48 hour black out

James Austin

48 hour news blackout


I have always been a person who loves their alone time. I frequently hike alone, go out by myself and usually work by myself for 8-hour shifts. However, I did not realize how dependent on constant updates I have become since beginning college. After the first day of classes, I have been expected to constantly stay up to date on “breaking news” and I have filled all of my social media with current sources. Whether I’m on Reddit, Twitter or Facebook I am constantly bombarded with what is happening in the world. I spent 2 days not checking any of these sights, not watching the news and actually had to leave the room when my parents were talking about something the president had said. In the time that I would normally spend reading the news and trying to get caught up, I found myself just sitting around and enjoying what was happening around me. For example, I normally listen to podcasts at work, but I instead spent an 8-hour shift with nothing but a paintbrush and my thoughts. I was able to reflect on life and think about plans that I wanted to accomplish this summer and next semester. It felt good to be able to take the time to take a break from all of the information that seems to barrage the average person. The constant updates and availability are an intrusion of solitude in today’s society. There are no times to take a break with what is happening without seemingly falling behind on current world affairs.


The 48 hours of no news made me realize that rather than spending all waking hours trying to keep up with minor details we should take time to enjoying other things. I found myself talking to my friends and family about life, daily activities and anything unrelated to the news. I found that most people become silent when they have to have a conversation and cannot fill it with “did you hear what happened today” or something similar. This culture of constant updates has made people, myself included, hesitant to talk about themselves in order to seem like a politically active citizen. People need more alone time to understand themselves and to not get so anxious and overwhelmed by this “Trending” society that has been created.


Annotated Bibliography

 1. Otnes, Cele C., and Pauline Maclaran. Royal Fever: The British Monarchy In Consumer Culture. University of California Press, 2015.

Royal Fever: The British Monarchy In Consumer Culture analyzes how people from all countries are attracted to the lives of the British Royal Family. Otnes and Maclaran analyze how and why people devout their time, money, and effort to the royal family. The Royal Family plays a huge role in history, fashion, media, products, brands, and tourist experiences.


2.  Robins, P. (1995). Media representations of the british royal family as national family. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 2(1), 113-116.

This journal analyzes how the Royal Family has become less of political figures to now more of “elevated  normality.” The public is so drawn to the Royal Family because investing in their every move is almost as if you are watching a soap opera. The vast majority of people who live relatively normal lives invest in the lives of the Royal Family because they emulate a real life fairy tale.


3. Samuelson, Kate. “How Princess Diana’s Death Changed the British Media.” Time, Time, 27 Aug. 2017.

Time elaborates on the fact that the paparazzi and media were infatuated with Princess Diana’s every move. The media was so invested with her and wanted to be involved in every aspect of her life, never giving her a moment alone. After her death, the media came to the understanding the harassing her during her every move up was wrong. They Royal Family called for strict privacy and protection of the princes, to which the media respected.


4. Addley, Esther, and Robert Booth. “Who Controls Whom? The Monarchy v the Media.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 Nov. 2016.

Addley and Booth analyze the controlling factors between The Monarchy and the media. Many people believe the Royals are trying to control their image in unprecedented ways, while the see it as protection for the own privacy. The media also manages to obtain and exploit every single excruciating details about the Royals as they could get their hands own, like exposing Prince Harry for drinking underage and using cannabis. The media likes to assert themselves in the Royals life for the best coverage and money making hits, while the Royals manage to ban publishers from publishing any paparazzi photos of them.


5. Elam, Stephanie. “Why Americans Are Obsessed with the British Royal Family.” CNN, Cable News Network, 29 Mar. 2018

In this CNN article, Elam examines how Americans love the Royal Family more than British people do. Americans are fascinated with the pomp and circumstances of the very dramatic and television-like lives the Royal Family. Americans really romanticize the idea of fairytales, royalty, and princess,  the royal family is a real life epitome of this.


6.  Burrell, Ian. “The Royal Family Is Putting Its Future at Risk.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 13 Mar. 2016

In this article, the relationship between the British Royal Family and the media is explained. Prince William is quite strained and negative since the death of his mother Princess Diana. He feels no sympathy for the media, as he believes they are what led his mother to her death in a since and protects his wife from experiencing that same fate. The article goes onto analyze how The Queen has a very special and inviting relationship with the media. The article goes onto say that once she passes, the Royal Family will fall apart.

Very good sources and annotations. Should have contacted me when you had gotten no grade because this was labelled as uncategorized.


Final Essay

Download (PDF, 6.32MB)


North Korea’s Nuclear Power 

The trajectory of the conflict between North Korea and the United States has been shaped by different channels of information. On November 29, 2017, North Korea launched one of their most powerful missiles just before 3 a.m. via a mobile launcher. Each media source had their own way of presenting such a controversial and trending topic for the community. However, there were particular facts and elements that are added to each one of these to attract the audience. President Trump and Kim Jong Un have been polemical characters because of their radical political differences and their ambition of power. Nuclear power could be a threat to the international community if countries refuse to follow the law. In addition, anything related to nuclear missiles in North Korea has a direct effect on the global community. Media sources tend to shape and alarm their audience by providing information with no clear explanation and intending to add small details to make the news a global trend. Information from this type will always have fear as an emotional component to alarm the audience.

It is complex to verify if the information provided by media sources is accurate or not. However, understanding the information, their position and the data given is essential to classify a source as reliable or unreliable. CNN made the article based on a combination of old facts and events with the continuation of the conflicts between North Korea and the United States. While informing the audience about the situation with the rules and parameters structured by the United Nations Security committee the article focused on the effects nuclear power could have on our society. Nuclear weapons have been controversial and strictly regulated since the Cold War.

These weapons of mass destruction alarm the society because of the unimaginable consequences the world could have. For example, it was evident that when North Korea launched their missile test in November 2017 the world was in an absolute panic. With this act, North Korea demonstrated that rules for them are simply words on a piece of paper. However, not all North Koreans think that way. According to a study made by The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 6 of 50 North Korean respondents (72%) did not think nuclear weapons made them a prosperous nation. In fact, 70% of North Korean respondents said the nuclear program is not the source of national pride. This is one essential evidence that the information in North Kora could be manipulated. The world has an idea that all North Koreans think exactly as their leader but, they don’t. These facts completely change the perspective people have about the country and it opens a new possibility for manipulation of information both internal and external for North Korea. It is also important to highlight, that the security is extremely hard to overpass the country has very strict regulations not only with their internet system but with their military code.

Ever since the Cold War nuclear weapons have been regulated by different entities to prevent a global tragedy. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has refused to follow the law imposed by the United Nations. For this reason, the UN Security Council adopted new sanctions. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN affirmed that “Sanctions on North Korea will further strangle its energy supplies and tighten restrictions on smuggling and the use of North Korean workers

It has been hard to journalist and investigators to find information about the country and the different nuclear programs they have. For example, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has proved that North Korea has an active nuclear program and is believed that they possess chemical and biological weapons capabilities. They know for sure that they have been constantly working on research to potentialize their nuclear program.

