Thursday, March 31, 2016

Laurence Rossignol Criticizes Muslim Women With Racist Epithet

French Minister for Family, Children, and Women’s rights correlates Muslim veil-wearing to slavery.

That’s the tagline various news outlets used as a springboard this week to examine Laurence Rossignol’s remarks during an interview about the Islamic fashion industry: “Of course there are women who choose [to wear the veil]. There were African negroes, American negroes who were for slavery. I believe that these women, a lot of them, are militants for political Islam, and I confront them as militants...for the project for society that they represent.”

Reuters, an international news agency headquartered in London, appeared to lead the online chatter through their coverage of the instance in France: “French minister under fire for linking veil-wearing to slavery.” Below an image of the Minister giving a speech on equality earlier this month (which is either purposefully ironic, or a jab of sorts, at her public image), the piece indicates that Rossignol is a strong supporter of a France with distinct boundaries between religiosity and the public sphere – specifically as it concerns politics and education. Le Monde, a French newspaper, is referenced with a quote from Abdallah Zekri (president of the National Observatory on Islamophobia), emphasizing his disapproval of the Minister’s remarks, which implicitly seems to suggest that Reuters feels her remarks are Islamophobic. The article notes that such remarks also raise tensions about the wearing of “religious” garb and symbols in public, and sort of lumps Islam together with Catholicism and Judaism in this regard to demonstrate that these types of issues do not only pertain to Muslims. A “we’re all in this together” type of sentiment might be discerned by grouping these predominant “religious” traditions into the same area of concern.

Alternet takes a different sort of approach by highlighting some of the rhetorical dimensions of the Minister’s statements, and seeking a more responsible and professional response from Rossignol by leading with: “Thousands are demanding justice” after she “hurled a racist epithet against African-Americans” to “denigrate Muslim women.” In “French Minister Trashes Muslim Women With Anti-Black Slur. Will She Be Sacked?” Sarah Lazare notes (under a photograph from that same speech on equality) that Rossignol’s use of the French “nègres” is “particularly offensive” because of its antiquated, colonial connotations (the much less offensive “les noirs” or “les blacks,” Lazare notes, could have been used instead). It is equivalent to the English “negro” and arguably as offensive in such a context as “nigger.” These types of comments by Lazare certainly raise the Minister’s remarks from unprofessional and poorly chosen to outright racist and bigoted. Alternet does report Rossignol’s apology for using the particular term, but she never backpedals on her actual statements. The petition that is apparently going around, calling for more accountability and official action to be taken against her, is also quoted, placing a stronger emphasis on the underlying racism in her remarks and the need for it to be addressed. Before closing, Lazare also manages to sneak in remarks from Yasser Louati, a spokesperson for the Collective Against Islamophobia, correlating the burgeoning French “police state” with the United States Patriot Act, framing what is at stake here as a much larger issue when it comes to rights and democracy.

Al Jazeera’s "French minister shocks with Muslim veil-slavery comment" focuses more on the fashion industry that the Minister is criticizing and incorporates various responses from Twitter, drawing on the public reaction to her remarks more so than the other articles. The article is situated under an image of Rossignol with a rather mischievous look on her face and repeats some of the same statements that Lazare made (e.g., the petition and her weak apology). Rossignol’s previous work with an anti-racist coalition, SOS Racsime, is noted, which directs readers to recognize the apparent inconsistency in what she said during the interview. But, the coverage really shifts towards a more unique focus: the restrictive ban on “religious” garb and symbols (though Reuters did address this as well), the banning of the veil in 2011, and the Minister’s opinion that fashion items such as the burqini (a particular sort of swimsuit that accounts for modesty) are “irresponsible.” The really interesting tidbit near the end, however, relays how large the spending is by Muslims in the fashion industry – larger than the clothing markets in the United Kingdom, Germany, and India combined. Dolce & Gabbana has even gotten in on the marketability of the Minister’s so-called “irresponsible” articles of clothing. Rossignol’s remarks, then, seem to be framed as attacking a major economic presence, placing her on the opposite side of progress and cultural evolution that even clothing companies (regardless of the perceived source of revenue) are already negotiating.

