Pay attention to what the media isn’t covering: the “Day of Resistance” marches

All outside information, including images of the demonstration, were complied from Al-Jazeera America and can be found by clicking this link.

On Saturday, December 13, 2014 thousands marched on Washington, DC, and hundreds of thousands around the country marched in their cities against the ongoing injustices plaguing the American justice system and the mainstream uncovering and epidemic of police brutality, mostly against minorities, namely African Americans.  The marches, termed a “Day of Resistance,” occurred throughout the country in virtually every major metropolitan area: Los Angeles to Baltimore to New York to San Francisco, where it was said thousands of protesters came out.

The marches in D.C., featured speakers such as Rev. Al Sharpton; Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner; Lesley McSpadden, the mother of the late Michael Brown; and Sybrina Fulton, the mother of the late Trayvon Martin.

“Don’t just come to the rally and go home. The numbers look nice. You guys look good out there, but it cannot stop here. This has to be the start,” Fulton said.

Chants echoed throughout the streets on downtown D.C., consisted of, “hands up, don’t shoot;” “no justice, no peace;” and “can’t stop, won’t stop until killer cops are in cell blocks.”

Lesley McSpadden, the mother of the late Michael Brown, spoke with a thankful tone.

“What a sea of people,” she said. “If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do. Thank you for having my back,” McSpadden, said.

Apparently, though, the major news corporations did not see it.

They did not see this.

Or this, apparently.

Despite the fact that Capitol Hill is in the background of the first image, and it would have been impossible for the major news corporations to have not actually seen it, many of them did not cover the protests, or did not have sustained coverage.

Around 1 a.m. on December 14, Al-Jazeera America was the only major news organizations I pooled to have the “Day of Resistance” marches as their top story.

Edit: @lilyconwell85 on Twitter also pointed out that “Another Western Dawn News” also reported on the demonstrations.

al jazeera

And, it was not like it was a busy news night.  The only other semi-newsworthy story was that Congress was attempting to avert a government shutdown, but what else is new?  Which is more newsworthy based on the context of America in 2014?  Which will affect more people?

NBC, CBS, and MSNBC (all screenshots of their websites below) did cover the story but let other stories overtake the stories of the marches by midnight on December 14 moving into 1:30 a.m. and onward.

nbc news



However, CNN and Fox News had no evidence of a story on the demonstrations on their homepage a little after midnight on December 14, less than six hours after most marches on the East Coast had disbanded.



Slightly switching directions, Google News charts popular news items based on the number of “hits” or “views” a specific webpage gets.  You can search a keyword, and in return, the webpages that includes that keyword will come up, with the websites with the most hits at the top.

Look closely at the websites that came up when I typed in “Day of Resistance,” which was the official name of the demonstrations on December 13, 2014.

The webpages for ABC, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC are nowhere in sight, despite the fact that they reported on the events.  The webpages that had the most hits under the keyword “Day of Resistance” were mostly from smaller, local news station’s websites reporting on the events (see image below).

day of resistance

Why is that?  Because all those major news corporations were not calling the marches the “Day of Resistance” marches.  They were calling them “protests,” reducing the movement to the same word the media used to describe the anger-filled events that occurred in Ferguson only a week or two earlier.  These events were far, far from it.  Absolutely zero protesters out of thousands were violent in these demonstrations.  If they had been, major news organizations would have reported on that.

Below are the webpages with the most hits that came up when I typed in the keyword “protests” into Google News.

And, presto!  There are all the major news corporations who had reported on the events, including many major newspapers, as well.

protests instead of day of resistance

Every single one of those news organizations did not give the marchers the respect of referring to their event under the name that they called it – the “Day of Resistance” marches.  In a journalism profession that supposedly prides itself on the truth, these major news corporations missed out on the “WHAT” or the 5 “W” questions (who, what, when, where, why) when gathering the basics for any newsworthy event.  That is Journalism 101.

So, although it may seem that the media did the marchers justice by reporting on their events, the only major news corporation that did that was Al-Jazeera America, and even they are not really mainstream with the American public.