North Korea has been keeping the secrets for a long time. Not only by creating internal research and “tests” without permission but also because of how they break the nuclear law in silence. On November 29, 2017, North Korea fired a ballistic missile that was not only more powerful but also longer than the last two missiles “test”. This event was involved with a lot of misinterpretation North Korean’s affirmed it was only a “test” while the United States considered this a direct attack.

Any kind of information that comes from a country such as North Korea must be revised and verified before publication for three main reasons. Frist, the security and the strict information regulation they have in the country makes it extremely hard for a journalist to gather information. Second, because it is such a controversial and delicate topic, not all the facts could be released. There is an evident pollical conflict between the United States and North Korea and everything that can be considered a written thread for these countries could have atrocious consequences for the international community.

The manipulation of the information can be understood in many different ways. As mentioned before because of the tense relationship between these countries there are some pieces of information that have to be avoided. The world is aware of the power North Korea has with their nuclear system and the information that is released is often neutral. However, the U.S President has responded to North Korea’s thread with violent vocabulary and insults such as: “And nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places. But certainly, North Korea.” Then, Kim Jong Un has responded back saying: “Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.” All these conversations have been interpreted by media in diverse ways. For these reasons, sometimes it is hard to know how do we know what we know if we lack a variety of recourses to analyze.

There is also a possibility that the U.S government is meticulously aware of what the media sources are publishing and how are they positioning the United States in the conflict. On the other hand, gathering accurate information from such private and diplomatic conversations like the ones between Kim Jong Un and president Trump is almost impossible. Therefore, the message is not as accurate and detailed as it should be.

North Korea’s president Kim Jong Un and President Trump missile conflicts are the perfect examples to see how the media lacks accuracy and detailed information about the events regarding North Korea. In addition, this conflict is also an example of how citizens can differ completely in an opinion with their leader, but the media can still classify them as his shadow.  Gathering information about such complex topics is not as simple as it seems because of the controversial political relationship between these countries and all the global tension it produces.


Overall, pretty good paper. However your media is all bunched up in one place, making it irrelevant; you don’t have any sources or in-text citations to support your claims, making it hard to trust; and you only seem to have incorporated manipulation without using any other concepts, such as the RT or McLuhan to elaborate.



Works Cited

“Beyond Parallel – Bringing Transparency to Korean Unification.” CSIS Beyond Parallel, beyondparallel.csis.org/.’



Gaouette, Nicole. “UN Adopts Tough New Sanctions on North Korea.” CNN, Cable News Network, 24 Dec. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/12/22/politics/un-us-north-korea-resolution/index.html.



Landler, Mark, et al. “North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 Nov. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/world/asia/north-korea-missile-test.html



Lister, Tim. “North Korea Nuclear Reactors Show New Signs of Activity.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 Mar. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/03/15/asia/north-korea-nuclear-reactors-activity/index.html     .



“North Korea.” Nuclear Threat Initiative – Ten Years of Building a Safer World, www.nti.org/learn/countries/north-korea/         .



Peltz, Jennifer. “UN Security Council ‘Strongly Condemns’ North Korea Missile Test.” Chicagotribune.com, 30 Aug. 2017, www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-united-nations-north-korea-20170829-story.html.



Sang-hun, Choe. “’We No Longer Need’ Nuclear or Missile Tests, North Korean Leader Says.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/world/asia/kim-jong-un-hotline-korea.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FNorth%2BKorea%27s%2BNuclear%2BProgram.


Stevens, Matt. “Trump and Kim Jong-Un, and the Names They’ve Called Each Other.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 Mar. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/world/asia/trump-kim-jong-un.html.






Final Capstone Essay

Vivian Desme

Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle making their first appearance to the public as husband and wife. (Source: Harpers Bazaar)

      As the highly anticipated Royal Wedding for Prince Harry and American actress, Meghan Markle took place at May 19th, the world watched with awe and admiration. Of course with a massive event like this, there were various social media outlets involved in following the whole event capturing every single second of it. As much as the media rejoiced in sharing the story and opinions on the wedding with respect, there has also been a good amount of criticism and judgmental commentary from those who did not necessarily agree with the events that took place at this royal ceremony. From racial remarks, to negative comments on Meghan’s dress, to comparing their wedding to a divorce, these few social media outlets were not able to bite their tongue and were quick to judge the ceremony just because it was a bit different from past royal weddings. Aside from the negative commentary, there have also been positive feedback speaking well on the dress and ceremony and accepting the new traditions added. The negative social media outlets used the rhetorical appeal in order to shape and reconstruct people’s views and opinions on the wedding through ethos while the positive social media outlets relied more on pathos.

Aside from having two completely views on the event, there have been some social media outlets that decided to consider both opinions into their articles. New York Times article, “Meghan Markle’s Dress Was Made For A Person, Not A Princess” used pathos right in the title (How does this show pathos?). Keeping in mind that Meghan is not just a person, she is a Duchess who got married to Prince Harry, this headline might have shocked or grabbed the attention of many readers in a harsh way. If Meghan herself would have stumbled upon this title, it would have been offensive to see that her wedding dress was being considered just a normal one or not princess like. The article continues, talking about how her dress was nothing special but rather than a plain white, long sleeve dress. But as the article progresses, there was a second opinion, “It was not a Cinderella choice, not one that spoke of fantasy or old- fashioned fairy tales, but one that placed the women proudly front and center. It underscored Ms. Markle’s own independence by divesting her of frippery, while also respecting tradition and keeping her covered up” (3). Here one can see that there was positive feedback and admiration added rather than just negative commentary on the dress. This rapid change in words and views can really allow the reader to see just how influential media outlets are. The careful choice of words that the media uses are so strong that they are able to change the opinions and views of others very quickly. Good thing for The NY Times though, they did not pick a side, instead they voiced the 2 different standpoints and let the reader pick theirs.

(Pictured: Gospel singers from the ceremony. Source:  ABC News)

Aside from Meghan bringing change and out thinking us all with her wedding dress, it was not the only thing social media tried to voice their thoughts on. There has also been quite a few racial commentary towards Meghan and her family. When Prince Harry and Meghan first started their relationship back in 2016, their relationship was not made official until a few months later when Prince Harry expressed his concern for Meghan’s safety through a statement from his office asking the media to stop harassing her.


(This just leads me to the how we know webpage.)

Here we can see how Prince Harry accused the media for racially abusing Meghan Markle and her family. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

This comes to show you how the media is quick to judge not only a situation but a person and make them seem not suitable for royalty. These racial comments are a way to lure the audience to watch and even agree with everything they have to say (How?). Along with racial comments there have also been articles comparing Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding to a divorce considering she was married once before and did not go well (How is this relevant?).

