Category Archives: Politics

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

cbs

msnbc

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.

cnn

foxnews

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.

The Injustice that is the Mainstream Media


(Image courtesy of the Associated Press)

It has been a week since a Grand Jury decided not to press charges against the killer of Michael Brown, Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson.  There have been protests in every corner of the United States, most peaceful, a few not.  But regardless, the national media corporations seem to group all protests together and only cover them in only one way and from only one perspective.  The perspective of the authorities, and the perspective that the protests are destabilizing society.

Below are a few headlines from various mainstream national news websites that spell out this theory, with links to the recent articles from over the weekend:

“Police angry at ‘hands up’ gesture by the St. Louis Rams players” (CNN)

“Police Officers Association ‘Profoundly Disappointed’ by St. Louis Rams Players’ Display” (ABC News)

“St. Louis Rams, Police Disagree Over ‘Apology’ for Players’ Ferguson Gesture” (ABC News)

For those that may have been unaware of the articles above, five St. Louis Rams players exited the tunnel with their hands up last Sunday, November 30’s game, in protest of the whole situation in Ferguson.  The St. Louis county police chief said that the Rams issued an apology, but the Rams contend it was more a statement.  This is the statement that Kevin Demoff, Rams’ executive vice president and chief operations officer said: he “regretted any offense their officers may have taken [by the Rams’ players gesture.”

He continued, “We do believe it is possible to both support our players’ First Amendment rights and support the efforts of local law enforcement as our community begins to heal.”

B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.

But of course, the country police chief got his chance to fire back,  and in an open letter to his staff, articulated that he believed that the Rams’ statement was an apology.

In case you are wondering, we now live in an America where you have to apologize for using your First Amendment rights, but not apologize for shooting an unarmed person.

Furthermore, if you are wondering what the perspective of peaceful protesters are, you’ll be lucky to find it anywhere in the media.  The media, as I said earlier are just not covering it, as they had more important interviews to cover, like that of the murderer, Darren Wilson.  Even more so, the perspective of white police officers is being covered, and all other police perspectives are being all but discredited.

Below is a screenshot of an article from ABC News, citing that the St. Louis Police Officers Association, a primarily white group, is disappointed with the St. Louis Rams’ protest.

first example

Note that the ONLY perspective covered in that article is that of the St. Louis Police Officer Association.

Now let’s look at what happens when a police organization that is not a white-majority organization speaks out on their view of the St. Louis Rams’ gesture, in this article:

(Click to enlarge image)

example 2

In the subtext of the headline, it says, “Other police groups blasted the move,” as if the “Ethical Society of Police” which represents African-American police officers in St. Louis is not credible enough or knowledgeable enough to have an opinion on the Rams’ gesture.  It is also worthy to note that the New York Daily Post was the most mainstream source to cover this article, while ABC News, CNN, and most other mainstream agencies covered the prior article.

Even more, the Daily Post article referred to the “Ethical Society of Police” not by their name, “The Ethical Society of Police,” but as “black cops” and used the word “blasted” when the organization simply issues a statement, much like the St. Louis County police organization did.

Regardless of which police group you would want to side with, even with all that thrown aside, the fact that cops who are black in St. Louis feel the need to organize to advocate their rights as police officers says that there is something very wrong going on in the St. Louis police force, very wrong going on it St. Louis, and very wrong going on in America.

Because the fact of the matter is, if the Ferguson police had had a good relationship with the city of Ferguson, a relationship where views and issues could be discussed and a relationship where the police are there to “protect and serve,” then this situation might not have ever happened.  If the police force of Ferguson reflected the demographics of Ferguson, then this situation might not have ever happened.  However, because of these two reasons above, something tells me this situation was a long time coming, and the same goes for the dozens of cities across the United States with similar injustices perpetrated by the police forces.

The mainstream media can be used as a tool to force social and political change.  It was not until the “Birmingham Campaign,” organized by the SCLC in the Civil Rights movement, that the nation as a whole, not just blacks but whites as well, began to see the injustices facing blacks around the country, specifically in Birmingham, Alabama.  In this case, the media showed the horrifying images that were the authorities shooting water at protesters and using police dogs to assault protesters.  The general public was alerted of the injustices through the media’s coverage of the malicious acts of the police in Birmingham, and this became one of the most momentous events that sparked a nationwide outrage at the way segregation was and enlightened white people on its veracity.

