No politics, ESPN warns Le Batard


Miami-based ESPN personality — and University of Miami graduate — Dan Le Batard is no stranger to controversy. He has a history of testing the limits of his employers… and getting suspended for doing so.

For example, he’s been suspended for paying for billboards mocking LeBron James and calling an ESPN film about Bob Knight a “mountain of elephant crap.” He even lost his MLB Hall of Fame vote for allowing Deadspin to cast his ballot one year.

Le Batard, though, has had good reason for each of these actions; whether it be in the name of fun or in protest.

He’s also notorious for hosting a national radio show on ESPN that isn’t necessarily about sports. He focuses on the pop culture and social elements of the sports world and often ventures entirely out of this environment.

So when the footage of Donald Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush leaked and was defended as “locker room talk,” Le Batard suggested that the controversy was right in his show’s wheelhouse.

When he asked the rules surrounding his ability to talk about the subject, his producer told him that he “probably said too much already.” While he said he understood the hesitancy by ESPN to approach anything regarding politics, he was upset that they didn’t trust him enough to cover the subject without taking a political stance.

Le Batard later admitted that he would be suspended if he did end up talking about the Trump tape on air.

While it may be sensible that ESPN try and avoid anything that could result in political stances being taken, Le Batard has a proven track record of handling tricky subjects without displaying any bias.

It’s also interesting that the Colin Kaepernick protest sparked conversations on ESPN airwaves that contained political opinions and no objections were raised. Clearly the issue is taking a stance on an issue involving a candidate running for office.

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?

Suicide is never entertainment


Fox News posted a tragic story today about a woman, Tiziana Cantone, who committed suicide after being bullied and slut shamed for her leaked sex tape.

Cantone’s case exemplifies the harmful effect of bullying in society as well as the risks of sharing personal matters with others electronically.

While I was appalled at the story itself and the sad loss of life, I was practically just as disturbed about the fact that I found this article on the entertainment page of Fox News’s website.

In my opinion, if a news network has an entertainment section it should be reserved for interesting stories that are offbeat, funny and/or about celebrities. An article about the suicide of a young woman should not be included.

Allocating this article to the entertainment section almost seems like further slut shaming of the victim by Fox News itself. It’s as if the network wants to portray that the Cantone’s death is entertaining because she got what she deserved for stupidly making a sex tape in the first place.

On CNN’s website, I read an unrelated article today about the recent suicide of 9-year-old Jackson Grubb in West Virginia.  He too killed himself after harassment from bullies, just like Cantone. While this equally heartbreaking event with similarities to the Cantone story was nowhere to be found on Fox News’s website, I am certain that if Fox had posted the article, the network never would have put it on the entertainment page.

Networks reveal ideologies


News networks and reporting are supposed to be neutral with no biases. But still, the general public can categorize each network and its reports as a Republican network or a Democratic network.

This is not due to the content that is covered because more or less, any news channel one can put on that is not your “local” news station will be reporting the same stories.

Fox News is a “Republican” news network, although its spokespersons will say otherwise.

“We are a news station that is neutral to both sides. We give the public the news as it is.  We have anchors, reporters, and writers who are from all political parties,” says a news reporter at the Fox 5 news station.

Seventy-eight percent of conservatives think news stations such as CBS, ABC, and NBC are biased toward those who are liberal.

Michelle Koenigsberg, 72, a Republican from Brooklyn, N.Y., says “I only watch Fox News because the other stations are so biased towards liberals, they don’t give a full story.  They lie to make their side look better than they are.”

According to The Washington Post, “a quarter of its audience is from Democrats and 9% from Independents.”

Sophie Browne 21, a Democrat from New York City, stated, “I never watch Fox, it’s way too conservatively biased and I honestly think it’s crap.”

So how and why is each news station able to be categorized to the public?  It seems to be a common belief that Republicans will feel that “Republican” networks and local stations are reporting the news as it really is with no bias, just as Democrats feel that way about the “Democratic” networks and stations.

The main reason for this seems to be the specific parts of a story that is being reported.  For example, the 2016 presidential campaign.

Both ABC and Fox News reported this week on the temperaments of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

ABC stated “Clinton is poised when pointing out Trump’s contradictions and false claims.”

ABC also says “It’s clear that from his tone, Trump is judged on his temperament.”