A journal by The Guardian stated “It was more a black service than anything… it did no harm as part of the process of trying to build better race relations. Fundamentally it does not do anything to alter the deprivation and the class and race-related issues that deeply affect many people in this country,” (6). This criticism on the way the ceremony changed the traditions, adding a black preacher and a gospel choir was mainly relying on ethos by including, “the peer, who is a formerly executive chair of Commission for Racial Equality” . These commentaries give a different view on the ceremony that one watching may not have even noticed in the first place. It is smart to include that the peer is a formerly executive chair of Commission for Racial Equality because it makes his words and opinions more respected considering he has a great amount of knowledge on the subject. The audience reading his thoughts might even be convinced that the wedding was wrong in changing the original Royal Wedding traditions to a rather more black like ceremony. Throughout all of these changes in traditions, there will always be the good and the bad. Unfortunately, you can never avoid the bad critiques because there will always be someone who will disagree. Kepping in mind that social media outlets will always share their views and to not let them fool you into changing yours in key to being an active reader in today’s society.

You did a good job tracing the event, but a lot of the analysis was vague or incomplete. In a few places, you make claims about how pathos and logos apply to the event, but you don’t give a detailed enough explanation of why you think it applies.

Your could have included more concepts discussed in class, such as Secrecy or either of McLuhan’s theories. You also didn’t include in-text citations for many of the claims made in the paper.

Works Cited:

Davies, Caroline. “’It Really Was a Black Service’: World Reaction to Royal Wedding.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 20 May 2018, www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/20/it-really-was-a-black-service-world-reaction-to-royal-wedding.

Friedman, Vanessa. “Meghan Markle’s Wedding Dress Was Made for a Person, Not a Princess.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 May 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/05/19/style/meghan-markle-wedding-dress.html.

Gonzales, Erica. “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Wedding Cost Less Then Half of Princess Diana’s.” Harper’s BAZAAR, Harper’s BAZAAR, 20 May 2018, www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a20720644/meghan-markle-prince-harry-royal-wedding-cost/.

Rosenwald, Michael S. “The Last Time a Royal Tried to Marry an American It Didn’t Go Well.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 29 Nov. 2017, www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/meghan-markle-prince-harry-engaged-royal-wedding-divorced-american-crisis-windsor-castle-king-wallis-a8081986.html.

“Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.” Unofficial Royalty, 24 May 2018, www.unofficialroyalty.com/wedding-of-prince-harry-and-meghan-markle/.


Thesis – Final Draft

Backlash of Separation of Children and Parent’s Brings Change by Executive Order. – Liahnni Harris

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018, President Trump signs an executive order that will keep immigrant families together who have been detained at the U.S. – Mexico border. Border separations began earlier this year when Attorney general, Jeff Sessions, mandated that all people caught crossing the U.S. border illegally be sent for criminal prosecution. Under this policy, children were held in facilities run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, while their parents were sent to jail under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. (Abramson, 2018). With over 2,000 children being separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” since May, the media has been making appeals to the rhetorical triangle, especially pathos, an appeal to emotion, to create an outcry throughout the public. This has led to Trump’s policy being openly criticized by both the media and the U.S. population after photos, videos, and audio clips of children crying out for their parents were released. The media’s approach to handling this story is what ultimately led to Trump’s executive order ending his administration’s separation of immigrant families.


Trump’s administration officials used an appeal to logos, blaming “the law” as the reason they separate undocumented children from their parents. They are claiming that U.S. laws or court ruling are forcing them to make these separations.

Yet the Washington Post, and other media outlets, appeal to ethos by proving no such law exists and discrediting the Trump administration (How is this ethos?).  There is a law from the 1950s, however, that makes entering the country without legal authorization a misdemeanor. That is the law that the Trump administration is using as their justification for separating families and the enforcement thereof. (Rizzo, 2018). Many media outlets have made appeals to ethos by trying to discredit the Trump administration’s blame on the Democrats in reference to the separation of children from their parents. However, the media reminds the public that during its first 15 months, 100,000 immigrants who were arrested at the U.S. – Mexico border were released. (Sacchetti, 2018). Vox, has also discredited Trump’s false proclamations by stating, “ The decision to charge asylum seekers in criminal court rather than waiting to see if they qualify for asylum – are both decisions that the Trump administration has made.” (Lind, 2018).

The Trump administration has separated over 2,000 families at the US/Mexico border. This visualization from Vox’s Javier Zarracina shows family separations over six weeks, from mid-April to the end of May. On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero-tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone caught crossing the border illegally (between ports of entry), launching the family-separation policy in its current form. Javier Zarracina/Vox”

Media outlets are also using pathos, an appeal to emotional, to stir a reaction among the public. CBS News reported that the government’s top health official, Alex Azar, could barely hide his discomfort when talking about the conditions of the children. They also spoke about Doctors warning serious trauma to the children from separation. An unnamed pediatrician, spoke to CBS about an encounter  with a toddler they saw uncontrollably weeping in a shelter, the doctor tried to comfort her but the staff wouldn’t allow it. (AP, 2018). Business Insider talks about how the government is trying to exploit fear to justify the human rights violations they are committing. Trump initially defended his “zero tolerance” policy by claiming his opponents “don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13.” (Davis, 2018). Ironically, however, MS-13 started in Los Angeles, and quickly became international. But Jeffrey Davis, journalist from Business Insider, argues that the Trump administration is just using that as a pretext for allowing the U.S. to break fundamental principles of international law. The American Academy of Pediatrics appeal to both ethos and pathos by issuing a statement that says they strongly oppose the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. In the statement they claim that “Studies of detained immigrants have shown that children and parents may suffer negative physical and emotional symptoms from detention, including anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Conditions in U.S. detention facilities, which include forcing children to sleep on cement floors, open toilets, constant light exposure, insufficient food and water, no bathing facilities, and extremely cold temperatures, are traumatizing for children. These are not appropriate places for children.” (Kraft, 2018) (How does this show ethos and pathos? Explain.).

Backlash to the “Zero Tolerance Policy” is swift, with people with very different backgrounds and political views on many things have come together to condemn the policy. Widespread condemnation came from celebrities to parents and from politicians to activists. Religious and humanitarian leader publicly denounced the policy. The unity in the outrage that initially sprouted from media reports on the policy that separated children from their parents at the border, transcends  time and distance by sparking a reaction throughout all social media outlets, and news media outlets. Across the country, there were marches to protest and demand for the stopping of family separations.  This brings together ideas of Marshall McLuhan, who speaks of the “medium being the message” and talks about technology immersing us in a pool of information that allows us to incorporate ourselves with all people, which he talks about in his Playboy interview in 1969. (12).  Former First Ladies, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, took to Twitter to express their emotions toward the situation of these children. Clinton, former first lady and presidential candidate, called the situation a “humanitarian crisis” and called for people with compassion and decency to be outraged. Bush, called the policy cruel and immoral and stated that it breaks her heart. Melania Trump, First Lady, expressed opposition toward the policy, stating that she “hates” to see families separated. The first lady “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.” (Schallhorn, 2018).


Celebrities also took to Twitter to denounce the policy. Ellen DeGeneres stated, “ I don’t care what your politics are, we can’t be a country that separates children from their parents. Do something about this, here.” She included a link with an article that spoke about ways people can help this problem get solved.

The most gripping of all reports, and perhaps, the strongest appeal to pathos, was a leak of the voices of the children separated at the border that was published by Vox News and ProPublica on YouTube the day before the Executive Order was signed. The recording puts the sounds of weeping children into the public’s ears, as they cry out for the mother and father. You can even hear the sound of a little girl from El Salvador asking to use the phone to call her aunt to see if she can get picked up.

