Wednesday, August 2, 2017


I think that President Trump’s labels about particular news stories and/or news companies is absurd. I shouldn’t be surprised given the things that have come out of his mouth thus far, but for him to attack some of these news companies is so ridiculous. I just watched this video from a segment on FOX news earlier this summer where CNN spokesperson says “ It’s a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters….” To me, this is very sad because these reporters are just doing their jobs. I understand attacking or calling out sources who purposefully circulate fake news stories, however, I feel that Trump just picks a catchy phrase and runs with it. To me this seems like a deflection technique. Trump has always been the outspoken, blunt, no social tact that he is today, but I think when he has used the phrase “FAKE NEWS” in over 55 tweets this year he is merely trying to deflect off of himself and refocus people’s attention on things that don’t matter because as long as people are focused on this fake news rhetoric they aren’t looking deeper into his wrongdoings.

I am all for calling people out when you feel their actions are unjust or unfair, and I respect our rights as Americans to exercise free speech. For that reason I can not say he is doing americans a great disservice. I think that is one of the things that makes us a great country and is that we have the freedom of choice. We have the right to not only say, but decide whatever we want. The fact that he is using social media like a teenager is my opinion, that doesn’t mean I am right or that your views on the issue aren’t correct. It simply means that is the opinion I have formed with the information I have been given. While I don’t agree with Trump on the fake news issue, I have to give him credit for standing up for himself and for being passionate about what he believes. I think that the american people are more than capable of investigating these allegations by Trump if they honestly feel that their news is “fake”.

In my opinion, Social Media is the only component of media or journalism that is weakening our society. President Trump is telling it like it is, but I think he took it too far, in typical Trump fashion.


I get my local news mainly by word of mouth. I don’t watch the news and I try to stay off social media whenever possible. I mainly hear people discussing current events or my mom will talk to me about something she saw on the news. If it is something that interests me or I feel like I need to find out more about then I will do research on it or I will go to the website for a local news channel to watch the specific story I heard about. I don’t count on anything I hear via a third party to be accurate, which is why I take the time to look into these news stories and other information on my own instead of just taking it and running with it as if it were factual.
I actually just purchased a 3 month subscription to USA today for my best friend in federal prison. He likes to stay current on news and it makes him feel like a part of society still despite his situation. Along with the paper being delivered daily to him, I also get a membership yo theor online version. I haven't even checked it out at all because I just paid for it last night, but I think I will take advantage of this perk since I have already paid for it. Altogether the promo price for USA today paper/online is $18. This is only a promo price, after the first 90 days the price is $90 for six more months. This seems ridiculous to me. It just seems so expensive and I feel like being at that price point a lot of families and people who would like to subscribe will look at that as a very unnecessary expense.

I know I am out of the loop on current events. I just don’t have cable and I don’t take the time to check the news stations websites on a regular basis. I would rate myself at a 2 only because I do hear things in passing and from people that I talk to. It usually is very important to me to be informed, but when I was watching the news daily I found myself getting worried, stressed out or disgusted. I feel like the media just beats things to death and thrives off of a fear and consumption model.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Week 5, Topic 2

I think that WikiLeaks is amazing in the aspect that it gives common citizens access to what is really going on, not just what the media chooses to feed us.

I think that it also serves as a way to keep high powered people on their toes, and hold them accountable. Maybe knowing that they could easily be put on blast will make them think twice before doing sideways, shady things. On the flip side I also see how this kind of information can be harmful to society. I think we have a right to know the truth and I don’t think the government and other world organizations should be entitled to withhold information and keep secrets. I also see how people could argue that classified information should be left alone. This is a sticky issue to me. I personally would rather have all the facts and have access to all of the facts, but I also see how a point could be made that this kinds of things being public knowledge could lead to mass-hysteria.
The other component is obviously the validity of the information that is provided to WikiLeaks. I am sure they do everything in their power to confirm the information before posting it on their site, but regardless of their efforts there is a factor of human error and things slipping through the cracks. The release of any information by a media organization that is inaccurate would be irresponsible, plain and simple. So when we are speaking of exceptionally controversial information extra care should be taken to verify stories.