Religious Liberty Bill-3 different sources

The story I looked at through 3 different news sources was on the recent bill in Georgia called the "Religious Liberty Bill". The proposed Georgia law ensures "that pastors could not be forced to perform same-sex marriages. It also would have allowed faith-based organizations to fire, to refuse to hire, or to refuse services to someone if doing so violates their faith," (CNN) It was very interesting to see this story covered by such different sources based on their different framing techniques which resulted in very different received messages from the readers. To begin with, the first source I looked at was on their story was titled, "Mississippi Senate Passes Sweeping 'Religious Liberty' Bill. The content seen on NBC showed both perspectives on the controversy, but mainly focused on the political sides of things. It prominently mentions Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal's perspective on the Bill in comparison with other high political positions and their differing views on the bill, such as Mississippi's Senator John Horhn.

The second story I read about the 'Religious Liberty' Bill was an activist post from the website, written by Scott Lazarowitz titled, "Clarification is necessary on the 'Religious Liberty' Bill Controversy". His post was quite different from the first story I read in that it doesn't focus on the politics as much as it does on the social responsibility and the laws we already have in place, seen in our first amendment which he argues goes against this very bill. He made a very convincing and concise argument using clear details and points to illustrate his personal belief on the topic. This story was framed through the use of language in that he made sure to clarify it was his opinion but he backs up each of his points with very well thought out examples and explanations. In my opinion, the activist post was much more beneficial in learning about the entirety of the case, along with providing me multiple reasons as to why this bill should not be allowed to be implemented as a law in any way, shape or form. 

The third story I read on the topic was from CNN titled, "Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to veto 'religious liberty' bill. This story took a different spin on the situation through shedding light on the relationship between multiple large corporations who threatened to stop their products from being sold in Georgia, along with the NFL announcing the bill could cost Atlanta the opportunity to host the super bowl in relation to Gov. Deal's final decision to veto the bill. They provide multiple quotes from credible sources all in which agree in one way or another that the only reason Gov. Deal vetoed the bill wasn't because of his belief that the bill was wrong and discrimatory, but because of personal gain for his own political agenda and the threats from various fortune 500 companies to stop all investment in the state if the bill did pass. 

The Supreme Court and Religious Freedom

The Supreme Court recently heard a major case on the the Affordable Care Act and women's access to birth control. This case Zubik v. Burwell is challenging the Supreme Court for the fourth time in four years regarding access to birth control and religious freedom. In these other cases brought to the Supreme Court, the case could split 4-4, a tie vote, meaning the federal law could affect people differently depending on where they live. Since Justice Scalia has recently passed away and his chair has not been filled, one side of the court would win the case. The question of the court case was, do religious figures get to disobey the laws they don’t believe in and burden others in the process? Here are three different news outlets, The Catholic Online, New York Times and Vox.

The Catholic Online is obviously for the court case, as they outrightly say that the religious figures who speak before the court and who brought this case up are heros defending religious freedom. The article goes in depth on the freedoms that the first amendment stands for and the freedom of exercise that is protected in this country. The language is very strong and precise and at no point does it look at the other side of the issue. The article quotes religious personnel and the constitution and at at a few cases emphasizes words in all caps and bold. There are pictures of the Pope and the Supreme Court.

The New York Times offers their readers background on the case and why it has been brought up to the highest level of court in the nation. It gives history on both sides of the court case why the Catholic church is suing the government and not carrying out the law. The language is very neutral but clear on the issues at stand. It talks about how the Zubik case is not about questioning anyone’s religious belief but about how these beliefs coexist in a society with a diverse religions and politics.
The Vox article. Like most Vox articles, summarizes the issue at hand. There is a lot of background on the court case and why it was brought to the Supreme Court and talks about what is at stake. It also goes into the significance of the case because of only 8 judges. It is an easy read that does not take a side but instead gives background and significance on the case and potential ruling.

