Brady upset over radio host’s remark


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady cut short a telephone interview on a Boston sports radio show Monday morning, citing an incident last week in which a host referred to his daughter as “an annoying little pissant.”

“So I’ll obviously evaluate whether I want to come on this show again,” Brady said to the hosts of the “Kirk & Callahan Show” shortly before ending the call.

Brady has appeared on the “Kirk & Callahan Show” every Monday throughout this football season.

Alex Reimer, the host responsible for the derogatory comment, is a frequent guest on the show, which airs on WEEI 93.7 FM. However, when he commented on Brady’s daughter, it was during his Thursday evening show aired by the same station. The comment was prompted by a discussion on Brady’s Facebook documentary series “Tom vs. Time,” in which his daughter appears. Reimer was suspended indefinitely by WEEI on Friday over the comment.

WEEI released a statement Monday evening apologizing to Brady, his family and the New England Patriots organization. The statement refers to Reimer’s remarks as “utterly indefensible” and asserts that “mean-spirited commentary directed in any way at children is wholly inappropriate.”

During the Super Bowl LII opening night event on Monday, Brady seemed forgiving and told reporters that he hopes Reimer does not lose his job.

“We all have careers and make mistakes,” Brady said. “I’d hate for someone to have to change their life over something like that. That was certainly not what he intended.”

Regardless of whether Reimer is allowed to return to the air, the incident serves as a cautionary tale regarding appropriate journalistic boundaries. While Reimer had every right to express his opinions regarding Brady’s documentary, he displayed an extreme lack of professionalism in disparaging a 5-year-old.

Trump drinks Fiji water


This week, President Donald Trump paused during a speech to take a sip of water. Similar to the Marco Rubio mid-speech sip from a few years back, the country had fun with it.

However, CNN introduced a four-person panel to analyze Trump’s sip and gave it a “breaking news” banner to boot.

CNN has been abusing that “breaking news” banner on their news programs for years. Seemingly every story they run earns the privilege. That, in its own right, is deserving of criticism. CNN has de-legitimized the definition of breaking news by applying the phrase to every single story.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but the president of the United States pausing during a speech to sip some water is not breaking news.

Furthermore, the four-person panel headed by Wolf Blitzer began to criticize the fact that Trump drank from a Fiji brand water bottle — saying it went against his “America First” agenda by drinking from a foreign brand.

The absurdity is evident. Like one conservative pundit has said, “Trump could walk on water and CNN would find a way to criticize him for it.”

This semester, I have spent a lot of time criticizing the apparent agenda the mainstream news media have against our president, but I am in fact quite happy that this occurs. When Donald Trump suggested the incarnation of a federally run news network, “Trump TV,” I was incensed. One of the best aspects of American news media is the absence of state-run TV, essentially pro-government propaganda generators, the likes of which we see most notably in North Korea, but across Europe as well.

The fact that America has a news media that continually keeps the president in check is a privilege we often overlook. Criticizing the government and the man or woman at the helm is part and parcel of what makes a democratic republic so appealing. That right to free speech to praise, criticize and pontificate is so important today, especially because many other countries do not enjoy that right nearly to the extent that we Americans do.

So, yes, I am in fact a fan of news media criticizing and judging the merits of a president and the government as a whole. I just wish they were consistent with their criticism across party lines and were a little more selective in these critiques — instead of spending precious air time talking about a drink from a water bottle.

Trump blasted by widow of soldier


Donald Trump continued to make headlines this week after speaking on the phone with the widow of a soldier who was killed in action. Sgt. La David T. Johnson was one of four Americans killed in an ambush in Niger on Oct. 4. As is customary for the commander-in-chief, Trump contacted Sgt. Johnson’s widow and spoke at length with her.

Listening to the call were Sgt. Johnson’s mother, and Democratic Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson of South Florida. Sgt. Johnson’s mother accused Trump of saying that he “knew what he signed up for,” and only referenced him as “your guy.” Trump denied these claims, insisting that the entire story was “fabricated” in pursuit of her politics.

Due to the emotional nature of the issue, it was a very complex story for the media to handle adequately, and in analyzing the work by news organizations, it is clear that decisions were handled with care. Maintaining impartiality was key, especially since the majority of the story rests solely on accusations. The New York Times, for example, made sure that the sources were the ones making the claims, while the narrative of the reporters was more focused on connecting the dots between them.

