Thursday, September 22, 2016

How We Illegitimize Our Democracy

Leander Edmiston |

Last Friday the Commission of Presidential Debates (CPD) announced that Dr Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party would not compete alongside the two major candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who have set records as the most unpopular major party candidates in recent history. Since last Friday the media has twisted its coverage of third-party candidates as legitimate competitors to what they are now calling “spoiler candidates.”
Brynn Anderson | AP Photo

Ralph Nader, the four time presidential candidate, recently said in an interview that “the idea of calling a third party ‘spoiler,’ using the First Amendment right to run for office, is a politically bigoted word and should never be tolerated by the American people, because everyone has an equal right to run for office.” Nader, who has been called a spoiler himself after allegedly tipping the scales in Former President George W. Bush’s favor, when he received 97,000 votes in Florida in the 2000 presidential race, says that this process is a form of scapegoating. “Here’s how it goes,” Nader, says. “300,000 registered Democrats in 2000 in Florida voted for Bush—blame the Greens. Thousands of people were misidentified as ex-felons by Katherine Harris, the secretary of state for Jeb Bush, governor of Florida—blame the Greens. Scalia’s political 5-4 decision, which blocked the Florida Supreme Court’s full recount in Florida—blame the Greens. The Electoral College took the victory in the popular vote from Gore—blame the Greens … it’s total scapegoating.”

Stein, in a recent press release called on her supporters to protest outside of Hofstra University next Monday, the location of this years presidential debates. In 2012, Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested for attempting to enter the presidential debates in a similar fashion. Here is a transcript of her remarks in 2012, moments before her arrest. “We’re here to stand ground for the American people, who have been systematically locked out of these debates for decades by the Commission on Presidential Debates. We think that this commission is entirely illegitimate; that if—if democracy truly prevailed, there would be no such commission, that the debates would still be run by the League of Women Voters, that the debates would be open.”

This years presidential debate is predicted to attract millions of viewers, and be the most viewed presidential debate in history. However, to participate in these debates the CPD requires that all candidates hold a 15 percent rating in five national polls, which are selected by the CPD chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.. But using polling numbers creates a cyclical problem, because polls are linked to name recognition, and the most significant opportunity in history is just out of their reach because they don’t already have significant name recognition. And the media isn’t helping, as I previously reported here.
A recent USA today found that 76 percent of voters want a four party presidential debate, but the CPD, which has publicly supported a two-party system (as I previously reported here) continues to create artificial barriers, like the 15 percent polling qualification, that bar candidates like Stein and Johnson, and prevent them from having a legitimate campaign. Because what could be more illegitimizing than a democracy pulling you aside and asking you to “please, shut up.”

Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states, and Jill Stein follows closely behind with her name on ballots in 45 states.  The CPD officially requires that candidates appear on enough ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College. However, the 15 percent barrier dilutes this rule's significance and continues to bar third-party candidates. Balloting should be the precedent the CPD follows to determine whether candidates participate in our democracy, or not.  

The Washington Post: Balanced Coverage at Last

By: Zahara Pruitt

This week, I saw the tides turn within coverage at The Washington Post. They focused less on the horserace coverage of the presidential election and as a result, more meaningful coverage came about. I saw more articles concerning the presidential nominees policies and more issue coverage than I have seen in my time analyzing the Washington Post's political coverage. 

Photo courtesy of The Washington Post
The Washington Post did a very interesting and informative piece on paid family leave, after Donald Trump's announcement that he supports paid family leave for women. This particular article not only mentioned Trump's announcement, but also provided a lot of context so that readers would understand the importance of this. 

The article mentioned how Trump and Clinton's plans differ, how momentous this was seeing as it's the first time that both major presidential candidates have released plans in support of paid family leave and the history of U.S. family leave policy. Fun fact: America is one of eight nations that doesn't guarantee paid family leave at the national level and is the only industrialized nation on that list. I learned this by reading the Washington Post article. This is an important fact that I believe voters should know and the fact that this article was so clearly able to lay out the main points in both plans and provide context behind that is a great thing. This is the type of journalism that I wish I had seen in coverage throughout the campaign.

The Post also offered an interesting piece on the how polls and single forecasts can lead to incorrect judgements. It talks about how each single forecast inevitably has some level of bias and certain limitations

The article also discusses the method that the Washington Post uses when trying to determine the current climate of the nation in regards to which nominee will be elected come November. I thought this was very interesting to read because it is still somewhat rare to get an inside look into the inner workings of publications. The Post uses a combination of six different combinations when analyzing how the nation feels. And they have determined that Hillary Clinton has been the front-runner from  the beginning. 
Photo courtesy of The Washington Post
The Washington Post also posted a 2016 Election Fact Checker that is extremely in-depth and very user-friendly. 

