that used the Pepe promoted “racist, Islamophobic and hate-filled themes,” according to a federal lawsuit filed by Furie, and the out of court settling required the removal of the book from sale.

Furie also killed off Pepe from his comic as a reaction to the corruption of his character.

This issue brings into consideration the way a meaning can be attached to an image and how quickly it can be propagated as such. Social media’s speed with condemning or supporting an image and inventing the unspoken meaning behind them is a powerful one and is frequently carried over into real life.

Even in the earlier days of Pepe’s alt-right association, news outlets struggled with dividing the comic character frog from the hate symbol he had been painted over as and they raised the unspoken question of where to draw the line between the creators intent and the current usage. I consider it similar to the swastika.

Though it was created and used across many eastern religions as a symbol of good luck, awareness, and even the footsteps of Buddha, today we know it as the symbol of the Nazi party and their acts of hate and genocide. However, Furie’s quick rebuttal to all attempts to use his character and hopes to redefine him could change how we see Pepe five years down the road.

Porn actress Daniels sues Trump


We’ve all heard the story of President Trump’s affair with adult movie star Stormy Daniels. What we didn’t know was the extent to which Trump tried to cover this story up days before his election.

Daniels secret relationship with Trump began in 2006, when they first met at a golf tournament. Since then, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen has wired Daniels $130,000 for her silence on the matter while Trump ran for office. Daniels lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has stated: “Trump failed to sign the hush agreement, therefore, nullifying it.”

The below image is taken from NBC News from the actual contract between Trump and Daniels. They had different names due to privacy.

“The Today Show” interviewed Avenatti on the gruesome details of Daniel’s sexual encounter with Trump. Avenatti declined to comment on some questions but did state: “She believes it’s important that the public learn the truth about what happened. I think it’s time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who is telling the truth.”

The interviewer questioned Avenatti about Daniels action to take the $130,000 instead of just saying no the agreement.

Avenatti declined to comment and said that this was Daniels story to tell, not his. However, he did comment that there was a lot of side interrogations from Cohen to persuade Daniels from not coming forward.

CNN reported Daniels has given conflicting statements about her relationship with Trump. Avenatti came out with a statement saying, “Cohen was concerned the truth would be disclosed … through intimidation and coercive tactics, forced Daniels into signing a false statement wherein she stated that reports of her relationship with Mr. Trump were false.”

Spotify and Apple battle for users


Spotify has been around since 2008, when it was released Ken Parks (the chief content officer from its founding until 2015) was asked ” Why wouldn’t Apple just kill this thing while it’s still in the cradle?” The simple answer to this was: Because Apple probably didn’t think it needed to.

When Spotify first started, Apple’s iTunes store had a dominant position in the music industry when it came to downloads, not streaming. Spotify was competing against less dominating services such as Pandora.

When Apple released a service called Apple Music, it was not viewed as an existential threat. Spotify believed its focus on algorithms to personalize the music experience was a better bet than Apple’s push for human curators.

Although, in 2017 Spotify had a net loss of $1.5 billion, more than double the amount from the prior year. Those losses would once have been unfathomable for a startup, but Spotify was able to raise billions in debt despite them.

Today both Apple Music and Spotify are widely used by people all over. It is a personal choice as to which is more your cup of tea.

Since Spotify has been around longer, there are people who had no interest in using Apple Music when it came out. Although, for Apple enthusiasts who weren’t apart of Spotify, Apple Music became more attractive.

This was reported in a very informative matter displaying facts regarding both companies, which I found useful because I had no idea about Spotify having a decrease in subscriptions. The reporter didn’t side with one company at all.

TV star overcomes insecurity with faith


Joanna Gaines, who stars with her husband, Chip Gaines, on the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper” recently told Darling magazine that she was bullied as a child in school because she is half Asian.

“If you haven’t heard my story, my mom is full Korean and my dad is caucasian. Kids in kindergarten would make fun of me for being Asian and when you’re that age you don’t know really how to process that; the way you take this is, ‘Who I am isn’t good enough.’”

The “Fixer Upper” is one of HGTV’s highest-rated shows and is entering its final season.  The Gaines are well-liked by the American public.  Yet, Gaines revealed her long struggle with fear and insecurity, particularly during her childhood and early adolescence.

