Images of refugees in Europe unsettling


For the past week, news organizations around the world have been covering the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, all of which are highlighting the differences among countries who either welcome these desperate migrants or those who don’t. More recent news stories have been covering the somber deaths and despair of these refugees. These stories have brought up the issue as to whether or not the U.S. should be doing more in its efforts during this European crisis.

What I found most interesting about this coverage is that, it lies parallel to the ongoing issues our country is debating at the present time during the 2016 political campaign. I’m talking about the controversial issue of the Mexico and U.S. border. News coverage has been all over this issue but we are seeing that the biggest migrant crisis is not happening in the U.S., but the European Union.

One story in particular drew attention to the migrant crisis in Europe not only for me but the entire country. Images of a 3-year-old refugee washed ashore lifeless. I found it inhumane to post these images for the world to see. While others had hoped that the images of the boy would be a turning point in the debate over how to help during this crisis.

This issue brings up the debate on what one will do in order to send a message. This crisis has spurred a variety of responses throughout its coverage. Many news organizations from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal has been debating on whether or not to use the jarring images. Its editors opted to go for a less jarring image, but one that was powerful and brings enormity to the tragedy. This has been and issue for news publications since the beginning. How far can you go for a story without it being offensive, yet will create an impact and emotion? We will continue to see more images and news on this crisis. It will be interesting to see the different opinions on this issue in the coming weeks.

Rolling Stone: Journalistic failure


As if journalism didn’t get enough criticism before, the public now has more reason to wag its fingers at the news media.

Last year, Rolling Stone released an article titled “A Rape on Campus” that detailed the horrific events a student endured at the University of Virginia. Hot story, surely an interesting read, but too bad it was lacking one thing: facts.

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism published a report earlier this week stating the article was flawed, causing Rolling Stone to retract the article altogether.

Now Rolling Stone is not the first to commit this journalistic malpractice, but it still doesn’t excuse the mistake. Fact-checking is part of the ABCs of journalism. Obviously, it was not hard to check the facts, or else there would not have been a 13,000-word report on how the entire article was wrong. Minor missteps like this can greatly hinder the quality of work and credibility of the media source.

Incidents like these may not seem so paramount now; they are tiny pebbles thrown at a bullet-proof glass. However, imagine if publications continue to let these amateur mistakes occur? The pebbles will turn into full on boulders, breaking down the house journalistic works and credibility.

The public naturally has skepticism over the media as it is, and faulty articles will only increase it.

Women as stereotypes in media


After studying for my test in CEM 102, I was amazed after I was struck with reality of how media presents stereotypes such as those about women.

Women are seen to be fragile and sensitive human beings, who are easily hurt. Reading about stereotypes, the book stated that women who are single are presented in movies and in TV shows to being superior, sexy and in control of any situation. While on the other hand, women who are mothers are seen to be nurturing and caring.


Why make women into a stereotype? We are presented in many shapes and figures and we grow to the realization that we are actually what the media wants us to be. Why are the women who are in a relationship always miserable and always in doubt? Why are women presented to be fragile and sensitive?

Independent Women

Independent Women

The media have all the power to shape our beliefs and values. We are always surrounded by messages by how we are supposed to look like and act.

As a teenager, I am always self-conscious about my body and my outer image. Why? Well because the media around me influence the way I see myself as a woman. If you are not skinny and tall you are not worthy of being a woman.

You are not fully beautiful without makeup on. You are not fully dressed until you put on that bright red lipstick. Why do media try to change our image? Are we not good enough? Should we all be models?

We are all strong women regardless of our social and economic status. We are all worthy of attention. Whether you are single and ready to mingle or married with five children we should all be seen the same way: strong and sexy. We should not allow the media to shape an ideal image of how a woman is supposed to look like and act. We are all beautiful in our own way.

Repercussions of Rolling Stone’s story


I remember when Rolling Stone‘s University of Virginia gang rape story first came out, there was a level of fear and understanding that resonated with me regarding the story. I had been a freshman for only a month or so when the story came out and after seeing what university was like there was no doubt in my mind that the story was true. That is what this article preyed upon.

