Tag Archives: CNN

CNN’s In America Series Presents Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door

by Latoya Peterson

Readers, you can imagine our surprise when we received an email inviting us to the screening of CNN’s latest documentary for the latest in their In America series.

After all, we had a lot to say about the first few:

Thoughts on CNN’s Black in America Series
Going For Broke: The Racialicious Review of Black In America: Almighty Debt
Latinos Under Siege? A Look At CNN’s Latino In America
Latino In America goes out with a whine
The Fallout from Latino in America

But hey – they offered an advance screening, free breakfast, and a Q & A with Soledad O’Brien and the producers afterward. How could I resist? So Art RSVP’ed and I hopped on the Boltbus and made it to NYC in time for the 9:00 AM screening.

The newest addition to the In America family is called Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door. Here’s the trailer:

The Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door special revolves around the town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, situated about 35 miles from Nashville. According to O’Brien, her team first heard about the tensions flaring in Murfreesboro when researching the “Ground Zero Mosque.” While the proposed Islamic Center in New York made national headlines, the drama playing out in Murfreesboro illuminated a different issue: how smaller towns were coping with the Islamaphobic rhetoric currently in vogue and how local Muslim populations were beginning to feel the heat.

Unwelcome begins by looking at the community of Murfreesboro, where even amid the fever pitch of hateful rhetoric, the citizens describe each other as neighborly, and defend Murfreesboro as one of the best places to live in America. For decades, Muslims in Murfreesboro have been free to worship as they see fit – there is one Islamic center in the town and around 250 currently practicing Muslims. Some of the Muslims interviewed in the documentary remarked that Murfreesboro remained peaceful and civil even after 9/11 – the idea of Muslims living and worshiping in the town was just a non-issue.

That is until plans to expand the existing Islamic center came to light last year. Continue reading

Fatemeh Fakhraie Holds It Down for Muslimahs on CNN

by Latoya Peterson

Fatemeh on CNN

Our own Fatemeh Fakhraie, the amazing editor of Muslimah Media Watch and a contributing editor to AltMuslimah, just showed up on CNN to talk about portrayals of Muslim women in the media:

Muslim women are more high profile than ever in 2010. However, a problem remains: news stories about them are fixated on appearance.

Most major stories about Muslim women revolve around how they look and what they’re wearing — not who they are and what they are doing.

A flurry of articles came forth in both repudiation and defense of the burqa ban, focusing on that little piece of cloth that covers some women’s faces.

Other articles lauded it as “a comfortable garment” and “part of our identity,” condemning the ban as an erosion of personal freedoms and counter to the principles of the French republic.

Very few of the articles included viewpoints of women who wear the niqab, and none of the articles included the perspectives of the French Muslim women who would be directly affected by the ban.

High visibility does not directly translate into having your voice heard.

Read the rest, and show her some love…

Black Women Can’t Find A Man? Blame The Church! [Rant]

by Latoya Peterson

CNN headline

So, I am totally procrastinating on this article I need to write because I just spotted this CNN article which is so full of fail, I just keep pounding the desk and screaming “Why why why why!??!?!”

I hate: The headline. Nothing raises my blood pressure faster than asking stupid questions like “Does the black church keep black women single?” We can’t buy quality national news coverage for so many critical stories, and now I know why – everyone has given up reporting on current events so we can keep flogging the single black women story.

I hate: The video.  It opens with “The thing that is keeping black women single is black women! They don’t know themselves, they don’t know what they want, they are desperate…there are tons of issues, nothing to do with the church.  Nothing.”

At this point, I started screaming, scaring my puppy and my unicorn boyfriend.

Then the guy on the video basically said the same thing, and I turned the video off so I could stop screaming. I turned it back on again, then regretted it. If someone has the stomach to watch the rest, let me know what I missed.

Continue reading

Framing Children’s Deviance

By Guest Contributor Lisa Wade, Ph.D, originally posted at Sociological Images

Leontine G. sent in a troubling example of the framing of children’s deviance, and their own complicity in this framing. While we usually try to keep text down to a minimum on SocImages, this one needs to be handled with care. So please forgive the unusual length of this post.

Leontine included two links: one to a Today show story about a 7-year-old boy who took his family’s car on a joyride and got caught by police, and one to a CNN story about a 7-year-old boy who took his family’s car on a joyride and got caught by police. Different 7-year-olds. One white, one black.

The white boy, Preston, is interviewed with his family on the set of the Today show.  Knowing his kid is safe, his Dad describes the event as “funny” and tells the audience that if this could happen to a “cotton candy all-American kid like Preston,” then “it could happen to anybody.”

When the host, Meredith Vieira, asks Preston why hid from the police, he says, “cause I wanted to,” and she says, “I don’t blame you actually.”  With Preston not too forthcoming, his Mom steps in to say that he told her that “he just wanted to know what it felt like to drive a car.”  When Vieira asks him why he fled from the police, he replies with a shrug. Vieira fills in the answer, “You wanted to get home?”