The media’s approach to reporting the “Zero Tolerance Policy”, created a huge reaction among the public. Appeals to ethos, logos, and especially pathos were ignited a stirrup and had people from all different backgrounds come together to denounce, and fight against a policy that separated children from their parents. Ultimately, the Trump administration fell to the pressure and signed an executive order ending the separation of children from their families temporarily.

You did a good job tracing the event, but a lot of the analysis was vague or incomplete. In many places, you make claims about how the class concepts apply to the event, but you don’t give a detailed enough explanation of why you think it applies.

Works Cited

Abramson, Alana. “President Trump Signs Executive Order on Immigrant Families.” Time, Time, 20 June 2018, time.com/5317367/trump-executive-order-immigration/.
Conversation, The. “Trump’s ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Immigration Policy Still Violates Fundamental Human Rights Laws.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 30 June 2018, www.businessinsider.com/trumps-zero-tolerance-immigration-policy-violates-human-rights-laws-2018-6.
Craft , Colleen. “AAPStatementOpposingBorderSecurityandImmigrationReformAct.” American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 15 June 2018, www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAPStatementOpposingBorderSecurityandImmigrationReformAct.aspx.
Lind, Dara. “The Trump Administration’s Separation of Families at the Border, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 11 June 2018, www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents.
“McLuhan-Interview.pdf.” Google Slides, Playboy Magazine, Mar. 1969, docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://hwknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/McLuhan-interview.pdf&hl=en_US.
Rizzo, Salvador. “Analysis | The Facts about Trump’s Policy of Separating Families at the Border.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 June 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/06/19/the-facts-about-trumps-policy-of-separating-families-at-the-border/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0942d200e40c.
Sacchetti, Maria. “Despite Vow to End ‘Catch and Release,’ Trump Has Freed 100,000 Who Illegally Crossed the Border.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Apr. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/despite-vow-to-end-catch-and-release-trump-has-freed-100000-who-illegally-crossed-the-border/2018/04/13/839c778e-3754-11e8-acd5-35eac230e514_story.html?utm_term=.d9b5743344b6.
Schallhorn, Kaitlyn. “What Trump’s ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Immigration Policy Means for Children Separated from Families at Border.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 19 June 2018, www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/19/what-trumps-zero-tolerance-immigration-policy-means-for-children-separated-from-families-at-border.html.
voxdotcom. “The Voices of Children Separated at the Border.” YouTube, YouTube, 19 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItWweMVi41s.
“Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy Sowed Confusion from Start.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 1 July 2018, www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-administration-zero-tolerance-policy-immigration-confusion/.
ABCNews. YouTube, YouTube, 20 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmP3bHQNxz0.
DailyMailOnlineVideo. YouTube, YouTube, 4 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo8RpFv8qb8.

Final Capstone Essay

Tweet Thrusts Starbucks Into Racial Bias Conversation

When Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks in April 2018, accused of trespassing despite only waiting there a few moments for a business associate, social media was a catalyst for change. Twitter and Instagram posts quickly sparked outrage by appealing to the reader’s sense of emotion through showing recorded videos of the two black men being unfairly arrested. National news reports including a Good Morning America interview with Robinson and Nelson, and details of the arrest released by CNN appealed to the reader’s sense of justice. This incident of racial profiling, brought to the public’s attention primarily through social media, and supported by traditional news outlets lead to a media storm which forced Starbucks to close 8,000 stores nationwide for “racial bias training” on May 29, 2018.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested 2 minutes after arriving at a Philadelphia Starbucks on April 12, 2018 after being accused of trespassing. (Image: ABC News)

The online stir began on April 12, 2018 when Melissa DePino, Philadelphia resident and co-founder of anti-racism organization From Privilege to Progress was at Starbucks and witnessed the arrest of Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, which she recorded on her cellphone. Incensed by witnessing such injustice firsthand, she immediately posted the 45 second clip to her public Twitter account. In the video, Robinson and Nelson (who are black) are shown being escorted out of the Starbucks in handcuffs by five police officers, as their business associate (who is white) argues their case. It is clear to the viewer that neither of the men being arrested pose a real threat, as Robinson and Nelson remain quiet and cooperative during the unfair arrest. Viewers were left to wonder whether the arrest was racially motivated. Within hours, DePino’s cellphone video went viral. It now has over 11 million views on Twitter. The video was also shared on Instagram.

Within 24 hours, Starbucks received so many tweets from enraged online viewers and Starbucks customers, that they tweeted a response to the viral video through their official Twitter account. They not only responded to DePino directly,  but also to hundreds of other angry Twitter members.

The Starbucks tweets (which many readers deemed insufficient and insincere) lead to thousands of retweets, likes, and replies. Most of the responses were angry, demanding the firing of the Starbucks employee who called the police on Robinson and Nelson. Other responses included the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks. Other trending Twitter hashtags from April 13-16 were #starbuckswhileblack, #starbucks, #racism, and #blacklivesmatter. Twitter was a powerful platform in this incident because a situation which may have remained local or been easily forgotten, had now gained the attention of Starbucks executives, and the public.

Four days after her cellphone video went viral, Melissa DePino wrote an article for CNN entitled “Why I Tweeted the Starbucks Arrest Video”.

She noted that while injustice against black and brown people happens every day, this particular incident resonated with people more than most. “After my tweet went viral, a well-meaning friend of my generation, who believes herself to be racially unbiased, said to me, ‘I’m shocked. I never knew that still happened until I saw your video.’ My first thought in response was: Really? And my second was to wonder: What was it about this story that broke through to her when other stories didn’t?” wrote DePino. The power of her cellphone recording was that it gave readers who may have lacked exposure to (or knowledge of) racial justice, a firsthand view of what happens every day to people of color. Video was a powerful medium to convey this message because it evoked an emotional response. Viewers could see the faces and expressions of Robinson and Nelson. Through video they could “experience” the discrimination real time, in a way they couldn’t through simply reading a news article, or hearing about it from a friend.

After generating online attention, the story transitioned from social media to traditional news platforms. One week after their arrest Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson did an interview on Good Morning America. In the interview, they shared their personal account of their experience at Starbucks and their arrest only two minutes after entering the store. They also revealed that Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson met with them personally in an attempt to resolve the incident.

Suffering from backlash, Starbucks was now facing a very real financial threat and public relations nightmare due to television reports and social media posts. Robinson and Nelson pursued legal action against Starbucks and the city of Philadelphia for their unfair arrest. They reached a settlement with the city for $1 each and a private settlement with Starbucks. Both men were also offered the chance to pursue undergraduate degrees through a Starbucks corporate program that pays online college tuition. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross also issued an apology to Robinson and Nelson.

In a May 2, 2018 statement posted on the Starbucks website, CEO Kevin Johnson wrote, “I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile. I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learnings and experiences. And Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be.”