Regardless of the validity of the story, Rolling Stone was the first ones to talk about it in a big way, to draw attention to a real issue. However, they used the wrong story, they fabricated it, it was intentional manipulation.

A scandal like this has many repercussions on many levels. Not only will true experiences like this be doubted in the future, thus making it harder for victims of rape to speak out, but the whole topic of rape itself will become more of a taboo.

On a journalistic level, however, will people trust journalists less and less as time goes on? There have been multiple events in the past year or so that has called into question journalistic integrity.

The scandal relating to Brian WIlliams was one of the biggest ones in recent times that has made the public call into question if it really can trust journalists to be honest and give them correct information. A scandal like this could have been easily avoided with simple fact checking by the editors and the main writer, this kind of fabrication was intentional and says a lot about journalism today.

Women in media: Where are you?


Don’t get me wrong, Anderson Cooper is one of my favorite players in the news game, but where are the female reporters?

In the studies conducted by the Women’s Media Center, there was a huge lack of representation of women in the United States media industry in 2014.

“The American media have exceedingly more distance to travel on the road to gender-blind parity,” said Julie Burton, president of Women’s Media Center.

The studies included all aspects of media: newspapers/magazines, TV/digital news, sports journalism, and entertainment/film to name a few.

Amongst all categories, men ruled the media. More specifically, white men were the largest represented demographic.

Gender representation in a newspaper newsroom, years 1999-2013

Gender representation in a newspaper newsroom, years 1999-2013

As an Hispanic, female reporter, what does that mean for me? I already have two strikes placed upon me; right off the bat, I’m at a disadvantage.

Gender disparity in journalism leads to a loss in content quality. For a media company to best serve its audience, it needs to appeal to the public with a variety of voices and topics.

An article on the winged-eyeliner or ailments to menstrual cramps just doesn’t seem as credible coming from a male than a female.

The way a news story comes together is also heavily affected by the gender of the reporter. For example, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas analyzed how many front page stories of The New York Times included female sources in January and February 2013. A whopping 19% of the sources came from females. Nothing shocking here; with such a high volume of men in the media, it only seems natural that they would gravitate towards a male source.

So, to put this in perspective, imagine a headline about a treatment for hair loss. If all the sources for this headline are male, how will this article appeal to women? This privation of women sources can lead to bias in the media; as if there wasn’t enough already.

Innocent until proven guilty?


Often times in the news, victims of a crime remain unnamed. Ethical practices dictate that journalists must help shield victims from the unfavorable limelight of the media and the unforgiving public eye.

But what about alleged perpetrators? Their names are always included in the news, no questions asked — even when their involvement is not yet confirmed.

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Having the story of your victimization published in the news will likely be traumatizing, understandably. But less often acknowledged is that having your name plastered on headlines for a crime you didn’t commit will absolutely shatter your world and all of your connections. Your name will be stained forever because of the association now drawn between you and the incident, even after being proven innocent.

Take the story of Jordan Johnson, for example. He was a University of Montana student found not guilty of rape in a 2013 decision. According to the justice system, this young student is innocent. But look when you type “Jordan Johnson” into Google:

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 1.00.38 PMThree of the five pictures loaded first by Google are this student on trial.

Largely due to the media coverage he received, these false allegations will follow him for the rest of his life.

So, omit his name? But how do you avoid including his name when journalists are obligated to provide the public with thorough information? Seemingly, you can’t … yet journalists have collectively decided leaving this informational hole is okay when it comes to the victim.

There is no right answer to what should be done here. Journalism ethics, like any other form of ethics, is a wishy-washy mess of conflicting strong feelings and shaken fists.

But there needs to be some consistency. Either respect the lives of both victim and alleged perpetrator by including neither name, or honor journalism’s obligation to thoroughness and include both.

Don’t miss your deadline!


Since coming to the University of Miami in August last year, I’ve been working on the student newspaper The Miami Hurricane. In that time, one word has been etched into my brain as being most critical to my job as a reporter: Deadlines.