The fact-checker uses a "Pinocchio Scale" to rate the two candidates and their honesty. I love this! I thought this interactive article provides a good example of ways that traditional print publications can combine their investigative journalism expertise and multimedia to provide readers with tools and content that allow them to analyze and interpret information for themselves.  

Another important thing to note about this week's coverage is that the political page in the website was not solely focused on the presidential race. This was a first. More coverage was given to the house, the European Union and an article was even posted about third-party candidate Gary Johnson. I don't know if the two candidates were not as headline worthy this week or what attributes to this, but I found it to be an interesting shift and important to note. We will see if the Post continues this trend or not as the weeks follow. 

Trump Show Support for "Stop and Frisk"

Stephen Olson

                                                             Trump's Inner City Solution

            Whether or not you admire Donald Trump and his supporters you have to admire Trump supporters for being so persistent, even when at times it seems factual that Trump is trying to blow the election. Saying that a “stop and frisk” policy would “worked incredibly well” is more than offensive to just democrats, it offensive to our Constitution and nation’s people as a whole. A stop and frisk policy completely clashes with our First Amendment rights of every citizen and is eerily communistic like in principle.

            Trump openly stated his support for the concept of a stop and frisk tactic to stop violence in black communities on Wednesday night in a mostly black church in Cleveland. “I think you have to [do it],” Trump said. “We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive.”

            The reality is that if you performed stop and frisks in every city you would find illegal activity on every kind of person. Not only will black communities be outraged if this strategy were to be implemented, America as a whole will be. This will cause our police to lose support and pay the ultimate price for our coward politicians, ultimately leading our nation in the path of Anarchy. If there is no trust between the people and the police, anarchy will emerge.

            Trump may claim that the stop and frisk policy was effective, but Trump failed to mention the negatives of the programs past. Interestingly enough the stop and frisk policy was originally implemented by now outspoken Clinton supporter and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This lead to the June 17, 2012 march of several thousand down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. The protestors arrived directly at Mayor Bloomberg’s Upper East Side townhouse demanding that an end be put to the program altogether.

            The policing method reached an all-time high tension in 2012 when stop-question-and-frisk protestors who videotaped police stops became the targets of the New York City police. A wanted style posted hung in precinct headquarters, without any allegation of criminal wrongdoing. The police labeled the protestors as “professional agitators” and brought national spotlight to the issue.

            The United States Supreme Court found that in the case of Terry v Ohio that about 684,000 people were stopped in 2011. The court found the NYPD guilty of violating both the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits racially discriminatory policing, and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Columbus off political radar in Ohio

Christine Holmes |

Ohio may be a crucial state for presidential candidates to win, but its capital doesn't get much attention from the nominees. This season, so far, the candidates have spent most their time in the northeastern part of the state when visiting. This leaves local Columbus TV station, WCMH, in a tough spot for generating its own political content.

Logo from WCMH Twitter account
After a search of the station's website, it was obvious that it relies heavily on Associated Press wire material to inform its viewing/reading area on topics related to the 2016 election. The prominence of having a candidate within reporting proximity doesn't occur often, so the station probably focuses its efforts on other issues.

For a city with over 800,000 residents in a swing state, it's necessary to inform those eligible to vote on as much as possible.

Mirroring national media outlets, NBC4 provides minimal coverage on the third party candidates. Maybe it's irony, but the first article that appears on the station's website is about the third party candidates being excluded from the first presidential debate. That article, and all other stories, come strictly from the AP wire.

NBC4 isn't at fault for the lack of coverage, but that doesn't mean they can't be a part of the solution to change the way America covers politics. If Americans see a problem with the two-party system, which is becoming a topic of debate even more so with this particular election, then it is the job of journalists to investigate and find answers. Leaving it to a government that's comfortable with the way it functions, and will likely be resistant to change, is not wise. That's why journalists exist- to question authority and keep power in check.

When Green party candidate, Jill Stein was in Columbus for a rally at Capital University, WCMH ran a story on its website from the AP in Columbus. Even worse, the AP story referenced material from the Columbus Dispatch. The story didn't cover much of what Stein had to say, but rather it focused on her punctuality as she was late for her speech after flying to the wrong city.

The few stories about Gary Johnson also paint the candidate in a negative light. While it is important to tell the public about Johnson's perceived lack of knowledge on Aleppo and Stein's bizarre mishap in flight, it's just as important to provide more coverage so voters have whole judgement.