“I don’t think confidence has ever really been one of those things that came naturally for me.  if people thought I was confident, it was really just the way I masked my insecurity, because I didn’t want people to really get to know the real me,” she said.

The reality star grew up in Texas and moved to New York in her last semester of college.  Gaines said that in New York, she battled insecurity and identity issues for six months before she discovered that her purpose was to help others overcome their own insecurities.

“So while I was in New York I really felt like God was telling me that I would be able to help women who weren’t confident, who were looking for guidance or who were lonely.  And so I knew that from that place of pain there was going to be a place to reach others, because I had actually lived in that place; I had felt that pain myself,” Gaines told Darling magazine.

Gaines’s mention of how it was God calling her to help others struggling with lack of confidence and low self-esteem garnered a lot of attention for soft-news reporting on Christian news outlets such as the Christian Post.

The article on the Christian Post about Gaines’s interview is titled, “Joanna Gaines Says She Was Bullied for Being Half Asian, but God Used Her Insecurity to Help Other Women.”

Their article is centered around the star’s faith and how her family has been recognized and praised for their Christian values.

The Christian Post mentioned that notable evangelical leader, Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., commended the couple’s home renovations as examples of how God redeems and restores.

“They will take the couple to the home, and they will have this giant blown up photo of how the home used to look, and then they will pull the panels and reveal the new home – and you can hardly believe it’s the same place . . . God can take that which is outdated and antiquated and make it fresh and new,” said Laurie.

The story of Gaines’s interview was picked up by secular news outlets with the focus being on the star’s experience with bullying and how she overcame it.

AOL wrote a considerably shorter piece than the Christian Post with the headline, “‘Fixer Upper’ star Joanna Gaines says she was bullied as a child.”

AOL did include the quote from Gaines where she mentions God, but that was the only mention of faith in their article.

FOX News covered the story under the headline, “Joanna Gaines reveals struggles with insecurity, being bullied for being Asian in school.”

Similarly to the AOL story, the FOX News article recounted the star’s struggles with being half-Asian and the teasing she received in school because of her nationality.

The Fox News article provided more details on Gaines’s life and personal experiences with fear and insecurity, but did not include her quote about God until the very end of the article.

The varying ways of covering the same interview of Gaines revealing her struggle with bullying and insecurity exemplify how news outlets carefully tailor their words and coverage of events to appeal to a wide audience or a very particular niche.

Ryan Seacrest in hot water


“American Idol” host and “Keeping Up With Kardashians” executive producer, Ryan Seacrest is under fire amid sex misconduct allegations. His former stylist, Suzy Hardy, on the E! Network revealed years of sexual misconduct from Seacrest.

The #MeToo Movement has gone underway among many celebrities to shed light on sexual violence by bringing in supporters for victims. With the red carpet being a platform for celebrities to express their support for the victims and the movement, Seacrest is hosting the upcoming event for the Oscars while currently being subjected as a sexual abuser. Many are questioning whether celebrities will shun him for the allegations.

Suzy revealed she endured sexual abuse and harassment from Seacrest starting back in 2007. According to a statement released by Vulture, Hardy said Seacrest “grinded his erect penis against her while clad only in his underwear.” He also touched her vagina on set and slapped her butt. All the conduct was unwanted.

Hardy stated she reported the incident to E! and was shortly let go after. It is revealed she wrote a personal letter to E! stating “come up with a plan to address the treatment of all women at the networks and to take responsibility for the wrongful treatment” or risk “more formal action.”

Plenty of woman in the entertainment industry have endured years of sexual abuse including many who were abused by Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer. All though this is the first public allegation towards Seacrest, he is rejecting all claims from Hardy.

However, the investigation on Seacrest was closed due to insufficient evidence. In a statement released to Entertainment Weekly, Seacrest said “Ultimately, my name was cleared. I eagerly participated in the investigation in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process.” He is due to host the 90th Academy Awards on the red carpet this upcoming Sunday, March 4.

Fergie bashed for national anthem effort


Fergie’s performance at the NBA All-Star game has received so much negativity and has been described as “cringe worthy, laughable, and my friends drunk mom acting sexy.” Roseanne Barr also mocked her saying her own rendition of the song in her 1990 performance was “low key better.” The singer took the responsibility into her own hands by sincerely apologizing for her artistic risks and explained she tried her best.

