The Subtle Power of Media Abuse?

The media is powerful – you know it – I know it – we all know it.

We know their power is established in doing their work with honesty, integrity, and the highest degree of professionalism.  They’ve fought for the right to hold that esteemed position; and as a result, we (the viewers/readers/listeners) have come to expect the media to live up to their responsibilities that come with being a part of the industry.

Because of the acknowledged MAJOR role media plays in our lives, our societies have developed “checks and balances” consisting of agreements, guidelines, and laws that ensure the media honours the privilege of their position in society.  It gives us, the public peace of mind in believing “Big Brother” is being watched.

Sadly, it appears that over time, the public has come to unrealistically trust and believe the media’s commitment to “the truth”.  Sadder still, recent events in the last few months have had me wonder whether the public has been duped into this false belief.

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Below, I list 4 examples of recent Media releases in the Toronto Canada market (within the last 3 months) that are at the very least, in very bad taste.  When you group the incidents together according to what they do (according to the ELM Test of Integrity), it appears to me to be almost heinous in the powerful abuses they exercise in their actions.

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1 – TSN:  The Sports Network – a national cable sports channel

What happened:

There was a between-period segment where a number of commentators discuss issues and games based on their hockey expertise.  The bit was about supportive relationship between a budding young hockey star and the coach of an NHL team. It was an inspiring and positive report.

After the segment, the hockey panel went on to remark on inappropriate relationships with young athletes.  Because of what the NHL coach said, the panel made an inference of child abuse by an NHL coach by joking and commenting on the coach’s remarks that he had a good relationship with the young hockey star.

They further joked about it and laughed to give the impression that it was acceptable to laugh about child abuse.

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: They crossed the line when they brought in the issue of inappropriate relationships with young athletes when it wasn’t necessary.

Legal: They may have caused a legal issue by using the NHL coach as the butt of their jokes about having inappropriate relationships with young athletes.

Moral: They minimized the seriousness of the issue of inappropriate relationships with young athletes by making jokes about the issue.

As a victim and survivor of a sports coach abuse when I was a boy, I was very upset with the segment and how it was twisted.  I wrote an email to them (mid-May), but I did not receive a response. I then wrote to another news outlet – they did not respond either.

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2 – CP24: CityPulse24 – Toronto local 24-hr all-news channel

What happened?

A “breaking-news” story came on the TV about two missing women. As is the standard protocol with news releases by the Toronto Police Service, they included information that could help identify the person that is missing.

The second woman broadcast included a description that seemed a bit odd.  Along with the usual information (height, weight, hair, etc), it included that the person was Persian. I wondered how someone would know how to identify a Persian, and if there was still a country named Persia.

After I did some research, I found out the name of Persia is no longer in use.  I also found out something else that actually scares me:

There was no Toronto Police media report about the missing person.

Actually, the media release didn’t happen until a few days later.

I wrote an email to CP24 asking where they got the reference to Persian, how it was part of the description, and it could be considered racist. They thanked me for my writing to them.

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: They crossed the line by adding something to the description that was never included in the first place. They manipulated hard news from the police.

Legal: How did they get the information from the Toronto Police Service? The official release wasn’t listed until a few days after the news first broke.

Moral: Was morally wrong to believe they can get away with misinformation.  There was no police report (yet the inference was so), and they intentionally made up information.

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3 – CTV: CTV News Toronto of national media network

What happened?

There was a new news host on the program this particular evening. He was doing quite well until he got flustered.  When that happened, it only got worse.

After the break, the host introduced the weather person; and unfortunately got her name wrong.  After an embarrassing chatter to recover, the host then went on to compliment her on her beauty and the connection to her work.

The weather person handled it very well, and they moved on.

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: Is it unethical to use something in poor taste (in this day and age) such as referring to a (co-worker and) woman’s beauty to recover.  What the heck was on his mind – and how did the weather person feel?

I didn’t find any other questions regarding this incident.  I was wondering how they would apologize or even if they felt there was something for which to apologize to the viewers.

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4 – Toronto Sun: local daily tabloid newspaper

What happened?

I was reading the local newspaper and came across a photograph that didn’t look right. After further research, I noticed the “photograph” (as it was credited) appeared to be manipulated by creating an image from several others.