Many of the stories produced on NBC4's website criticize the candidates, which is a duty of journalists, but they lack in the coverage that shows the candidates doing anything positive. That's an obvious bias that needs to be addressed.

While it's instinctive for journalists to criticize, question, and keep the future of the country in line, it's also crucial to not let emotions take over. Objectivity must always come first, so when a story that appears to be a PR delight comes out, it should also be covered as equally as the PR nightmare. It's only fair to the candidates and the voters to have this kind of balance in coverage.

The BBC attempting to maintain balance

By Derek Smith

By the nature of the organization, the BBC will not often prioritize election coverage over other national or international events of importance. This week, due to third fatal police shooting of a black man, coverage has shifted from the election to these deaths and what has unfolded because of them.

Making its way to the front page the BBC website, these deaths and the discovery of facts in the days to come are sure to drive stories hopefully for some time.
In the US political section Trump again held a majority of the coverage, most of it negative. Despite Trump’s attempt to seem more moderate in the public eye, the BBC tends to subtly remind the reader of what Trump has said in the past. Clinton seemed to get a surprising amount of positive coverage as another prominent Republican figure has seemingly endorsed her.
An interesting piece comparing world leaders to Trump and Clinton — and at times Trump to his past self — both seemed to praise Clinton’s stances, while comparing Trump to many ill received world leaders. While the moderate Trump has a dignified look about him, past Trump a face of pure smug. Some of the more damaging comparisons were to Rodrigo Durante of the Philippines, and to what he has said in the past, versus the moderate shift he’s had.
Trump's ties with Putin have been different from others.
Photo via Wikipedia.
This piece had a two-fold attack on Trump, first he drew criticism on his complete turn around in some policy issues, and second he’s compared to some of the world’s most negatively perceived leaders such as Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, famous for his hardline approach to crime and drug use.
In the same article Clinton is compared to politicians like Germany’s Angela Merkel, or Norway’s Erna Solberg. While Clinton is usually the lesser of the comparison, she is still gains a great deal of positive coverage in this article, and others written in the last few weeks.
Hillary Clinton speaking at an event.
Credit Marc Nozell Flickr.
While the BBC does it’s best to hide bias, there is a clear slant toward one candidate. Clinton’s coverage rarely seems scrutinized the same way as her opponents. Too often the BBC falls victim to the same pitfalls that other large news outlets fall victim. Too often they provide large scale coverage to frivolous news like celebrity breakups, best left to the entertainment gossip sites.

The BBC does a better job than many outlets, providing coverage to events in Africa and the Middle East unlike that of their American counterparts. Their front page today has coverage devoted to the Syrian War. While one yields to the fluffy happy news, it still brings up an important issue with refugees from the war. They often question issues globally deeper than many American outlets, having an outside perspective. While they try their best at balance they’re guilty of providing too much coverage on scandals rather than the issues.

It’s an effective method to bring in web traffic, but by the standards the BBC sets for itself, their coverage of the US election isn’t entirely different from American coverage, usually coming out at a different time due to the time zone.

What Happens on TV Stays on Social Media

By Tyler Prich

There is an electric air of anticipation for this year's presidential debates - the number of viewers has been increasing since Kennedy, and this one is expected to break records. Maybe it's because there's an element of drama and unpredictability with these candidates, or maybe the public is just more interested in politics; whatever the case may be, there will be millions of other debates happening simultaneously on social media.

A Historic Shift

Social media will be playing an unprecedented role in who "wins" this years debates. Four years ago the Romney-Obama debates saw 11.1 million comments on social media - numbers only surpassed by prime time events such as the Grammy's and the Super Bowl. The comments were analyzed and overwhelmingly picked Romney as the winner, even though he didn't do as well in the general election.

Clinton and Trump will face off for the first time on September 26.
This time around, social media has continued it's exponential growth. Those comments should be expected to increase even more with the amount of social networks involved - such as Snapchat offering viewers an inside look to each debate. This election cycle has already seen an unprecedented an unprecedented amount of campaigning on social media, but how exactly will that impact be felt during the debate?

What to Expect

Traditional media has become infamous for playing out-of-context soundbites that the talking heads will analyze and dissect weeks after the event; however, we see this even more in digital social media. Nowadays, it's so easy to take a clip of either a shining moment of a candidate, or a huge slip-up, and post it - allowing for commentary to go on until election day. For some people, this will be their only coverage of the debate, seeing the boiled-down "highlights" which present a skewed view of a several hour affair.