Deadlines. All-day deadline work sessions. Don’t miss your deadline. From the get-go, the word “deadline” has been repeated again and again, with intense focus given to the importance of timeliness.

But timeliness often comes into conflict with accuracy. In fact, this conflict is so pressingly problematic that the Code of Ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists includes the following statement:

“Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.”

Noting this, it’s interesting to me that there’s been such a sharp focus on timeliness, within an organization that trains future journalists, when well-regarded standards of practice warn against doing so.

Even if not heralded as the most important aspect of journalism, timeliness receives the most attention. News, like anything else, is a business—specifically, the business of being first. And from an ethical standpoint, timeliness is essential to bringing news that is relevant and important to the public it intends to serve.

But ideologically, accuracy clearly reigns as just as — or more — crucial. Even if you are the speediest news writer in the world, it will mean nothing if your work is riddled with errors.

But during my experience as a student reporter, I’ve noticed that accuracy is only brought up in conversation once someone has already made an error.

Because accuracy is so important, people assume that others recognize it as such—like it goes without saying. But when you don’t say, it leaves the forefront of people’s minds to be replaced with what you are talking about: deadlines. And people are talking about those constantly.

If we give accuracy as much—or more—time in the spotlight as deadlines, hopefully we can better train ourselves as future journalists to avoid ethical gaffes before they occur.

There’s always another side to the story


As I placed my items on the grocery store conveyor belt, I glanced over at the gum
and magazine rack.

GL10C1A_2015Upon all the fashion and sugary goods, I found a picture of President Obama’s contorted face on the cover of the lovely Globe: In small print next to Obama’s face, once you get past the bright yellow “psychopathic rages” and “egomania” accusations, reads “making crazy faces in healthcare video February 2015.”

Globe is infamous in America for its questionable headlines and material, so naturally I was skeptical about these allegations. I quickly Googled “Obama makes faces” and stumbled upon this quirky video of Obama teaming up with BuzzFeed to remind millenials of the deadline for Obamacare:

The clip is called “Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About,” which features Obama taking selfies and making bizarre faces in the mirror. I realized that the picture from Globe was the same one as this screenshot of the video. 

As stated before, Globe is notorious for creating tabloids, but what if you did not know that first hand? What if you were in America as a traveler, and happened to see this crazy headline? You might believe it and go on to share the news.

The media are there to inform the public of what is going on beyond their backyard. However, we cannot be sponges and simply absorb the information. I believe that we should always yearn for knowledge and have some skepticism when it comes to media; the more we investigate, the more media literate we will become.

NBC reveals much in Williams’ case


If I was reporting even a low-profile story in my town and fabricated a piece of information, I would be fired. For that matter, if I’m on the job under any circumstances and I fabricate information, I better start packing up my things. It’s a gross violation of the journalistic code, no questions asked.

But for some reason, when NBC anchor Brian Williams does it — with multiple instances of the crime, and in high-profile situations to boot — the network doesn’t know what to do with him.

He hasn’t been fired, yet. Instead, he’s been suspended for six months without pay, and that suspension was only announced once the popular anchor’s television ratings dropped following the outbreak of scandal.

The decisions made regarding Williams’ job, as well as the timeline of those decisions, are revealing. What separates me and Brian Williams (other than his wry smile, iconic silvery slicked-back hair and practically everything else) comes down to clout, and thus, money. Being the anchor of the number one evening news program, this even separates him from other big name anchors. And that appears to be why he’s receiving special, or lenient, treatment.

But there should be no room for special treatment regarding matters of journalistic integrity.

In this same vein, the coverage of the Williams scandal is also disproportionate. With article after article speculating the fate of his job, it is easy to forget that while in that helicopter in Iraq and while reporting on Hurricane Katrina, Williams was not alone. He was with a news team. People witnessed the truth, and their silence contributed to the cover-up for years until the scandal only recently broke.