Framing: North Carolina and the "Bathroom Bill"

North Carolina's state legislature passed HB2 last week, which was quickly signed by Gov. Pat McCrory that same night. Known across the media and to opponents as the "Bathroom Bill," the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act denies transgender people the use of the  bathroom, changing room or locker room that matches their gender identity. The law is widely regarded as an extreme retaliation against the city of Charlotte's civil rights ordinance that expanded protections for individuals on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. The ordinance featured the controversial guarantee that transgender people would be allowed to use their prefered bathroom.
Proponents claim that the law protects women and children from sexual predators that may take advantage of the law. However, there has never been a single reported case of a trans person harming or attacking another person in a public facility such as a bathroom. Lawmakers, journalists, and activists across the country are increasingly calling for the bill's dismissal. A lawsuit has already been filed by two transgender individuals and an array of civil rights groups - including the ACLU - against HB2.

The Washington Post:

The Washington Post article adopts frames the legislative controversy through a political lense. Pulled sources include the state's attorney general, the governor, the mayor of Charlotte, the San Francisco mayor, the governor of New York, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue , and the state governors of South Dakota and Georgia who have beaten down similar bills in their own states. The article also cites a transgender women and Raleigh resident, comments on local news websites (debating the law) and the ACLU lawsuit. The story then goes on, after multiple condemnations from outside politicos cited, to the political blame-game happening amongst North Carolina legislators. The lengthy article concludes with touching upon the upcoming gubernatorial elections and how the fate of this bill may lie in the November. The Washington Post articles generally adapts a political and objective point of view. While generally in line with traditional journalism, the Post's inclusion of choice quotes speaking against the law by important political figures helps the reader invest in the outcome of the story. The inclusion of a video of attorney general Roy Cooper refusing to defend the new state law  at the beginning of the article steers readers to a more sympathetic response. While the Post aims to keep its article apolitical, the choice of sources and quotes demonstrates a more liberal, sympathetic frame.

Rolling Stone: 

The Rolling Stone article is framed in support of transgender people and their civil rights. The article opens sympathetically, relating everyone's daily bathroom experiences to ones of the complicated emotions that trans people endure. The article cites reader testimonials of their experiences as trans people in North Carolina and public restrooms to explore the point of view of the marginalized. Through the illumination that the harassment that often affects trans people in public restroom spaces, the Rolling Stone article discredits the law's reasoning and emphasizes the struggles, fear, and concern that trans people constantly maintain for their safety. The sympathetic wording at the beginning of the article and lengthy list of testimonials frames this article in support of trans people and against HB2. 


The Democracy Now! article takes a more definitive stance against the implementation of HB2. The title of the article - "North Carolina: Flush Your Bathroom Bill Down the Toilet" - asserts the author's (and by association Democracy Now!'s) point of view immediately. Pulled quotes from a staff attorney from the ACLU and transgender students frames the story against the law and its principles. Noteworthy stances against the bill, including by the NBA and NC attorney general Roy Cooper, emphasize the valid points of view that are against the bill. Finally, the last sentence of the article clearly shifts away from objectivity to sympathy: "Let’s celebrate love, acceptance and equality. Take American politics out of the toilet."

Framing Donald Trump

Donald Trump stepped on a political landmine yesterday. On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Trump declared that “there should be some form of punishment” for women who undergo illegal abortions.  Immediately after these remarks, Trump was denounced by those on the left and right in a freak firestorm that rarely engulfs the real-estate mogul turned probable Republican nominee.
The media treatment of this story varied. Here, I have analyzed three different articles, one from ABC, one from MotherJones and one from Politico.

This article, while more critical than most legacy media outlets have been in this election, was still an even handed treatment of the Don and his “evolving” stance on abortion (as if anything in the Don's mind continues to be characterized by increasing innovation or improvement). There was speak about flip flopping, although there was no declarative sentences saying this was a bad thing. The report is very factual, and I give ABC kudos for actually digging to find videos and recording of his contradictory statements throughout the decades, however the article has no teeth. It is as drab as the name of the organization itself: ABC.

