Stirring the pot: My reaction to the Fox News article “7th graders suspended for playing with airsoft gun in own yard”

In this day and age, many news organizations make money through advertisers: Companies paying for space on articles judging how many people will click the websites page, view the article, and thusly, see the ad. For journalists and many news websites, this creates the slightly mischievous media ploy of creating headlines that will draw attention, even if the story isn’t necessarily regarding the subject you believe it will be about before reading it.

            Take a recent Foxnews.com article for example. Upon reading the article’s headline for the first time, I thought “What the hell?! He’s in his own yard for Christ sake, what does that have to do with school policy!?” But upon reading the article, it turns out the kids were shooting the airsoft guns at other kids while waiting for the bus to make its rounds. Granted, this brings up a whole new argument of “Where does reach of punishment from the school end?” and “Is this just another right-leaning article Fox News has become infamous for in journalism?” But, the main problem that arises regards the psychology of the average website reader.

            The headline of the article is written in a sense that it is meant to draw your interest and read the whole article, not just the title. But had the title been worded in a way to better reflect the actual story, this may not be as controversial as I feel it is. Had the article ended with “…near school bus stop” instead of “in own yard,” significantly less of an emotion is evoked by the average reader. More readers would understand why the suspension was implemented and not be as intrigued to read the article.

            Do I feel this is a relevant news story? Maybe for the local newspaper or television station, but I don’t feel this is the kind of story Fox News should pick up on. If you read “seemingly” left or right-leaning news organizations for enough amount of time, stories like this seemingly pop up every week or even more frequently. But, in the wake of mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut, and just recently in Washington D.C., any story involving guns in any fashion (especially involving schools) is a mainstream national news story.  This article, in my opinion, is meant to incite a reaction in readers in order to gain more clicks, views, and in the end, more advertising profit: what most news media CEO’s are looking for.

Are You Syria-ess, Bro?: The Assad Chemical Weapons Controversy

As far back as 1953, the United States has been apart of Middle Eastern politics on a periodic basis. Whether in government regime, quarrels over weapons of mass destruction, or missions (possibly) fueled by financial interest in the region, the United States has had their presence known in the region for quite some time. The recent Syria debate is just another notch on the totem pole of U.S. foreign policy.

            For a quick overview of the recent developments, Buzzfeed recently published an overview of the conflict explained in GIFS from MTV series The Hills titled ‘’Obama Asks The Hill To Bomb Syria, As Explained By ‘The Hills’.’’ The ongoing Syrian struggle between the regime of current President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian rebels to his regime has had the watchful eye of the U.S. government for nearly three years. On August 21, U.S. intelligence believed Assad had used chemical weapons on his people. The administration quickly lobbied to have military intervention to remove the weapons, but we’re met with sharp public backlash and criticism from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is aligned with Assad through various treaties with Syria. Met with this opposition, Putin has proposed a compromise that Assad will remove the arms if the U.S. calls off attacking Syria.

            How can stability be brought to the Middle East? The U.S. needs to get out of the Middle East and return political interest in the region to the people of each individual country. Going off the Roosevelt Corollary shouldn’t give the U.S. government authority to play hall monitor (or maybe schoolyard bully to the rest of the world) to other conflicts halfway across the planet. According to themuslimtimes.org, the U.S. and Israel have bombed 14 Middle Eastern countries in the past, including Syria. Bombs and servicemen cannot bring peace and stability, especially if you have no dog in this fight.

My response to the YouTube video: “Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Earlier, I watched the 19-minute video titled “Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story” on YouTube.  The video features Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaking during a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference in July 2009 in Oxford, England.

During the conference, Adichie tells several anecdotes all connected to the idea of a “single story.” Adichie explains that she believes “…single stories create stereotypes.” While she does not consider stereotypes to be untrue, she does however consider them to be “incomplete.” This leads to a situation that Adichie hypothesizes as “[Single stories] make one story become the only story.”

            Adichie’s message resonates profoundly for journalists, as one of the key components of journalists is getting both sides of the story. The occupation of a journalist is to be fair, imbalanced and unbiased when writing, telling or editing a story to made public. Getting both sides of the issue is critical when dealing with news on any story in order to get the truth.

             To end her conference speech, Adichie spoke on the importance of stories themselves. “Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize.” I also firmly believe this ethical belief in journalism is highly unutilized as a whole. A prevalent subject in political debate within the general public is regarding the presence of a supposed bias, it has become a single story within itself. Within the future, journalism will reach a state where it will be on the brink of trust by the general public. Hopefully, the next generation of journalists can embrace Adichie’s lessons and rejuvenate public trust in mainstream news media.

My response to the article “Syria Intervention Debate: The media reacts”

The United Kingdom’s Parliament ended its session on Thursday, August 29th coming to the conclusion that the United Kingdom will not intervene with military action against the Assad regime in the nation of Syria in response to alleged reports of chemical attacks against Syrian rebels. United States President Barrack Obama had hoped that the U.K. would join the U.S. in intervening militaristically in the skirmish, but was disappointed. The news of the U.K.’s response drew much commentary from major international media organizations. CNN compiled many media reactions in an online article titled “Syria intervention debate: The world’s media reacts.” I found the article a very interesting read in the aspect that many media outlets had writers imposing distinct opinions about countries and high-ranking authority figures featured in the story. For example, BBC political editor Nick Robinson commented in his piece that “[U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron] has lost control of his own foreign and defence policy and as a result he will cut a diminished figure on the international stage.” Another example comes from French media outlet France 24 announced disbelief in response to the vote and assured readers that French President Francois Hollande still stands by his stance of military intervention, similar to that of Obama. Another response I have to the article is the interesting facts that were brought up in regards to the vote in Parliament. British political television program “Newsnight” claimed British defense secretary Philip Hammond mentioned deterring deceased Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from chemical weapons. Regardless of how the turn of events unfolds, the international media will have its eyes and ears locked on political leaders for the next few months. This conflict involves many developed nations across the world, and has the potential to either be only a countrywide civil conflict with no outside military action from outside nations. In contrast, a highway to hell can be paved to a conflict resulting in World War III. Granted the latter outcome is an extremely unlikely situation to occur, political leaders possess the button to change the outcome in history in front of them. All it takes is one or more leaders feeling a sense of danger, and the button will be pushed and history will be inevitable.