Their crimes were just as severe as those of Williams, yet I’ve heard next to nothing about the state of those jobs. Since they aren’t the big name money-makers for NBC, it seems the media don’t regard their company-wide breach in integrity as too important, judging from the amount of media coverage they’ve received since the scandal.

As a journalist-hopeful, it’s troubling that our priorities are so out of line.

If you have bias, at least admit it


One of the primary tenets of journalism is impartiality. In an ideal world, all news sources would be perfectly objective and never speak a word out of turn. But this is the real world, with news sources run by real people, so remaining completely impartial is easier said than done.

Some news sources seemed to have abandoned this notion of impartiality. From what I’ve heard from most people, the first examples of this that come to mind are MSNBC and Fox News. These news organizations have been known to report news containing obvious biases.

But I don’t have a problem with them.

As stated, the biases are obvious. Although the company motto of Fox may be “fair and balanced”—granted—no one there is hiding anything when they publish and broadcast stories about the Benghazi panel when others have moved on. Similarly, no one at the Drudge Report is keeping any secrets when “IRS PAYS ILLEGALS FOR BABIES” is a teaser headline on their homepage.


When you come to news sources like these, you should know what you’re getting. No one is trying to fool you; the bias is too open for that.

What I personally find more conniving is when bias is existent, but less apparent. This kind of bias is more sly, attempting to subconsciously sway readers without tipping them off about those intentions. This is underhanded, in my opinion, and thus more reprehensible.

Take CNN, for example. An informal survey of my friends will tell you that many people my age consider CNN to be a reliable source of unbiased information. At face value, I might agree with them — but a closer inspection of headlines reveals something different.

IMG_5406Consider this screenshot at the left from the CNN iPhone application.

That headline regarding vaccines technically says nothing wrong. No journalistic principles were violated.

But the request posed by CNN is worded in a way that psychologists would compare to a leading question. It draws readers’ attention to parents who do not vaccinate their children, pointing the finger at a group that has recently received a lot of flack and inviting messages from their opposition, because opponents of an issue are more likely to respond voluntarily to requests like these than sympathizers, who expect attack, and much more than those who are simply ambivalent.

To gauge an honest reflection of the public’s views, the website could impartially ask readers to state their opinion about the issue of vaccinations in general, very easily. But it did not.

I understand that the sly nature of the bias is strategic from a business standpoint; no currently respected news source wants to become the household name of bias like Fox News or MSNBC. But in that case, you might as well honor the journalistic code and remove your biases altogether.

Privacy: Where do we draw line?


By now, most people have probably heard the sad recent news regarding Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. While she’s still fighting for her life, her situation brings to light a highly debated issue in journalism: Where do journalists draw the line between doing their job and respecting one’s privacy?

Brown’s family has been told by doctors that there isn’t much that can be done to help her. They’re obviously grieving and attempting to cope with the grim news, but they can only do so much when the whole world watches in wonder. This is where journalists come in. From the articles I’ve read thus far, they’ve gotten quotes from family members and the police, but I have a hard time deciding if even that is too much for a grieving family.

The last thing someone in that situation would want is the public poking their noses into their difficult situation. For this reason, I believe that journalists should give privacy when necessary and/or requested. If someone wants to speak to the media, all the power to them. But I believe that until it gets to that point, if it ever does, journalists should keep their distance and respect their privacy. After all, I’m sure that’s what they would want if the roles were reversed.

Is media coverage too free?


Although freedom of speech and personal expression are undoubtedly celebrated in the media by the wide range of topics covered, the recent execution of Japanese journalist and ISIS hostage Kenji Goto lead me to wonder whether certain topics should be covered?

The late Kenji Goto was a freelance video journalist who covered topics such as wars and conflicts, poverty, AIDS and child education around the world. Goto was captured by Islamic State militants only a day after entering Syria to try and rescue Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, despite being warned not to.

ISIL released a video on Jan. 20 demanding $200 million from the Japanese government for the release of Goto and Yukawa. A few days later, another video was released with Goto holding a photo of the decapitated Yukawa and audio saying they would exchange Goto’s life for the return of Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, a suicide bomber. When ISIL realized the exchange would not happen, a video was released of Goto’s beheading.