As political journalism, Politico’s article provides the political reaction to the Don’s statements yesterday. Parties and politicians from both sides of the isle are quoted in denouncing the candidate’s most recent abortion remarks. However, the article focuses more on entertaining political theatrics. It is written like an article in People Magazine except rather than quoting a Kardashian, the major political players are all quoted. Aside from the harsh quotes, no context is given surrounding the Don’s quotes, there is little to no mention on his flip-flopping and certainly no digging to find evidence of contradicitons.

While the headline is indeed very declarative, the content of the piece is short and sweet and also up to date. There is an examination of the Hardball interview that harbored the comments. It also offers an updated full press release from the Trump campaign retracting the Don’s comments, instead offering the idea that doctors who preform illegal abortions should be held accountable. The piece ends in typical MotherJones fashion, offering a current real world case in which a woman in Tennessee is being held on assault charges for trying to induce her own abortion.

Framing Assignment: Brussels Terrorist Attack

On Tuesday, March, 22, bombs went off at two locations in Brussels. ISIS took responsibility for the attacks. Since the attacks there have been global outcry -- both sympathy and concern -- on U.S. soil. Democracy Now!, The New Yorker and Vox Media all covered the attacks, however, they do so in varying degrees.

Democracy Now!
A day after the attacks Democracy Now! covered the attacks in their daily news coverage in a video titled: After Brussels Attack, Will Response Be More War or a Look at the Root Causes of Terrorism?

The title of this video alone suggests the outlet plans on answering the question and it leaves the viewer wondering if they will address what they think are the root causes of terrorism. It also suggests that the main focus of the segment won't be just on the events that took place -- although this is how it begins. Democracy Now! anchors start the segment by outlining the facts of the event: where the bombs went off, those injured and killed. During the opening they play video and pictures captured by civilians in Brussels. They then interview Frank Barat, whose title is "Activist & Novelist". Barat gives commentary on the state of Brussels after the attack. At one point he mentions how the attacks involve a lot more than Radical Islamist as the cause and how it also involves "disenfranchised youth". Barat continues to expand on this idea. Democracy Now!'s coverage is framed in a way that promises a more in-depth approach to the attacks rather than simply stating what happened.

The New Yorker
The New Yorker published a long and detailed article titled "Journey to Jihad" with the sub header: "Why are teen-agers joining ISIS?". The article begins by setting a scene of fourteen-year-old Jejoen Bontinck dancing to Michael Jackson on a game show in 2009. This paragraph clearly sets to humanize Jejoen Bontinck, who, in the next paragraph, is then said to have joined "a jihadi radicalization program" and interrogated by Belgian police post Brussels attack. The New Yorker aims to frame a more personalized picture of those joining ISIS.

Vox Media
Vox Media posted a multimedia story on the attacks titled "Attacks in the airport and metro in Brussels: what we know from Belgium." The article begins with facts on the attacks and then uses maps to show where and at what times the bombs went off. The article then ends by listing more facts on what the Belgium police, other news sources, and an ISIS-linked news agency had to say on the attacks. Vox's framing of this story is strictly factual and only aims to provide information to it's audience.

Altogether these stories provide a detailed account of not only what happened in Brussels, but what is causing terrorism and who is behind it. Separately, they address and frame the attacks in completely different ways.

Framing Assignment

Harlan Kimball


Washington Post:

Inside Climate News

After analyzing these three news articles, there are some clear similarities and differences between them. The CNN and Washington Post articles are similar in the fact that they have a traditional delivery style about the climate change story. Then there is that focuses more of its attention on not what is actually happening to our oceans, but what needs to be done to spread awareness and promote change. The CNN article frames its story around the potential outcomes of melting ice, and possible ideas for combating this growing issue. In the end all of the articles mention that there might not be an effective solution for the six-foot ocean rise by 2100. Although the Washington Post article brings in many visuals that helps the audience visualize the potential dangers of sea levels rising. This is quite alarming because the Washington post uses major American cities to portray the dangers. Then there is the Inside Climate News article that talks about the effectiveness and potential of climate change activists and the events that will hopefully bring about more awareness. It’s more about the people making a change, then the other articles that talk about the potential dangers and outcomes if and when these sea levels rise. It’s clear that these frames are quite distinct from one another. CNN and The Washington Post frame the story to present the new study and facts, while Inside Climate News frames the story to bring about a change in the future.

