Category Archives: Politics and Media

Politicians, political issues, media interests. Things that may be in the news. Things that are national or international.

“Growing Up Online.” Responses to the Documentary

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 PBS’ documentary “Growing Up Online” investigates how kids raised in the “internet generation” are developing.  The film tells horror stories of cyber bullying, rampant sexuality and internet usage to cheat on high school English papers.  The interviews with terrified parents and teenagers who have made severely poor choices while surfing the web serve as a warning for those parents who would dare let their child log in.

Here is an interview with documentary film maker Rachel Dretzin:

However, as with every issue, there are two sides to the story.  Most of the teenagers interviewed love the internet culture, and have learned to use it to their advantage.  This attitude seems to be typical of people who have either grown up with the internet or have adapted to it.

In the above video, Mr. Juan Decvis, a producer who has worked for PBS, explains that he was somewhat disappointed in the documentary.  He describes that he was “appalled” by the talking-point issues that were discussed, and had hoped that the documentary would be an extensive cover of how the first generation to be born with the internet were using it in their lives.

Mr. Decvis (possible a screen-name), is not alone in his distaste in the way the documentary was presented.  Fellow WordPress blogger  Eddie Ha writes about the documentary, “as it is with everything in real life, I think the amount of experiences I had as an internet user since elementary school makes it easier for me to recognize the so-called “dangerous” marketing online, and I don’t see it as a big problem for ‘digital natives.’ “

There are many people who believe the documentary portrayed the internet accurately. Dr. Amy Tiemann, member of the CNET Blog Network, wrote an article for, calling the documentary “must-see TV for parents.”

Dr. Tiemann states that the documentary has many important points, and writes “If you are a parent, I can just about guarantee that your head will be spinning after watching the program, no matter how much you already know about these issues.”

Evan Skinner, who was interviewed for “Growing Up Online,” claims that she is not anti-technology.  While in the documentary she talks primarily about the dangers of posting unprofessional things online, in the video posted below, she explains that taking a “”vacation” from the internet to spend time with loved ones is important.

The issues that come with the internet can range from simply becoming apathetic about the real world, to physically threatening dangers such as cyber bullying or internet predators.  However, the internet can be very useful professionally and personally.  While the internet doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, additional knowledge about how to stay safe online and how to use the web as a tool is always becoming more available.

Above is a very entertaining and informative video about the pros and cons of the internet


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Why was the Zimmerman Case So Politically Polarizing?

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George Zimmerman.                           Image courtesy of

July 13, 2013, an all women jury consisting of 6 individuals found George Zimmerman, who shot and killed 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in February of 2012, not guilty of second-degree murder, and not guilty of manslaughter.

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Trayvon Martin.                              Image courtesy of

The Zimmerman trial was unlike any murder/manslaughter trial that the 21st century had witnessed. While the familiar “who attacked who” aspect was the focus of the jury, the media’s attention was on issues of race and gun control.

While many believe that the media’s portrayal of the accused Zimmerman was biased and over-inflated, there are still a lot of people who agree that the shooting (or at least the events leading up to it) was racially driven.

The interesting phenomenon, however, is the fact that the United States was split on the issue according to their political stances.  Below is a video of the Liberal news source, The Young Turks , criticizing the Conservative Fox News Network for supporting Zimmerman during the trial.

According to, “Nearly six in ten (59 percent) Democrats say the shooting was unjustified while just one in five (22 percent) Republicans say the same.” But how could a murder trial with so many complications become so political?

The Zimmerman trial added fuel to the already burning issue of gun control in the united states. Typically, Republicans wish to keep guns available and legal, and Democrats want to put stricter laws on guns or have them banned altogether.

The death of unarmed Martin had the potential of being a catalyst for stricter gun control laws. The tragedy also brought Florida’s “stand your ground” law (the law that led to Zimmerman’s acquittal ) into public view, which caused an outcry among many anti-gun activists.

Conservative news sources began negatively  portraying Trayvon Martin, and showed support for Zimmerman, brandishing him a victim:

Liberal news sources showed support for Martin, and depicted Zimmerman as a liar, and a murderer:

The most traumatizing thing learned from the trial was that the political system had the ability to twist the media, even in the case of a young man’s death.  The fact that the citizens of the United States are more likely to support their political parties than mourn a tragedy is also devastating.

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Googling Future Employees: Is It Even Worth It?


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We all know that when preparing an application for a job we have to do our best to come off as professional and mature as possible.  We write down all of our past successes and carefully avoid saying anything that would make us sound like a fun loving, alcohol drinking, good-time-having young adult.  At the interview for said job, we dress nice, speak politely and shake hands, letting only our most professional words slip out through the clenched teeth of our most personable smile.