What caught my interest in this particular issue is that I was under the understanding that publicly published images has certain royalties, required credits, and correct information of the image.  This image was listed as a photograph when it actually was not.

So, if they are willing to take liberties with something as minor as this; how many other instances has there been in the past?  Do they often pass of images as photographs (and thereby deceiving the reading public)?

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: It appears the image has bee manipulated and has falsely given the reader the impression the image was taken as a complete shot in one take.

Legal: Given the issues with royalties and credits, I have to wonder if the image was created from just his shots or did he use public domain issues?  How can the photographer claim any credit for something that isn’t an actual photograph?

Moral: I don’t know if there is a moral dilemma with this issue other than the photographer’s own feelings.  Knowing that he did not create a photograph and only created an “image”, how does he come to terms with himself with the appearance of a fraud he is perpetrating?

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In all of these incidents (as subtle as they are),

the players are all professionals;

they know the media rules and guidelines;

and yet, it appears they still chose to put their integrity

in jeopardy by not responding when questioned.

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Awareness: The Social Misjustice of Prostitution

“We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true.
Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.”

Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

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Drug abuse, violence, coercion, and disease.

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These are not exactly working conditions that summons one to aspire to a career in prostitution; yet, there is never a shortage of new candidates entering the “world’s oldest profession”.  This beckons the question:

  • Why does someone use their bodies to trade sex for money,

  • When all the evidence of this lifestyle proves it as being dangerous and life-threatening?

The pimp’s only aim is to make money off the sex trade of women.


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In her book “The Prostitution of Sexuality, Kathleen Barry describes how the pimp targets women who are vulnerable enough to create an emotional dependency.  Once contact is made, the pimp must:

  • first ensure the woman is influenced by the enticement of substantial financial gain; and then,

  • she must learn to shed any moral objections to prostitution work.

Bill Shackleton in his book Protecting Prostitutes wrote,

“A pimp would use an effective and orderly method of gaining the services of women.  He would first display affection and generosity, and then carefully move to establish a sexual relationship”.

During this stage of recruitment, the woman has never been a prostitute prior to the relationship; and therefore, she needs to learn previous unknown behaviors.

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In progressive steps, the pimp:

  1. rewards her by telling her she is special and beautiful,

  2. she has worth, and

  3. he can help her overcome her difficulties.

Until she becomes skilled and exhibits the changed behaviour he requires, he would increasingly reward her until he gains her trust and cooperation.

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Annette and Graham Scambler discovered that for the prostitute, the most pervasive form of enticement is financial gain.  When she is living the “lifestyle:

  • the payoff is immediate,

  • payday is every day she is willing to work, and Immediacy becomes a way of life.

When the pimp has the prostitute under this control, he ensures Positive Reinforcement is employed through the constant and immediate rewards of getting paid for services rendered.  Free from their poverty lifestyle, he understands she will like having money in her pocket at all times – and for so little effort.

As the relationship develops,
the pimp becomes the prostitute’s father, lover, and friend.

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In her book Of Vice and Women: Shades of Prostitution” Margaretha Järvinen describes how she must work very hard to earn his respect, his love, and to keep him achieving the best in material possessions.

At this point, the pimp understands that he has her under his control. The pimp no longer needs to provide continuous immediate rewards using positive reinforcement because the prostitute is already performing; rather, he changes his tactics:

  • the pimp would reward her intermittently so she can then work even harder to achieve his financial goals, and

  • he rewards her just often enough continue the improving performance of developing into a productive object for him and to keep her satisfied.

The pimp reaches a point where he will use Punishment to maintain control over the prostitute.

He wants her to learn that he is the boss, and she is subservient to him.

He realizes that just punishing her will eventually not bring the desired result he wants (which is obedience) because she will just rebel and move on or become aggressive with him and cause him problems.  Instead, he will use punishment infrequently, and use it in conjunction with other types of rewarding reinforcement.

Prostitutes have to earn the respect of the pimp.

The pimp knows his success is dependent on fuelling two emotions in a woman:

  • love and

  • fear.

To many women,
the lifestyle can be socially fulfilling and psychologically addicting.

By the time women are ready to leave prostitution, they realize that what they have accumulated as a result of their financial dream amounted to little but:

  • a collection of arrest records,

  • a blur of experiences, and

  • a path of abandonment by those they cared about.