I feel lucky to live in a place that I can express my opinion without fear of persecution by the government, etc. I am grateful to have access to pretty much anything I am curious about via the internet, youtube, etc. This is a double edged sword to me though because as much as I like having the ability to find out things and research things, the ability to access this information could also be used to do harm.

Week 5, Topic 1

The most surprising thing in this video to me was the part that showed us how Disney was so quick to sue over illegal use of Mickey Mouse. The man they interviewed said, "It wasn't about Mickey, it was about that Disney sues anyone for just looking at them."
I was also surprised that the Supreme Court voted unanimously against the Air Pirates. It seems to me that what they were doing with their cartoons wasn't that bad. I mean people these days in America are allowed and encouraged to express their political views and during election years I have seen very vulgar, very explicit depictions of the candidates either online or even in the local newspapers. If that is covered by our first amendment then it seems like portraying Mickey Mouse is a negative way or using him for comedic value should definitely be covered as well.

I have some questions about the limits of copyright laws and how they might limit our creativity. First I want to know how we are supposed to expand our existing thoughts and knowledge if we aren't allowed to expand on what is already out there for us to pull from. I also want to know why Napster caused such a major uproar, then it was shut down, and now there are so many different sources to download music, both illegal and legal. Why is that not really an issue these days? I guess I am just confused cause it seems to me there is a lot of grey area within these laws and I feel that all laws should be cut and dry with no room for opinion or interpretation, no room for people to bend the laws to fit their personal circumstances.

There have been several times I have thought that celebrities and other groups have taken things way too far in regards to free speech. The most alarming expamples of this in my opinion are hate groups who preach pro-hate propoganda and use it to spread their own agenda. This is both scary and sad. There is always going to be people out htere who feel lost without purpose in life and people who are looking for something to cling on to, something to make them feel a part-of, and i think that is the target audience for such groups.

                             (taken from a post from 2015 on

This reflects my opinion on the issue of hate speech, and this is just one example of how freedom of speech can potentially do more harm than good.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blog Project #1