For the first time ever, social media is being used to influence the conversation that the candidates will have on stage. Companies like Facebook and Google will be providing analytics information to the moderators on what issues the public is talking about. Facebook is also acting as the "exclusive media sponsor" for the event, and will create interest in the event by using Facebook Live to stream some off-camera footage of the debate. The second debate will also be the first time ever that social media will be used to gather questions from users to ask a candidate during the general debates; it's been used before in primaries.

Gag Order?

So since social media is going to play such a massive role in these debates, what have the candidates had to say about the upcoming debates? Very little actually. While many users are voicing their opinions on some vague topics of discussion in preparation for the debate, the candidates have remained largely silent on the upcoming debate.

We can assume that Hillary is already preparing her very strategic approach to the debate, and Trump must be doing some sort of preparation. What we don't know is will the campaigns utilize their own social media accounts during the debate. We've seen from Clinton and Trump that this campaign takes place live at all times, and the debate will serve as a second medium for the candidates to get their point across and continue the conversation.

ABC is Off to the Races

By: Megan Vanselow

The coverage on ABC this week was far less drama, and all about the race. At the top of the main Elections page, ABC shows a national poll where Clinton leads at 43%, Trump follows at 37%, Johnson has 9% and Stein has 3%. While this graphic shows four candidates, on the sidebar of the elections page theres a section that is labeled as “The Candidates”. The only two names listed are Clinton and Trump, no third party candidates.

Most of the stories on the page have headline’s talking about recent poll numbers, the upcoming debate, or both. There are also a few articles about why the country has a two party system and why they dominate the system. The story talks most about George Washington and his little interest in the idea of parties. He was not a part of one and often spoke about his dislikes toward them.

 It goes on to say that after his time in office ended, the republican and democratic parties took off. The end of the video tries to inform the viewer that if a third party can get 5% of the votes, they become eligible for federal election funds, and can “shake things up”. ABC makes the claim that several US voters are looking for an alternative option other than the main two candidates, and the purpose of the video was to show that voting for a third party can make an impact. 

However, their site isn't helping much with this idea, only listing the republican and democratic members under their candidates list. They also had an opportunity to highlight the most popular third party candidates with this video, or the attached article, but instead poke fun at the fact that theres a “United States Pirates Party” and the “American Shopping Party”. Even the text that is on the web page with the video that summarizes the clip, doesn't include the numbers described for a third party to succeed. ABC should have used this platform to breakdown the third party candidates with what they stand for and where they’re at in the race. 

If ABC really wants to show voters that they have other options, they shouldn't clutter their coverage with Trump and Clinton stories. All my findings for posts in the previous weeks had zero information about third parties to even make me consider mentioning them. It’s interesting that even now after they make this video that every story that followed has either the name Trump, Clinton or a photo of at least one of them attached to it. 

Every week that I’ve checked into ABC to view their coverage, I’ve had a small pop up video box come up with “Hillary Clinton in a Minute”. The video breaks down her life and her campaign. Each week this video has come up on more than one occasion, and it’s safe to say I’ve seen it at least 10 times. Interestingly enough, I’ve never seen a “Trump in a Minute” of “Johnson in a minute” or “Stein in a Minute”. 

There are always complaints about the news only covering the race during this time and not candidates stances on real issues, however ABC seems to be trying to highlight to their online viewers Clinton’s stances and life story, while not worrying about anyone else. I would prefer that they highlight no one and just talk about the polls and the numbers over only highlighting one candidate. 

Wall Street Journal: Moving toward the left

By: Shelby Dermer

Last week, the Wall Street Journal did not report much about the health of Hillary Clinton. Something that I was encouraged by because many outlets were giving it too much attention.

Throughout the past four days, WSJ's agenda seems to have shifted towards Clinton and the Democratic Party.

What I though was interesting, the Wall Street Journal seemed to have a strong interest in articles about polls. This is a new strategy that I haven't seen over the last three weeks.

On Wednesday night and into this morning, two articles were published on the politics page that were centered around polls. The first was a piece about a WSJ/NBC poll that revealed Clinton has a six-point lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump.
A poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News shows
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump
by six points heading into the first debate. (

The second article focused around Clinton maintaining her lead over Trump among Hispanic voters. The poll concluded that Clinton has an enormous 48-percent lead on Trump in that category.

In my first blog, I talked about my concerns over the accuracy of polls because there are so many out there. Although I would completely buy that Clinton's lead on Trump among Hispanic voters is staggering, I've seen so many different results from other polls that show different results in other categories.

NBC News concurs with the Wall Street Journal after teaming up for the aforementioned poll. But Fox News, a conservative outlet, published a story late Wednesday night that polls show Trump leading in key swing states like North Carolina, Ohio, and Nevada.