What if, though, after all of these formalities and preparations, our party-time unprofessional selves are leaked to the interviewer in another way?  According to the article “Job Applicant, Beware: You’re Being Googled,” written by by Allan Hoffman of ,our secret (but not-so-private) lives may be being searched for by employers online.

According to Hoffman, “It’s not just what you say that can be held against you when you’re looking for a job. It’s also what you post on MySpace, write in your blog and broadcast on YouTube.”  The article explains that up to 77 percent of employers are researching job candidates online, and up to 35 percent of them have found information that made their applicants unworthy of employment.


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The article also tells us that it may not be beneficial for employers to spend a lot of time researching candidates’ past online, stating “If they do, the thinking goes, they will miss out on top-notch employees, given that just about everyone will have some incriminating information online.

It seems very probable that we have all posted something not-safe-for-work online.  With our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress) being a part of our personal lives, shouldn’t it stand to reason that we have personal posts on them?  Well, no.

incrimminating fb

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Anyone who has been alive in the internet era for longer that 10 years is aware that information that is posted online, no matter where, can end up available to anyone who wants it bad enough.  The internet is still new enough that privacy laws and enforcement for them are weak at best, and nothing online is truly secure.  Most of us are aware of this fact, and when we prepare to enter the professional world, we delete any information that may be considered unprofessional.

This being true, it seems that only those deserving of being overlooked for employment are the one’s who do not follow this rule, and are therefore immature and not ready for the working world.  However, the issue may not always be that someone is posting unprofessional things online who doesn’t realize that employers can see it.  The issue may be a question of what is inappropriate and what isn’t.

In the above video, brought to you by, we hear the story of Johnny Cook, a bus driver that wrote an angry Facebook post about the school he works for.  Typically, it would seem obvious that writing angry rantings about your place of employment should get you fired.

However, Cook was angry because he believed the school was mistreating students by not allowing them lunch if their lunch-accounts were empty.  Cook then valiantly posted his phone number and offered to pay for any student’s lunch that needed it again, making him an internet hero.


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Cook was fired for his post, and the internet community got angry.  According to the online article, the story spread around Facebook and support grew for Cook.  Even though the Superintendent of the school was quoted as saying “In talking with the middle school principal and the cafeteria manager, that just did not happen,” about students being refused lunch, many believe that Cook did the right thing based on the information he had at the time.

In this grey-area example, it is obvious that Cook was standing up for something he believed in strong enough to risk losing his job.  However, if he wishes to be employed in the future, it is becoming more and more probable that this story will be Googled by employers, and may cost him even more jobs.

We cannot change the way employers research their job applicants. They have every right to discover as much as they can about the people they may be hiring, and there is no law to stop them from using the internet to do so.

Although everyone has their own dirt in their private lives, and everyone puts on a mask in their professional lives, we have no choice but to keep our online selves professional if we want to find employment.

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Three Great Political Bloggers

Taegan Goddard


Goddard, former policy adviser to U.S. Senator Donald Riegle and Governor Lowell Weicker, uses his political knowledge to inform his readers of what’s happening in the world around them.

According to Goddard, the site is completely non-partisan, and he himself is an Independent.  However, his blog site has been listed as one of the “10 Popular Liberal Blogs” on

Politicalwire covers everything from current military actions to political sex scandals and, in my opinion, remains fairly unbiased.  This makes Goddard a great person to follow if you’re looking to simply read the news, without having to do research later.

Paul Krugman

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Krugman is  an economics expert, a liberal and an author, which makes him a liberal blog reader’s best friend.

His blog on the New York Times’ website focuses mostly on economic issues in the United States, but also offers a left-leaning viewpoint of the way American trading, wealth distribution and economic politics are run.

Although this blog may not be a conservative’s favorite place to visit, it should be at least considered, given Krugman’s impressive stats.

Krugman is a Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, columnist for the New York Times and has a BA from Yale and a Ph. D. from MIT.  On top of all that he is the author or editor of 20 books and more than 200 papers in professional journals and edited volumes.

Bill Maher


Another great liberal blogger, Maher is a political satirist, talk show host and comedian.

His blog entries on The Huffington Post’s website are brutally straight forward, hilarious and sometimes a little over the top.  He is not afraid to start “flame wars” with opposing political commentators, or to send insults at people who he believes are wrong.

Maher prides himself on being “a sane person” and has referred to himself as a progressive.  His sense of humor, though a bit brash, is well worth taking a trip over to his blog posts.

Although these three bloggers are all in the political line of work, each has their own charm to bring to the reader.  Goddard’s ability to remain unbiased (or as unbiased as you can find these days), Krugman’s experience and expertise in financial matters, and Maher’s talent of making politics uncomfortably funny are all three necessary if a reader wants to stay on top of the political world without getting too bored, or too much information from one place.

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