Madam Secretary just wrapped up season 3 on CBS. In the season premiere, Elizabeth Mccord (Tea Leoni) struggles to balance work life and family life. It’s understandable given the fact that she holds such a powerful, demanding job. She is the Secretary of state and works side by side with the president every day. This episode takes off right where last season ended and starts off with major events that left me excited to binge watch this whole season. When a US naval base is destroyed as the result of a storm, McCord is prompted to question the policies and procedures currently in place. She urges the president to re-evaluate foreign policy. This show always shows the main character (McCord) in both a work setting and also a home setting. Business mode and domestic mode if you would target think of it like that. The main cast of characters are McCord (played by Leoni), her husband Henry McCord (played by Tim Daly), and her three kids. She has two Daughters and a son. Wallis Currie-Wood plays her oldest daughter Stephanie and Katherine Herzer plays the younger daughter Alison, while Evan Roe plays her son Jason. The executive producers of this show are Barbara Hall, Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary. The strong minded Elizabeth is constantly navigating her way through various diplomatic issues on American soil and abroad throughout the show. McCord is a former CIA analyst who was personally selected by President Dalton after the death of his previous Secretary of State. She is very well traveled, speaks many languages and has a deep knowledge base of the Middle East. She seems to have a certain way of bending the rules to her favor to accomplish her goals.
Madam Secretary has a unique style from other shows on TV today I think. To me it is a very touchy but very relevant topic. It gives a fairly accurate depiction of the state of the world today. In an increasingly violent hostile world there are many uncertainties and this show accurately projects some of the very real issues we are facing today. Several of the episodes from the first two seasons focused on foreign relations with America as well as domestic/worldwide terrorism. These issues hit very close to home for obvious reasons but I like the fact that the writers and producers of this particular series are willing to push the envelope a bit with the storyline. Where most shows are tip toeing around these kinds of issues Madam Secretary is facing them head on. Although the show is purely fictional there is still a very real feeling to it, it almost feels like a behind the scenes look at the way our country conducts itself. I am aware that the events depicted in the show aren’t an account of actual events, but they very well could be. They do an excellent job of keeping the storyline fictional, yet feasible and that is something most shows are lacking. Most are so far fetched that it doesn’t prompt any deep thoughts or open the door for important conversations. Madam Secretary does this. I also really enjoy the way the cast interacts. Another thing they do an excellent job of on this show is projecting a VERY accurate picture of today’s youth. The three kids on this show are very relatable and their characters are believable. Despite the fact that they are from a wealthy, powerful family they still go through everyday struggles like all teenagers and I like the way they interact with both their parents.
I don’t see any stereotypes being played out in this show. Actually, if anything I would have to say that Madam Secretary does make a serious effort to stray away from the “common” portrayal of women being somehow less than.  I think that it accurately depicts some of the complications that any female in a power position could potentially face during their careers. I think that a lot of unfair double standards are placed on McCord, and some situations shown on Madam Secretary simply wouldn’t be an issue if she were a man. I think that her superiors and co-workers tend to doubt her a lot more often than they would if she were a man, and I feel like a lot of the men on the show are intimidated and frightened by her due to the fact that she’s a woman. So, technically that is a stereotype of sorts and they definetly project that.
It is hard to determine the target demographics for sure but I believe it to be middle class people ages 30-65. I know that's a very broad range of people but I don’t see this show being “exciting” enough for most people in their 20’s, and I don’t think it would appeal to most people over 65.  It also may be seen as “too violent” for younger children or the elderly. I feel like it’s aimed at middle to upper class people because it focuses on serious world issues and sometimes the word usage seems a bit uppity to me. While I can’t be sure what the producer’s target demographic was, I did find some information regarding ratings, numbers, etc. It seems that a vast majority of viewers are in fact over the age of 50. If I were a tourist from another country and I saw an episode of Madam Secretary I would most likely think America is a scandalous place ran by powerful, corrupt, self serving people. So given the fact that a large portion of the world disapproves of America and Americans as a whole, I think that this is very fitting.
Among the many of strengths of the show I feel that the fact that McCord is the first female Secretary of State and she is brilliant at her job is the top one. My top complaint about the show as a whole is that sometimes there is a long lull in the middle of the episodes where it loses my attention briefly. This show is most definitely not a parody or a comedy, and although the storyline is fictional, they do such an amazing job of reflecting real life and society as a whole. In my opinion I would say we are in the midst of very uncertain times. This show mirrors that in so many ways. The interaction between the kids and the parents is amazing  While doing my research on Madam Secretary I was surprised to read several articles stating that Madam Secretary was loosely based off Hillary Clinton, and several websites that refuted that claim. BUT….t then I stumbled upon an article published on from 2014 confirming that executive producer Lori McCreary told critics at a TCA Summer Press Tour  “....Secretary of State, came about because of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi.” (Lisa de Moreas, Deadline Hollywood, 2014.)
I really appreciate the way McCord’s character is portrayed. She is a strong, firm, highly intelligent woman who doesn’t use sex appeal or her womanly powers to get what she wants. She is a respectable woman and she would be an excellent role model for girls who watch the show. The whole entire show strays away from using sex and scantily clad women to draw in viewers and that is something that is becoming more and more rare on TV these days and it is very refreshing to see a strong female lead who isn’t overly emotional, doesn’t flaunt her cleavage and doesn’t act like a ditz to further her agenda.
At the start of season one in 2014, LA Times reporter Mary McNamara wrote a review on Madam Secretary. McNamara was of the opinion that Madam Secretary would be a frontrunner for the Fall 2014 TV season of new shows,  “Smartly written and formidably cast, the series, which premieres Sunday, offers a welcome dose of Téa Leoni, female sanity and political heroism to a world perhaps grown weary of broken heroes, twisted ambitions and a universally sardonic view of American government.” (September 20, 2014 LA Times article). I am very much in agreement with her review on this show. She goes on to say, “Unlike so many of her American power-female counterparts, Elizabeth doesn't scream, she doesn't cry, doesn't have secret sex with the president, gobble down little pills, barf up her lunch or attempt to sexually intimidate via sheath dress.” in her review and I wholeheartedly agree. That was one of the things I liked about the show when I first started watching it. McCord has a hectic, but stable life and it’s ok to show women in power on TV. Maybe it’s because I’m a female and I notice these things more but it is empowering to see a woman (even if she’s a fictional character) who uses brains and not her body to succeed.
I am looking forward to getting all caught up because I missed the entire third season. I was watching it every week and it was one of my top three favorite shows. I have some good memories of sitting at my mom’s house watching this show and making snacks and just having family time. If i missed an episode she would record it on the DVR and I would have to stop her from spoiling it for me until I could watch it. I do not follow this show on an social media sites, but I don’t really do social media at all. There is a strong following on both facebook and twitter and it seems to generate a lot of comments between fans.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