The woman has come to the realization there is no rewards left in the trade.

When this time comes, the woman has come to this realization: there are no rewards to be won; therefore, no reason to continue the behavior.

From the beginning to the end of a prostitute’s career,
it is clear the relationship of dependence between the woman and the pimp.

He is always in control, and for the most part is always the one with the power.  He uses every conditioning principle to manipulate the woman into changing her behavior so he can gain maximum benefit for himself alone.

Although the main goal for both parties is to make as much money as possible, his investment in the woman pales in comparison to the cost to her mind and body.

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Victor Hugo called prostitution slavery.
His words are no less valid today as they were two centuries ago.

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10 Reasons NOT to Marry in Royalty

.Crown Royal

Life changes when one decides to marry up into royalty!
We’ve seen what happened to England’s Diana.

I’ve decided to write a Top Ten warning list for anybody considering this route.  Don’t say you weren’t forewarned!  (Not in any particular order of importance.)

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1 – Paparazzi know more about your life than you do.

2 – You need a key to your own bathroom.

3 – You can’t wear your bathrobe and wander about the house.

4 – You can’t pawn any possessions in case of hard times.

5 – You can’t sneak off for a quickie.

6 – Food fights are out of the question.

7 – Everyone wants a baby more than you do.

8 – You have to like the in-laws.

9 – She has to wear those gaudy hats.

10 – There’s more than one tunnel in Paris.

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Gloria’s Albatross

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She cried uncontrollably.

From all her facial orifices leaked the pain of grief, sorrow, and guilt of a broken young woman who messed up big time … again.

It was staring at her right in her face for her to see as plain as day.  She had fallen again, and this time her whole world was aware of just how messy an addiction to crack cocaine can be.

The worst part of it all is that this problem stems from a problem that stems from a problem that is caused by original heinous acts.

Gloria is a beautiful woman.  Not in the sense of outer beauty (although there was a time when she was a looker without having to try!), but her beauty is in her inner qualities of compassion, empathy, and outspokenness.

In her mid to late 20’s, she’s not one of those phonies (at least when she’s not using) who is nice to your face but talks about you to others when you’re not around.   No, Gloria is a straight shooter who “calls ‘em as she sees ‘em” and always takes the moral high road every time.

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When life goes well for Gloria, she is a bright light in any circle.  For the most part, she is an inherent leader and exercises the role efficiently.   That’s probably because she actually likes people.

Intuitively, she knows how to get help for herself; and when motivated during a profound moment, she tends to act on it.  Bless her heart, because she is a take-charge person; and if I ever needed someone in an emergency, Gloria would be the person I would want to have around.

Unfortunately, for far too long, there has been this problem with crack.

Actually, the crack problem has her.

Based on her wretched past experiences of life, Gloria is a prime candidate to be sucked into the vacuum of the worst drug ever invented.

She is a wounded soul living under the weight from unspoken and unresolved grief because, regardless of where she looks around in her world, she is reminded daily of the knowledge of the past transgressions against her.  Worst of all, the profound powerlessness she feels prevents her from seriously considering even beginning the journey towards personal resolution and inner peace.

There is a relentless and enduring amount of pain she has not yet learned to tolerate every day that begs for her to be heard, acknowledged, and believed.

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Gloria is not always sure what makes her feel the greatest.  The anticipation moments before that feeling of euphoria and safety, or the out-of-body calm afterwards that drives her to the next hit … and the next hit … and so on.

What makes this whole world of crack worse is that new benchmarks have been set for the social misery it brings with it.   It is cheap and made affordable to even those living in poverty.   It is easily available if you are looking for it; and easier to ‘come on, just try it out once’ (it only take 1 to 2 hits to get hooked); and the worst of all – it sets new lows for ‘bottoming out’.

For crack, the victims will do ‘almost a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g – more risk-taking than all other drugs, for their next big hit.

Sadly, this is where Gloria always ends up.  Yet, when the time comes to pick herself up and start putting the pieces back together once again, the realizations in her sobriety from crack literally wrenches … and tears … and presses … and tightens her chest and heart until it overwhelms her belief in herself.

Her experiences remind her that it is not the crack that is the problem – that is just the effect; rather, it is in the original cause of everything in the first place that have since cause innumerable effects like the ripples of a stone thrown in still water.

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