Charlie Hebdo: Actually, It's Not About Ethics in Satire Journalism

In the wake of the massacre at the offices of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, the American media, both mainstream and social, has almost become a satire of itself. We have a media landscape in which everyone feels the need to say everything there is to say about an event within the first few days afterward, and which rewards those with the loudest voices and the hottest and most controversial takes. Americans who had surely never even read an issue of Charlie Hebdo decided to twist what the magazine stood for to fit their predetermined agendas based on what seems like a few Google image searches for a small sample of its cartoons.

To some, they were the bad boy defenders of free speech who were really righteously sticking it to those reactionary Muslims. To others, they became a racist magazine who used their satire to punch down. We are in the somewhat surreal situation of using the chilling murder of satirists to discuss ethics in satire journalism.

This has lead to an frankly bizarrely earnest hashtag war between #JeSuisCharlie and #JeNeSuisPasCharlie.

If ever you've doubted American media and discourse is going down the toilet in the internet age, then there is no better evidence than the fact that we've responded to a major tragedy that could have far reaching effects across the globe by arguing over the proper use of Twitter hashtags to represent how we feel about silly cartoons.

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Fidel Castro Is Dead, According to Viral Twitter Rumors

Photo by Antônio Milena/ABr - Agência Brasil, via Wikimedia Commons
No one has died more times than Fidel Castro.

But yesterday, rumors began flying anew in the Cuban-American community -- and, of course, on Twitter -- that the Cuban leader has finally bitten the dust and that a possible news conference today will announce his demise. Could the speculation finally be true this time?

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Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Liberal Icon, Dies

Wikimedia Commons
Mario Cuomo speaking at a rally June 20, 1991.
Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away due to heart failure Thursday evening, just hours after his son, Andrew Cuomo, delivered a speech at a ceremony kicking off his second term as governor of New York. The elder Cuomo had been hospitalized for heart issues in November, and reports surfaced that he looked frail attending his son's re-election party November 4.

Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, served three terms from 1983 to 1994. He was touted as "a progressive giant," "a soaring intellect," and "a man of unwavering principle" during his time in office and is perhaps best known for a powerful speech he delivered at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, where he spoke passionately and memorably about issues such as poverty and inequality.

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Miami-Dade Court Awards $191.4 Million in Seized Assets to Family of Colombian Man Killed in 1999

Photo by Brian Turner via Wikipedia Commons
The family of Carlos Octavio Caballero Cormane, a Colombian politician whose 1999 murder was believed to be carried out by coke smugglers and radical groups, has been awarded $191.4 million by a Miami-Dade judge.

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Obama Reportedly to Announce Thaw in Embargo as Alan Gross Freed From Cuban Prison
Alan Gross before his capture in 2009.

Update: The White House confirms it plans to normalize trade and travel to Cuba, saying, "It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed." In Little Havana, the news has yet to stir any real protests as TV crews far outnumber a handful of sign-waving protesters.

American contractor Alan Gross was released from Cuban prison this morning, according to ABC.

Gross, a USAID employee caught in 2009 distributing satellite equipment that is banned in Cuba, was in declining health. According to ABC, Gross' release is part of a prisoner swap that will see the three remaining members of the "Cuban Five" spy ring returned to the island.

Word is now bubbling that the move might just be the first step in a much bigger announcement. President Obama will speak at noon and reportedly may announce plans to thaw the Cuban trade embargo.

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Obama Could Lift Sanctions Against Cuba After Next Week's Election, Says Congressman

Photo by Jvlio via Wikimedia Commons
Are US-Cuba relations about to see a new dawn?
The Cuban expression "mañana, mañana." is often interpreted by Anglos as an excuse for laziness. In fact, the saying speaks volumes about its island of origin. In a country that has been led by one Castro or another for more than half a century, what hope can there be that tomorrow will be any different from today?

Earlier this month, that question brought several dozen experts, academics, and journalists to Columbia Journalism School in Manhattan. Optimism was evident in the conference's title -- Covering Cuba in an Era of Change -- as well as in the presentations, which included strong hints that the embargo's days are numbered.

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Steven Sotloff's Family Hid His Jewish Identity in Attempt to Save Kidnapped Journalist

An ISIS video showing Steven Sotloff, who was captured last year in Syria.
A day after a video depicting his beheading was posted online, more details are emerging about the life and death of Middle East correspondent and Miami native Steven Sotloff.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking is the revelation that his family hid Sotloff's Jewish identity in a desperate attempt to save him from ISIS, the Islamist terror group that had kidnapped him during a reporting trip to Syria.

See also: ISIS Beheads Journalist, Threatens to Kill Miami Reporter if Obama Continues Attacks

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J.J. Rendon: Alvaro Uribe Did "the Dirty Work of the Chavistas Without Knowing It"

Courtesy of J.J. Rendón
J.J. Rendón poses next to a caricature of himself
It's been a chaotic summer for Colombians. First, they watched their national soccer team win four straight games at the World Cup. Then los cafeteros were cruelly denied a trip to the semifinals by a bunch of brutal Brazilians and a bogus referee.

While Colombia was uniting around its team, however, it was also being pulled apart by cutthroat politics. The June 15 presidential election was so dirty it deserved a red card. There were defections, accusations of bribery, and a candidate who publicly pissed himself.

The only thing that wasn't surprising was the man at the center of it all: J.J. Rendón.

See also: J.J. Rendon is Latin America's Karl Rove

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Manuel Noriega Suing Call of Duty For Including Him as a Character

Manuel Noriega: former Panamanian dictator, former decades-long resident of Miami-Dade's Federal Correctional Institute, unwilling video game star.

Yes, Noriega was featured as a character in Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and now he's suing the video game makers from his Panamanian jail cell.

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Florida Teenager Tariq Khedir Returned Home After Alleged Brutal Beating by Israeli Forces

Courtesy of CAIR Florida
The tenuous Israeli-Palestinian relationship teetered on a knife's edge last week when the bodies of three murdered Israeli teens were found. It threatened to tip into outright mayhem days later when a Palestinian teen was kidnapped and burned alive in a revenge killing. And this weekend, a Florida teenager was at the center of the latest seesawing conflict after he was allegedly brutally beaten by Israeli forces during a protest.

Tariq Khedir, a 15-year-old who goes to high school in Tampa, was released from prison this morning and is now under house arrest. The U.S. government has called for a full probe into a beating activists say was caught on video.

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