The line between reporting the news and being it

By Anna Rhoads ’19

It cannot be denied that the 2016 presidential election process is chaotic. The reason for this is one candidate had no political experience and the other candidate was in the middle of an FBI investigation. There has never been so much to report. It has all been made worse, however, because the media has interfered and become part of the story of the election instead of just reporting the facts about it.

The media is a necessary part of our democratic system, which makes the system work by providing the public with the true, unbiased facts. The system may be in the process of breaking down because the media is presenting the opinions of biased commentators and, alarmingly, becoming part of the story.

The news outlets provide extensive commentary after the debates, many times lasting much longer than the debates themselves. The media has adopted a practice of presenting the views of commentators who are attached to a certain candidate or party. Many times these speakers are more persuasive than their counterparts on the other side and thus the press may use them to inject their opinions into the discussion, very different from just presenting the facts and the candidates’ views. For example in an article about “Journalistic Bias” during the 2016 election PBS states, “An analysis of news coverage from the 2016 primary races found that mainstream media outlets engaged in ‘journalistic bias’ that led to over-coverage of the Donald Trump campaign and under-coverage of Democratic candidates, in particular Sen. Bernie Sanders.” This shows that news outlets purposely covered with bias and presented commentators who were more slanted to one candidate, possibly directing the election in the way they wanted.

Thankfully the public has been clear that they do not condone this bias coming from the media. The Political Insider publication reported that “Fox News, largely thanks to their biased treatment of conservative businessman Donald J. Trump and ignoring Dr. Ben Carson in the GOP debates, has now seen a dramatic dip in their ‘perception’ with the Republican Party’s base.” I hope that the public will continue to catch on to the misconduct coming from the press, like they did when Fox News covered the primaries with bias and lost viewership and trust.

The TV show, “Access Hollywood,” recorded a conversation between Donald Trump and Billy Bush more than 11 years ago. In context, it is obvious from their discussion that the two participants to the conversation did not know they were being recorded and would not have agreed to it. It was a “private moment, with no audience beyond Bush and a few others on the bus” according to The Washington Post. Although the conversation during the video was disgusting and demeaning towards women, The Washington Post released it, becoming part of the news instead of just reporting it. California Penal Code 632 makes it a crime to record conversations “without the consent of all parties,” showing the great lengths the media will go to create a story and not just report it.

The media may believe that we, the public, are not intelligent enough to listen to the candidates and come to our own correct conclusions. Thus, they are willing to attempt to guide us and even become part of the news themselves. This breaks down the trust the public has for the media, and therefore weakens our democracy. Ultimately, the media must become less biased and the people of the nation must recognize the problem.


Inklings’ Debate Winners and Losers: Trump rejects core idea of American democracy

Fritz Schemel ’17, Editor in Chief

After the last showdown of the 2016 presidential race, Inklings declares the winners and losers of the debate:


Hillary Clinton: The former Secretary of State was able to let her experience and policy expertise shine through on the debate stage. She highlighted her experience, saying, “I’ve been privileged to see the presidency up close.” She spoke to her involvement as Secretary of State in the killing of Osama Bin Laden, saying that while she was protecting Americans, Trump was busy working on “The Apprentice” television show. Clinton was able to jab at Trump throughout the debate, and eventually got under his skin towards the end of debate with comments about, for example, his business start from a loan from his father.

The Issues: The debate was the most policy-oriented debate of the cycle thus far. Topics included national security, the Supreme Court and the national debt and entitlements. For the first half of the debate especially, both candidates displayed better temperament than they had in previous debates. While (see the second loser of the debate below) the issues fell off as the debate went on, the opening 45 minutes of the debate illustrated the issues each candidate cared about.

Chris Wallace: As debate moderator, the Fox News anchor shined in the national spotlight. He held both candidates to the facts in regards to their plans, specifically citing the amount of debt each candidate would create should they be elected President. At numerous instances, Wallace ensured the crowd in the Thomas and Mack Center was silent and would not impact the perception of viewers at home. He held candidates to time limits, at one point telling Trump, “no, we need to move on to the final segment,” and not allowing a response over the time limit.


Democracy: Trump showed absolutely no regard for the sanctity of the American democratic political process in his statement that he may not accept the results of the election. “I will look at it at the time,” Trump said. “It’s rigged.” This utter lack of confidence in the process undermines democracy and the authority that the winner of the election will have to govern. Come Nov. 9, the nation is going to have to repair divisions created during the debate, and Trump’s comments Wednesday night did nothing to ameliorate these divisions.