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson with an employee (source: starbucks.com)

Shortly after meeting with Nelson and Robinson, Starbucks executives made the decision to close more than 8,000 stores in the United States on May 29, 2018 to conduct racial-bias training. They also partnered with Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, The Anti-Defamation League, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and LGBTQ advocacy groups.

While the wrongful arrest was a traumatic experience for the two 23-year-olds, the incident generated mainstream attention predominately through Twitter, which lead to a national conversation about race. Many were left to wonder why in 2018, these two black men were still unfairly perceived as a threat, and what could be done to change that. Where did the racial bias stem from? How did this arrest perpetuate the mistrust between minority communities and law enforcement? And, how could corporations do a better job of embracing diversity while creating safe and inclusive spaces for their customers? In this regard, Melissa DePino’s 45 second video clip was a catalyst for a much needed change within the Starbucks company culture.

Works Cited:

“Joint Statement from Starbucks ceo, Kevin Johnson, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson.” Starbucks Newsroom, 2 May 2018, https://news.starbucks.com/press-releases/joint-statement-from-kevin-johnson-donte-robinson-and-rashon-nelson.

“Starbucks Shares Details on Multi-Phase Anti-Bias Training.” Starbucks Newsroom, 25 Apr. 2018, news.starbucks.com/views/starbucks-shares-further-details-on-anti-bias-training-efforts.

“The melting pot bubbles less. (cultural diversity).” The Economist (US). Economist Newspaper Ltd. 1993. HighBeam Research. 1 Jul. 2018 https://www.highbeam.com

Bethea, C. (2018). What Two Starbucks Employees Made of the Company’s Anti-Bias Training. [online] The New Yorker. Available at: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-two-starbucks-employees-made-of-the-companys-anti-bias-training [Accessed 2 Jul. 2018].

DePino, Melissa. “Why I Tweeted the Starbucks Arrest Video.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 Apr. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/04/16/opinions/philadelphia-starbucks-why-i-tweeted-the-video-depino-opnion/index.html.

Godsil, Rachel D. “Breaking the Cycle: Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat.” Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Jan. 2015, www.prrac.org/full_text.php?text_id=1508&item_id=15051&newsletter_id=139&header=Race / Racism&kc=1.

Kahn, Jonathan. Race on the Brain : What Implicit Bias Gets Wrong about the Struggle for Racial Justice. Columbia University Press, 2018. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.fiu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1628846&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Pomrenze, Y. and Simon, D. (2018). Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks reach agreements. [online] CNN. Available at: https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/02/us/starbucks-arrest-agreements/index.html [Accessed 2 Jul. 2018].

Final Capstone Essay

Media is a powerful tool that can impact the public’s beliefs, perspective and their next decision. The public relies on the media to communicate what is happening around the world, in our nation and in our community to inform and spread awareness of news. The evolution of the media has transformed from Sunday newspapers to 10 o’clock news to constant news app notifications. On May 07, 2018 President Donald Trump and his administration enforced the zero-tolerance immigration policy, separating children from their parents at the border as they are prosecuted for entering the country illegally. A public outcry occurred across the country after photos and videos of children separated from their parents went viral. The media and public stood up for these children who were suffering mentally and emotionally without their parents’ protection or care. Ultimately, President Trump was led to signing the executive order to end the families’ separation and having to reunite over 2,000 children with their parents.

On July 2, 2018, protestor stood in front blocking the entrance to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in downtown Los Angles, California. Protestors locked arms and chanted “Shut down ICE!”

Immigrants starve, swim, run, and jump just to enter illegally in America to leave behind the terrible situations they had in their countries. On May 7, 2018 U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a clear statement that all adults who crossed the border illegally would be separated from their children and prosecuted. From USA Today as Hegarty quoted Sessions “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law, if you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border” (par. 12). According to Wilson’s studies in “Reference Shelf: Immigration,” this immigration controversy began when Donald Trump ran for presidential elections in 2016 and then became the president of the U.S. stating his agenda would include building a wall between America and Mexico to create a stronger border for protection (1). President Donald Trump stood firmly against behind his “zero tolerance” immigration policy. “Under this zero-tolerance policy, adults apprehended between ports of entry will be transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, tried in criminal court for the misdemeanor of illegal entry and/ or the felony of illegal re-entry, sent to federal jail or prison to serve their sentence, and then handed back to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be removed from the country” (Chishti, par. 6). Theresa Seiger brought awareness regarding the immigration policy in her article in Ohio’s Dayton Daily News, Sessions said in April “Our goal is to prosecute every case that is brought to us, there must be consequences for illegal actions, and I am confident in the ability of our federal prosecutors to carry out this new mission” (par. 6).

This photo was provided by U.S. Customs Border and Protection to show the interior of the CBP facility in McAllen, Texas. Children separated from parents who crossed the border illegally.

A massive public outcry occurred when photos and videos of children in the detention centers went viral. Children were held inside metal fencing cages with only large foil sheets that were meant to be blankets for them. On National Public Radio website Camila Domonoske and Richard Gonzales stated, “such facilities have been criticized before for poor conditions and reports of abuse and inhumane treatment, including a number of allegations the CBP strongly denies” (par. 24) Children have been suffering mentally and emotionally without their parents’ protection or care. The public was even more concerned for the younger children and how the separation from their parents has affected them. “A Border Patrol official said that it’s a matter of “discretion” how young is too young for a child to be separated from their parents. In general, he said, the age of 5 has been used as a benchmark, with children younger than that called “tender-aged” (Domonoske, par. 27). Thousands across America protested to not separate families at the border, many called President Trump “cruel,” “insensitive,” and “immoral.” “From April 19 to May 31, officials said, 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults who said they were the guardians of the children, CNN reported” (Seiger, par. 9). Protest across the nation were occurring against the immigration policy separating families effected various fields and communities. On June 28, 2018, 575 women were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating at a rally which occurred at a US Senate building. Music magazine New Musical Express has an article written by Rhian Daly, “women at the rally, which protested in part the separation of families at the border between America and Mexico, were reported to be chanting “We care” in response to the jacket Melania Trump wore to a migrant child detention center in Texas. The back of the jacket read: “I really don’t care, do u?” (par. 11). Susan Sarandon one of the 575 women who got arrested tweeted “It was worth it. There’s also more protests nationwide tomorrow. Find one near you by clicking here: https://t.co/3

NGFQtJIqb” (Daly, par. 8).

Protestor wearing jacket saying “I care why don’t u?” during a protest outside of the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center on June 25, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.

President Trump had claimed there was nothing he can could do about the policy and blamed the separation as the Democrats’ fault. “It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Border Security and Crime,” Trump wrote Monday in a tweet. “Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!” (Seiger, par. 11). Daily Beast quoted Donald Trump stating “We can’t do it through an executive order” and a week after he signed the executive order (par. 3). This backlash from the media and protesters had Trump up against the wall. On June 18, 2018 President Trump signed the executive order for the zero-tolerance policy and said, “It is also the policy of this administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources” (Domonoske, par. 9). Philip Bump reported in July on The Washington Post “The administration has said 2,342 children in total were separated from their parents” (par. 6) The Department of Health and Human Services has been working on reuniting all children back to their parents.