Why is this? Each network knows its viewers and its rumored political side. The reporters’  jobs are to report the news “as it is” however, they still need to appeal to their audience.

Fox’s report on the temperaments this week revealed the biases that the news viewers feel.

“We’ve known that Clinton isn’t a great retail politician, but is an establishment candidate in a non- establishment year.  We’ve known that she has low ratings on honestly and trustworthiness exacerbated by the Clinton foundation mess,” Fox stated.

The way they portray Trump seems to be more positive than the way ABC does.

“Now that Donald Trump is stabilizing his campaign with more scripted speeches on military readiness,” an ABC story stated.

Although both ABC and Fox News are reporting on the same topic, they are emphasizing the parts of each story that please the viewers and “prove” their stereotyped political beliefs.

From manslaughter to media sensation


In a world filled with a never-ending stream of violent crimes, it seems as though the media always finds a way to keep the drama going.

The story of Ethan Couch is the perfect example.

The now 19-year-old’s name may sound familiar, but you probably know him better as the “affluenza” teen.

Couch, then 16, made major headlines when he received 10 years probation after being convicted of killing four people and paralyzing one while drunk driving.

The real story came after a psychologist testified for the defense that Couch should receive a lighter sentence because he was a victim of “affluenza.” Spelled out, this basically means he was a spoiled rich kid whose parents never set limits for him, therefore he didn’t understand the consequences for his actions.

This one word added to the perfect storm that already was Couch’s case: erratic parents, mental illness, lots of money and lots of drugs, just to name a few variables.

Very few news outlets neglected to mention the fact that Couch’s sentence is consistent with the norm as “very infrequently does a nonviolent, non-intentional crime land a juvenile in jail,” said Michael Yanof, one of Couch’s attorney’s.

Since the incident, Couch has been no stranger to headlines due to a series of parole violations. From a video of him at a party to a desperate flee to Mexico that landed him in jail. The media has continuously publicized this real-life Lifetime movie.

And this week, Couch is making headlines because, per the terms of his probation, a judge sentenced him to two years of jail time. This was always a possibility as a CNN article explained that “Tarrant County Prosecutor Riley Shaw has said the time to punish Couch for probation violations as a juvenile effectively expired when he turned 19.”

From a journalistic standpoint, it’s time to consider at what point this constant crime-reporting goes too far?

The details of the car crash are gruesome and lengthy. Couch’s actions have had far-reaching consequences on many people. Not to mention the families of the victims were extremely upset at what they considered to be Couch’s very light sentence.

While journalists have the total right to publish these kinds of stories, it’s important to question how to attain balance between reporting news and respecting the victims of any crime, no matter how horrific.

Texas case serves as safety reminder


While I was trying to catch up with the weekly news, as I usually do during Sunday’s night, it was impossible not to read about a terrifying murder of an 18-year-old University of Texas student.

Haruka Weiser, a first-year theater and dance major, was last seen leaving the drama building Sunday night and was found dead two days’ later near the area of Waller Creek on campus.

The same information about the case could be found among all the different news media channels, even the same video was shown in order to help the police to identify the identity of the suspect.

Many emotional details and sentimental quotes about Weiser were attached, however, none of them provided family comments about the situation.

ABC News did a great job providing a timeline specifying how the events unfolded, according to the arrest affidavit.

The story ended up in the best way it could. On April 8, the police department announces that the killer, Meechaiel Khalil Criner, “had been taken into custody and charged with first-degree felony murder.”

This is not the first time a student has been killed. This is not the first time we read this type of news and this would not be the last time we get this type of sorties hitting front page because we are not doing anything about it.

Personally, I hate reading about murders, I don’t like the way in which news media  address the topic. We don’t need to know whether the victim was wearing her mother’s bracelet or if she had plans to meet with someone that night; those are personal matters that, in my opinion, should remain personal.

It is important for people to know about this cases, but it is even more important that the same medium provides alternatives of how to prevent them. A perfect story after telling the event’s facts would be to give tips for university students or even a story challenging the University to become involved to talk about its security measures.

Even though we may be used to this type of news, we also have the power to ask for a different approach, a better approach, a more useful approach.

NBA player center of cheating scandal


A video surfaced last week of Los Angeles Laker Nick Young allegedly admitting to cheating on his rapper fiancee Iggy Azelea.