Trump’s Second Half of Debate: While he showed a poised temperament during the first 45 minutes, Trump took the bait of Clinton’s jabs in the second half. Instead of talking about the issues, Trump talked about how he “should’ve gotten’ it (an Emmy)” for his work on “The Apprentice.” He continued to broadcast repeatedly debunked claims that he was against the war in Iraq. He called immigrants “bad hombres” and called Clinton “such a nasty woman.” Trump lost his focus in the second half of the debate, ultimately leading to a debate loss, with CNN reporting a 52 percent to 39 percent win for Clinton.

The worst moments of the presidential debate

By Lulu Stracher ’17, News Editor

In no particular order.

This nightmare of an election culminated on Sunday night with the second presidential debate at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, featuring Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The debate came two days after partial-transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street and an audio tape revealing Trump bragging to Billy Bush, cousin of George H.W. Bush and host of Access Hollywood, about sexually assaulting women, were both leaked. It was the nastiest 90 minutes that I have ever witnessed in American politics. These are the moments that made me cringe the most.

  1. No handshake

Despite how nasty the attacks were leading up to the first presidential debate on Sept. 28, the candidates still managed to show some level of mutual respect for each other by shaking hands. This debate was different. When moderators Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper introduced the two candidates, they walked on stage, awkwardly glanced at one another and then kept their distance. It was an unprecedented moment in debate history and one that set the tone for the rest of the cringeworthy night.

  1. Trump looming behind Clinton like a predator

While Clinton was answering a question from an undecided Muslim voter about the rise of Islamophobia in this country, Trump stood behind his opponent menacingly instead of returning to his seat. His aggressive body language seemed like an attempt to intimidate Clinton, but she didn’t take the bait and instead remained calm and collected throughout her response.

  1. When Trump called sexual assault ‘locker room talk’

The second question of the night came from Anderson Cooper, who pressed Trump on comments he made 11 years ago about grabbing women’s genitals and kissing them without their consent. Donald Trump half-heartedly apologized and defended these remarks as ‘locker room banter.’ There is such a thing as ‘locker room banter’ that is unpleasant but not intrinsically harmful. This was one of the only parts of the election that I could not try to make light of. What Trump described in the leaked tapes from 2005 is sexual assault, and should be acknowledged as such.

  1. When Trump complained about getting equal time

As Trump realizes that he will probably not win this election, one of his strategies has become to claim the election will be rigged against him. This conspiracy theory continued Sunday night, as he stated that “[Hillary Clinton] went a minute over [her response time] and you don’t stop her. When I go one second over, it’s like a big deal.” However, Donald Trump spoke for about a minute longer than Hillary Clinton did, according to CNN’s tracker. His attempt to distract Americans is another example of his unwillingness to debate actual policy, and how he instead wants to throw insults and conspiracy theories into the political discourse.  

  1. Trump bringing up Bill Clinton

Ninety minutes before the debate began, Trump held a surprise news conference with three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault and one woman who accused Hillary Clinton of sympathizing with a rapist after she was appointed to be his public defender in 1975. After Hillary criticized Trump for his treatment of women, he fired back with the accusation that what Bill Clinton did to women was much worse than anything Trump ever said. Although the alleged acts committed by Bill Clinton are despicable, it was bizarre to see a presidential candidate bring up the spouse of their opponent. It’s hard to imagine Hillary doing the same thing to Donald.

Second Presidential debate fails to be intellectually stimulating

By Colette Lippman ’17, Opinions Editor

If you thought that a presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton couldn’t get any worse, it just did. In an extremely dramatic R rated performance, Trump and Clinton spent most of the night confronting each other about their sex scandals — like the audio that was leaked on October 7th, 2016 which includes Trump bragging about grabbing women by their genitals non-consensually, and rape accusations made toward Clinton’s husband.

In fact, the very first question asked to the candidates was by an audience member and high school teacher, who uncomfortably stated how “the last presidential debate could’ve been rated as MA—mature audiences—per TV parental guidelines.” Following this, the high school teacher asked, “Knowing that educators are tying the presidential debates to student homework, do you feel you are modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth?”


In response, both candidates steered completely away from the question, and to be fair, that’s something pretty awkward to answer on the spot. But if you’re a candidate running for president, you should be able to answer a few uncomfortable questions here and there. According to a transcript of the election on the Times Magazine website, Clinton responded to this question with, “I think it is very important for us to make clear to our children that our country really is great because we’re good.” Okay Hillary, that’s great, but what does that have to do with the question?