Even the NBA players were unable to contain themselves, as it was evident during the performance. Players including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Matt Dollinger, were ones who proved their problems with the performance, as they laughed and made faces throughout. Fergie has always been known to put her own kick into her music, making her stand out as an individualistic artist who has proven to sing from her own soul. Apparently, this was not good enough for everyone.

Every report of this performance has been nothing but disgraceful and hurtful towards Fergie. She has been respected as not only a performer but also a person. She is real, successful, and different. Singers are ridiculed for being too bland and for being too “risky?” The backlash of her performance can be understandable to a certain point, but the coverage of the situation is unnecessary.

Albeit it is the national anthem, but if the NBA is all about respect, how is it that the players are allowed to laugh during the performance of this “sacred” anthem? The players are free to laugh, talk, and ridicule the performance and performer of the national anthem? Reports need to also focus on the mutual respect between the performer and the players. What needs to be done is for whatever incident occurs, it needs to be taken seriously and in a fair manner. For players to be tweeting and mocking Fergie as she apologizes for the incident, just seems like the system is rigged and the players are bullies.

It is 2018, crazier things have happened. Having such a well-liked and respected woman perform the national anthem, should be the automatic point made to not ridicule her. However, if there are going to be rude comments given, they should come from both sides.

Rap superstar Drake visits UM campus


Rapper Drake visited the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus Monday afternoon to film a music video for his hit song “God’s Plan” and donate a $50,000 scholarship to a student.

Drake’s visit whipped up a frenzy on campus, drawing a large crowd around the Shalala Student Center hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

Drake swung by the Frost School of Music where a smaller crowd watched as he surprised UM student Destiny James, a public health major, with a $50,000 scholarship. James was under the impression she would be filming a video to encourage scholarship donors when Drake appeared.

At the Shalala Student Center, the crowd’s patience was eventually rewarded when Drake popped out on the Moss Terrace balcony. He danced to “God’s Plan” while the crowd sang along to the track. Cheers erupted every time he threw up the U.

Throughout all of this, The Miami Hurricane, the UM student newspaper, did an excellent job of following the events of Drake’s visit and keeping students informed. There was an article on the online site that was continuously updated with new information and interviews of student reactions. By 9 a.m. the next day, the newspaper sent out a Drake edition of its newsletter for subscribers. There were also print issues on the stands with Drake as the cover story.

The Miami Hurricane effectively utilized social media. There were many tweets updating their followers with pictures of Drake sightings, videos of the crowd and Drake’s performance, and stories from the crowd. Their Facebook also had a number of videos.

Kylie Jenner anounces baby’s name


On Feb. 4, reality star and socialite Kylie Jenner announced she gave birth to her daughter whose name has been revealed to be Stormi.

Had this been any other celebrity, the reaction of the public would’ve been very different from what was seen on Sunday. This is due to the levels of information that came with the announcement and the dramatization of such.

After nine months of the 20-year-old neither confirming nor denying her pregnancy, Jenner broke the news to her fans on her Instagram account through a post explaining why and apologizing for keeping her pregnancy a secret. She followed this post with an excerpt from a YouTube video following her journey.

On the post she explains, “My pregnancy was one [journey] I chose not to do in front of the world. I knew for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress free, and healthy way I knew how.”

Placed No. 3 on the list of trending videos for YouTube, the video has more than three million views already.

It has received this much attention because the video not only confirmed the rumors of Jenner’s pregnancy but, as noted by the Los Angeles Times, it also informed the public that rapper Travis Scott is the baby’s father.

Additionally, the video is also the first public appearance of Kim Kardashian’s youngest daughter, Chicago West.

The amount of information that the 11:32 video shared is certainly not all it has to offer. It’s dramatic tone and the sentimentality it conveys has caused even the people who don’t necessarily keep up with the Kardashians to be talking about it since it came out.

This, in addition to the fact that the news were released on Super Bowl day, brings to attention the true motive behind a secret pregnancy and whether or not she kept it secret for the reasons she stated.

Having been in the spotlight for more than 10 years, the Kardashians have become masters at playing with the news media to their own benefit of promotion and this situation could be another reflection of this.