The other news organizations reported on the marches, but it was sloppy reporting at best.  Not the type of reporting any of the victims deserved, not the type of reporting any of their families deserved, not the type of reporting any of the marchers deserved, and not the type of reporting that any American citizen deserves either.  These organizations reported on the events as “protests,” not as a “peaceful demonstration,” or as the “‘Day of Resistance’ marches.”

The American public must demand better, must at least demand that news organizations get as close to the truth as possible, operate under journalistic integrity.  There is no such integrity here.


Take This to the Polls: Credibility Checking Senator Ted Cruz

Recently, Senator Ted Cruz wrote an op-ed for USA Today, primarily speaking on the 2014 midterm elections and why you should (presumably) vote Republican and why a G.O.P-led Congress was the best outcome for America.

Senator Cruz outlined ten of his priorities for the Republicans if they win back the Senate and have control of both houses of Congress after this fall’s midterms.

Being a student pursuing a Mass Communication/Journalism degree and being a member of my university’s newspaper, I went to the liberty of seeing just how much water Cruz’s op-ed held.

Get your goggles ready.  ‘Cause it ain’t pretty.

Fact-checking and checking for credibility.  It’s a wonderful thing.  Something that obviously no one at USA Today is capable of doing.  Either that, or they prefer to not hold their op-ed writers accountable for any sort of journalistic integrity.

As a matter fact, it took me longer to untangle my headphones to put some music on to write this post than it took for me to find Cruz’s first blatant misuse of media.  Let’s get started, shall we? When I quote Senator Cruz, feel free to click on the links in his quotes to see for yourself the horrible misuse of various articles from around the Internet!

I’ll even number mine, just as Senator Cruz did. I am going to do seven points, because the number seven is lucky, and I am hoping that Senator Cruz will read my article when I send it to him tomorrow via the Twitter-sphere  I have a feeling I am going to need all the luck I can get.

Re-linking to Senator Cruz’s op-ed piece in USA Today

Number 1.  Alright, first point, first misuse.

“For six years, the Obama economy has been trapped in stagnation, hurting millions,” wrote Cruz.

I wish I could call this a misuse of statistics because Senator Cruz seems to allude to some depressing statistics on job growth or unemployment, but it is actually Senator Cruz merely referring to a sour-puss on the Huffington Post ranting about Obama.  Highly credible and factual.

Number 2.  Still on the first point.

“A Republican Congress should immediately help Americans get more jobs by embracing America’s energy renaissance.”

Okay, so this article was about attacking the Obama administration for its obstructionist acts, yet the “energy renaissance” you hearken to in this Forbes article was literally brought in by the Obama administration itself in his quest to end foreign dependency on oil.  Did Senator Cruz even read the articles he linked to?

In the interest of time, let us move on through the op-ed, as I am trying not to print an entire encyclopedia on carelessness with referencing other articles and statistics, or lack thereof.

Number 3. Jumping to the fourth point, in the essence of time.

“….the lawless implementation of Obamacare,”

Oh, dear god, not this again.  Like it or not, Senator Cruz, “Obamacare” was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court.  By the way, you are citing, a partner of Fox News.  I am afraid that is not very impartial.  Sorry, try pushing your Fox News agenda on another website, maybe one that does not explicitly say it partners with an unreliable news corporation.

Number 4. Still in the fourth point!

“And the Senate should stop confirming activist judges who will impose their own policy preferences, such as striking down state marriage laws. We must uphold the Constitution.”

You know, it is really funny.  A U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit did in fact rule in favor of the freedom to marry in Bostic v. Schaefer where same-sex couples sought the same freedom to marry that is legal in a majority of the states across the nation.  When the Supreme Court made the decision to not review that case, it essentially meant that they saw no blatant trampling of the Constitution. This means that the decision of Asheville, North Carolina’s U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. to permit gay marriage licenses to be issued did not in any way, shape, or form violate the Constitution since his district court falls under the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

*drops mic*

*picks mic up*

Congrats, North Carolina!