The NBA star was secretly recorded by a teammate, D’Angelo Russell.

Russell recorded Young allegedly boasting he had sex with a 19-year-old girl. It is unclear how the recording was leaked. He recorded the conversation when the two were sharing a hotel room on the road during the current NBA season.

With the leaked video, news stations are wondering what Iggy Azalea is going to do. Specifically, one questioning her response is “Inside Edition.”

I’m a big fan of “Inside Edition,” but it is not the show’s turf to ask the public what Azalea should do.

She is obviously going through a trying time and is probably very hurt by the possibility that her fiancee is a cheater and asking for public opinion about it does not make it any better, nor is it any of their business.

On Wednesday night, before the Lakers played the Miami Heat, Young went before the cameras and told reporters, “I don’t wanna get into my personal life right now.”

Russell expressed regret over the situation: “I feel as sick as possible … I wish I could make things better right away, but I can’t.” He has said he apologized to Young for the recording.

Inside Edition even took upon themselves to create a poll to ask the general public what Azalea should do.

It is no ones business what Azalea and Young do with their relationship but theirs. “Inside Edition” and other news outlets should step away from the public decision making.

Bias, opinions of political news coverage


Most news viewers are aware that different news stations have different political views that affect the way they report news. MSNBC tends to lean more towards liberal and Democratic views while Fox tends to support conservative and Republican views.

The news from these stations is reported in such a way that reflects these views. For example, one MSNBC talk show host had no problem sharing her political opinion as she discussed her analysis of Donald Trump’s recent violent rallies.

After a series of clashes between protestors and supporters at Trump’s rallies, Rachel Maddow decided to break down the events on her MSNBC show. The way Maddow chose to discuss and present the information was an interesting approach. Her overarching point was that Donald Trump’s rhetoric during his rallies led to the recent outbursts in Chicago and elsewhere. Maddow takes many pieces of factual information and connects them together to support her opinion.

First off, Maddow points out that the last three stops on Trump’s campaign trail, Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis, all contain a great deal of racial tension. This tension stems from the recent police killings of unarmed black teens in these areas.

Maddow points out that many of the recent instances of violence at Trump’s rallies seem to be racially charged. She then begins showing clips from Donald Trump’s speeches at his rallies, where he calls for “a tougher America” where protesters should face consequences, possibly violent ones.

Trump also mentions that he would pay the legal bills for anyone who beats up a protester. Maddow uses factual traces of racial tension and clips of Donald Trump’s speeches to convince viewers of her opinion that Donald Trump’s rhetoric has led to the violence that has erupted between his supporters and his opponents.

Although Rachel Maddow is a talk show host and is allowed to insert her opinion in discussions about politics, her presentation of the information is an example of how news stations can present biased news. Connecting facts to form what is ultimately an opinion is dangerous when presenting news to viewers.

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.

National security and news media


This week, Americans were able to finally see results of the United States constant struggle against ISIS when the U.S. Special Operatives forces detained their first assumed ISIS prisoner.

But the success is clouded in secrecy, leaving the news media with little information to publish and the public with many unanswered questions. With the war on terror seeming to only become more intense, this sparks the debate as to what balance the news media should take as the fight wages on. How much information should the public demand?

At a press conference earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated that “I can’t discuss the details of any missions, particularly when it comes to risking operational security.”

The withheld information included the detainee’s identity, the location of the interrogation, the U.S. officials who spoke to the press, as well as whether or not he has cooperated with interrogators.

This information is arguably not critical knowledge for the American public and the sensitivity of the matter is clear. But a trend towards acceptance of information pertaining to groups that threaten the U.S. public from the media and the American people could be dangerous.

While national security must always come first, the news media will soon have to make harder decisions as to when to push to release more information that the public may need to know and when to decide to respect the government’s decision to withhold information.

Colombian journalist airs sex tape


Last week, Colombia faced a major wiretapping scandal, which led to the resignation of various public officials.

The scandal started when prominent radio host, news anchor and journalist, Vicky Dávila published a secretly filmed video of a 2008 conversation about gay sex between Senator Carlos Ferro and Police Capitan Anyelo Palacios.

She stated that she released the video as an attempt to expose alleged grave sexual misconduct within the National Police, a complaint that has been investigated by other journalists for months.