In another story of a journalist being held hostage, a New York Times journalist, David Rohde, and two of his associates were kidnapped by the Taliban while in Afghanistan doing research for a book in November 2008. Their kidnappers were quick to make contact with many American news outlets including The New York Times. Their ransom: the release of Taliban prisoners being held in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and millions of dollars. The men were held captive for seven months before Rohde and Ludin made an escape.

The difference between the stories of Goto and Rohde were how much the media covered their capture. The capture of Goto was widely publicized on international news outlets all the way down to local station across the world. On the other hand, when Rohde was captured, the media barely covered it.

That is not to say one life was more important than the other. Rhode’s capture was not widely publicized because The New York Times requested a media blackout of the abduction in order to maximize Rhode’s chances of survival.

This difference in story coverage could lead to the question of whether it is ethical for journalist to hide a story when it is their obligation to report timely events. I personally think the difference in coverage really just shows the balancing act and difficult choices the media must sometimes make: informing the public or potentially further endangering the life of someone.

Although each hostage case is different and many factors must be taken in account, it is hard not to wonder whether Goto’s story could have ended differently.

Social media: From tweets to articles


In recent news, Harry Potter star Emma Watson announced her recent casting as Belle in Disney’s upcoming, live-action movie “Beauty and the Beast.”

As I read the Entertainment Weekly article, I wondered how did she release the news? Watson made the news public via Facebook as fans cheered across the Internet.

I, a young and ambitious journalist, had to wonder if this was acceptable in the news media. Is it ethically correct for journalists to use social media as reliable and trustworthy sources when reporting?

Continuing my search for answers, I found another example of social media being used as news sources. Surprise, surprise; Watson is the shining star in an “Entertainment Tonight” article.

This time, Watson used Twitter. Fans constantly tweet at A-list celebrities such as Watson and, on occasion, receive replies from them. It appears that Watson was having a little Q&A session through tweets, speaking about her HeForShe campaign and giving young women advice.

I concluded that social media as news sources are not entirely unethical. Watson has her social media accounts displayed for public viewing. Moreover, Watson has given consent for us to see these updates; allowing us to share and converse about them.  Because there is permission from the original source, a journalist can use Watson’s tweets and posts as fuel for a news story.

However, what if this consent was never given? What if an Einstein computer hacker helped a journalist enter right into Watson’s Facebook and essentially leak her private posts?

If this were the case, the journalist would be ethically unjust. A reporter cannot simply use information without consent from the source and without verifying that information.

Kuwaiti journalists often restricted


As my father once said “Where will studying journalism take you? What will your job be, once you graduate?” “Kuwait and the Middle East don’t appreciate journalists the way the West does!”

Being a journalist in Kuwait means including yourself in a narrow tunnel that is suppressed by the government. It is a tunnel surrounded by rules and regulations of do’s and don’ts. One would just have the chance to work in newspaper or magazines since we don’t have a wide range of media genres in my country. This leaves our society to be private and secretive.

Reporting should be part of freedom of speech and expression. Media surround our lives everyday, from listening to the radio to viewing one’s Snapchat. This media outburst weakened the power of breaking news and announcements. Snapchat now can help someone to enjoy news in a different manner. Journalism and broadcasting organizations should also take into consideration these changes and allow news to appear more often onto these popular apps that are constantly used and abused by millions.

From Snapchat to Instagram and to Twitter, one must be up to date with all of these media products to view what people enjoy and take in. Just so, journalism is now revolving around and transforming to become part of these products, new and up to date.

Being brought up into a closed-minded society, journalism, reporting and broadcasting are monitored by the government leaving the people wondering whether what was said was true or false.

Censorship shouldn’t be included in Kuwait’s media and maybe this may change in time, but one shouldn’t be watched and judged for what he or she may have to say. What’s the point of journalism when there’s false news behind the screen? Why does media in Kuwait feel the need to sensor? Is it because to hide the shameful news. Is the media being bias and choosing a side or is it because they the want to not cause any conflicts? Falsely reporting may cause a larger conflict, instead.

