In just 30 seconds, a new video powerfully states its case for changing the controversial nickname of the NFL’s Washington Redskins — and banning it from television and radio. The video produced by Red Circle Agency in association with the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media takes aim at the different treatment that “redskin” receives relative to other racial and ethnic slurs. It begins with several people using various racial epithets to refer to themselves. Those offensive words are obscured by bleeps, whereas the final mention of “redskin” is heard clearly, just as it is during broadcasts of Washington’s games.
“I was tired of people avoiding what I think is the real issue. There is no word in the American lexicon that is more hurtful to the Native American,” said Chad Germann, owner of Red Circle Ad Agency and member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, in a statement obtained by USA Today Sports.
Entitled “No Honor In Racism,” the video uploaded to YouTube is just the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between opponents of the team’s name and its defenders. Prominent among those defenders is Washington owner Daniel Snyder, who seems to comprehend the dictionary-defined offensive term only in the context of his football team.
“A Redskin is a football player. A Redskin is our fans,” Snyder told ESPN in August when asked to define the term. “The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride. Hopefully winning. And, and, it, it’s a positive. Taken out of context, you can take things out of context all over the place. But in this particular case, it is what it is. It’s very obvious.”
The video above features all the characteristics of a good shampoo commercial: lustrous locks blowing in the wind, gorgeous people lucky enough to possess said locks. But this ad doesn’t want to just sell hair products, it wants to save marriages.
Created by Leo Burnett Hong Kong for Procter & Gamble’s Rejoice shampoo, the tearjerker spot — which the agency claims has been viewed more than 40 million times in the past month — follows a young couple on the brink of divorce. (Hey, at least they have great hair going for them.)
The wife agrees to sign the divorce docs her husband gives her, under one condition: He has to hug her every day for a month at a few carefully chosen spots. We see the couple embrace where the husband proposed, where he professed his love, where they shared their first kiss.
We won’t give away the ending, but we’re sure you can guess how things end up for these two follically blessed lovebirds.
Marked with the hash tag #BelieveInLoveAgain, the cinematic spot closes with a PSA: 3 million Chinese couples divorced last year (official statistics put the number around 3.5 million), but about 100,000 couples reconciled.
While we’re not sure the ad will increase the number of reconciliations, it’s definitely a visual treat for the romantics among us. Pass the tissues, please.
Reading the Pictures: About Race and those Ebola Handheld Thermometer Pictures on Western News Sites
Have you noticed the pictures of African health officials using handheld thermometers suddenly springing up in US news stories and photo galleries? I found the picture above in the Charlotte Observer’s Daily Edit. Most assuredly, this airport official is applying her job with the utmost seriousness. Far from what we would imagine in our minds as a health worker operating in a compassionate and protective way, however, the scene more easily evokes extreme prejudice (in both meanings of the term) and is more consistent with a still from a criminal or gangster movie. (It’s no surprise, by the way, how the Obama haters latched on to a similarly unnerving photo if you saw our “Obola” post on Monday.)
Here are a few other examples I came across last night:
The expression of the health worker, surprisingly similar to the previous one, again feels tense, icy, “cold blooded” with the mother seeming to recoil.
This one, involving a Moroccan woman with a headscarf, her one eye blocked and the expression of the other woman looking steeled and resigned, has a more cinematic association to terrorism.
YahooNews, USA Today
Beyond the disembodied hand, the dispassionate guy in the yellow vest, and then the guy in the military uniform, the white woman turning her gaze away has the sense of “Any last words?”
Given the “loaded nature” of the objects and the situation, there are certainly ways to capture a scene like this that is not only more sensitive (and more mundane), but steers clear of exploitive associations to race and violence. But then, judging from these photographs selectively chosen to run on the major mainstream news sites, editors surely appreciate that these not-close-to-routine looking images — if easy to rationalize under the story of a health care emergency — are going to get a rise.
Playing on violent and dramatic stereotypes of Africa and African-Americans, what we’re seeing here qualifies as barely veiled racism.