Sequel planned for biggest film in history


Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” was released in 2004 and earned a whopping $600 million on a budget of $30 million. It was the highest grossing R-rated film in North America, according to FOX News.

Fourteen years later, Gibson is working hard on the sequel.  Little has been revealed about the sequel, but actor Jim Caviezel, 49, will be reprising his role as Jesus.

Caviezel told USA Today, “I won’t tell you how [Gibson is] going about it…. But I’ll tell you this much, the film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”

“Passion of the Christ” ended with the Crucifixion and Gibson confirmed in late 2016 that the sequel will focus on the Resurrection, according to the Huffington Post.

Gibson told USA Today, “The Resurrection. Big subject. Oh, my God.  We’re trying to craft this in a way that’s cinematically compelling and enlightening so that it shines a new light, if possible, without creating some weird thing.”

“Passion of the Christ” was protested by Jewish and interfaith groups.  The film was criticized for fueling antisemitism because it portrayed the Jewish people as responsible for the death of Jesus.

Most major news networks covering the sequel have not mentioned the negative opinions and protesting of the first film, but it was joked about on “The Weekend Update” for “Saturday Night Live.” Most coverage continues to be centered around the hype surrounding the film.

Gibson is no stranger to controversy himself.  In 2006, two years after the release of “Passion of the Christ,” Gibson gained a lot of negative publicity across all major news media outlets after he was caught making anti-Semitic remarks during an arrest.

Gibson later apologized for his remarks.  As time passes, it will be interesting to see how the upcoming sequel will be received by the public and covered by the press in light of this controversy.

Controversial or not, the sequel is highly anticipated, especially after Caviezel’s claims that “[the film] is going to be the biggest film in history.”

The actor also told USA Today, “There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience . . . It’s great.  Stay tuned.”

Furthering the suspense around the film, Randall Wallace, the screenwriter of “Passion of the Christ,” told the Hollywood Reporter, “The Passion is the beginning and there’s a lot more of the story to tell.”

In an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Gibson indicated that the sequel may not be in theaters until 2019 or 2020.  As time progresses, given the continued popularity of “Passion of the Christ” and the publicity that the Resurrection sequel is already garnering, I am predicting another major blockbuster.

Teen has surgeries to look like Jolie


A young lady from Iran wanted to look like her muse, Angelina Jolie. She lost 90 pounds in four months and went under 50 different surgical procedures to do that.

Her name is Sahar Tabar, she transformed herself to look more like her favorite actress. However, her more than 400,000 followers in Instagram and they are struggling to see the change.

The photos posted to her Instagram serve to showcase her drastic new look. Tabar has undergone lip injections, cheek implants and a nose job, in addition to the weight she’d already lost prior to the surgeries.

However, the severity of Tabar’s new look have several people calling her out for using prosthetics and makeup to make her face appear more angular and enhance certain features.

People and her followers have pointed out that pictures on her Instagram account – which appears to be fairly new, since only about 30 photos have been posted – are inconsistent with nose and cheek placement. Frequently her nose is more upturned than others. Her jaw also appears to be more defined in certain photos than in others.

Her new look – whether real or fake – has been heavily criticized on social media, with many nicknaming the seemingly-malnourished teen “Corpse Bride,” after the 2005 animated Tim Burton film.

Strange media ideas to gain audience


“Stranger Things” is one of the greatest audiovisual phenomena in recent times. The Netflix’s production has hooked a huge mass of audience. Their main characters are known all over the world.

Millie Bobby Brown | Photo by Gage Skidmore

So, mass media, particularly media specialized in cinema, take advantage of it writing reports and news about the TV series. They know that fans will click on it and read it. But sometimes, news media should know where are the boundaries.

Recently, W Magazine, a fashion newspaper, classified Millie Bobby Brown, the 13-year-old actress of Stranger Things, as one of the sexiest TV stars.

People reacted against the publication because of the young age of the actress who plays Eleven.

Probably, W Magazine would never have written this article if Bobby Brown wasn’t part of such a successful series. Despite the fact that this is not a serious publication as could be The New York Times, not anything goes. Media should be careful because the audience has principles and what media write to attract an audience could go against them.

Economics and success shouldn’t be a priority but common sense. Of course, there is no track of the article on the Web anymore.