New Indiana Abortion Law

New Indiana Abortion Law
Emma Spencer
NUVO editors came together to summarize some of the work they have been doing on Indiana’s new abortion law. This article is an activist piece that clearly stands against this recent decision. The article is framed by the clear statement they are making even within the title and subtitle of this piece “Indiana’s New Abortion Law and its Terrible Toll on Women’s Rights” the subtitle reads “After Pence signed HEA 1337, women’s rights in Indiana are dead”. There is no way around seeing the clear point of view this publication is coming from. Immediately after the title is a photograph of wilted flowers and well the “R.I.P.” in bold letters. Within this piece the editorial stance of the publication as a whole is summarize saying that this law “does not protect the interests of pro-choice or anti-choice women”. The overall language of this article takes a clear stance on the issue. Finally the piece links all of the other work that NUVO has done on the issue, including a collection of personal stories of women, which shows again the position of the public within this situation and furthers their stance.
NPR also reported on this issue in their article entitled “Indiana Governor Signs New Abortion Restriction into Law”. NPR being a major news corporation takes a much more “objective” stance of this issue than its activist counterparts. The title itself only factually describes the instance at hand. The article begins with a brief description of the law and what its purpose is. They then quote Pence, the governor of Indiana, followed directly with a quote explaining that some anti-abortion lawmakers “thought the legislation was a step too far”. NPR continues within this pattern, explaining the opinion of the supporters of the bill and then countering with the opinion of the head of Planned Parenthood of Indiana. Using these particular sources back and forth create an article that sheds light to both sides of the argument, as opposed to the piece described previously.

Huffington Post also reported on this issue in their article “New Indiana Law Makes Getting an Abortion Near Impossible”. Huffington post takes a slightly different frame than the previous articles. The title although not directly stating an opinion also doesn’t have the more factual effect that the NPR headline did. Huffington post looks at this issue by pulling out particular parts of the new law as opposed to summarizing the entire event. They get opinions from experts much like the previous articles, however unlike NPR the opinions are almost always in disagreement with the new law and the particular issues within the bill.

Framing Assingment: Belgium Suspect Enditment

Framing Assignment
With the recent attacks in Belgium, many news media outlets have strategically found their own ways to frame what happened and ways of portraying the story. With the recent new of suspect Salah Abdeslam being extradited to France, USA Today reports that Abdeslam’s lawyer, Cedric Moisse, said his client, who dropped his earlier bid to fight extradition, “would like to cooperate with the French authorities. This is his will and this is the word he wants everybody to hear." This may be an example of framing because I would guarantee that there was more to this story and that the suspect didn't willing comply or cooperate with this extradition right away, and probably neither did the Belgian government. Since the media outlet is USA Today, it makes sense that this article would be framed because it is high up in the rankings. In an article posted on The Blaze, the statement said Abdeslam gave the “clear consent” for the transfer, and that the Belgian court has approved of the extradition. With this article, the only picture shown is his face from his neck up, which is practically the same and only picture that all the other media outlets are showing, nothing more. The lack of visuals on these media sites also is a way of framing because they are neglecting to include other pictures that may provide more depth and better clarity to the story. On a CBS local New York website, the same single visual of the suspect is there with no further imagery. Since this website is local and probably has a more narrow viewer base, you can understand why a smaller outlet like this would benefit from framing and getting the same message across that all the other big time media outlets are saying. All these website are also news outlets, which shows that they would all want to convey the same message across all news outlets and platforms, and would may even have something to lose by not doing so. 