(photo 1: Luc Gnago/Reuters caption: A health worker takes a passenger’s temperature with an infrared digital laser. photo 2: Sunday Alamba/AP. caption: Health port officials uses a thermometer to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala Mohammed International airport in Lagos, Nigeria Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Water laced with salt and sugar, and gallons of the nasty tasting stuff. ThatÕs what doctors who survived Ebola in Nigeria are crediting for their survival. On Monday, the World Health Organization announced a rare victory in the months-long battle against the killer disease, declaring Nigeria is Ebola-free. photo 3: Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP Photo/The Canadian Press caption: A Moroccan health worker uses a thermometer to screen a passenger at the arrivals hall of the Mohammed V airport in Casablanca, on Thursday, Oct 9, 2014. Airline passengers arriving in the U.S. from three West African countries will face temperature checks using no-touch thermometers and other screening measures at five American airports, starting with New York’s Kennedy on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2014. photo 4: VPC caption: Five of America’s biggest airports will begin to implement new steps to guard against Ebola, requiring travelers arriving from the West African nations to go through an additional layer of screening.)
How can media firms strategize, plan budgets, and decide where to allocate their resources effectively?
“All things considered, if the biggest opportunities for media company revenue and content strategies for 2014 could be summed up in a few words, they would be Big Data analytics, paid content, native advertising, programmatic advertising, product development, tablets, e-commerce and smartphones,” say the authors of an annual survey that examines such elements.
“Big data” in the industry has in recent years meant audience analytics, given its direct correlation to audience reader insights and monetization through advertising targeting, according to the World Digital Media Factbook 2014-15.
The book divides big data into the “Four Vs,” which it translates into volume of information, velocity (notably of news), variety of structured and unstructured formats, and value in terms of high quality journalism, business insights and revenue.
That’s just a snippet of the voluminous information in the 238-page compendium published by the World Newsmedia Network, a not-for-profit research firm, and FIPP, the 700-member worldwide magazine media association.
Another key component is advertising, which media organizations are embedding into their news content and for which they’re inventing all manner of creative permutations to financially sustain their operations.
In one of the book’s countless tables and graphs, the authors illustrate how spending on advertising is shrinking in legacy media and being overtaken by digital outlets over the 2013-2016 period.
Globally, TV takes a dip from 40.1% to 39.2%, considering it is still the medium of choice in developing countries with high illiteracy rates.
But desktop Internet adspend edges up from 18.1% to 19.5% and mobile Internet advertising takes a bigger leap from 2.7% to 7.6% for the same stretch of time.
Other slides are, predictably, in newspapers, magazines, radio and outdoor advertising while cinema is expected to see a slight nod upwards in adspend.
It’s no easy matter compiling a mass of statistics on digital media when the variables are constantly changing.
A particularly interesting trend the factbook covers is Internet usage.
“The most popular destinations globally are Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo!, all of which have between four-fifths and five-sixths of their audiences accessing their sites from outside the United States,” it said.
These sites apparently also command the majority of adspend, it added.
The factbook’s publishers have since 2006 devised a digital hot spots map to show which countries had the highest-to-lowest Internet and mobile user penetration.
Red indicates the highest Internet and mobile users; purple shows the highest mobile but not Internet; green illustrates high Internet penetration but not mobile; and blue points to underperformers in both Internet and mobile.
“Digital media usage trends drive publishers and broadcasters to develop new products, change news judgment, revamp user interfaces, change strategies and earn more revenues,” the book noted.
The fastest growing device from which to access the Internet is the mobile phone, according to figures measuring the 2011-2013 period, followed by the tablet, whereas desktop computers showed a marked disfavor.
A good portion of that access is devoted to social media, but that, too, depends on the country or region of the world, in-country accessibility via government or private ISPs, freedom of expression, age, gender and income.
The world average for social media user penetration is about one-fourth (26 percent); however, many regions of the world have social media penetrations that are much higher, and others that are just a fraction of the world average, according to GlobalWebIndex‘s 2013 “We Are Social” study.
Social media can be divided into publishing, sharing, discussing and networking, all of which require some form of engagement, the factbook reports.