Other case but totally different was led by a Spanish cinema newspaper, Fotogramas. The newspaper published an article about the machismo in “Stranger Things. This assessment was based on dialogue and scenes that are representing a time, the 1980s, that was sexist. For example, when Barb’s mum asks her husband for permission to talk.

That’s the article:


Most of the comments reacting to the post of the article on Facebook were about the opportunism and how they jumped on the bandwagon of the feminism and the successful “Stranger Things.”

Again, another attempt to please the audience that actually gets the reverse impact.

Media should isolate from fashions and trends and follow their own criteria of what is really important to write about and so, they would achieve a more quality journalism.

NBC handles Lauer appropriately


NBC’s management of the Matt Lauer firing was exceptional; no not just for firing a man who has substantiated sexual assault allegations against him, but for the manner in which they informed the public of his release.

As trust in the news media continues to dwindle, NBC stepped up big time. It was completely candid and honest with the viewer about the actions it took in response to allegations it received against Lauer. Savannah Guthrie, Lauer’s own former co-host, announced his dismissal live on NBC. Difficult and awkward, yes, but effective and trustworthy as well.

Rather than merely release a PR statement that Lauer had been fired and say why, they decided to be totally transparent and announce the firing of one of their own on their station, along with statements prepared by the corporation.

While not entirely necessary, having one of NBC’s own like Guthrie announce the news is a show of openness with the viewer and asserts that no one at NBC is above anyone else.

NBC showed real maturity here; news is news, no matter who is making it, no matter who is the subject of the reporting. The episode reminds me of seeing a CNBC package about General Electric, NBC’s parent company. The package was rather critical of General Electric. I was surprised the reporting would speak so truthfully about its parent company. But, NBC proved then that it (at least a little bit) chose journalism over business interests.

Similar to that CNBC package, NBC’s handling of the Lauer firing with honesty, transparency and maturity is a breath of fresh air in a world of dishonest, self-promoting media.

Royal engagement announced


After dating for over a year, Prince Harry proposed to American actress Meghan Markle on Monday.

Prince Harry, 33, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and fifth in line to the throne, finally popped the question. There were many doubts about their relationship, as it was kept private for a while.

It was no surprise that the couple carefully avoided paparazzi, because of obvious controversies Prince Harry caused in the past. A few of the various incidents with the tabloids included Harry wearing a Nazi costume at a party and photos of the young rebel prince smoking cannabis in public.

Although, his “bad boy” days are behind him. The prince has matured in the past three years after seeking help and admitting his suffering after the death of his mother, Princess Diana. He has been more involved in philanthropic work and being a vocal advocate for people with mental disabilities.

His bride-to-be does not exactly scream conservative for the British monarchy. Her parents Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle said they were “incredibly happy” for the couple. Her mother is a yoga instructor and her father is a cinematographer. Markle, 36, is an actress, best known for her work on the TV series “Suits,” is biracial and has been divorced once. She is a global ambassador for World Vision Canada — and she has worked for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The young couple wishes to modernize the royal family and end the era of conservatism.

We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy,” Prince Harry said in an interview with Newsweek. “We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people.”

The wedding will take place in the Spring of 2018, according to a statement released by Clarence Household. The couple will be known as the duke and duchess of Sussex, according to British news media.

Fox News bans rock star Gene Simmons


The frontman of the rock band Kiss, Gene Simmons, has been banned for life from the right-leaning Fox cable channels.

Formally Simmons was a favorite guest on Fox News and Fox Business Network programs, which loved his rock star antics and conservative political views.  However, Fox just could not take him anymore after he insulted female Fox staffers, exposed his chest to them and behaved like the “demon” character that he plays on stage.

As a response, Fox’s management posted Simmon’s photograph to the security entrance of the company’s Manhattan headquarters with a “do-not-admit” stamp.

The incident began when Simmons appeared on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox Business Network show, “Mornings with Maria,” to promote his new book “On Power.”

All went well until Bartiromo asked Simmons his views on the Harvey Weinstein sexual-misconduct scandal.

“Okay, I’m a powerful and attractive man and what I’m about to say is deadly serious. Men are jackasses,” Simmons answered. “From the time we’re young we have testosterone. I’m not validating it or defending it.”

Right after this, Simmons left the interview and barged into a staff meeting in Fox’s entertainment section completely uninvited.