WSJ and NBC collaborated on another poll that was the focal point of an article. The piece explained that Trump is under performing Mitt Romney, who lost the election in 2012 to President Barack Obama, across the board.

I mentioned in my last blog that third party presidential nominee Gary Johnson finally received some coverage by the Wall Street Journal. I was pleased to see that trend continue.

Bryon Tau wrote a feel-good piece about both third party candidates, Johnson and Jill Stein. Tau explained, "voter interest in alternatives to the Republican and Democratic tickets hits a level unseen in more than two decades."

Tau went on to describe Johnson's "nine percent backing," a 4-percent increase from two months ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Libertarian nominee
Gary Johnson has seen increased support in the last few months.

I liked how Tau went into a brief history lesson about the impact a third party candidate may have on the election. He explained how independent campaigns by Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 helped Hillary's husband, Bill, win the Presidency both times. The article explained how the growing support of Johnson and Stein should be in people's mind as election day looms closer.

It seems support for the third party is growing and I've noticed this in more than just the Wall Street Journal's coverage. I've seen more of Johnson and Stein on television, both in interviews and in commercials.

Moving forward, I hope WSJ continues to report for the people. If the third party can have an impact on this election, they deserve coverage, too.

However, I'm not sure if the coverage of Johnson and Stein will be steady or decrease because of the first presidential debate scheduled for Monday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.

A debate that is set to break viewing records could dominate mainstream media in the days that follow.

The Shootings, the Reactions and How MSNBC Covered it

Jackie McCrea

Tragedy Strikes The Country

Unfortunately, police brutality and death by shooting is something that has become commonplace in our society. Over the past few months, the amount of gun violence has been astounding and upsetting, and this week has been no exception. The tragic deaths that took place in Charlotte and Tulsa this past week have been a hot topic, especially among those running for the nation's highest office. Both candidates reacted, but how was it covered? MSNBC released video of democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton addressing the situation, but failed to release Trump's comments.

  Courtesy of

Clearly both candidates took stance on the issue and made public comments regarding the deaths. I found it strange that MSNBC did not release video footage or even an article detailing what Trump said. Most Americans are surely interested in what both candidates had to say, so why is MSNBC still delivering such one-sided coverage? Though this news media outlet did not release the statements made by the Republican nominee, I have included his statements in the video below, obtained from another site. 

Courtesy of

Slanted Coverage

Among the news coverage of Clinton, many articles appeared slamming Trump. Instead of having fair coverage offering both candidates statements on major issues, MSNBC continues to publish stories that promote the democratic nominee and bash Trump. Whether you are a Trump supporter or a Hillary supporter, it seems unfair to have such slanted coverage.

 Personally, I like to see major issues from both perspectives and found it disappointing that a major site such as MSNBC would fail this miserably at providing fair coverage. I also believe it is important to have major issues, such as these shootings, as a headliner instead of buried among several petty articles criticizing the campaign.

 Media has a huge influence on voters, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it is not a good sign that a certain news outlet would not even provide a simple link to the other candidate's point of view. It seems as if MSNBC is almost misusing their influence.

MSNBC's Shift

Just a few weeks ago, I discussed how MSNBC was not writing or updating much on Clinton's progress, but rather harping on Trump's seeming failures. MSNBC has made a shift and has been publishing more information on the way the democratic nominee is handling major issues along the campaign trail. Though this is better than the coverage being delivered previously, the slant of the coverage is still a bit bothersome. After thorough analysis of this news site, I have found many flaws. I still think they are a credible and reliable source of information, but I would not say that they are fair, but sadly, it is hard to find any news organization that does not have some sort of bias.

 Obviously, MSNBC is a liberal outlet and would throw their support behind Clinton, but I think there may be better ways to go about that. Let the candidates speak for themselves. Provide coverage of both nominees. Posting articles attacking one candidate constantly or on the other hand only posting articles praising one candidate is not doing anyone any favors. It is at the point in the presidential race that both sides matter. It is time to start presenting both sides of the argument. Hopefully MSNBC can get on board with that. If not, the first presidential debate is just around the corner! 

CNN: Ratings over Ethics?

Justin Holbrock

Back in June, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was hired by CNN as a political commentator three days after he was fired from his managerial position. 

Corey Lewandowski talks to reporters back in May. Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
A few weeks after hiring Lewandowski CNN revealed that his Green Monster Consulting was receiving $20,000 severance payments per month from the Trump campaign. To address this issue, the campaign released this statement:

"The campaign will continue to honor its contract with Mr. Lewandowski, which stipulates he will be paid through the end of the year. These payments are in no way compensation for services rendered."