I believe people in Kuwait should have the right have to follow up with media and journalism one should have the right to view what is exactly happening at any given event.

Citizens in nations become clueless and naïve due to the rules enforced by the government that control what to say or report. Because of my Islamic country, some issues, such as the “Charlie Hebdo” images, are extremely sensitive and delicate. Insulting and disrespectful, we believe that some journalists and columnists should take into consideration the respect of religion and drawing the line between news and disrespect.

Drawing the lines in journalism may be hard to do since each and every person may have a different opinion of what is right and what is inappropriate and wrong. Media should always take into consideration all the different opinions and beliefs of all the different kinds of people around it. Having to be filtered and clarified; is okay but, it does not mean to leave out what is vital and important.

Misleading headlines distort coverage


Many misleading headlines have arisen from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

CNN released a story with this headline following an attack on Tuesday titled “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians killed in synagogue attack, Israeli police say.” Although this headline does not indicate it in any way, the “2 Palestinians” were the terrorists. An update to the headline was no better, referring to an attack on a Jerusalem “mosque” when in fact it was a synagogue.

This follows a report last month by the Associated Press given the headline “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.” From this headline only, one would infer that the Israeli police were the aggressors and the man the victim when in fact the roles were opposite. From the story you learn that Israeli police shot a man who slammed his car into a crowd of people waiting at a train stop in an act of suspected terrorism and tried to run.

Misleading headlines, such as these, are dangerous. Many people gather news simply by reading headlines, and while the habit is not ideal, it is a fact of which journalists need to be mindful.

For another thing, studies have shown that the initial perception formed in a reader’s mind by the headline will taint his/her interpretation of the entire story that follows.

I’m not suggesting every headline should be full of name-calling, but the perpetrator-victim relationship must not be distorted, whether misrepresented on purpose or not, as this has the potential to vilify innocent people.

Media sensationalism risks public health


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 20 measles outbreaks in the U.S. between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 of this year, spread mainly among non-vaccinated individuals. These numbers are among the highest recorded since 1997.

The practice of vaccinating children has been on decline since a 1998 study from the lab of Andrew Wakefield was published claiming that vaccinations cause developmental disorders in children. The article was later retracted when it was discovered to be a dishonest study that violated research ethics.

Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain a link between childhood vaccinations and autism, including the measles vaccine and a vaccine called thimersosal.

The only study showing any association between autism and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine was the aforementioned 1998 study, which was not surprisingly funded by lawyers and parents wishing to sue vaccine manufacturers. That was not the only conflict of interest Wakefield did not disclose at the time of publication. The year before the study was published, Wakefield patented a measles vaccine with the potential to replace the combined vaccine that was customarily given.

Despite the small sample size and far-reaching conclusions in Wakefield’s publication, the media vastly publicized it. Vaccination rates dropped substantially as parents were frightened into believing that vaccinating their children put them at severe risk for Autism.

The media has a tendency toward sensationalism, in which it gives exaggerated coverage to insignificant content. “Media exploits vaccine scares firstly to promote fear and pity among their readers which moves media product,” said investigative journalist Brian Deer.

We are still paying the costs to public health of the media’s over-dramatic coverage of the single, fraudulent paper.

Reporting on UM special events


This week marks the all-important and long-awaited rivalry football game where UM will take on FSU. It is no surprise that all the major campus news publications are focusing on this story. However, it’s interesting to see how news principles are impacted by the focus on this story.

In particular, from reading the news publications such as The Miami Hurricane, one would be led to believe that the only thing occurring this week on campus is the football game. In maintaining this focus, the paper fails to recognize that there are students and faculty members who are not wholeheartedly interested in the game. Therefore the lack of reporting on a wide range of news topics this week, has compromised the ability for these people to gain news information about other events on campus.