Publishers and advertising stakeholders seek to define and leverage engagement in a bid to secure higher advertising revenues, higher dwell times on content (including editorial and advertising) and more efficient targeting to consumers interested in engaging in the content, it said.
It cited the Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s definition of it as,
Ad engagement: Is the creative compelling? Are the viewers interacting with it in some way?
Content engagement: Which content is the most captivating on the site?
Audience engagement: Which viewers are paying the most attention? Who contributes to the conversation?
Engagement is then measured by time spent on smartphones, tablets and desktops – one of several methods – thereby enabling publishers and advertisers to cash in on the interaction.
Two major Kentucky newspapers have endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate over incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).
In its endorsement, the Courier-Journal’s editorial board praised Grimes’ stance on issues like the minimum wage and early childhood education, while accusing McConnell of “lacking a vision for Kentucky.”
“[McConnell] lost his way to the point where he now is identified largely as the master of obstruction and gridlock in Washington,” reads the endorsement. “Kentucky needs a U.S. senator who sees a higher calling than personal ambition and a greater goal than self-aggrandizement.”
The endorsement also addressed Grimes’ recent interview with the editorial board, during which she repeatedly refused to say whether or not she voted for President Barack Obama in 2012.
“Ms. Grimes, to her credit, was willing to appear before this newspaper’s editorial board,” reads the editorial. “She did this fully aware that Mr. McConnell’s campaign could — and did — seize on snippets to use in political attacks.”
McConnell, the editorial board says, did not accept their invitation for a similar interview.
The Lexington Herald-Leader‘s endorsement strongly rebukes McConnell, who the editorial board says has “repeatedly hurt the country to advance his political strategy.”
“The Senate may never recover from the bitter paralysis McConnell has inflicted through record filibusters that allow his minority to rule by obstruction,” reads the editorial. “He poses as a champion of the right to criticize the government, but it’s really his rich buddies’ right to buy the government that he champions.”
“If McConnell had a better record, he would not have to argue for six more years by obsessively linking Grimes to Obama, who will be gone in two years no matter what,” the editorial continues.
A Bluegrass Poll released last week shows McConnell and Grimes in a dead heat. The survey appeared to embolden national Democrats, who decided to recommit to funding ads for Grimes ahead of Election Day.
HuffPost Pollster’s model, which combines all publicly available polls, shows McConnell ahead by several points:
What’s happening in your district? The Huffington Post wants to know about all the campaign ads, mailers, robocalls, candidate appearances and other interesting campaign news happening by you. Email any tips, videos, audio files or photos to email@example.com.
The International Women’s Media Foundation will sponsor a $1 million scholarship in honor of Anja Niedringhaus, the German AP photographer killed this past April while on assignment in Afghanistan, the organization announced Wednesday at its annual Courage in Journalism Awards.
In addition to the scholarship program, a $4 million fund for outstanding women journalists has also been set up by Howard Buffett, the son of billionaire Warren Buffett, who supported Niedringhaus during her Nieman Fellowship at Harvard.
“Women reporters are often looked down on, as many of you know,” said Buffet at the award ceremony. “You’re the last one to get the best equipment, you’re the first one to be told, ‘It’s a man job, it’s too dangerous for you’ — and that’s why this organization is so critical to the world.”
Women have traditionally been undervalued and discriminated against both in the newsroom and in the field. Last December, a study done by the International News Safety Institute and the IWMF showed that over 64 percent of women journalists endured instances of abuse at the workplace. The Women’s Media Center reports that in 2013 almost two-thirds of all bylines in major publications belong to men, as well as the bulk of network television appearances. The response has been a call for more women on staff at news organization around the world, and fairer treatment once they arrive.
The current Ebola crisis has revealed the power of conspiracy theories and how they can prevent meaningful engagement in crisis situations. A major Liberian newspaper continues to churn out bizarre conspiracy theories about the mortality of Ebola patients and remains extremely popular. Pathogens seem to provide fertile ground for conspiratorial thinking as exemplified by similar challenges in eradicating polio in Pakistan and Nigeria due to conspiratorial rhetoric. It is easy to get exasperated at these conspiracy spinners but a more considered and analytical response is in order.