Number 5.  Point number six, now, in Senator Cruz’s op-ed.

“Moving towards a simple flat tax would treat all Americans more fairly and end the massive time and costs wasted in dealing with the IRS;….”

I will not even argue why that point is wrong because a flat tax has no chance of ever being implemented in the next Congressional term.  However, I will point out that, yet again, Senator Cruz made the decision to cite yet another op-ed piece, not an article written by an actual journalist or any statistics compiled by a credible organization. The article is from USA Today from 2011 and features Dick Armey.  I pulled this blurb about Mr. Armey straight from the op-ed piece linked in Senator Cruz’s quote.

Former House majority leader Dick Armey is chairman of FreedomWorks, a group that advocates lower taxes and smaller government.”

Oh, how credible and unbiased, bravo!

Number 6.  Point seven in Senator Cruz’s op-ed.

“Americans are seeing near-zero interest rates on their savings accounts while median incomes are falling,…”

While it is true that median incomes are falling, just because President Obama holds the office of president does not necessarily mean this one is on him.  There is only so much the President can do in order to keep wages rising.  He can attempt to raise the minimum wage, which he has tried to do, very much to Senator Cruz’s party’s resistance, to the point where he had to sign an executive order to get job the done.

In order for solutions on how to fix the falling incomes of average Americans (because C.E.O’s incomes and probably even yours have risen as of late), I encourage Senator Cruz to read my own article for my university’s newspaper entitled “Guest Lecturer Remains Hopeful.”

Economist Richard Wolff visited Towson University n Maryland to speak on the growing inequality between C.E.O’s and the rest of America, and how the Great Recession was actually not President Obama’s fault, but Wall Street’s.  I encourage everyone to read the aforementioned article and to Google economist Mr. Wolff and his ideas on how to reshape America’s troubled economy and private sector.  An article on ExarExtra that goes more in-depth into my article linked above will also appear sooner than later.

(Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on future stories!)

Number 7.  Lucky seven – this is focused on point ten.

“Tenth, deal seriously with the twin threats of ISIL and a nuclear Iran, including passing legislation that strips American citizens who join ISIL of their U.S. passports so they cannot return home and wage jihad against innocent men and women.”

First off, Seriously?  Senator Cruz is a Congressperson writing an op-ed for USA Today and are citing a website called, a po-dunk conservative news website?  A website so conservative, they have a tab on their homepage dedicated to “Bearing Arms,” which is not even on the national political stage right now?


Need I say more?  I will, just for kicks.

“Waging jihad.”  Senator Cruz said it, he really did.  Nowhere in that article does it ever speak of anyone “waging jihad.”

Even more so, this idea of stripping Americans of their passports who were even suspected of being in ISIL is not a brand new idea.  Cruz tried it in the Senate before, when Senator Cruz begged the Senate to hurriedly pass the bill because it was some sort of imminent threat.  That was shot down by the Senate Judiciary Committee because it “affects fundamental constitutional rights, which should be given the full deliberation of the Senate.”  Senator Cruz wanted to hurriedly pass a bill that very possibly infringed on American’s rights.  Patriot Act, anyone?  As a matter of fact, his bill was even entitled, the “Expatriote Terrorist Act of 2014.”

There we have it.  A little fact and credible checking of Senator Cruz’s op-ed proves that perhaps he was skating on thin ice when he crafted it.  Let this be a lesson to us all: just because he is a senator, does not mean everything he says is factual.  Quite the opposite, actually.

Greek-Americans and Feminists Have One More Thing In Common: A Repulsion of Douchey Frat Guys

image credit (link)

“Greek life.”  “Going Greek.”  “The Greek community.”  “We Greeks.”

There are roughly three million Americans (link) who are ethnically Greek in the United States.  Names such as Olympia Snowe, the senator who promoted togetherness and a united Congress while trailblazing for women’s rights in a predominantly male arena in Congress.  Or, perhaps, Tina Fey, the “jane”-of-all-trades comedian who has starred on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and won a dozen Emmy’s in the process – not to mention a few Screen Actor’s Guild and Golden Globe Awards.  Did I mention she’s written an autobiography, too?  You should check it out.  That’s not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Greeks who made an honest living opening up restaurants or small businesses.

