Media Mashup: October 1, 2105

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Actual victims in Syria


The world has enough real problems without declaring everyone a “victim.”

Bill Clinton says Hillary is a victim of a right-wing conspiracy.

Lindsay Lohan, when jailed for driving drunk and breaking parole, says she’s a victim of cruel and unusual punishment.

Michael Sam says his NFL career would have gone better had he not come out as gay.

A Philadelphia dentist caught groping his patients’ breasts said he is a victim of frotteurism, a disease that compels you to fondle breasts. Really.

People benefit by playing the victim.

Activists look for people they can declare victims, to bring attention to their causes.

For details, see

Victimology: Media Trust

The latest Gallup Poll finds that only 7 percent of Americans declare they have a “great deal” of trust in the media. At this rate, soon it will be just the media and their immediate families who check that box.

The percentage of those who say they have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the media is low not just among Republicans (32 percent), but among Democrats (now just 55 percent). It’s low not just among people 50-plus (45 percent), but even lower in the 18 to 49 age bracket (36 percent). For more details, see

Real Victims: Russia, The U.S. and Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s long record of dealings with Washington makes clear that he won’t do the United States any favors. But in advancing his country’s interests, he has shown that he will do whatever he thinks it takes. In combating ISIS, those interests in many ways parallel our own. We should not allow our ambivalence about Russia and its support for what we recognize as Assad’s murderous, thuggish regime in Syria to overshadow our urgent need to defeat a common enemy in ISIS.

For details, see

It’s not good when a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty provides this assessment:

“As their wine glasses touch, Barack Obama regards Vladimir Putin with a look that conveys wariness, worry, perhaps disdain. Looking back at Obama, Putin wears a smile that seems to say, ‘Yeah, what are you gonna do about it?”

Every picture tells a story. The tale spun by a prominent image making the rounds after Putin’s first appearance at the UN General Assembly in a decade goes something like this: The Russian president may not have gotten everything he wanted, but he can tick a few big boxes on his New York to-do list.

That includes the one marked ‘steal the spotlight.'”

Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist, who reported in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches media law and international journalism. Send suggestions and tips to


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