The content of the video was so strong that it immediately forced the resignation of Ferro,  vice minister of the Interior and National Police Director General Rodolfo Palomino, who had already been charged with sexual harassment.

After the scandal, the whole country, including the news media, was divided in two. People joined either one side or the other; there was no neutral opinion in this case.

One side believed that Dávila published the video in order to help the state with the investigation of the “Fellowship of the Ring,” an alleged gay prostitution network in the police force, which cannot be tolerated. People such as Dávila, those who supported the publication of the video, concluded that the information released served as a proof of the prostitution ring.

The other side, the one I support, claimed that the broadcasting and publishing of this extremely intimate video shows zero evidence of any involvement in prostitution; instead, it only publicizes private matters of professional politicians. Yes, the video proved that the former parliamentarian had had a relationship with a policeman, but it also showed that it would have been consensual.

How are we journalists covering things? Should our beliefs affect our objectivity?

Here is where the journalism’s role as the watchdog of the public interests at its heart should be brought into question.

Colombians might be interested to know where and with who their public figures sleep at night, but since this conduct doesn’t interfere with their assigned work, it should remain private. These persons should be judged by their professional performance, what they do for sexual pleasure, as long as it’s legal, should not be considered a public concern.

The pressure and comments from social media were so explosive that the video was removed from the networks and Dávila resigned as well.

So, did she have a genuine public interest in revealing this or was it something more personal? Despite the reason, journalists should be more careful with what they are publishing.

Words are powerful, they can contribute a lot, but they can also destroy; as Ferro, the victim of this whole story said: “I hope that justice can give me back the dignity journalist Vicky Dávila wanted to snatch from me.”

Television interviewing with integrity


Recently on “Morning Joe,” co-anchor Mika Brzezinski interviewed Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump. Brzezinski asked questions ranging from “Tell us about yourself” and “how did you fall in love with Donald,” to “How do you feel about your husband’s swearing” and her opinions about people calling him names. While these questions may have satisfied some viewer curiosity, they did yet touch the larger picture.

As the interview progressed, Brzezinski started to ask questions the audience was truly wondering. She asked Melania questions about what she thought of Trump’s rationales. As an immigrant from Slovenia, what was her opinion of her husband’s views on immigration? How did she feel about her husband calling Mexicans rapists?

While Melania answered the questions diplomatically and rationalized her husband’s opinions, she answers were somewhat vague. Though Brzezinski could have further interrogated her with questions, she held her journalistic integrity to let her answer and then move on to another pertinent question.

When presenting information to an audience it is imperative that the person providing the news stays calm and objective in order to deliver a message unbiased. I felt that Brzezinski’s interview was well done, because while she was straightforward in her questioning, she did not interrogate Melania Trump with inquiries after she answered. While she may have been frustrated by Melania’s lack of personal opinion and detail in her responses, Brzezinski held her cool and did not argue.

The news should be objectively delivered at all costs. While it may be difficult not to have opinion intertwined, it is important that viewers develop their own opinion from information that is presented. Getting emotionally involved (especially showing frustration or annoyance) in a topic shows a lack of professionalism and could persuade a viewer.

When information is objectively given it encourages viewers to do more research on the topic in order to develop an opinion. This consequently, encourages the audience to be more educated about the topics at hand.

Conspiracies arise after Scalia death


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead on Saturday at a resort in West Texas.

Scalia died in his sleep during a visit to Texas. A government official said Scalia went to bed Friday night and told friends he wasn’t feeling well. He didn’t get up for breakfast on Saturday morning, and the group he was with for a hunting trip left without him.

Someone at the ranch went to check up on Scalia and found him unresponsive.

According to The Washington Post, it took hours for authorities to find a justice of the peace. When they did, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body and without ordering an autopsy. Judge Guevara has the right to do so under the Texas law.

Guevara said she declared Scalia dead based on information from law enforcement officials on the scene, who assured her that “there were no signs of foul play.” She later said Scalia was weakened from a heart condition and had high blood pressure, according to The Associated Press.

The conspiracy theories kicked into high gear after the owner of the ranch where Scalia died told a Texas newspaper that Scalia had “a pillow over his head” and no autopsy was ordered. This made a former D.C. homicide commander raise questions of the late Supreme Court judge’s death.

“As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia,” William O. Ritchie, former head of criminal investigations for D.C. police, wrote in a post on Facebook on Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

It should be noted that members of Scalia’s family did not request for an autopsy.