But the statement lacks a serious omission, according to D.C. employment lawyer Debra Katz.

She said it does not say whether Lewandowski is bound by a provision that prevents him from speaking without fear of having his severance payments taken away. It's important to mention this type of provision because the Trump campaign requires other employees to abide by this nondisclosure clause.

Katz went on to say that in her experience campaigns decide to include a separation agreement in which the campaign agrees to give a "balloon" payment at the end of the severance term.

Campaigns do this as a way to ensure loyalty and compliance from the person fired and prevent them from saying negative things about the campaign.

If this is the case, Lewandowski has a significant incentive to not speak badly about Trump's campaign so that he can receive this large payment at the end of the year.

CNN and the Trump campaign have not commented on whether this type of agreement is in place, which brings CNN's ethical guidelines into question.

By not stating whether Lewandowski has monetary incentive to back the Trump campaign on national television, CNN appears to be dodging transparency.

What's worse is that this ethical issue comes at a crucial time since the general election is less than seven weeks away and the American people already have little trust in the media.

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker has justified the hiring of Lewandowski by saying his presence on the network helps to maintain balance among its commentator ranks.

His explanation is sound, however, it losses all validity if Lewandowski has a nondisclosure clause agreement with the Trump campaign that will result in a sizeable pay day for Lewandowski in the near future.

The mere possibility that Lewandowski is still influenced by the Trump campaign is reason enough for CNN to figure out the details of his separation agreement.

The company has an ethical responsibility to get to the bottom of this story and find out what's going on by doing what it vows to do day in and day out — thorough investigation.

If it decides not to investigate, CNN losses credibility and gives people another reason to have a strong distrust of the media.

CNN is one of many media outlets across the country that prides itself in pointing out lies and a lack of transparency from political candidates. Now the company needs to hold itself to this same standard and find out if having Lewandowski on as a political commentator is unethical.

Lewandowski vehemently defending Trump while shouting over anchor Don Lemon a few days ago on CNN Tonight:

Which Tweets are Trump's?

Jonathan Chantz

After diligently following the twitter account @realDonaldTrump I have gotten accustomed to Trump tweeting at all hours of the day whatever might come through is head. This last week however Trump has been quite tame by focusing more on promoting himself and letting his followers know where his next rally will be or what television show will be interviewing him. There were also several tweets that included his poll numbers, winning of course, and several more thanking the states and cities that came out and showed their support at his rallies. It seemed to me that @realDonaldTrump had somehow taken my advice and had quit attacking Hillary Clinton and various news stations. Often times when an election candidate (presidential, mayoral, gubernatorial, or the like) attacks it is interpreted as a form of weakness, and that they must knock down their opponent to their own level using mudslinging tactics. Same goes for when a candidate uses a media outlet to defend themselves or their political actions. In a way it is admitting to the allegations of others and often times is better to be ignored, especially you are trying to defend your own characteristics, something Trump has a tough time refraining from.

The only outliers of the positive polls, promotions, and the tweets sending Trumps condolences to the people affected by the terrible events in New York City and Charlotte, NC, and Tulsa, OK, come in a string of back to back tweets on September 17. There is a series of eight tweets attacking Hillary Clinton, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, CNN, New York Times writer Maureen Dowd, and the New York Times as a whole. I have reason to believe these and a few more of Trumps 65 tweets, giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, where written by the Trump man himself. I referenced David Robinson’s article in the Washington Post, where he wrote that there are two writers for Trump’s twitter account. One writer using an iPhone, supposedly a campaign staff member, and a Samsung Galaxy belonging to Trump. I did not use the devices as my basis of thought but instead analyzed the tweets by cross referencing the buzzwords that Robinson had listed that Trump had frequently used. I found Trump often likes to use negative words in his own tweets while his ghostwriter is more prone to using hashtags and including some sort of visual element to the posts.

Any tweet by Trump concerning Hillary Clinton will always refer to her as “Lyin Hillary” or “Crooked Hillary” as seen in his tweet, Crooked Hillary wants to take your 2nd Amendment rights away. Will guns be taken from her heavily armed Secret Service detail? Maybe not!”

Wacky and crazy were used to describe Dowd, who had recently released her book, “The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics,” which criticized both Clinton and Trump for engaging in “politainment” and calling the campaigns madness.

Trump called Gates “dopey” and his time as Defense Secretary a “total disaster,” after Gates wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, calling Trump, “beyond repair,” when it comes to his national security policy. “He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief.”