But, in this case, the media has changed since that time.  The national media is not a driving force for social change, giving the protesters the same amount of airtime or a balanced forum to calmly explain why they are protesting.  For that would challenge the authorities and challenge the elite of society.  Rather, the media seems to be acting as a mouthpiece of the authorities, to spread whatever message that the police or the elite please.

The problems we can take away from Ferguson are numerous and extremely pressing.  Scores of unarmed blacks are being gunned down by the police, by a police force that often does not represent the community demographically.  Our justice system is allowed to be manipulated by one federal prosecutor.  Our juries do not contain unbiased individuals, or as close to unbiased as there is, and do not represent the communities in which the crimes occurred.  These are some of the most pressing issues we, as America, face, along with countless others across various facets of society.

But, I can say now, these problems will not be fixed if the national media remains in its current state.  And these are issues that could be fixed, for we have faced much more grave problems in the past.  These issues can be fixed because regular American citizens, of all races and ethnicities are on the ground in the hundreds of thousands across every city in America, peaceable assembling for what they know to be just.

But these problems do not stand a chance of being fixed until the media stops being a mouthpiece of the authorities, and starts the unbiased news source of current events that it is supposed to be, that it supposedly prides itself on being.  Much like it was up to everyday citizens to protest the police of Ferguson for their unjust treatment of blacks in Ferguson, it is up to everyday citizens to protest the media’s lack of regard for us, for almost all of America.

The media may favor certain racial groups over others, it may favor West European values over others, but in the end, the media favors the police and authorities over any racial and ethnic group in this country.  And it’s the citizens of America that must force the change.

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 http://www.breitbart.com/, 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, http://townhall.com. Seriously?  Senator Cruz is a Congressperson writing an op-ed for USA Today and are citing a website called townhall.com, 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?

townhall

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.

Millennials – Are They Even Human?


Who are these people that the media’s been raving and ranting about lately?  Haven’t heard about it?  Even Kevin Bacon is poking fun (link) at Millennial’s lack of 80s knowledge.  Little does he know, Millennials don’t care about the 80s.  Or anything else for that matter, right?  Unchurched, unpartisan, apathetic.  Well, it’s time to debunk a myth or two from those born in 1980s – early 2000s.

“Millennials hate the government.”

Oh, man, I’m going to have a hard time debunking this one.  Well, let’s get started.  Hates the government?  Well, maybe feels a tad betrayed at this point.  This is a generation who grew up with the 9/11 and the Iraqi-Freedom-Whatever-It’s-Called-Now War, which was pretty much an excuse to mess around in the Middle East without true motive for over a decade.

Perhaps this pinnacle event and the not-so-minor partisanship in Congress is what has caused the trend that gives people the notion that the Millennial generation is apathetic.  About half of Millennials are Independent, according to recent data released by the Pew Research Group (link).

Millennials seem to tend to be more liberal because of the backlash to the Bush administration of the early 2000s.  The Millennial generation were extremely active in the presidential election of President Obama in 2008, and to a lesser extent in 2012, but this does not necessarily mean that they align themselves with the Democratic party, per se.

“Millennials hate everyone”

image

This one is true.  In a disenfranchised type of way.  The Millennial generation has the lowest level of trust of their fellow citizen among all adult-aged generations with only 19% of Millennials saying that, in general, most people are “trustworthy”. Perhaps some of the aforementioned government miscues also come into play here. Not only that, but people are finding ways to disenfranchise young people in general as well as minorities, who make up an increasing number of the population, which is 43% of this demographic, the largest of any age group. From voting ID laws to an increasing number of hoops one has to jump through in order to achieve basic rights, like registering to vote, to the skyrocketing cost of college and loan interest rates, younger Americans have a right to betrayed for the rights and opportunities they’ve been denied.

So, Kevin Bacon, while we may love your last name, perhaps you should stop being a part of metaphorically putting Millennials through the slaughterhouse.

The Millennials were the difference makers in the 2008 and 2012 elections both in their voting power but also in campaign support. Millennials are the future of America, and those who continue to bash them should, in the words of Bob Dylan, one of your generation: “Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changing.”