Address why Trump reversed the policy. What was the influence of public opinion?

On July 2, 2018 in San Diego, California, protestors sat and chanted in front of the downtown building of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

America is one big melting pot, people come from all over the world seeking shelter, peace, and a better safer life for themselves and their children. Protection at the border is an issue but the laws of how we prosecute immigrants need to be reevaluated. The media will certainly help these changes occur by making the public aware and the public taking matters into their own hands by protesting. The First Amendment gives us freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom to peacefully assemble or petition. We must use media our powerful weapon to bring change to our nation.

Analysis and the use of media could have been stronger. A first draft would have helped the final paper.




Bump, Philip. “Analysis | The Children Separated from Their Parents, by the

Numbers.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 July 2018,





Chishti, Muzaffar, et al. “Family Separation and ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policies Rolled

Out to Stem  Unwanted Migrants, But May Face Challenges.” Journal of

          Immigrant and Minority Health, 7 June 2018.


Daly, Rhian. “Susan Sarandon Arrested at Anti-Trump Rally.” New Musical

          Express, 30 June 2018.


Domonoske, Camila, and Richard Gonzales. “What We Know: Family

Separation And ‘Zero Tolerance’ At The Border.” NPR, NPR, 19 June 2018,




Hegarty, Aaron. “Timeline: Immigrant Children Separated from Families at the

Border.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 27 June

2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/06/27/immigrant-children



Lachlan, Markay, et al. “Trump Stops Separating Immigrant Families After

Claiming He Couldn’t.” The Daily Beast, The Daily Beast Company, 20

June 2018, www.thedailybeast.com/trump-stops-separating-immigrant



Seiger, Theresa. “Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Immigration Policy: 4 Things to

Know.” Dayton Daily News, 20 June 2018.


Wilson, H W. “Reference Shelf: Immigration”. 1st ed., vol. 88, H.W. Wilson, 2016.

Medias Role in Trumps Metal Tariffs – Final Essay

Recently U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration released breaking news of a imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. This news soon traveled through media all over the world presenting multiple emotional appeals to the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. Through the use of business presenters, economists, ambassadors, and showcased statements from President Trump and his administration media news platforms such as the New York Times, Fox News, and CBS, were briefly able to carry this political event in a positive manner to the public. However, it is important to note that when this information was delivered to the American public implementations of the rhetorical triangle, forms of credibility, logical reasoning, and feelings of trust, were used to decrease any questioning assumptions on how the steel and aluminum tariffs would affect the American population.

With the rise of President Trump’s announcement on March 8, 2018, of a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports the White House administration released an article on May 31, 2018, that went into more detail on these metal tariffs. This article seemed to be the first step to sensationalizing this news in a clear and progressive manner. In order for President Trump to see where his message stood with the  American people, he turned to social media platforms such as Twitter. This move made by President Trump was yet another necessary building block needed to establish a contextual link of trust and communication between him and society.

Journalists like Swanson Anna, trade reporter for the New York Times, published a newspaper article on President Trumps Plural: Trump’s. It’s careless to make mistakes like this on the final. tariff move. This article focused mainly on presenting positive information towards President Trump’s steel and aluminum and how it will benefit Americans. It is important to note negative views towards trumps tariffs were presented in this article but, conveyed in a lighter sense. This article along with many others was what determined how the public would react to President Trump’s metal tariffs (Swanson 1).

It appeared as if President Trump and his administration covered all of their bases with the use of media outlets, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Fox News, NPR, etc…, creating positive headlines to prevent any questions from arising on the metal tariff implementation, but that just was not so. When the aluminum and steel tariffs were announced some American citizens and individuals within the metal manufacturing industry, seemed to consider this issue a problem.

It’s important to note that this U.S. tariff was a trade imposition on a global level and with that, brought many other voices outside the U.S., to the event at hand soon after it was publicized.

When countries, like Canada, with trade relations to the U.S., obtained the news on the imposed steel and aluminum tariffs, they were quick to respond to the matter. Officials such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared his view at a news conference he held in Ottawa. In which, he explained how pointless the move by the U.S. was especially since Canada is an ally to the U.S., not a national security threat. His statement made national headlines and was one of the first steps made in fighting President Trump’s metal tariffs and providing the public with another perspective by the power of media (Swanson 1).

The trajectory of what was thought to be the truth on the effects of the steel and aluminum tariffs announced by President Trump was soon yet to be shaped from another point of view through the use of media outlets and articles from people in the political realm. Senator Jeff Flake, for example, stated “Tariffs are bad enough on their own. Tariffs married with uncertainty are even worse,”(Powell 26). His disagreements on President Trump’s tariff decision went as far as to him forming a bill to the Senate to negate the tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum. Covered by Slaughter Powell, senior editor, logistics manager, and financial furnisher for FurnitureToday (26).

Abedi Maham, a national online journalist for Global News, covered other countries, such as the UK, Canada, and the EU, reactions towards the U.S. imposing steel and aluminum tariffs. Most of the statements that were gathered from each country tended to include their disappointment in the U.S. and the need for a “Retaliation in the form of a Tariff” to be on equal playing fields (Abedi 1). Glaser S. Bonnie senior Asia adviser and director of the China Power Project at CSIS published a journal article that considered the U.S. metal tariffs “An abuse of trade,”(Glass 1).

The handling of information through media and technology can often times keep the American society in the dark. The steel and aluminum tariffs placed by President Trump and his administration, for instance, was brought to the public in an affirmative light. Statements made such as the “Tariffs have already had major, positive effects on steel and aluminum workers and jobs and will continue to do so long into the future,” helped in keeping the image of these tariffs safe(qtd. in Swanson 1). There were people within the U.S. government who were in opposition to this tariff, but majority It’s dubious to claim that the majority was in favor of Trump just doe to his affirmative explanation of the tariff. ruled over them. People just weren’t aware of the impact this tariff had on society. The 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum will put financial pressures on manufacturers producing cars, trucks, beers, canned goods, and soft drinks to name a few (McCoy 1). Which, will cause consumers of those products to pay an increased price overall.

Wow. Watching that gave me agida. 

What about tweet #3?

Placing tariffs on goods that are sent out for international trade is not the only way to go about a trade. The establishment of a free trade or fair trade market is another route countries could go which, can aid in a society’s growth (Rich 1). Starting to go off-topic here. Since President Trump is able to mold the American public The assignment specifically asks to AVOID broad terms like this. to be in support of his decisions on bilateral trade relations due to his close affiliation with social media and news outlets. It is important to be aware of the impacts that can occur like the sparking of a trade war (Horsley 1). Technology has played such an influential role in the spreading of information and continues to globally shape each country’s culture, which, can bring desirable and undesirable change. It is important to be media active in order to recognize accurate and inaccurate information that is given to the public, like U.S. President Trump’s metal tariff and how it was perceived to only do the American society well. There really isn’t much evidence of widespread support due to rhetoric in this paper.