Balanced reporting, especially in the era of fake news and the constant attacks on the media by the Trump administration, is very important. The New York Times ran a piece about the issues other presidents have faced in reaching out to families in this similar situation. This allowed their organization to remain neutral, and to offer a look into the other side, and examine the complex issues involved through multiple perspectives.

On a much more humorous note, The Times chose to refer to the complex aftermath of the accusations as an “imbroglio” in the title of their online story, a word so incredibly articulate and yet completely obscure that I could not help but chuckle.

Media coverage of Harvey uneven


For the past few days, Hurricane Harvey has made its way over Texas and Louisiana, wreaking havoc in its path. The storm has been moving unusually slow in comparison to other hurricanes of the past, which has led to extensive flooding in Houston and other areas as the storm continues to develop. The way news organizations are covering the storm has been very interesting to study as a broadcast journalism student.

Organizations like The New York Times and CNN have done a great job updating online readers with content, including storm updates, footage, and personal stories of tragedy and heroism. While this is to be expected, it has been a great reflection of classroom conversations about media and content delivery.

There has been some public backlash to the intrusiveness of reporters, particularly in these disaster stories. Shoving a microphone into a grieving victim’s face can often be seen as overly aggressive, particularly in the aftermath of this chaos. While this behavior is a direct result of consumer demand, the ethics of doing so affect each reporter differently. Some reporters have taken a softer approach, offering aid to victims while also gathering their story, which has been very interesting.

One of my friends at UM is from Houston and he made an interesting point to me at dinner the other night. He was upset that news organizations, specifically on the broadcast side, haven’t done any stories about the recovery process. Personally, I think that the coverage up until this point has been about tracking the storm and the devastation, because the storm is still developing. Once the weather clears and the water begins to recede is when the recovery effort can truly begin, and that’s when those types of stories will be possible for news organizations to cover. Until then, the outlook for thousands appears bleak, and so do the stories.

Hermine coverage embraces drama


When Hermine, the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005, swept across the southeastern United States last week, news organizations were quick to pounce on the story.

Journalists from all over the country were sent down to Florida to capture the classic hurricane images: waves crashing on coasts, heavy winds blowing palm trees and citizens kayaking through flooded streets.

While the dramatization of hurricanes is nothing new and is usually harmless, journalists must be careful not to misinform the public with exaggerated depictions of severe weather events.
ABC News tweeted a radar image just before Hermine made landfall last Thursday night showing tornado watches and warnings throughout Florida.

The graphic, albeit dramatic, is unclear and makes the viewer think that almost the entire state and the Gulf of Mexico is under siege by tornadoes.

This kind of fear-mongering journalism is unacceptable, especially for a national news organization as reputable as ABC.

ABC is not the only national news outlet that posted a click-bait tweet during a time of crisis. The New York Times tweeted an article just a few hours after Hermine made landfall stating that the increased frequency of hurricanes this season could be related to global warming.screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-10-25-09-am

While sea-level rise due to climate change makes coastal areas more vulnerable to storm surge flooding, scientific studies have not shown any correlation between climate change and the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones.

The New York Times could have waited until after Hermine dissipated to post the article, but instead decided to take advantage of some of the public’s worst fears in order to gain readers.

The purpose of news organizations during states of emergency is to calmly inform people of mortal danger based on scientific fact, not frighten the public with melodramatic stories and images.

MLB’s Chief Wahoo logo under fire


The Cleveland Indians are undergoing some changes this season. After 100 years of sporting Chief Wahoo, the red-faced Indian logo is going to be removed.

Native Americans have been protesting the caricature since the 1970s and every opening day for 20 years there has been a protest, but only now their voices are being heard.

Native American activist Sundance told Cleveland’s Newsradio WTAM 1100, that the character is a biased and harmful stereotype which is very humiliating to their culture. He said no one would consider calling the team the Jews, even though it’s owned by Paul Dolan.

For obvious reasons, this logo is offensive. But the news media seem to shrug it off. Very few news outlets have barely covered the fact that this is still happening. These protests are happening and need to be reported.

This country is facing racial turmoil again and every news outlets seem to cover protests when African Americans are fighting for equality. How about the Native Americans who were kicked out of there country and murdered all those years ago?

It’s not fair to selectively cover racism in the country, whether this protest happens every year or every week. News coverage does not and should not have a hidden agenda and ignore the problems that are happening in the country. Especially when a major league baseball team is profiting from the stereotyping of a race.

