Written by Kathleen Chaudhary (California Maritime Academy)
Edited by Aimee Casey (Diablo Valley College)
Faculty Advisor: Nolan Higdon (California State University, East Bay)
On November 19, 2016, the corporate media covered the junk food news story of “Trump says ‘Hamilton’ Cast ‘Rude’ to Pence, ‘Harassed’ Him, Wants Apology” while the independent media covered “NASA Nears Finish Line of Annual Study of Antarctic Ice”. The junk food news story “Trump says ‘Hamilton’ Cast ‘Rude’ to Pence, ‘Harassed’ Him, Wants Apology” is junk because Donald Trump overreacted to and exaggerated an incident that saw cast members of the play Hamilton appeal to morality in the Trump Administration. However, NASA’s study of Antarctic ice is newsworthy because of the environmental impact of the melting ice. The mainstream media continues to cover the dramatics of Donald Trump instead of issues that will have a long lasting impact on our lives.
On November 19, 2016, the media covered the junk food news story of “Trump Says ‘Hamilton’ Cast ‘Rude’ to Pence, ‘Harassed’ Him, Wants Apology”. Brandon Dixon, the actor portraying Aaron Burr, delivered a statement to newly elected vice president Pence that quickly became viral. Dixon stated, “Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations”. While this statement is interesting, the incident was overblown. The high media coverage resulted from Donald Trump demanding an apology from the Hamilton cast on behalf of Pence. The cast of Hamilton has openly maintained their support of Hillary Clinton. For example, Hamilton was performed at a fundraiser for Clinton’s campaign. In addition, the creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda created the #Ham4Hillary hashtag.
The corporate media has dedicated a massive amount of media coverage to “Hamilton”. FOX News and CNN are both covering it, as well as Washington Post and the New York Times. Fox News has largely shown disapproval of Mr. Dixon’s statement, labeling it as “condescending or rude”. CNN pointed out that “Dixon’s rhetoric was not dissimilar to remarks Trump himself has made in the past about uniting the country”. The Washington Post revealed that Pence was not offended by the unscripted act. The New York Times reported a more neutral stance on this junk news subject. Because the Hamilton casts statement towards Pence was made only a day ago, news articles are still being made about it as Donald Trump continues to react towards the who situation.
On November 19, 2016, while the corporate media covered junk food news story of Donald Trump overreacting to a Broadway star’s political statement, NASA’s Earth Science News Team covered NASA’s study of the changes in polar ice. On November 18, 2016, Maria-Jose Vinas writing for NASA’s Earth Science News Team covered, “NASA Nears Finish Line of Annual Study of Antarctic Ice”. The article was about how NASA has just finished up its eighth annual airborne survey of artic ice. The survey project, called Operation IceBridge, sent out an incredibly successful amount of research flights this year, and has been able to study areas of Antarctica that previously were extremely difficult to reach. The article goes into detail on Antarctica’s austral summer, states that this year has had the highest amount of sea ice loss since scientists started to record it in 1979.
The topic of NASA’s Operation IceBridge is newsworthy because the melting ice in Antarctica will have a major environmental impact in the future. As the ice melts, sea levels rise, which will have severe consequences. One consequence of rising sea levels is that the coastlines will change, which will not only affect plant and wildlife but also any humans who live in cities or towns on the coasts. The cities and towns on the coast will become more prone to flooding, if they will not already be underwater. Not only that, but any area that is used for farming near the coast will be contaminated by the saltwater, which stunts or kills the nearby crops. The economy as a whole will be affected by the changes the melting ice may bring.
The junk news story about Donald Trump’s reaction to the Hamilton cast’s statement towards Pence became extremely viral in a short amount of time with growing media coverage. Meanwhile, mainstream media has ignored important issues and scientific examinations which are currently being made to facilitate a greater understanding of polar ice melting rates and the subsequent rise in sea levels. The trend of Donald Trump owning the corporate media’s complete attention while any important story is currently being ignore will most likely continue throughout his term as president.
Kathleen Chaudhary is current a cadet at the California Maritime Academy studying Marine Transportation. She is born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska, and the topic of climate change is especially important to her.
Nolan Higdon is a professor of Critical Media Literacy Education and Latin American and US History in the San Francisco Bay Area. His academic work focuses on nationalism, propaganda, and critical media literacy education. He sits on the boards of the Media Freedom Foundation, Sacred Heart University’s Media Literacy and Digital Culture Graduate Program, and the Northwest Alliance For Alternative Media And Education. He co-founded the Global Critical Media Literacy Project where he served two years as coordinator. He has contributed chapters to Censored 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, & 2017 as well as Stephen Lendman’s Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III (2014). He has published articles on media and propaganda including “Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones War on Your Mind (2013),” “Millennial Media Revolution (2014),” and “Justice For Sale (2015).” He has been a guest on national radio and television programs and a frequent guest host for The Project Censored Radio Show.
 “Trump Says ‘Hamilton’ Cast ‘rude’ to Pence, ‘harassed’ Him, Wants Apology.” Fox News. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/11/19/vice-president-elect-mike-pence-booed-at-hamilton.html.
 Gajanan, Mahita. “The Cast of Hamilton Will Help Raise Clinton Cash.” The Hive. June 26, 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/06/hamilton-hillary-clinton-fundraiser.
 Mele, Christopher, and Patrick Healy. “‘Hamilton’ Had Some Unscripted Lines for Pence. Trump Wasn’t Happy.” The New York Times. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/us/mike-pence-hamilton.html; Wang, Amy B. “Trump Demands Apology from ‘Hamilton’ after Cast’s Message to Pence.” Washington Post. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/11/19/trump-demands-apology-from-hamilton-after-casts-message-to-pence/.
 Rove, Karl. “Karl Rove: What If ‘Hamilton’ Actor Had Said THIS to Vice President-elect Pence.” Fox News. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/11/19/karl-rove-what-if-hamilton-actor-had-said-this-to-vice-president-elect-pence.html
 Tamtum, Sophie, and Karl De Vries. “Trump: Pence ‘harassed’ by ‘Hamilton’ Cast.” CNN. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/18/politics/mike-pence-hamilton-musical/index.html.
 Wang, Amy B. “Trump Demands Apology from ‘Hamilton’ after Cast’s Message to Pence.” Washington Post. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/11/19/trump-demands-apology-from-hamilton-after-casts-message-to-pence/.
 Mele, Christopher, and Patrick Healy. “‘Hamilton’ Had Some Unscripted Lines for Pence. Trump Wasn’t Happy.” The New York Times. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/us/mike-pence-hamilton.html.
 Vinas, Maria-Jose. “NASA Nears Finish Line of Annual Study of Changing Antarctic Ice.” Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. November 18, 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2518/nasa-nears-finish-line-of-annual-study-of-changing-antarctic-ice/
 Harvey, Chelsea. “Sea-level Rise Will Cause More than Flooding – These 5 Other Impacts of Rising Oceans Are Just as Bad.” Business Insider. 2015. Accessed November 19, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/5-terrifying-impacts-of-rising-sea-levels-2015-2.