I have to admit, reading this was a tad disappointing given the quality of some of your past work. There is quite a bit of inconsistency in that the thesis statement doesn’t really follow the rest of the paper. For instance, it’s written ‘This news soon traveled through media all over the world presenting multiple emotional appeals to the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs’ but this isn’t really explored. The argument that the tariffs received widespread support due to rhetoric used by the Trump administration is not bolstered by evidence within the paper. In fact, the response seems to be apathetic if not somewhat hostile (Miller tweets, etc.). It’s even cited that large swaths of the manufacturing sector, traditionally known as bedrock supporters of Trump, are against the tariffs.

On the other hand, the use of media is excellent and a good amount of research shows through the work. I wish a draft had been submitted so some of these issues could have been rectified.

Notice for Pictures/Video Used

All pictures/videos used in this project are credited to its original owners. The videos from youtube.com were taken to present different points of view towards the global event being discussed within this essay. The material was used for educational use only.

Works Cited

Abedi, Maham. “U.S. announces steel and aluminum tariffs, Canada hits back.” Globalnews, 31 May 218 https://globalnews.ca/news/4244344/us-steel-aluminum-tariffs-canada-exemption/. Accessed 12 July 2018.

Glaser, Bonnie S. and Kelly Flaherty. “Hurtling toward a Trade War.” Comparative Connections: A Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations, vol. 20, no. 1, May 2018, pp. 19-31. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.fiu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aci&AN=130237402&site=eds-live.

Horsley, Scott. “Trump Says He’s Not Worried That Steel And Aluminum Tariffs Might Spark Trade War.” 6 March 2018 https://www.npr.org/2018/03/06/591266895/trump-says-hes-not-worried-that-steel-and-aluminum-tariffs-might-spark-trade-war.

McCoy, Kevin. “5 ways U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum could affect American consumers.” USAToday, 2 March 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/03/02/5-ways-u-s-tariffs-steel-and-aluminum-could-affect-american-consumers/388420002/.

Rich, Alex K. “Free Trade.” PointsofView, 2016. EBSCOhost, 1 Dec. 2017, ezproxy.fiu.edu/login? url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89158195&site=eds-live.

This is the same source used in the annotated bibliography which I couldn’t find. Unfortunately there is no scholarly source in this work cited section.

Slaughter, Powell “Senator Opposes Steel, Aluminum Tariffs.” Furniture/Today, 25 Mar. 2018. vol. 42, no. 29 EBSCOhost, ezproxy.fiu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=128729692&site=eds-live.

Swanson, Ana. “White House to Impose Metal Tariffs on E.U., Canada and Mexico.” NewYorkTimes, 31 May 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/us/politics/trump-amajorityluminum-steel-tariffs.html.



Final Capstone Essay

Hannah Gomez

Media’s Influence on Zero Tolerance Policy

When news broke out about over 2,000 immigrant families being separated at the United States/Mexico border, it sparked public outrage all over the country. Media news sources siding with the Trump administration tried to manipulate the public through the use of what they thought was logical reasoning, by asking Americans to accept that immigrants are not deserving of protection (Rosser 2018).  During this time, a leaked video went viral showing voice recordings of children forcibly being removed from their families. The fear and agony in their cries were enough to pull the heartstrings of millions on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The public’s lashing out soon led to the release of a policy change by the Trump administration. Protestors have also utilized social media to expose the secrecy, lies and bias of the Trump administration and how immigrant families were really being treated during the separations at the border.

Activists with goals of exposing the Trump administration have used pathos to gather more support for the families suffering at the border. Social media users on sites such as Twitter and Facebook have pulled on the heart strings of millions through videos and voice overs of the affected families. Although initially claiming that the issue could not be solved through an executive order, public backlash and global criticism on President Trump and his administration led to the eventual end to his Zero Tolerance Policy.

Source: Twitter

On the other hand, Fox News tried to use logos to justify the separation of immigrant families by calling child detention centers “basically summer camps.” They want the public to see immigrants as gang members and threats to the United States, however, they contradict themselves by wanting the public to ignore the moral presented by families forced to be separated because of said violence (Rosser 2018). Trump’s anti-immigrant policy completely dehumanizes immigrants as a whole. His xenophobia was clearly displayed through the way he held these children hostage and disregarded their basic demands of human decency. Thankfully, there are people in this country who truly know the difference between right and wrong who used their voices to publicize the inhumane conditions these poor children were suffering.

Source: Twitter

Trump supporters used rhetorical appeals in an attempt to shape the arrests of these immigrants as a way of ensuring societal safety. Claiming that “the gangs leave misery, devastation and death in their wake and they threaten entire governments” in attempt to manipulate the public’s opinion and cover up Trump’s xenophobic ways and biased opinions. Protestors were able to see through this and come together, using the power of social media to shine the light on what was really happening. Using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, gave even more people access to this information. Now This News used pathos to show the outrage the public was feeling during the separations of the border. This was such a negative extremity that Holocaust survivors, Jack and Rachel Goldstein came together and met with Now This to speak out against the Trump administration’s child separation policy. They go on to explain how for young children, that trauma can last a lifetime. “The longer they are away from their families, the greater the harm,” says Rachel.

Source:  Twitter

Citizens of the United States were not the only ones participating in backlash against Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. Another reason for President Trump’s sudden “change of heart” was the criticism from foreign leaders and business executives around the nation. Jaime Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, wrote a letter to his employees stating that his heart went out to the families affected by the border crisis and that Trump’s policy was “tearing apart our body politic and damaging our economy” (SourceMedia 2018). Dimon also stated that fixing the issue will most importantly reflect American and core human values of fairness, decency and mutual respect. Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, also used his position to reach out to the public. He issued a statement reminding everyone that more than 37% of New York City residents and 41% of business owners are foreign-born, and urged immigration policies to “reflect on the essential role that immigrants play in our economy and our society as a whole” (SourceMedia 2018). CEOs of such prestigious companies generally tend to shy away from political disputes, but the family separation policy was a notable exception.

CEOs of major companies such as Airbnb, Apple, Chobani, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft took part in the movement to put an end to family separations at the border. These business leaders’ call to action increased after videos went viral on social media of young children being detained and separated from their parents. Whether it was ending contracts with ICE, donating money to cover legal fees for affected families, or using their social media accounts to voice their opinions, these CEOs condemned Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy enough to have him sign the executive order to put it all to an end. What about ‘foreign leaders’?

Tweet from Google CEO criticizing Trump’s immigration policy.
Tweet from Airbnb CEO criticizing Trump and his immigration policy

Social media has played a huge role in the change of President Trump’s Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy. A tragedy as sensitive as children being separated from their parents was something the public had zero tolerance for and had no choice but to voice their opinions. This caused such a public outrage that it led to CEOs from major corporations to come out of their comfort zones and make a statement on this political dispute and even led to Holocaust survivors speaking out about how separation from parents is the absolute worst thing that can happen to a child. News outlets in support of the Trump administration attempted to use logos to deceive the public into thinking that the separations would benefit the United States as a whole, but more intellectual social media users and business owners appealed to pathos and exposed the horrors these families were facing. The trajectory of this event was greatly shaped by information systems such as news casts, social media and public statements.