The news media made a frenzy of the conspiracy theories. Why did the news media find the need to bring attention to conspiracy theories? The family of Justice Scalia knew he was not in the best health, especially at his age.

As soon as the news outlets got a hold on statements from the family about his death, why continue to publish articles about his death. His death was over shadowed by Washington’s quick decision to replace him. The country couldn’t more his death in a peaceful way without the media reminding everyone that he now needs a replacement in the Court.

Personally, i couldn’t get through a paragraph into any article without the news media talking about either a conspiracy theory or waiting to fill his seat in the Court. The news media should be more sensitive to someone who holds an important seat in Washington,

Live: Reporter sexually assaulted


We’ve been ingrained with the idea that journalists hold a significant amount of power in society. Like it or not, it’s just how it is. Whatever is released and exposed to the public depends on whether a news story is newsworthy and relevant, in other words, “journalist-approved.”

What if the role of the viewer and that of the news media’s were to overlap? I’d say that would be pretty catastrophic. Imagine viewers dictating and interrupting news segments that are going on live. Surely, that would be disastrous.

Recently, Esmeralda Labye, a Belgian reporter from Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française (RTFB), was sexually assaulted during her live broadcast. Labye was reporting on the Cologne carnival in Germany when a man kissed her on the neck and made obscene gestures while she was reporting live.

The story has gained considerable attention with several renowned news websites such as CNN, BBC and The Guardian reporting on the sex attack. A similar pattern persists across all these reports where Labye has been delineated as competent in the manner of how she handled the situation.

Irrefutably, Labye can be commended for the professionalism she showed. It would be difficult to be in a situation similar to what she was in, where she managed to remain calm and have her emotions in line. Her actions exhibit her credibility as a reporter. Above all, professional was seen through how Labye prioritized news delivery before her personal concerns for the time being.

Likewise, the decision of RTFB not to publish the video online is an issue of ethics. Ethical journalism has always been a sensitive topic when it comes to news reporting and the fact that the station decided not to release it online only shows accountability towards its staff.

News stories similar to this come and go but, from what I see, this story will serve as a landmark for future stories to come. RTFB handled the situation in their own hands making sure their reporter would not be more humiliated than she already was. In fact, the station’s decision not to publish the video online was solely for the best interest of Labye.

Big boys don’t cry?


When the final seconds on the clock ran out at Super Bowl 50, not everyone was smiling and celebrating. The CBS Sports camera switched from an excited, smiling Peyton Manning to a devastated Carolina Panthers player. This player was Cornerback Josh Norman and he was less than thrilled by the outcome of the game. The camera zoomed in for a close-up shot as Norman bawled into his hands, realizing his hope of winning the Super Bowl had now vanished.

As soon as the camera showed Josh Norman, devastated and in tears, everyone with whom I was watching the Super Bowl yelled, “Why are they showing him like this?” and “They should leave him alone!”

To an average viewer, it seems outrageous for the news media to show someone in such a state of distress, especially someone normally portrayed as tough. In many ways, it can appear disrespectful and even invasive for the news media to have a camera in the face of someone who is crying. After all, the news media could have shown other members of the football team who were, perhaps, not quite as upset as Josh Norman. However, as a journalist, I began to reflect on the other side of the argument.

The goal of the news media is to show a story from as many aspects and angles as possible. Only showing the excited and celebratory Denver Broncos players would only be showing half of the story. In any championship game, there are winners and losers. As much as people want to see the reactions of the winners, they also want to see the reactions of those who lost. Josh Norman’s reaction was a visual manifestation that summed up the emotions of most players on the Carolina Panthers team, thus golden for the news media’s coverage.

Censorship alive in the 21st century


“I don’t think there has been a worse time for freedom of expression in Spain since the death of Franco,” said Juan Pedro Velazquez-Gaztelu, former El País journalist.

Spanish newspapers and journalist have watched the industry restructure and shrink in the past years. As debts increase, Spain’s most established papers have lost their editorial independence and have watched advertising revenues decrease under the rule of a conservative government.

Known as the “gag law,” individuals who post videos of political protests or amateur videos of public officers will be severely penalized, and in the case of journalists or papers, fired or fined.

As government control increases and revenues decrease, freedom of expression in Spain has been questioned.