Additionally, while in general an important news principle is the removal of bias from reporting, this event poses an instance where bias is actively integrated into stories. It is an intrinsic part of creating excitement for the event through stories and building suspense for the campus population.

However by favoring one side, due to the publication’s affiliation with UM as the major campus news publication, the newspaper is ignoring its responsibility to remain objective throughout their news reporting practice. Yet, this may not be such a terrible thing and perhaps it is even something that is called for in this circumstance.

One thing is for sure, it is interesting to see how the reporters develop fresh and unique perspectives on this topic. Despite the repetitive topic, the articles vary in their focus in order to provide students with a wide range of information on the game. From safety precautions to team preparations and even the history of the rivalry, these articles don’t fail to provide intriguing insights into an event that can most definitely be called the highlight of the semester.

‘Unseen influences’ taint media


Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS News reporter, alleged her computer was hacked by a government agency for reasons that include an attempt to conceal the causes of the 2012 Benghazi attack.

Attkisson recently discussed “the unseen influences on and manipulation of the images and information the public receives in the media.” She quite her job at CBS News because she did not like the way the network avoided stories it feared would illicit pushback from corporations or politicians. She warned that “unseen and undisclosed paid interests are behind the images.” In essence, “PR officials and propagandists may organize and fan out… to manipulate information and give the impression that there is great support for or opposition to an issue or person,” she explained.

What this means for the public is that content must be digested and contemplated thoroughly. People must become more active readers and think critically to decide whether a story is likely to be reliable.

This places undue burden on the public, since people can’t be experts in every field and since their full-time job is not as an investigative journalist.

The press is fundamental to a healthy democracy. For it to function properly, networks must not be agenda-driven, accept bribery, or be fearful of government or corporate retaliation. As one opinion columnist for The Guardian put it, the media need to stop being a “lapdog” and return to being a “watchdog.” Every appropriate measure must be taken to present accurate, unbiased information to the people it serves, the public.

Military move to deter news media


According to the recorded telephone calls obtained by the Associated Press, Ferguson, Mo. police officials admitted the no-fly zone was put in effect to dissuade the news media from covering the Mike Brown protests.

Originally, police claimed the order was for the safety of the city. Now, word has come out that it was actually intended to prevent news helicopters from covering the protests that have been shadowing Ferguson.

The protests have been a hot topic in the news media for a while. It has been four months since the shooting of Michael Brown and news is still coming out about the issue in the news media.

Constantly, the news media have been scrutinized for the way they have handled the situation, but this new discovery could take some heat off the media.

If the law enforcement had issued the no-fly zone to purely restrict media coverage, it is an undeniable violation of the rights we are guaranteed under the First Amendment.

So far, government officials haven’t responded to these allegations, but the clear violation of basic constitutional rights, denied by the people who are trying to protect us, is clearly very troubling.

The FBI impersonates news source


It was recently discovered that, back in 2007, the FBI created a fake news story impersonating the Seattle Times. The bureau’s reasoning behind fabricating the story was that they used a link to the article to catch the suspect responsible for multiple bomb threats to a local high school.

The Seattle Times is now claiming that it is “outraged” by the FBI’s actions. The question on the table now is: Is this matter of dealing with someone’s First Amendment rights?

The FBI did not stop the Seattle Times from printing whatever they choose to, which is typically the issue I always thought the First Amendment was there to protect. However, the key word in that sentence is choose. The Seattle Times did not chose to publish or have their name associated with that story. Instead, the FBI put words into the mouth of the paper.

Should it now be included and made clear that the press has the right to post, or not to post?

It’s questionable whether or not the FBI’s actions infringed on anyone’s First Amendment rights. What is clear, however, is that this information of the FBI’s involvement could impact reader’s opinions of the Seattle Times, and has the potential to discredit the reputation of the news source.

Taking it a step further, if the FBI could so easily do this with one news source, why couldn’t they with other sources?

I don’t believe this incident will lead journalists to begin questioning all sources of news. Still, I think it will raise questions about how the general public knows what is legitimate or not when it comes to news sources and this might make some journalists’ jobs harder.