Vieira then comments on how they all then went to church. The punishment?  Grounded for four days without TV or video games. Vieira asks the child, “Do you think that’s fair?” He says yes. And she continues, “Do you now understand what you did?” He nods and agrees. “And that maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing?” He nods and agrees. “You gonna get behind the wheel of a car again?” He says no. Then she teases him about trying out model toy cars.

They conclude that this incident just goes to show that “Any little kid, you never know what can happen …” and closes “I’ll be seeing you at church buddy boy!”

The video:

Continue reading

Did CNN say “ya basta” to Lou Dobbs?

By Guest Contributor Tomas, originally published at Latino Like Me

After several months of a focused internet and social media campaign pressuring CNN to fire Lou Dobbs, the xenophobic pundit announced tonight he is leaving CNN effectively immediately.

BastaDobbs.org–the virtual Latino coalition which led the campaign against CNN–is claiming victory. “We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has this legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate,” said Roberto Lovato. Lovato, who is an accomplished writer, is also the founder of the Latino-advocacy group Presente.org, the lead organization behind the anti-Dobbs campaign.  “The community is newly empowered and energized,” he continued, “and we are ready to fight for a respectful and civil media discourse when it comes to immigration coverage on mainstream news.”

I couldn’t be happier that Lou Dobbs’ uncritical voice of hate is off the air.  I am a firm defender of anyone’s right to free speech, but I am also fiercely opposed to the  notion that we are better as a society if we provide a platform for all speech.  Television news–and cable news in particular–has moved into an era where providing a “safe space” for the voices from the political extreme has come to substitute for critical discourse and constructive debate.  That isn’t the news and it isn’t “fair and balanced.” It’s petty, and it’s lazy, and it needs to evolve.

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Black Men in the Age of President Obama: 4 Things CNN Got Wrong

By Guest Contributor jbrotherlove, originally published at jbrotherlove

In case you missed it, CNN aired Black Men in the Age of President Obama this weekend. The special was hosted by Don Lemon who I’ve applauded in the past for his insightful coverage and inclusion of social media in his journalism.

Black Men showed how the interest in education and public service has grown in the black community, seemingly as a result of Barack Obama, despite broken homes and a downtrodden economy. Also, noted was the positive effect our society has received from viewing an intact, loving black family on an international stage.

But there were some negatives.

1. “Down Low” Men & HIV

Again, black men on “the down low” were blamed for the high HIV rates among black women. I had a fear the conversation would go that route despite evidence of the contrary. CDC Director Dr. Kevin Fenton recently stated HIV infection in black women “is being fueled by heterosexual Black men with multiple sex partners”.

But that’s a fact the black church and others who typically demonize black gay men don’t want to accept. It means the “blame game” should be re-focused on conversations about responsibility, self-esteem, acceptance and empowerment. Don Lemon missed a crucial opportunity of framing this conversation in a different manner.

2. No (out) black men

There wasn’t any gay representation on the panel.* This was ironic because the panel was held in Atlanta (which has a large, black gay population) at Morehouse College, of all places. The concentration of gay students at Morehouse is well-known and is partially why the the historic, black college created a new, controversial dress code.

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Latino In America goes out with a whine

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

For a review of Part 1, click here

marta1No way around it: Latino In America was a failure.

At the very least, Thursday’s conclusion, “Chasing The Dream,” seemed equal parts melodrama and bait-and-switch, with the broadcast component weakened by a lack of questions that undercut even its’ more compelling segments.

For instance, in the report on the murder of Luis Mendoza, we got an overview of events in Shenandoah, Penn., leading up to the crime, and of the area’s history with several immigrant populations, but when one individual reported he felt he was being intimidated because of his speaking to CNN, we got no follow-up with local authorities. When it was mentioned that one of the four defendants – who were acquitted of hate-crime accusations – testified the cops told them to get their stories straight, we got no follow-up.
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Latinos Under Siege? A Look At CNN’s Latino In America

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

cindy garcia1Soledad O’Brien says she wants Latino In America to “start a conversation.” Unfortunately for viewers, the series’ message seems to be, what? Woe is us? Abandon ship? What did Brown ever do to you?

Grounded in depressing case studies and missed questions, the series’ first installment was less “Latinos In America” and more like “Latinos For Lou Dobbs’ Audience.” Most of the people featured were not “changing” their communities – they were being victimized in or by them. They were pregnant, suicidal (or pregnant and suicidal), caught in an immigration raid, losing their cultural roots, facing an uphill job struggle or isolated in their churches. The premiere’s first profile, of Univision TV chef Lorena García, was the only one that focused on somebody doing something positive – in her case, building her own brand in spite of skepticism over her “accent.” Continue reading