“Hey chicks, sue me!” he shouted, before pulling up his shirt to reveal is chest.  Then, he began to tell pedophilia jokes and insulted the intelligence of the Fox employees in the room.

“It was pretty severe,” said one person who was present in the room.

This story has gained some substantial news media attention.  It was featured on the New York Post. However, the most important question to ask is: Why in the world Fox was having Simmons come on their shows?

The “Fox and Friends” show had previously let Simmons do a weather forecast in their broadcast. Watching the clip on YouTube of this made me feel as if I was watching the “The Jerry Springer Show.”

If the major news media continue to participate in this nonsense for a few extra views, then we are heading to an America that will be far less intelligent.

Although I believe it is justified to have unusual guests who specialize in “shock value” on once in a while, this clearly crosses the line by a mile.

Media giants such as Fox allowing people to blatantly spew ignorance on their shows is something that must go.

Even though Fox News banned Simmons from the network, I am certain another station or network will pick him up and allow him to partake in the same ignorance.

Anything for money.  Anything for views.  We live in troubled times.

Times takes deeper look at musicals


This morning, New York Times writer Michael Paulson released a lengthy piece about what he calls “’The Lion King’ Effect.” The work featured both article text and multimedia presentation, including extensive photographs and video, and gave readers a deeper look into the effects of the popular musical on the South African performers who have taken on roles in the signature production.

When I saw the story, I immediately clicked on it, because it was something different. The piece took something I was already familiar with and offered a new, deeper angle that pushed me to continue reading. Every other lead story on The New York Times’ landing page was about politics, or war, or scandal. This was unique and exciting: original content that I wasn’t going to find everywhere else.

The article itself was very well written. It was structured logically, with larger headings to sections that were comparable to the “Snow Fall” multimedia piece that was done by Times reporters several years ago. While this piece was much shorter, it still offered a variety of images to pair with the reading. Major characters in the story were shown in large, full-screen photographs in costume, and the pairing allowed readers to really identify with their personal stories, myself included.

I also enjoyed how the story immersed the reader in separate stories without convoluting them. Each personal story was distinctly separate from the others, with images, text and investigation of its own merit. This allowed me to stay focused on the story I was reading, without confusing details between the different people involved.

The video was a great addition to the story because it provided a visual representation of life backstage at one of “The Lion King” shows, which was essential to understanding the mindset that these performers have in that situation. All of the work that goes into the journey of these people, the success, the tragedies, the constant effort – everything leads to this moment of the makeup being applied, the curtain lifting, and the triumphant chant that opens the show.

Sex scandals, accusations continue


It has been a month filled with accusations of sexual misconduct for many high-profile individuals in the entertainment industry, with multiple scandals emerging. Victims seemed to gain the confidence and will to speak out about the abuses they endured, following a New York Times piece that followed the misconduct of Harvey Weinstein. The article cataloged his trail of abuses and paying off victims for decades, with clear supporting evidence. Weinstein was later removed from his own company, following a public scandal in the wake of the devastating story.

Next came an accusation against Kevin Spacey, star of Netflix’s breakout original series, House of Cards. Actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of assaulting him 31 years ago, when Rapp was only 14 years of age. Spacey denied any recollection of the alleged event, releasing an apology for what he says, “would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” Spacey went on to publicly come out as gay, vowing to live “honestly and openly” and to examine his behavior.

Netflix suspended the star from his show, ultimately deciding to suspend production of the show indefinitely. Since the initial report, multiple men have also come forward against Spacey. Just yesterday, Heather Unruh, a former TV news anchor in Boston, accused Spacey of assaulting her son in 2016, when he was 18.

In the most recent of the scandals, five women are accusing Louis C.K. of various separate incidents of sexual misconduct during the past several years. All of the allegations revolve around the comedian masturbating without their consent, whether over the phone or in person. C.K. or his publicist have not yet commented publicly on the issue, and this story has yet to fully develop.

News media outlets have done a good job covering these delicate issues, being careful with language choices so as not to paint an inaccurate picture of the allegations. The New York Times, in particular, has done an outstanding job keeping information straight and making sure to remain unbiased in the handling of these complex situations.