Trump also failed to answer any question directly, go figure. When asked about his leaked audio tape, Trump stated, “It’s locker room talk, and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS,” he said.

Do I even have to explain why this response is so unsettling? First of all, what does ISIS have to do with sexual assault? And, if Trump is using ISIS as some way to lessen his gross comments made in his leaked audio, he’s basically saying that rape isn’t really a problem in comparison to the threats of ISIS. I think I can speak for the general public when I say that we all puked a little bit when we heard that comment.

While Trump may have been on thin ice with the American public before this most recent debate, he still had the support of many highly respected Republican politicians, which seemed to be one of the few things keeping him from falling through the cracks. However, after Trump’s vulgar audio was released, Republicans who had once secured their endorsement of Trump dropped it immediately.

According to the Washington Post, “Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy,” Senator John McCain of Arizona said.

Despite this, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, announced in an emergency call this past Monday that the RNC has officially decided to stand with candidate Donald Trump despite the leaked audio and revoked endorsements. According to Politico, “Over the last 24 to 48 hours there have been a lot of false rumors that we didn’t want to engage in,” Priebus said.“Nothing has changed in terms of our support for the nominee.”

While this debate may have proved to include even less politics than the first, I hope to see the candidates amp up their political knowledge in the future. While dramatic scandals involving potential candidates is not unusual to bring up during a Presidential debate, they should not take over the entire discussion, because let’s face it, politicians having cat fights is only funny until a certain point.

Fame does not trump the value of consent

By Ellie Kravetz ’18, Assistant Creative Director

Whether you are a CEO for a major company or a janitor of a local high school, you have no right to someone else’s body. The Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, has once again found a way to disgrace himself by boastfully stating that, due to his status, consent is not a priority.

Eleven years ago in conversation Trump was taped by Access Hollywood speaking about “beautiful women,” saying, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” Later in the tapes, he was recorded saying, “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.” Proudly claiming that the woman’s consent is not important due to his being Donald Trump is highly unacceptable. How can we elect a leader who does not abide by the unspoken understanding of consent? How can we elect a leader who is supposed to educate the next generation on this imperative issue when he has yet to learn about it himself?


Consent has been a booming topic amongst high school settings, colleges, workplaces, and other environments. As a country, it is vital that our next leader acknowledges the seriousness of this problem.It is estimated that the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20% and 25% over the course of a college career. (NSVRC) To provide prevention a president should take action by implementing programs in schools, setting a positive example in his or her own personal life, and clearly expressing that the behavior demonstrated by Trump is inexcusable. The next president should have solutions instead of perpetuating the problem.

On an infamous occasion Trump’s first wife, Ivana, accused him of rape, a charge that was widely covered at the time and which she later retracted. In a 2015 column, Tim Mak of The Daily Beast cites Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III saying, “Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault,” Hurt writes. “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’ She later said she felt ‘violated’ by the experience.’” This incident shows Trump’s disregard for his wife’s consent and his belief that his forceful actions will go unpunished due to his being a husband. Trump’s loud statements could easily erode the importance of consent for all audiences, specifically children.

Rape culture, which Trump calls “locker room talk,” should in no way be seen as appropriate. The potential president of the United States should not be impacting how our children view consent by speaking about how he is able to grab women by their genitalia.  We cannot have the next generation consider behavior like Trump’s permissible. It is our duty as a country to make sure that everyone feels safe from assault.

In order to achieve security we must destroy the mindset that consent is optional. For America to be “great again” we must treat people as if they are great by honoring their voice, opinion, and choice.

Trump’s disrespect for women depicted yet again by newly-released video

By Sophie Driscoll, Opinions Editor ’19

Time and time again, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has proved himself to be the epitome of everything wrong with our nation. He appeals to people’s darkest, most despicable beliefs. Each time Trump behaves or speaks in a way that is extremely demeaning to large portions of our nation, I assume he has hit rock bottom. However, I truly believe that the video released last night of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women and being unfaithful to his wife may be an all-time low.

The 2005 recording, which was obtained by The Washington Post, depicts Trump bragging to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.

You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.…” Trump said. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.…Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”

Trump also spoke about attempting to seduce a married woman. “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f*** her.…” he said. “I moved on her like a b****, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”

Trump was married at the time, as well.