Maybe you want to go back a few thousand years: “we Greeks” also have Alexander the Great, Hippocrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and the list goes on and on… and on (link).

Something tells me that’s not what people mean when they say that.

I think that, above, ^^ is what they mean.

And, it would actually be alright (not really though, as I’ll explain at the end), except that some of the people who participate in Greek-letter organizations are doing antics like this (link).  #WhyWeNeedFrat is a response to the #WhyWeNeedFeminism (link) that has been trending on Twitter and the like, in a.  And, it wouldn’t be malicious per se, just frat boys being their douchey-selves, except they are posting pictures like this:

(from Mashable)

Yes, that is an actual post on totalfratmove’s (link) Instagram page.  In the half-day that has elapsed since it was posted, it has garnered 11,000 likes.  If that does not perpetuate the age-old stereotypes of fraternities, that I am not really sure what will for you.

Leave it to the people in this video and its supporters to to take away from #WhyWeNeedFeminism, a hashtag developed to spread awareness about the plight that plagues not only our society, but those around the world. Now, cue link to insightful article – from a unique perspective – to feminism in regards to the rest of the world (it’s definitely worth a look-see).

But, perhaps Sarah Cornett, a guest columnist for USA Today (link) summed up many people’s reactions best in her article:

“However, one of the strongest groups to vocalize its disappointment were other members involved in Greek life.
Greeks across the nation tweeted messages such as: ‘#WhyWeNeedFrat isn’t funny. It’s disappointing, discouraging and simple-minded. It’s also nothing I believe in as a fraternity man,’ and ‘#WhyWeNeedFrat is the reason that people hate Greek life. It’s not satire, it’s damaging and makes it hard to defend our chapters. Grow up.'”

There are many Greek letter organization chapters across America that are doing good for the colleges and communities in which they are a part of.  People such as the ones on the “totalfratmove” Instagram page are most likely a minority, just an incredibly noisy, obnoxious, disrespectful one that happened to steal the spotlight in our sensational media for a day, maybe two.  But they will not be remembered in a month’s time.

To those supporting #WhyWeNeedFeminism and actively fighting for women’s rights, you are what is right in this world.  To those in Greek letter organizations that better themselves and their communities, you are also what is right in this world.  These two aforementioned groups will undoubtedly have a positive and more far-reaching impact than these spoiled, self-absorbed, attention-whoring frat boys.

To the feminists and exceptional fraternity and sorority members that have been mocked and misrepresented, respectively: stay strong.  These frat boys will have their fun in college, and you can laugh at them one day when you’re their manager.

This all seems to be, ladies and gentleman, a perfect example of…



*    *    *


However, there’s one matter that must be visited…

Why is it called “Greek life” and why do people in Greek-letter organizations refer to themselves as members of the “Greek community”…


Look for the article soon for all the answers (that I have yet to find*).

“Cuz there Greek letter organizashuns” will not suffice in this case.

The Criminal Injustice System: Part 1

 Posted on August 15, 2014. (Don’t mind July 19 date).

It was a typical July day in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.  Tourists were milling around downtown, taking up all the sacred parking spaces on the street. A mountain band was playing, complete with banjo, spoon, and washboard.  Kids splashed around in the “Splasheville” fountains in front of the salmon-colored marble, domed city hall.  And the cherry on top?  A bank robbery at an Asheville Savings Bank.  But it’s not what you think!  According to the sheriff’s department, this was not our “typical person committing this sort of crime?”

Phew.  We’re safe.  Continue business as usual.


Wait just a darn second.

WHAT did the sheriff’s department say?

Yes, you heard me paraphrase correctly.  In response to a robbery at local bank Fairview, North Carolina (just outside of Asheville, NC), the police made a statement saying that the suspect was not a typical suspect committing such a crime.  The exact quote?