It appears to me Trump’s campaign staff must have given back the reins of his twitter account for a day and he took it for a joyride. After the 17th, there is little if any attacks on Hillary or any major news organizations. It will be interesting to see as we near the election if Trump will have more access to his account or if he will let the professionals handle his content.

Do Politics Trump Tragedy?

By: Ann Jacob

For the first time in a long time, the horse race wasn't the main headline. This week's tragedies in New York, New Jersey, Tulsa, Charlotte, and Columbus took the spotlight - and with good reason. 

CBS News covered the all of these incidents extensively however, it was not usually connected to the politicians responses. Overall, CBS seemed far more focused on (and correctly so) reaching protestors and the public to get comment about the issues. CBSN did however talk with's Caitlin Huey-Burns to address how the candidates are using the events to shape their platforms even further. 

Candidate's Reactions

Ahmad Rahimi, alleged
NY/NJ bomber. Credit:
Huey-Burns talked to CBSN anchor Vladimir Duthiers about how alleged bomber Ahmad Rahimi gave Republican candidate Donald Trump more ammunition for his "law and order message," anti-immigration policy, and national security ideas.  In addition, CBS also dove into Trump's support of the stop-and-frisk policy that was ruled unconstitutional in New York. CBS mentioned the fact that stop-and-frisk was a "particularly sore subject for many much of the data shows they were disproportionally targeted by [NYC police.]" It will be interesting to see how CBS will follow-up this story in the next week and how it looks at members of the black community who support Trump. 

There was even less coverage on Clinton's side. CBS discussed how Clinton used the week's events to further her message of the importance of having a complete dossier before making judgements and sticking together as a country. 

This week's deaths and injuries will be a hot topic for next week's debate and although a CBS anchor isn't moderating, it will be intriguing to find out how the network will use debate topics such as "Securing America" to shape the stories and coverage for the next few months. 

Libertarians on 60 Minutes

CBS is taking the reigns on coverage for third party candidate Gary Johnson and running mate Bill Weld. While every network has some explanation of all the candidates, CBS has made it a priority. This week, 60 Minutes had an "primer" with the two Libertarian candidates, to explain what their campaign was about. 

Johnson flubs "Aleppo" question. Credit: MSNBC
While some may call 60 Minutes unfair or too late by already granting the Republican and Democratic tickets interviews, it could also be argued that this interview came at just the right time. Furthermore, it wasn't just an explainer - host Steve Kroft grilled the pair on their view of abolishing institutions like the IRS and Department of National Security. He also asked Johnson about his Aleppo flub to which Johnson repeatedly admitted he made a mistake, something Kroft noted was an action very few candidates ever take. To that, Johnson said, "There is no quicker way to fix mistakes than actually acknowledging them in the first place."

CBS also posted a front page story sharing that Johnson set a new milestone by being the first third party candidate to raise $5 million in a single month. While this story was covered by other outlets, CBS's repeat actions to give Johnson exposure is refreshing and captivating. 

The Daily Show: A Former President & A Trump Rally

By Alex Lumley

This week saw the Daily Show tackle topics that aren't directly tied to the presidential election, primarily coverage of ongoing police brutality incidents and the explosion in Chelsea, NY. Of course, topics as important as this are discussed in great detail by all candidates hoping to run the country. But that being said, the Daily Show's coverage of topics like these this week wasn't really tied back to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as much as it has been in the past. Nevertheless, both candidates still received a substantial amount of coverage this week, with Hillary's moment coming at the end of last week and Trump talk having happened more recently.

Last Thursday night, the Daily Show welcomed one of their most high-profile guests of the year, and maybe in the program's history: former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Trevor Noah sat down with Clinton for a nearly 30-minute interview. Only a few minutes of the interview ended up airing as part of the television episode, but the extended interview available on the show's website allows viewers to get quite a bit of information out of the former president. Clinton discusses a number of controversies he and his wife have found themselves in throughout the course of her campaign, including his apparent chance encounter with Loretta Lynch just before the verdict on the FBI's investigation of Hillary's e-mails was released, financial concerns with the Clinton Foundation, and his wife's recent comment about the more actively homophobic, racist, and xenophobic of Trump's supporters constituting a "basket of deplorables."

Noah also prompted a response from Clinton about his thoughts on media coverage of his wife compared to that of Donald Trump. The former president spoke about why those who tend to support Trump should actually be supporting his wife, and her plans for bringing people together and what she's done in the past that proves she's the most qualified candidate to lead the country going forward. Noah ended the unusually (albeit fittingly) serious interview with a balloon drop, a comedic reference to a lighthearted moment after Hillary's DNC speech in which he seemed alight like a child at the balloons dropping there.