In response to the video, the Trump campaign put out the following statement:

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

This is the first time in his nearly 16-month campaign that Trump has released any form of public apology. Nevertheless, his apology is completely insufficient. Trump’s statement expresses that he is upset by the fact that people are offended by the video. He did not actually apologize for the awful things he said and the serious implications of his words; he apologized for warranting a negative public reaction.

Additionally, it should be stated that The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Kissing, groping and attempting to have sex with women without waiting for their consent certainly seems to fall under this classification. Therefore, Trump’s statements were far from innocent “locker room banter.” He was bragging about sexual assault, in addition to infidelity.

It is also ridiculous how he immediately attempted to deflect attention from himself onto Bill Clinton. Sorry, Trump, but you can’t hide from this one.

I am unhappy with the way the media reported on the video’s release.

“Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005” is the title of the article published by the Washington Post. “Newly released video shows Trump making lewd remarks about women” is the name of an article published by PBS NewsHour. “Donald Trump makes vulgar statements about women in leaked audio” is the name of an article published by the Los Angeles Times.

Yes, Trump’s conversation was lewd. It is true, without a doubt, that Trump used vulgar language. What disappoints me about these articles is that, contrary to the way they have portrayed the video, the issue is not the vulgarity of Trump’s words, but the content and implications of his statements. As Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign tweeted, “This is horrific.”

It is somewhat reassuring to see some Republicans repudiate Trump’s disgusting behavior and comments, yet it is important to keep in mind that the fact that Trump lacks respect for women is not new information. Prior to this point, these Republicans ignored his sexist remarks and the rape allegations levied against him. I find it odd that this is the first time that they are expressing any disapproval of his sickening behavior.

Additionally, many Republicans have released statements criticizing Trump’s comments without completely withdrawing support for him.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Pat Toomey, Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Kevin McCarthy and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney have all publicly expressed opprobrium of the video, but they have yet to publicly state that they won’t be voting for Trump.

These are displays of cowardice, yet I still have some hope that the Republican leaders of our nation will eventually face moral scruple. Let this be the tipping point that brings Trump supporters them to their senses, allowing them to realize that we cannot allow a man who has committed countless offenses against women and other already-marginalized groups lead our country.

Our president should serve as a role model for our nation’s children. We must elect a leader who will teach them that perpetuating rape culture is absolutely never acceptable.

Himes deserves a gold in fiscal policy

By Tia Pogue ’17, Staff Writer

Last week, Democratic Congressman Jim Himes was the only representative out of 416 who voted against a bill that would grant tax exemptions for the prize money awarded to Olympian medal winners.

It’s true, those athletes have worked hard to earn those medals and that prize money, which ranges from $10,000 for bronze medals to $25,000 for gold medals provided by the U.S. Olympic Committee. As Derek Bouchard-Hall, the chief executive of U.S.A. Cycling, put it, “a tax break is just a way of acknowledging something they did for our country.”

However, athletes are certainly not the only people who work hard for our country. What about the tens of millions of teachers, doctors, and scientists? They receive no such exemptions. At least firefighters’ feats of athleticism lead to a more tangible benefit for the rest of America than a sense of raised morale.

“But these professionals are the best in their field!” one might argue. “They’ve worked years for this achievement! They deserve something extra for winning!” Okay, okay, that’s an understandable viewpoint. However, with that logic, shouldn’t winners of other prestigious awards, like winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, also receive the same benefits?

Admittedly, unlike many other professions, professional athletes do not always have the most reliable source of income, and often rely upon sponsorships and fundraising. In fact, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun points out that to compete in the Olympics, athletes “make considerable financial sacrifices.” But while this may be true, let’s remember that these athletes have chosen these careers with the knowledge that only a very small number will be successful enough to become rich; so, giving athletes a tax break because their careers aren’t often lucrative doesn’t make much sense. This is especially true when remembering the fact that members of other less lucrative professions are still taxed.

Others have argued that Olympians should earn a bigger cut of the International Olympic Committee’s expected annual revenue of $1.375 billion, which is currently dispersed through a trickle-down system. While this viewpoint may be perfectly valid, it’s also entirely distinct from the question of whether or not that income should be taxable.

Finally, yes, it’s true, the $3 million the Olympic medal tax break would take out of the federal budget over the next ten years is a drop in the Olympic swimming pool-sized bucket. But that $3 million might still be put to better use elsewhere. As Rep. Himes told the New York Times, “We’ve got a Zika crisis, an opium epidemic and gun violence in the news every day.”

Perhaps those are the issues that deserve a spot on Congress’s priority podium.