“Newspapers are no longer led by their editors, but by chief executives who are worried about accounts and trying to maintain good relationships with those in power,” said Pedro Ramirez, a journalist who was fired from El Mundo.

According to him, newspapers are no longer doing their job as watchdogs, and in turn are giving in to political pressure and editorial restriction.

To think that established journalists are being censored and kept from doing their job worried me. Not only because its what many of us in class aspire to do and become, but merely for the same of the news and truth.

As a matter of fact, our generation and modern society are defined by the fast flow of information, and highly educated and aware individuals — if not that, at least the easy access to news and information. Hence, how is it possible that in a first world country, journalists are being penalized for reporting the truth?

Carson: Fact-checking or dirt digging?


Despite Ben Carson’s quiet and often soft-spoken demeanor, according to his book “Gifted Hands,” he had a troubled and violent childhood growing up in the city of Detroit.

Recently several news organizations, including CNN, have begun “digging up dirt” on the Republican candidate, with Carson’s claim of a rough childhood at the center of the coverage.

As candidates are running for the highest and most powerful position in the United States and perhaps the world, it is expected that old skeletons will be hunted down and taken out of the candidates’ closets. But is there a point of going too far?

Despite Carson’s public claims of his troubled childhood, as well as those mentioned in his book, CNN has assigned a journalist to investigate Carson’s claims and has reached out to past neighbors and childhood friends of Carson in the hopes of either validating or invalidating Carson’s story.

Carson has often spoken about a particular incident during his childhood in which he tried to stab a friend with a knife over a disagreement about a radio.  The journalist assigned to investigate Carson’s story has been researching the candidate in regards to his claims for the past month and CNN has asked Carson to aid the network in finding witnesses who saw the stabbing attempt as well as the victim of the attack.

Carson has declined to provide CNN with these names and for some news reporters Carson’s unwillingness to help raises further suspicion of whether or not his claims of his childhood are true. Perhaps Carson is not willing to provide the names of witnesses or the victim of his attack, not to hide the truth, but to protect the lives and privacy of those involved.

Every candidate running for president has had their lives turned upside down and scrutinized from what they wear to what they wrote in their high school newspaper 30 years ago. I think Carson is making the right decision not to provide CNN with the names of witnesses or the victim to protect them from the harsh and often unforgiving spotlight of public opinion and news media.

Carson is not alone when it comes to news networks “digging up dirt” and publicly scrutinizing his past. Recently, several news organizations, in addition to Donald Trump, have called out Marco Rubio for his personal use of a credit card that was only to be used for political purposes relating to the Republican Party. CNN has went as far as to list out the date, location, and exact dollar amounts used for personal use.

I do think that this information is pertinent for the American public to be aware of as it pertains to Rubio’s misuse of a professionally provided credit card. However, as illustrated with Ben Carson, I do think that sometimes the media can cross the line between fact-checking and digging for dirt.

Camerawoman kicks fleeing refugees


As the refugee crisis in Europe continues to gain attention in the international and national news, a Hungarian camerawoman has also entered in the spotlight for her cruel actions captured on camera.

At a relocation camp in Roske, Hungary (near the Hungarian-Serbian border), hundreds of migrants, frustrated with conditions of the camp, pushed through police lines attempting to cross the border into Serbia.

As crowds of migrants began fleeing the police, a Hungarian camerawoman, identified as Petra Laszlo, began intentionally kicking and tripping people. The first video to emerge displayed Laszlo tripping a man as he ran while carrying his child. After being tripped, the man fell unto the ground and on top of his child. All the while, Laszlo recorded the entire thing.

Soon after the first, a second video emerged capturing Laszlo forcefully kick a young woman and other men as they fled from police.

U.S. news organizations picked up the story after videos and pictures of Laszlo’s behavior had been circulated through social media.

After reaching national and international news coverage, Laszlo’s employer, N1TV issued a statement denouncing Laszlo’s behavior as unacceptable and that her employment had been terminated.

Laszlo’s actions elicited anger and disappointment from social media users all around the world, which is completely understandable and expected.

After watching the videos and watching the coverage on the news, I was also outraged at her behavior. But now, the only thing I would like to know is why?

Why did Laszlo begin kicking and tripping people? In the first video, where Laszlo trips the man carrying his child, she makes sure to aim the camera directly on the man and his child as she trips them and as they fall to the ground.