Writing Assignment: Framing

Brussels Attacks as told by BBC 

  • BCC wrote an article on the Brussels attacks which focused on the two behind the bombings. The article used a lot of legal language regarding the attacks and the brothers who committed the bombings. The article also covered what the nation did in response to the attacks, such as participating in a period of mourning and the actions of the king and queen of Belgium. The framing was enforced through the photographs included in the article. The photographs consisted of the two guilty bombers, and one video was included that featured the Belgian prosecutor and his stance on the written testament that was found by the bombers. 
Brussels Attacks as told by U.S. Uncut 

  • In an article posted on U.S. Uncut, an activist focuses on some of the negative issues that are not addressed by the BBC. Instead, this article frames the Brussels attacks as another affect of the lack of safety that our world faces. The author, Frank Barat, tells audiences that despite the amount of soldiers our governments will put in the streets, we are still not safe. He also takes a negative stance on the role of government in fighting ISIS. Though the article lacks photography, Barat's negative and sarcastic language help frame the message as a negative review on the government's response to the Brussels attacks. 
Brussels Attacks as told by NBC News
  • NBC News also reported on the Brussels attack, however, they took a purely "American" stance on the tragedy. The headline "Third American Killed in Brussels Terror Attacks Identified", immediately focuses the story on the affects the bombings had on America. The photographs of the victim and the written description of her help frame the story to focus on America's loss. There is no talk in the article of the actual bombing other than where the victim was at the time it occurred. Instead, the article emphasizes the fact that this victim was one in four Americans that were killed int the bombings, and nothing is said about the other non-American victims. 

Framing Assignment 3/31

Framing Assignment: Find 3 different stories about the same news event or issue. Choose one activist news outlet, one traditional, and one from any other type of source.Take notes on the various elements that give each story its particular frame, including its outlet, form, genre, language, images, professional routines, sources quoted. Please write a short blog post comparing the framing of the 3 stories the elements that make up the distinct frame.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How are activists taking up the role of journalists?
Payson Everett-Brown
1) Key Points:
Blurred lines: Citizens use of Social Media
  • Are they becoming Journalists or Activists or participants?
  • Who can participate? Anyone with a smartphone or social media sites can voice their opinion.
  • Hashtags gathering similar content to one place where people can join in and discuss.
  • Everyone can have a voice and there are no gatekeepers.
  • Citizen journalism and first hand accounts (live reporting) vs original content curators (professional journalists).
David Carr: Titles
  • Who is a journalist, activist and can they be one in the same? Looks into Glenn Greenwald’s reporting for The Guardian on the secrets revealed by Edward Snowden.
  • Greenwald is an activist who is vocal about the government and national security and who argues for activist journalism.
  • “Activist” journalism is a code word for a journalist who is vocal about a particular issue or agenda to follow and to inform the public.
  • “Journalists come in a variety of shapes and sizes and come with a variety of commitments,” said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.
  • “It is a matter of being honest or dishonest. All activists are not journalists, but all real journalists are activists. Journalism has a value, a purpose — to serve as a check on power,” said Greenwald.
  • Winning an argument vs neutral reporting.
Dan Gillmor: Why do we as citizens need to report on what we see?
  • Government, surveillance and reporting.
  • Giant Internet companies and media conglomerates, with Facebook leading the way, are on the verge of becoming the newsstands to the world — and using their secret algorithms to gain unprecedented power over what people read, listen to, and watch online (Gillmore).
2) References:
Gillmor, Dan. "Journalists Turn Activist." Nieman Lab. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.
Carr, David. "Journalism, Even When It’s Tilted." The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 June 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.
3) Visual:

4) Discussion Questions:

  • 1. Activists can gather through social media to engage in a conversation whereas they might not be able to without the Internet-what role do you think the hashtag plays in activism?
  • 2. Because of algorithms, much like Facebook where people read and see what they want to see (based on past viewing history). People are involved in their bubble of what they see-how do we get them out of this bubble and look at other topics.
  • 3. Dan Gillmor says that if we don’t get journalists to take a stance on an issue and voice an opinion, journalists are just entertainers. Where does a  journalist's personal social media accounts play into role when they have a “public” role.