News outlets need to report things fairly, especially racial tensions.

Peace and Colombian coca crops


While reading the news on Monday morning, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that The Miami Herald wrote an article about other important things happening in Havana, Cuba, something beyond President Obama’s visit.

The headline read “Will peace halt Colombia’s coca boom?” At a first glance you, probably, would never know that the article was about the peace talks grinding along in the island; but since I’m Colombian I knew right away so I kept reading.

The newspaper did a great job informing the public about the negotiation process, which started more than three years ago. The information was precise, truthful and without biases.

However, what surprised me the most was that instead of focusing on the breaking new the author, Jim Wyss, added a completely different angle to the story.

The fact that negotiators had set Wednesday as a deadline for a final peace deal, was mentioned, but the whole story demonstrates how the decision could affect farmers.

Throughout the story, Wyss proved the world wrong by portraying what farmers in Colombia actually want. The consensus among coca growers is that they want to be out of the business but, for that to occur, the government has to build roads, marketplaces and create an economic ecosystem where legitimate crops can thrive.

Sadly, while coca hurts thousands of people all over the world, it is also a survival crop for the majority of those farmers. Cesar Duarte, a Colombian farmer, is aware of that but he also thinks that “that’s worrisome, and that’s why we’re saying we no longer want to make our living growing coca.”

Even though the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) wasn’t out of the equation, the story didn’t take any particular side, instead, it served as a voice for a minority that is being highly affected by the situation and at the same time abandoned by its own country.

So media, somehow, allow us to have a voice.

Media coverage of ISIS stokes fear


Terrorists live among us? According to CBS12, U.S. National Security officials said there are more than 900 active ISIS investigations in 50 states — including Florida. After the terrorist incident happened last week, news coverage was full of  ISIS’ s recent status, they said that they were in South Florid, in the Washington, D.C., in the Massachusetts.

“They are amongst us. Believe me, they are amongst us here in South Florida,” Chad Jenkins told CBS12. Jenkins is a former counterterrorism agent with the FBI and a former US Army Ranger who served in Iraq. He also said that the reason terrorists chose South Florida were the weather and international makeup.

Moreover, Emily Miller, the chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C.’s Fox 5 publicized an internal police document about the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) seeking information on four men who appear to be Middle Eastern engaged in “suspicious activity” on D.C.’s rapid transit system on Nov. 18.

The news quickly spread and is drawn attention on internet about danger in the Washington, D.C., area. After then, the Metro Transit Police proved the police just did a routine check and the news sparked unnecessary concerns about danger.

“The kind of document is shared internally with law enforcement every day and that doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything of concern for the public and caution any reporter that the individuals here are not suspected of any criminal activity,” said Dan Stessel, chief spokesman for Washington’s Metro Transit Police.

The latest news from CNN said that new ISIS video warns of attack on United States and makes threats against New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio responded promptly that NYPD was prepared to respond to up to 24 incidents simultaneously and the people will not live in the fear. However, social media spread the attack and raised fear about an Islamist terror attack in D.C. and New York, and even made derogatory comments about Syrian refugees.

Stoking fear is the goal of terrorist organizations, however, some media coverage just abet it.

Media coverage on Flight 17 crash


The crash of Malaysia Flight 17 was caused by a missile warhead, according to the Dutch Safety Board’s report on Tuesday.

Flight MH17 crashed in Eastern Ukraine in July 2014. Everyone on board was dead. Distressingly, many aviation accidents and incidents took place in 2014. They range from the missing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to Malaysia Flight 17, from Algerian Air Force C-130 crash to TransAsia Airways Flight 222.

News media produced much coverage of those aviation accidents. They were filled with stories analyzing the facts and evidence of the crash. However, many of them were reckless and speculations, because they jumped to all sorts of conclusion without any interviews or data to support their theory. Such analysis is nothing less than the weather issues,  man-made causes,  terrorist attacks,  or aircraft malfunction. It now appears that the interpretation of lost of the Malaysia Airlines MH 370 was absurd. Almost every media covered the cause which is the disintegration in the air. CNN dedicated 100 percent of its coverage to flight 370,  even inviting a psychologist to talk about the possible causes of the crash. Later CNN theorized on their network’s website involving the highly unlikely scenario that the plane landed on a remote island in the Indian Ocean.