Former President Bill Clinton is overjoyed to interact with balloons alongside host Trevor Noah on the Daily Show.
Meanwhile, in Trump news, the business mogul's son Donald Trump Jr. released an image on social media that compared Syrian refugees to Skittles. The image asked if they knew that three skittles in a bowl of dozens would kill them, would they take the chance and eat from the bowl anyway? It then argued that Syrian refugees were the same, warning that allowing any in the country whatsoever would be foolish and dangerous.

Noah took this argument to ask by dismantling it mathematically, insinuating you're actually more likely to die from choking on Skittles than you are to be murdered by a Syrian refugee. Noah shows that if we are to maintain the Skittle analogy, the odds of being murdered by a refugee in terms of how many skittles that would represent in a bowl would require a bowl twenty times larger and wider than Donald Trump Jr. himself, with the odds being around 1 in 11 billion.

In the same clip, Noah goes on to bash Donald Trump's lies and hypocrisies, and makes an interesting point in that the American people seem often to be distracted with nonsense (such as this Skittles analogy) right when major news breaks about a lie Trump is telling or some other form of Trump failure comes out. He argues that people should be more concerned with Trump using charity money to settle legal disputes, or Trump University scamming people out of their money. Frustratingly, he says, these issues will go unreported while things like the Skittle controversy remain in the public's eye.

In further ridicule of Trump's campaign and his supporters, the Daily Show dispatched correspondent Jordan Klepper to rallys in the crucial swing states of Ohio and Wisconsin, this time to talk about conspiracy theories held by his more die-hard supporters. Klepper found that these supporters had quite a few misconceptions surrounding factual information about both Hillary Clinton and our current commander-in-chief Barack Obama. Humorously (and really quite scarily), one Trump supporter even went so far as to express outrage that President Obama was "out of the office" during the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, despite the fact that Obama wouldn't sit in the Oval Office for another 8 years.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 American Dignity, or Lack Thereof

Micaela Marshall 

 A central question in this election has been: who are all these Trump supporters? If you admit to supporting Trump, many believe you are admitting to being a “deplorable” as Hillary Clinton would put it. A sexist, racist, hateful, ignorant, white supremacist. It is interesting to note that no one seems to be asking who are all these Clinton supporters? While people are quick to say reasons why they are anti-Hillary, it isn’t common for individuals to be negatively stereotyped if they admit to planning to vote for her.

Many reporters have found that the best way to identify what a “typical” Trump supporter is like, is to attend an infamous Trump rally. I recently saw a video on the New York Times website regarding Trump rallies that sparked my interest.

The video is about the type of behavior New York Times reporters following the Trump campaign witness at his rallies. Although there are people who attend Trump rallies that act in a respectful, peaceful manner, this video shows some disturbing images of Trump supporters using profanity, racism, sexism and hate.

There was no mention in the video of what, if any, similar behavior has been witnessed while covering Hillary Clinton’s campaign at her rallies. It is doubtful to assume that Clinton has no narrow-minded, hate-spewing supporters herself. 

In fact, this election seemingly has brought the worst out in everyone. 
Protesters at Trump’s rallies attend for the sole purpose of disrupting his speeches, usually by shouting obscenities and throwing themselves to the ground.

The fact that anyone supporting any candidate is quick to publicly display such behavior shows an alarming trend. A trend toward a complete lack of tact, dignity and respect for fellow Americans.
There was a time when most American's had dignity. A time when children addressed adults as Mr. and Mrs. or Ma'am and Sir. A time when celebrities, no matter how decadent they behaved in their personal lives, at least tried to maintain the public illusion of being a decent person. A time when popular songs contained no violence or profanity. And yes, there was a time when there was no reality TV. 

The way many of today’s popular, idolized reality TV stars behave displays a complete lack of dignity. The back stabbing, the yelling and fighting, the cheating, the profanity, and the trend towards total materialism and hedonism portray the lowest human behavior possible.

But, are we becoming so used to this type of behavior that it is now considered acceptable? Have we become so enamored with reality TV that Americans will actually elect a reality TV star to be the next president? Would some Americans even know who Donald Trump was if it were not for his successful reality TV show “The Apprentice,”?

There is a strong argument to be made that Trump’s TV show has nothing to do with why he is gaining voter support. For many supporters, it is the fact that he portrays himself as a political outsider and a strong businessman that attracts them to Trump. They believe that he will bring more jobs back to America, protect our borders from illegal immigrants, and of course “Make America Great Again!”

I can only hope that if he is elected, he realizes that part of what made America great was the dignity of its people.