Works Cited:

Cox Media Group National Content Desk. “Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Migrant Family Separations.” Dayton Newspaper, 20 June 2018, LexisNexis Academic, http://www-lexisnexis-com.ezproxy.fiu.edu/lnacui2api/returnTo.do?returnToKey=20_T27717316002

Dimon, Corbat”-led group criticize Trump immigration policy.” American Banker, 21 June 2018. Academic OneFile,             http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A543708696/AONE?u=miam11506&sid=AONE&xid=6f33b4b6.

Rosser, Ezra. “Trump Administration’s Hypocritical Immigration Policies Demand Public Outrage.” The Hill, 13 June 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/391985-trump-administrations-hypocritical-immigration-policies-demand-public

Spagat, Elliot, and Morgan Lee. “Trump Administration U-Turn over ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Immigration Policy.” Independent.ie, 26 June 2018, www.independent.ie/world-news/trump-administration-uturn-over-zerotolerance-immigration-policy-37050078.html.

Tuttle, Brad. “’Heartless, Cruel, Immoral.’ Every Major CEO Who Condemned Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Border Policy.” Time, 20 June 2018, time.com/money/5317394/trump-family-separation-policy-uber-facebook-google-microsoft/.

Watson, Brendan R., and Daniel Riffe. “Perceived Threat, Immigration Policy Support, and Media Coverage: Hostile Media and Presumed Influence.” International Journal of Publication Research, vol. 25, no. 4, Dec. 2013, pp. 459–479, http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.fiu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=dfd12e43-5ccf-466a-9b68-aaa67cf82b7d%40sessionmgr4010&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=92875562&db=ufh

Thesis- Final Draft

Media’s effect on the Plastic Ban

The Last of its Kind

On March 22, 2018, USA Today broke the alarming news regarding the Great Pacific Plastic Patch, GPGP for short, increasing in size. The rapid circulation of images and videos of the current situation in the Pacific, has resulted in a call for action throughout all social media platforms.

There has been extensive media coverage of a new study that has found a patch of plastic in the Pacific Ocean that has grown to twice the size of Texas. Bringing the urgency of this problem to the public’s attention has created momentum for change.  Social media campaigns such as #StopSucking, #StrawsSuck and #TheLastStraw have created a global drive to help alleviate the problem. These campaigns and various media platforms have created such a furor that organizations and countries around the world have pledged to ban single-use plastics in the upcoming years.


However, more unsettling news than the increase in its size, it’s the fact that this floating collection of plastic that borders the states of California and Hawaii is one of five, it being the largest of the five, plastic patches in the world. The Great Pacific Plastic Patch, is a perfect example of how plastic can accumulate and roam freely in our oceans for many years while posing health risks to marine life and its ecosystem.

The study that provided the base for the USA Today article, is the most complete study, to date, of the GPGP ever to be published by peer-reviewed journal, Scientific Reports. It provides the most detailed and quantitative study based on a three-year mapping effort, funded by donors from the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, by a well-rounded team composed of scientists and marine biologists around the world in efforts to asses, prevent and correct the oceanic pollution of the GPGP.

“Considering currently accepted plastic inputs from land- and marine-based sources, our global model predicted millions of tons of ocean plastic to be within the GPGP region, while we only found tens of thousands of tons. This two-orders of magnitude difference suggests the existence of mechanisms removing most of the plastic mass from the sea surface.” (Lebreton, Slat and Ferrari)

The media exposure of such gruesome videos like the one above appeals to the emotions of guilt and empathy surrounding the topic of animal and environmental safety and awareness. Such videos have been shared, retweeted, and streamed around the world causing such furor around the topic of banning plastic straws. However, the straw movement isn’t new. It has been around for a while. Some European and Asian countries, like Scotland and Taiwan, alike major corporations were some of the firsts to have proposed the banning of single-use plastics. Thus making plastic straws obsolete. This movement is about cutting back on plastic waste that gets into our oceans  that poses a major problem.

Even with the rapidly engaging hashtags of the social media campaigns, the plastic straw ban has received some backlash. Many argue that the straw is just a minor offender in part of a much bigger problem.  Yet, such commentary has been able to be used in favor of the ban.

A small environmental group known as, Lonely Whale Foundation has been the incubator behind the idea that spearheaded the straw war in the United States just last year.  Their idea was to focus on the plastic straw, the common denominator that connects us to the plastic crisis,  to get people talking about the actual problem at hand. They realized that by focusing on a small, yet visible, part of the problem that would engage people to make a declaration to avoid the use of the straw. Their tactic was to launch a social media campaign that would spread the word and help people make a positive and feasible change towards a cleaner environment. And so the viral #StopSucking campaign was born.

Celebrity involvement was monumental in the popularity of the campaign, but that alone wouldn’t suffice in declaring victory. The global phenomenon needed a cultural icon to support the vision and the movement. The Lonely Whale foundation then turned to Starbucks by calling them out on social media and asking them to ban their iconic green straws, which in turn, they agreed to do so.  For Starbucks, a company of such magnitude and international fandom, to take an environmental stance on issues of global awareness really drove the point home.


Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws from its stores worldwide by 2020 to reduce environmental plastic pollution, the company says.

Starbucks paved the way for other organizations to partake in the fight against the use of plastic straws and for the movement to gain momentum in hopes of achieving a world with little to no single use plastics. Shortly after the Starbucks announcement, people took to twitter to call out other global establishments, like McDonald’s, in hope that they would join the cause. These campaigns have created a sense of a “global village” on social media platforms all geared towards the same goal.

Yet, the uproar of these social media campaigns are just focusing on one aspect, banning the plastic straws. What they have failed to focus on is possible cost-effective alternatives for this commonly used tool. A large population of disabled people depend on plastic straws everyday, and most feel like they have been left out of the conversation.

Steve Russel, the vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade organization that represents plastics manufacturers, among other industries, thinks that the cost of production of plastic straws is the only thing standing in the way of extinction.

“There’s no getting around that a paper straw will cost about a penny more than a plastic straw,” he says. For large corporations, that equals hundreds of millions of dollars, but the cost to the marine environment, you can’t put a price on that.” (Gibbens, 2018)

Still, the technological aspect of this movement has expanded the bounds of the debate. People feel encouraged to take control of their actions and encourage others to do the same. It has created a bigger platform for social issues to be discussed and taken seriously. These media platforms created and demanded a sense of accountability for the damage that caused and are actively looking for solutions.


Works Cited

CNN.com. See Starbucks’ straw-free lid. 2018. https://www.cnn.com/videos/cnnmoney/2018/07/09/starbucks-plastic-straws-orig.cnnmoney.

Gibbens, Sarah. A Brief History of How Plastic Straws Took Over the World. 6 July 2018. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/news-plastic-drinking-straw-history-ban/.

Grenier, Adrian. #StopSucking. https://twitter.com/adriangrenier/status/976508086033747970.

Lebreton, L., et al. “Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic.” Scientific Journal. 2018. https://rdcu.be/3py0.

Lonely Whale. 2018. https://www.lonelywhale.org/.

Trash Isles: Turtle Gets Plastic Straw Removed From Its Nose By Rescuers. Dir. LADbible. 2017.