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the world’s most professional air accident investigation agency, but it should takes several months or even several years for them to complete the analysis. Therefore, reporters can’t make their conclusions recklessly.

In fact, most of the press did not show its responsibilities and the respect for the victims and their families. On the contrary, journalists made a fuss, creating the tense atmosphere. Also, they accused and shirked responsibility, misguiding the emotions and views of the publics and gradually became a conspiracy theory and led to the political debate.

During the investigation, the news we heard about was Russia and Ukraine accusing each other of causing the incident. As the Dutch Safety Board’s report was released, another round of uproar was set off. Russian national television is questioning the report — it showed that Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov echoed these denials on Tuesday, calling the Dutch report an “obvious attempt to draw biased conclusions,” according to the country’s state-run news agencies. “Russian Today” television released a short video, displaying a test involved detonating a BUK missile near the nose of an aircraft similar to a Boeing 777. It seems that the truth remains a mystery, especially under the media hype.

The responsibility of the press is to debunk myths and rumors, not to opine on events and make speculation from sources for capturing eyeballs, enhancing ratings, and boosting advertising revenue.

Journalists often face danger on the job


Journalism has always been a praised and honorable profession, but to what extent can it continue serving its purpose if it implies a life-threatening outcome to those who practice it?

According to the United Nations Human Rights Council, 1,055 journalists have been killed worldwide in the past 22 years and 80 have already been killed in 2015.

Many may think that this number is due to the risky situations journalists put themselves in, however figures compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists show that journalists and reporters are murdered because of their profession.

Also known as “Death Watch” journalists, they are deliberately targeted and murdered either because of their reporting or simply because they are journalists.

The most recent death happened in Virginia recently where a former WDBJ7 employee shot dead a reporter and a cameraman for WDBJ7, a local CBS affiliate, live on air. The shots could be heard on footage taken by the cameraman before he dropped to the ground.

However, what worsens the situation is that many of these murders outside the United States and other Western nations are investigated and in almost 90 percent of cases no one is prosecuted. In other words, impunity is increasing the risks of this profession and media freedom has been decreasing with every shot fired against a journalist and/or reporter.

Despite the agreement that holds each nation responsible to ensure their journalists’ safety and the protection of media freedom, clearly journalists haven’t been acting of safe ground and daily suffer with the “death watch” label.

Not only is this a matter of respect but also of the implementation of legal frameworks to create an environment where not only journalists but any one can practice their profession in peace.

Teen’s arrest reveals Islamaphobia


On the heels of the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a 14-year-old Texas high school student, Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school. He was arrested by five police officers and interrogated for more than an hour. During the interrogation, Mohamed was not allowed to call his parents.

Police and officials state that Mohamed was pulled out of class and arrested because they believed his home-made clock was actually a bomb. However, as this story begins to gather more attention from the media and the public, doubts are surfacing in regards to the motives of the police and school officials.

Casting the most doubt for most people is the fact that if police and school officials truly believed that Mohamed had a bomb, why didn’t they evacuate the school? Why didn’t they call the bomb squad?

Mohamed’s parents immigrated from Sudan and are Muslims. Mohamed’s parents believe that their son was targeted due to his race and religion. And people on social media agree as well. After Mohmaed’s arrest, the hashtags #IStandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed were retweeted and included in hundreds of thousands of posts and tweets.

Adding more flames to the fire, at a rally held by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, one of his supporters stated that the current president, Barack Obama, is Muslim. Instead of correcting or disputing the supporter’s claim, Trump only shook his head in agreement. The supporter then went on to perpetuate negative stereotypes against people practicing the religion stating that there are Muslim people building camps to kill us all.

Negative sentiments against those who practice Islam and are of Middle-Eastern or African descent cannot be traced to one source. However, for most Americans, Islamophobia (dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims) stemmed from the 9/11 attacks in 2001. And the fear of Muslims is still being propagated and perpetuated among several news organizations. With the rise of ISIS, fear-mongering has increased on several news platforms, in particular Fox News.

As journalists, we have a responsibility to report what is going on in our world. However, I believe that several news organizations have crossed the line between objective reporting and fear-mongering. Inaccurate coverage of terrorism has lead people to fear all Muslims, which is a detriment to society. Mohamed is a bright young man who has the potential to contribute something great to our country. Yet instead of embracing his talents, we assumed that because he is Muslim, he must also be a terrorist because of what we have been programmed to believe.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Breaking news and privacy issues


The way that news reporters handle sensitive issues is a strong point of discussion in the news industry. Over the weekend, I became engrossed with following the updates of a national news story in Australia that hit home for me as it affected my community and dealt with a sensitive issue.