WEEK 3 Topic 2

Ad #1:
This was a Planet Fitness Commercial where several different scenes were acted out. Each one made me laugh out loud. The theme here was “being rejected” and each scene of this commercial showed a different person experiencing a different type of rejection. It opens with a woman at the pet store looking for a kitten. Among the scenarios in the commercial there is a female EMT participating in a CPR course. When the time comes for the mouth to mouth part the EMT grabs the dummy and plugs the nose while she leans down to breathe into the dummy’s mouth the doll comes to life long enough to say “EWWWWW” disgustedly. The scenes each end with the commercial’s narrator saying, “ The world judges, we don’t. Planet Fitness….Be Free!”
To me this ad and most of their other ads use several persuasive techniques and depending on the individual viewer it could invoke several different emotions and or thoughts. I think on a basic level they are trying to target and appeal to the common folk. Normal everyday people who want to improve their health without worrying about the fashion show or the judgemental attitudes of the other gyms. Their goal is to portray a welcoming, safe place for you to better yourself, regardless of starting point. They do accomplish that in my opinion they use several techniques including hidden-fear, stereotypes, snob-appeal, etc. I think depending on the viewer one or more of these techniques is bound to draw them in and keep their attention.

Ad #2
The most bizarre commercial I've seen lately left me in suspense the whole length of it then puzzled at the end. I had absolutely no clue what product it would be a commercial for and even after I’d seen the whole thing I didn’t know because it’s a brand i have never heard of. It did draw my attention though right away. It shows a sexy Italian male and a beautiful Italian woman gazing at the beautiful coastline of the Italian shore. It shows various gorgeous destinations throughout Italy and at each location the man and woman arrive separately as if they are just missing one another. The title of the ad is called “Among Friends” and it is for Salvatore Ferragamo who I am assuming is someone in the fashion industry. I think they attempted to use snob-appeal and maybe enhance the commercial with a narrative told with music and photos, but it left me unsatisfied, confused and wondering why they would drag it out for so long. Aside from the visual appeal this ad was a complete dud. I think it is a vague depiction of this brand and the viewer would basically have to use their own time to conduct a Google search for additional information. Nobody wants to do that. Just show us what you are selling.

WEEK 3 Topic 1

I chose YouTube for my this and the organization I searched for was the ASPCA. They seem to using social media to their advantage from what I have seen. No other form of advertisement would serve their purpose nearly as effectively as video advertisement. Just on YouTube alone when you search for “ASPCA”, over 100,000 results come up. There are over 21,000 people who subscribe to their channel which has thousands of videos.  think that this organization uses a social media platform to reach a more broad audience than using television commercials alone. With all the sharing and reposting that happens daily on social media their message and their videos are obviously going to get more views. They are targeting anyone and everyone who has a soft spot for our furry friends, and I would say that it seems to be working well. It isn’t hard to reel people in with a gut-wrenching montage of helpless, scared& abused animals. If their goal was to get the word out and shed light on the topic of animal abuse than I would have to say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. If I were a product/brand manager for the ASPCA I would focus on showing more before and after pictures, video clips, interviews with people who have adopted pets through the ASPCA and maybe some upbeat music playing while healthy, rehabilitated animals are shown. By showing more positive before/after comparisons I believe more people would consider donating, and here is why: I think that more people would donate to a cause if they have visual confirmation of the good it is doing. I mean, as sad as it is to watch the commercials with the neglected animals, I still don’t consider giving the ASPCA money. However I think most people would be more willing to donate money if they were to see the same malnourished, mangy animal flourishing in a new, friendly environment where they looked happy. This would be visual proof of how your donations are making a REAL difference.