“So we’re looking for someone who may not be a typical person committing such a crime,” said Jeff Eaton of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department.

My official screenshot of the article containing the quote can be found HERE (link), and the original article on WLOS (Asheville, North Carolina ABC News affiliate, can be found HERE (link) for your reading displeasure.

What image pops into your mind when you hear this quote?  Better yet, what was the image in the minds of the PR staff of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s department?  Well, I suppose the security footage from the bank might enlighten those of us who have been left bewildered by the statement in question.

The suspect turned out to be a twenty-two year old Caucasian woman seen in the image above.  Not only were the police shocked that someone fitting this demographic could commit such a crime, but her neighbor in the apartment where she lived was, as well, per the article linked earlier (relink).  What does this say about our society?  When we only see certain demographics portrayed as “criminals” in our media, we are led to believe that only those races or genders commit crime.  In this sad case, neighbors of the suspect and even the police force seemed to be surprised, despite the fact that she held up a bank an stole $9,000, while the entire robbery was caught on camera.  The police, neighbors, and most likely many other citizens were baffled, despite there being evidence, that someone who looked as she did could commit such a crime.

If only the police or any citizen who was “surprised” had done their research instead of profiling (in this instance, to the suspect’s benefit) based on appearance, they might have realized that the suspect wasn’t so angelic or innocent after all, despite the police and media providing that portrayal.  In reality, the suspect had a criminal history (link).  Just two months earlier, she was arrested on drug trafficking charges – multiple counts, in fact – of opiates, ecstasy, and marijuana.  Judging by that criminal history, there might, at the very least, be a reason to not be so surprised and bamboozled when she appeared on the radar again.  However, throw into the mix that she had been charged with a DWI (relink again) that was still pending against her at the time of the robbery, and it is downright ridiculous that the authorities, and even close friends, acted so shocked that such a person could commit such a crime as robbery.

This is a time in the United States where one person from one race and gender can be shot dead (link) while complying with officers during an arrest on side of the country, while on the other side of the country, someone of a different race and gender with a criminal history is treated like an innocent child.  When you can open the newspaper or turn on the local TV news and see someone who is “dark skinned,” “male,” or both being portrayed as the “criminals,” what you give is what you get.  If the media and police forces preach these completely false ideas that only certain people are capable of committing crime, while others are angels, how can they expect people to not riot in the streets or protest when someone gets profiled, yet still complies with the police, only to be killed by those who are sworn to protect and serve the public, like we, as a nation, have witnessed in the past week in Ferguson, Missouri (link); Los Angeles (relink); and anywhere else where the stories have gone untold.

Put the stories of unarmed citizens being killed by police beside this one that I highlighted from North Carolina and ask yourself, “why are the innocent people dead and the guilty person alive,” all because of some pigmentation and perhaps a difference in gender?  It’s a topsy-turvy world we live in these days.  The media will only tell us the parts of the stories that they can profit from, and some police forces seem to only protect those who look like themselves.  They are not the ones who are going to fix the backwards situation we have been affronted with – that task is left to us.  We’re failing thus far: this is the wake up call.

* In memory of Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, and those who have been victims of police brutality *


Image creds:

The United States of Western Europe?

Banner image credit

Recently, I watched Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, a gripping sci-fi movie focused on the gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of society.  In the movie, the gap has grown so much that the ultra wealthy abandon planet Earth and build a space station that orbits Earth and has everything anyone could ever want, included a “med pod,” which can cure a human of literally anything: from gunshot to disease.  People on Elysium live forever and can modify themselves to be in practically any form they wish.

Here’s the IMDB’s official blurb (link):

In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

Also, embedded is the trailer for the movie, and here is a link to the IMDB cast list (link).

Read this!!: Before I go on a a bit of a tear about one specific of the movie, I’d like to point out that the premise of the movie is brilliant – it was a movie we needed to see.  Whether you hold the literal interpretation of the movie – the growing disparity between the ultra-rich and the rest of us – or perhaps another interpretation, the point is that this movie touched on many social issues that we are facing as a society today.  In that way, I absolutely love this movie.