ABC News’ embarrassing reporting


When allegations of Kevin Spacey molesting an underage boy in 1986 were all but confirmed by Spacey’s public apology Sunday evening, a news media uproar understandably ensued. However, ABC News seemed to take lightly to the revelation as it released a breaking headline that chose not to point out Spacey’s actions but rather his “coming out.”

Spacey’s apology culminated in his openly declaring his homosexuality, which many have speculated was an attempt to divert attention away from the circumstances behind his actual apology. ABC, however, took the bait. It published a headline that did not mention his apology for molestation, but rather referred to it as a “heartwrenching” coming out story.

Gay people, straight people, famous comedians and actors, and your average Joe on Twitter all responded to Spacey’s “coming out story” with immense backlash. They called the actor out for conflating homosexuality with pedophilia, a bigoted allegation the gay community once had to consistently battle against, and took issue with his attempt to essentially, as one tweeter called it, use his ‘get out of jail free card’ by saying “I am gay.”

ABC News, in avoiding the major story in this apology, which is the apology for the molestation of a 14 year-old-boy, and instead choosing to highlight Spacey’s coming out of the closet, is appalling. First, ABC is allowing Spacey this cop out, affording him the luxury of basically saying “don’t focus on that, focus on the fact that I am gay.” Focusing on Spacey’s homosexuality instead does a massive disservice to both the gay community who criticized Spacey for the manner in which he came out, and the victim(s) of Spacey’s abuse.

Second, ABC is ignoring journalistic standards by highlighting what should be perceived as secondary information. Most news outlets reported Kevin Spacey’s apology most prominently as well as the circumstances that called for such an apology, but ABC made it the main story. The headlining is akin to beginning a news report with a bus crash and waiting until the end of the story to inform the viewer that there was a death.

Finally, ABC’s use of the word “heartwrenching” is simply incorrect. Any decent human being will point out that “heartwrenching” is not the applicable word when reporting on a sex offender. Nothing about Spacey’s actions or apology was heartwrenching because he is not the victim. He is at fault and he does not deserve the sympathy that ABC allots him with this generous phrase and headline.

ABC dropped the ball covering the Kevin Spacey apology in an extraordinarily embarrassing way. Let’s hope they don’t do anything like it again.

Cartel chief son: Netflix hurt reputation


William Rodríguez Abadía, the son of Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, former head of Colombia’s powerful Cali drug cartel, says he was never a hitman and worked for his father as a lawyer while fighting a legal battle against the U.S. government.

Rodríguez Abadía decided to reappear and present himself to the public to declare the fact that his portrayal in the famous show “Narcos,” which has an audience of more than 3.2 million people around the world. Rodríguez Abadía, 53, and living in Miami, said that it’s “more important to clarify all the misunderstandings” and the more than 10 lies he said were broadcast during the third season of Narcos.

The Colombian who is hoping to obtain a special U.S. immigrant visa, claims he has been portrayed as a hitman and an assassin. Moreover, he emphasizes that a series like “Narcos” and others glorify drug trafficking. Rodríguez Abadía also said that he is not running away and that he has always admitted the mistakes he made in surrendering, accepting and serving his sentence.

This is not the first time that relatives of former drug traffickers complain to Netflix about the three-season show. Roberto Escobar, brother of Pablo Escobar, is seeking $1 billion from Netflix for the use of the late Medellín cartel chief’s image. Netflix has claimed that he was a public figure and that it obtained the information about him from court documents.

According to law, if the plantiffs are public figures, they have different defamation rights than a private person. There are specific restrictions applied to defamation claims with regard to someone who holds public office or chooses to be in the public eye.

Courts have upheld this rule based on the U.S. belief that the public should be able to freely discuss national issues without fear of any repercussions. If a public official or public figure believes that he or she has been defamed, he or she must prove with convincing evidence that the statement is false.

On one hand, I think that Rodríguez Abadía could have been portrayed in a different way, however, it is part of the public opinion. How many films have portrayed people not exactly as they are in life? Probably a huge number that we wouldn’t even imagine. I also consider that he has a motive to change the image people have of him in the United States, especially the most important newspaper where he lives.

Lastly, I also want to take into consideration the other side of the story that could include a lot of people who are famous because of an event or some other reason of which the public does not know. Many of them could have this false portrayal released out to a big number of viewers and are not able to sue powerful company as Netflix for damages.