Conspiracy theories are a symptom of powerlessness. When people are unable to find answers or make sense of turmoil they latch on to whatever fanciful explanation makes sense. Several brands of conspiracy theories exist in modern societies. Some are fueled by a suspicion of science and an inability to reconcile complexity of knowledge. For example, questioning the lunar landing has created an entire industry of books and websites in the U.S. where people question whether science could achieve such a feat. Skeptics couple a suspicion of science with a suspicion of government; suspicion of authority is central to conspiracy theories.
There are theories that claim far more has been achieved in scientific knowledge than what the government is willing to reveal. This brand of conspiracy theorists is also very popular in the U.S. through a blend of science-fiction pop culture and clandestine military activities in the south-western part of the country. Contact with extra-planetary alien cultures is central to this group’s narrative. The town of Roswell, New Mexico, has become ground zero for this counter-culture. Hollywood has capitalized on this suspicion, perhaps even fueled it through popular TV series like The X-Files. I must confess being a fan of this series which ran for almost a decade. What fascinated me was how it took a grain of scientific fact or a true historic episode and wove a fictional web around it so deftly that even the most outlandish material could seem appealing to an informed audience.
Central to the success of conspiracy theories is some element of truth which may be stranger than fiction. Consider theories about doctored videos from Syria and Iraq which have surfaced in recent months. While there is little doubt regarding atrocities committed against women and minorities in the ISIS dominion, we should not dismiss the propensity for propaganda on all sides. For example, The Guardian revealed some years ago that during the Iraq war the Pentagon had entertained a suggestion to make a false video of Saddam Hussein having sex with a man which could be broadcast to discredit him. In another case, a photo-shopped video of an Osama bin Laden look-alike in a drunken stupor was actually filmed. According to The Guardian, the video “used some of the CIA’s darker skinned employees as extras playing the terror chief’s henchmen.” Thankfully, none of these ideas went forward but the mere fact that they were proposed gives us reason to pause.
One of the key reasons for the persistence of conspiracy theories has been the revelation that Cold War propaganda stories were actually true. 9/11 conspiracy theorists have capitalized on the existence of a CIA plan known as Operation Northwoods which aimed to commit terrorist acts in the US and blame it on the Cubans in order to gain sympathy for the US position on Cuba. President Kennedy rejected this plan but its consideration in declassified documents has been enough to give spur to 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Even with the current Ebola epidemic, one cannot ignore the perfidious history of pathogenic experimentation in which the US has been culpable in the past such as the syphilis experiments in Guatemala. Although times have changed, people need to be convinced cogently of the safeguards against such past indiscretions.
If there is any silver lining to conspiratorial thinking, it is a willingness to question what might seem obvious to the linear observer. As a scientist, I always consider such questioning to be positive. But when this curiosity becomes laced with predisposed dogma that has theological roots, it loses any charm. So let us all feel comfortable in questioning the establishment but not be paralyzed by paranoia. International behavior changes just as much as human behavior and we should always be willing to embrace positive change among countries. Countries such as the U.S. have to confront conspiracy narratives head-on and show how they have clearly changed in their modus operandi over the years. Foes of yesteryears can become friends today and we should cautiously focus on such positive transformation rather than languishing in the past.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An American video journalist who recovered from Ebola at an Omaha hospital left the facility Wednesday afternoon and is heading home to Rhode Island, a hospital spokesman said.
Ashoka Mukpo, who contracted the virus while working in Liberia as a freelance cameraman for NBC and other media outlets, was released from the Nebraska Medical Center’s biocontainment unit around 9 a.m. He spent several hours meeting with staff members who treated him and left the hospital complex in the afternoon, spokesman Taylor Wilson said.
Wilson told The Associated Press that Mukpo, 33, would fly to Rhode Island on Wednesday evening but he was unable to provide details about those travel plans.
Hospital officials said Tuesday that Mukpo’s blood had tested negative for the Ebola virus.
Dr. Jeffrey Gold, the University of Nebraska Medical Center chancellor, read a statement earlier Wednesday in which Mukpo expressed his thanks to the Nebraska hospital medical staff.
