Category Archives: The Media

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.


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.”


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.

The Baltimore Sun – Light for (Almost) All

Image courtesy: Me, myself, and I

I’m a big fan of the Baltimore Sun, at least until it was bought by Tribune Media, which owns the Chicago Tribune.

Needless to say, an article that starts out with the sentence above is not going to be too kind to the topic at stake.  Not even close.

The Baltimore Sun has promised “Light for All” for as long as just about anyone can remember.  And until recently, I thought that was exactly what the Sun did as well.

The Baltimore Sun website recently got a face-lift, making it more visually appealing to the reader, and presumably easier to access via a mobile device.

Below is an older version of the Sun website above the newer version.

Throughout the article, right clicking and opening the images in a new tab with enlarge the image to improve visibility.


Ultimately, it was not the aesthetics that caught my eye, it was a new feature of the website that debuted a little farther down the front page.  Titled “Your Neighborhood,” the drop-down menu provides the reader with news for their specific area, including community events and crime news.

By “Your Neighborhood,” the Baltimore Sun is including towns like Aberdeen, Bel Air, and even as far west as Mount Airy and as far south as Laurel and Annapolis.  In short, the Baltimore Sun is reaching beyond Baltimore.




The new feature seemed excellent, and a great way for Baltimoreans to get local news down to the neighborhood level.  Except, the one glaring flaw of the new feature.

The “Your Neighborhood” feature does not include many Baltimore neighborhoods, and the ones it does include are the most well off.  The areas in Baltimore City that are included are the likes of:

  • Canton
  • Charles Village
  • Federal Hill
  • Fells Point
  • Harbor East
  • Locust Point
  • Mount Washington
  • Owings Mills
  • Roland Park

All valid neighborhoods with valid needs and valid concerns, but not exactly Baltimore’s more economically depressed or in-need neighborhoods by any stretch of the imagination.  Missing from the list were the likes of Park Heights, Middle East, Irvington, Patterson Park, even Highlandtown and Coldspring and dozens and dozens of others.   For shit’s sake, even Homeland missed the cut, HOMELAND!!!

Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods (and this map proves it [link]) and picking and choosing a few that are “easier” to cover is not only disrespectful to the ones that are left out, but to all citizens of Baltimore City.

But, there was one apparent saving grace of this “Your Neighborhood” debacle.  In the list of neighborhoods, “North Baltimore City” and “South Baltimore” were included.  At least those the Baltimore Sun had donned as the “lessers” could have their news covered, if even within a small fishbowl with dozens of other neighborhoods.  The kind of fishbowl with grime on the sides, and not the one from Finding Nemo.

However, when I clicked on “North Baltimore City,” I was not enlightened with news from neighborhoods that had been left out of the original list, but either news from all the chosen neighborhoods complied in one place, with news tidbits from a few others (Park Heights was not among them).

I did find one thing I was looking for, though….



I might be coming off as a little harsh.  It is not that I do not think that a middle-schooler winning a contest with “Lily’s Legwarmers” is not a big deal, but in a city like Baltimore, who has not seen a yearly homicide count lower than 170 in about three decades, it seems that there are more pressing matters this city’s newspaper might need to be attending to.

That is not to say that the newspaper as a whole is not focusing at all on the neighborhoods in need, because there is one section of the Baltimore Sun that deserves to be lauded.

“The Darkroom”, the Sun’s home for visual journalism has a series named “Neighborhoods of Baltimore,” in which journalists/photojournalists Mr. Matt Bracken and Ms. Kalani Gordon document quite accurately the neighborhoods of Baltimore City and County, from Park Heights to Greektown to Abell.  The series was started earlier in 2014, and seems to be producing one report for each month.

The reports provide a story of what the neighborhood is going through now and what its storied past includes.  Each project includes interviews with residents of the neighborhood, many of whom are on neighborhood committees, lifelong residents, individuals dedicated to the neighborhood’s prosperity, or all of the above, and offers an optimistic view of the future while highlighting the neighborhood’s most pressing issues.

While the Baltimore Sun is raising my eyebrows with its implementation of the “Your Neighborhood,” drop-down menu and news sections, it is at least comforting to know that the issues and triumphs of Baltimore are still being portrayed through “Neighborhoods of Baltimore,” even if the reports are tucked away in a corner of the Sun website.  After all, the problems of inner-cities, especially Baltimore, have always been just that: tucked away in the recesses of most American’s minds.

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.