This leads me to wonder if Laszlo did all of this just to create the “perfect shot.” Some reporters have been known to “stretch the truth” or flat-out lie to make a story seem more exciting or dangerous. The acts of sensationalizing stories and fear mongering the public are all too common in news today.

Although unfair, Laszlo’s actions reflected poorly on every professional in the journalism industry. From this point on, any video coverage of the migrant crisis in Europe will be viewed with a critical and eye from the public.

Sensationalism of 9/11 video coverage


Today marks the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, an event that changed America in so many ways – with news coverage being one of them.

The live coverage of the jets hitting the World Trade Center in New York City exposed millions of Americans to the horror that was happening, in real time, during the terrorist attack. News networks did not have time to plan a way to present the footage in any scripted manner; it didn’t matter if you were the anchorman of NBC or a stay-at-home mother watching the TV in her kitchen as she made her children breakfast. We were all faced with a crisis, and we were all able to see it unfold before our eyes – and that’s the kind of sensationalism that has impacted news coverage and shaped the way viewers react and commemorate certain events in the past 14 years.

Certainly the 9/11 attacks would still be a landmark event in American history, regardless if they had been caught on camera or not. However, the sensational – and horrifying — footage had so many immediate implications on the nation, both for the viewers and the media.

In the days after the attacks, David Westin, president of ABC News, ordered the the video not be repeated continuously so as not to disturb viewers, especially children. This type of decision raises the ethical question that journalists have been faced with time and time again, about where to draw the line in terms of how much we expose to the public. This applies to not only disturbing content, but content that threatens national security – which also became a major issue in the aftermath of 9/11, which I won’t get into here.

But where is that line? There is no definitive answer, but most would agree that even if coverage is shocking and violent, the viewer has the right to see it. In cases like 9/11, there really is no warning for such a catastrophe, and in live situations, there really is no opportunity for such a question to even be considered. In fact, in the past week or so, the nation has been abuzz about the live coverage of the shooting of two journalists by their former co-worker while broadcasting for WDBJ. The entire event was caught on camera and aired live without warning. And that coverage – that immediate visual access to the gruesome tragedy – completely changed the way the news was handled and perceived. The live video element of the story created a sensational wake following the incident that has sparked debate about the nation’s gun laws and other security issues. People are shot and killed every hour of the day throughout the world; but it was the live coverage of the event that made this one particular incident so sensational.

In this day and age, the landscape for journalism is constantly evolving with the developments of new technologies that give way to new platforms of communication. Video footage has been the leading form of journalism that has created lasting reaction in the past decades, and with technologies like smart phones and online platforms like social media, content has become immediately accessible to almost everyone. The footage of the 9/11 attacks that was recorded 14 years ago today is a landmark for broadcast journalism to show just how lasting the impact of visual news coverage can be.

Brazil’s media morals — Facts vs. news


One of the greatest and most admirable roles of the news media is to unveil the truth and shine light on hidden and misrepresented facts. However, news media and journalists don’t always honor this role.

Many times what we call news is actually a warped story written on behalf of one’s economic, personal and social interests.

Born and raised in Brazil, I have seen this happen daily on television and other media outlets as the country undergoes a severe and aggravating political and economic crisis.

Amidst the rising wave of opposition against Brazil’s current government and its leader Dilma Rousseff, Rede Globo, the country’s main over-the-air broadcasting network, clearly took its side with the opposition.

Last month, Globo’s director Erick Bretas quoted singer Bob Marley, saying “Get up, stand up” on Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to encourage people to be a part of the uprisings in favor of the president’s impeachment.

In addition to that, Globo interrupted its transmission schedule and left almost 100 percent of its reporters on duty in order to bring about a greater attention to the outbreaks – an effort not seen in Globo’s coverage of other events of the same and/or greater magnitude.

Despite my beliefs that Dilma’s government is highly flawed, corrupt and is headed in the wrong direction, the way these events have been covered by the country’s main TV channel, as well as the statements posted on behalf of its staff have clearly shown bias and a lack of professionalism.

As a matter of fact, I do agree that the country is collapsing in Dilma’s hands, however her impeachment and any other uprising should never originate from the media or be manipulated by it.

Regardless of a specific economic, political and social scenario, media outlets should maintain their integrity and honor their role as informants, not opinion-makers.