“After enduring weeks where it was unclear whether I would survive, I’m walking out of the hospital on my own power, free from Ebola,” Mukpo said in the statement.
He also joked about the nurses introducing him while he was in isolation to the Runza sandwich — a regional favorite involving hamburger, cabbage and onion baked inside the bread.
The journalist arrived at the hospital Oct. 6 and was the second Ebola patient to be treated there. The first, 51-year-old Dr. Rick Sacra, has also recovered.
In his statement, Mukpo thanked Dr. Kent Brantly, who provided blood for a transfusion. Brantly, who caught Ebola while caring for patients in Africa and was treated in Atlanta, also donated blood to Sacra. Such transfusions are believed to help Ebola patients because antibodies in the blood of a survivor can help fight off the virus.
Mukpo also received IV fluids, similar to Sacra’s treatment. But Mukpo received an experimental Ebola drug called brincidofovir that was different from an experimental drug given to Sacra. Asked if that difference is why Mukpo spent less time in the Nebraska isolation unit than Sacra, one doctor noted that Mukpo’s age likely played a role.
“He’s about 20 years younger than Dr. Sacra,” said Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the biocontainment unit. “It might have also had something to do with the amount of virus he had in his system. But I think his age was a big factor.”
Mukpo said he plans to write about his experience.
“I feel profoundly blessed to be alive, and in the same breath aware of the global inequalities that allowed me to be flown to an American hospital when so many Liberians die alone with minimal care,” he said in the statement.
Separately, NBC announced that its medical correspondent, Nancy Snyderman, has ended her 21-day quarantine period Wednesday and is healthy. The voluntary quarantine for Snyderman and her colleagues who reported from Liberia with Mukpo was made mandatory by health authorities when some of them were spotted getting takeout food.
NBC News President Deborah Turness said Snyderman has been encouraged to take time off and won’t return to work until next month. Some critics have called for her firing given the quarantine lapse.
Turness did not say whether Snyderman would return to covering Ebola.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado county clerk has reversed her order that a university remove copies of its student newspaper from boxes outside its student union Tuesday because the front page had coverage of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s visit to campus.
Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers, a Republican, said the front-page photo and story about Udall’s Monday visit to Colorado State University was improper electioneering and should not be allowed near a polling place. The student center contains a drop-off box for ballots.
Myers later announced that the statute on which she based her decision is unclear and that she will allow newspapers traditionally available within 100 feet of polling places to continue to be distributed for the remainder of the campaign.
Myers said she was consulting with the secretary of state’s office about the statute’s intent. The statute bans candidate photos and other electioneering material near polling places.
“This was done with the best of intentions. I don’t care what side of the issues you are on or your political persuasion,” Myers said of her removal order. “I would love some clarity on this statute, quite honestly.”
An attorney for The Rocky Mountain Collegian earlier Tuesday sent Myers a cease-and-desist letter, arguing news coverage is not electioneering.
“It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s a newspaper doing its job, not a pamphlet saying, `Go vote for someone,’” said Kate Winkle, the Collegian’s executive editor.
Winkle said Colorado State employees helped move newspapers to other boxes farther from the student center and no papers were lost.
Udall is in a tight battle against Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Republicans need to net six seats to take over the chamber.
While appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” from Las Vegas, Rove whipped out his whiteboard to drive home some points about the upcoming midterm election.
When the political strategist finished, O’Reilly warned him not to bring the whiteboard into the casinos.
“I don’t gamble,” Rove said.
“With your prediction record, that’s a wise move,” O’Reilly cracked.
“Y’know that was personal and petty,” Rove said. “That was personal and petty.”
“That’s me,” said O’Reilly. “P and P.”
Back in 2012, after predicting a Mitt Romney win in the presidential election, Rove threw a fit on live television when Fox News called Ohio for President Barack Obama.
Fox was right and Rove was wrong, and the following spring he was still bristling over it.
It’s not clear whether Rove was joking with O’Reilly or genuinely stung by the re-opened wound. But between the two of them, only one was laughing… and it wasn’t Rove.