The story covered the disappearance and search for an 11-year-old girl that was declared missing after running away from home on Saturday evening. The search began for the girl when she hadn’t returned home since she left after an argument. Fortunately, she was found after a desperate two-day search conducted by more than 1,000 volunteers and the police.

The positive attributes of the news industry were highlighted through their assistance in the search for the girl as multiple news outlets broadcast the story on the television, print newspapers and online. This aided the search by increasing awareness and, ultimately, the cohesion of the news outlets with the family was what led to the girl being found safe so quickly.

However, following the girl being found and returned to her family, I found certain aspects of the news coverage of the story rather invasive and potentially detrimental to her recovery and her future. In particular, when the parents of the girl went to fetch her, they were bombarded by news reporters standing outside their house and following them with cameras and recording devices. This invaded their privacy during an incredibly difficult time. Additionally, the girl’s father then became the subject of some news articles as they delved into the family history to discover that he was due to attend court on a separate manner.

In covering this sensitive issue, reporters need to remember the potential future impact that their reports can have on the girl’s life. Not only will she need to recover from the ordeal, but she also has to deal with life in the spotlight until the news coverage dies down. This is incredibly difficult for a girl of her young age to have to deal with and the reports will forever follow her due to the everlasting nature of the Internet and the ability to find information with a simple Google search. This demonstrates how it is important for news reporters to remain mindful of both their obligation to report the news but also to respect the privacy of the people involved in their stories.

More information about the story can be found here.

Ebola: America’s scariest word


The Ebola scare has gotten worse than ever and the news media are only adding lumber to the fire.

Saying the word ‘Ebola” around a large group of people might as well be the same as someone saying “Bomb!” in a movie theater. That word evokes so much fear among American citizens more than ever due to the recent discovery of Americans who have recently contacted the disease.

And what’s the news media’s role in this? They find every story about someone who has contacted the disease, write a story highlighting the name of the person, the area that they are from, how many people that they may have become in contact with, and continue to scare people.

People argue that the reporters are just doing their job, but I beg to differ. The news media’s job isn’t to scare people, but to inform people on what the disease is and how they can actually contact it.

As the number of affected Americans continue to rise, more federal health organizations continue to release information on how the disease is spread because large media groups fail to include how getting Ebola can actually happen.

This goes back to a common tactic that journalists use to get readership: sensationalism. If journalists think that more people will be interested in reading about a certain issue, they will amplify the story to get more readership. People love to stay informed, but the easiest way to draw in an audience that wants information is to scare them a little, so they can keep coming back for more.

Today, reporters announced that an Ebola patient is being contained at a hospital on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. I know many students that attend Howard, including my sister. Not only is she scared and worried about contacting the disease, her fellow classmates are feeling the same way.

The media failed to include information to these students on why the person is being contained and the safety precautions that the school will be taking to keep the students safe. The media dropped the news like a bomb and people are scattering around for information.

That is not very fair of the news media, which have a platform that they should use to inform rather than to scare. They should focus on creating more material used to help people than creating a scandalous story.

Biased journalism blames the victim


By now, most people have heard about the case of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Around 1 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, she texted friends saying she was lost. That was the last anyone has heard from her since that day.

Police are still trying to figure out exactly what happened to Hannah and where she is. In just the past few days, they have found a person of interest who is currently in custody.

All of that information can be found by just Googling Hannah’s name. What you will also find when you search for her are articles with titles like, “Missing student Hannah Graham was so drunk she could barely walk, says owner of bar where she was last seen – as man accused of her kidnap appears in court” (

A journalist’s job is to report the news in an unbiased way and giving articles titles such as the one previously listed is anything but unbiased. That title almost shifts the blame onto Hannah. It makes it easier to think “Well, it’s her fault for not being more careful,” when that’s just not the case.

People can come to their own assumptions about her life, but that is not the job of the media. Hannah very well may have been extremely drunk, and there is nothing wrong with articles stating that she had been out that night (because that’s the truth and is part of the story).

However, making that the whole subject of the article detracts from the fact that she is still missing, and they may have found the man who kidnapped her – which is really what’s important.

It’s not the news media’s job to judge her life choices. It’s their job to clearly report what’s happening.