The movie itself takes places in a 22nd century Los Angeles that lies in ruins.  It is worthy to note that the primary language that signs are in is Spanish.

Below, is an image of the parole officer robot from the movie.  This image itself comes from the Elysium website (link), which has lots of interactive components, an Elysium citizenship test that seems to be rigged being one of them.  If you have seen the movie, head over to the website – it’s enjoyable!

Image credit (link)

Now, would you please….


 image credit

Because you’re about to experience a paradigm shift.

So, hold on just a second…

Now, the primary language of the city seems to be Spanish, and this is verified as many parts of the beginning of the movie contain Spanish conversations, as well as the signage that has Spanish as the first language, like the parole bot above.  Even Max Da Costa, played by Matt Damon, speaks Spanish.

Furthermore, the movie is cast so that many of the supporting roles are Planet Earth are Hispanic people.  “Frey” played by Alice Barga, “Spider” played by Wagner Moura, and “Julio” played by Diego Luna all play major supporting roles on Earth.  This makes sense considering that Spanish is a major language of the city and that the population is a majority Hispanic.

The hero of the movie is “Max Da Costa,” played by Matt Damon.  I think Damon does a spectacular acting performance in this movie, and I have enjoyed so many of his movies as he is a phenomenal actor.  However, I think the casting is a little peculiar for the hero character.  If the primary language is Spanish, the majority of the population is Hispanic, why isn’t the hero of the movie Hispanic?  As a matter of fact, the only Caucasian people on Earth with speaking roles are Damon’s manager at work, and the character “Kruger,” played be Sharlto Copley, who is an agent sent from Elysium to stop any resistance and rebellion to the system put in place by the Elysium elite.  It is almost like they went out of their way to cast mostly Hispanic people for Earth, but yet fell short when they cast the hero.

Contrarily, the citizens of utopian Elysium all speak French, nonetheless, and are all of a very light complexion – I’m definitely thinking Type II or III on the Fitzpatrick scale (link), with the exception of President Patel.

Okay, but….

While it is certainly possible that they cast Damon to get another big name in the movie to attract people, it is worth noting that Blomkamp’s first movie, District 9, did not have any big names like “Jodie Foster” and “Matt Damon,” yet it did extremely well at the box office.

District 9 operated a $30 million budget and made $210 million at the box office (source), while Elysium operated on a $115 million budget and netted $286 million at the box office (source).  Both movies did exceptionally well, but I am not sure if having a big name actor really affected how Elysium did at the box office.  It made more money than District 9, yes, but was more hyped and Blomkamp had already made a name for himself, and a big name at that, with the phenomenal District 9 by the time Elysium came around.

In addition, it has been proven by films, more recently, The Adjustment Bureau, which coincidentally starred Damon, that you do not need a lot of big name actors and actresses to create a successful movie, as Damon was the only “big name” actor in that movie.

Woops… *facepalm*

While it’s true that Damon may have been the best actor and only available option – oh wait, you mean Blomkamp actually approached other people besides Damon, some of them unknown to the American people, and never intended to hire an hero that would represent the population?  That’s exactly right.  In fact, Blomkamp admitted in an interview that he first turned (link) to Eminem, yes, the Eminem, and then “Ninja,” a South African rapper (link).  If you don’t believe it (because I sure didn’t, here is another source, (link) the Huffington Post, that confirms this.

On top of that, Blomkamp admitted in that same interview (link back to first article) that he originally intended the movie to be a low-budget film like District 9.  It seemed like it would have been a perfect opportunity to let one of the supporting actors or actresses a shot at the hero role, or at least someone else that would have made more sense with the rest of the cast.  All in all, the casting was puzzling.  Yeah, that is a good way to put it, it is just a little puzzling.  This is 2014, yet it still seems like there is sometimes a barrier that prevents having a hero who is not blatantly white.

Just a little puzzling.

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