Tomatoes

Overview:Tomatoes are a fruit (yes a fruit–although commonly referred to as a vegetable) These fruit are sweet and acidic used all over the world

Five heirloom tomatoes in red, orange, and purple sit on a wooden cutting board.
Heirloom tomatoes

Seed Starting: Tomatoes need lots of sunlight or growing lights. Start in damp seed starting mix, 2-3 seeds per pot, and ¼ inches deep. Start tomatoes about 8 weeks before your last frost date. This is right around Merrimack’s spring break. . Space your tomatoes 2 or more feet apart.

Growing Advice: Tomatoes need full sun and lots of moisture. If the soil is dry an inch down, offer them a good soak. Tomatoes are subject to blight, a fungal disease, so keep leaves off of the ground and water at the base of the plant (rather than spraying the leaves). Tomatoes often do well with a fence or equivalent to let the vines climb rather than droop or touch the ground

Recipe for Homemade Tomato Sauce

  • Start with 8-10 medium to large tomatoes (this will be a smaller batch of sauce) or 14 or more to make a larger batch. (Tomatoes on the vine or Roma tomatoes work best for me!)
  • Slice an “X” on the bottom of your tomatoes and bring them to a boil in a large pot.
  • When the skin of the tomato becomes loose or is coming off completely remove from boiling water and place in a bowl of ice water.
  • Remove all the skin and stem parts (the white parts) from tomatoes and crush. Crushing by hand is the original and best way but if you prefer you can use a potato masher or equivalent to break down the tomatoes!
  • When all the tomatoes are crushed to your preference (you can crush them or even blend them to pure liquid consistency or leave some chunks of tomatoes for texture) put back in pot and return to a simmer.
  • Add 4-6 cloves of garlic, a hefty sprinkle of salt and pepper, a 1/2 cup of olive oil (or to your liking), Italian seasonings of your liking (basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc.), and minced onion (or a whole onion with the ends cut off, also marked with an “X” on both ends, not enough to cut through the whole onion, and remove from sauce when soft or if layers begin to peel)
  • Simmer until all ingredients are combined and sauce thickens in consistency (if desired some prefer a thin sauce and you can just combine ingredients and use sauce as desired!)
  • For Gravy you can add meat to your sauce; sausage, meatballs, beef cubes, etc. (pre-cooked)

Written by: Jackie Rosney

Carrots

Overview: Carrots come in a variety of colors, are easy-to-grow, and store nicely after harvest. 

Seed Starting: Carrots prefer rich, sandy soil and a sunny location. They can also grow well in containers. Regular varieties prefer a soil depth of 10-12 inches. Short varieties, like “Scarlet Nantes,” “Chantenay,” or the unusually round “Parisian,” are perfect for more shallow gardens. 

Three orange carrots sit on the grass.
Three orange carrots from the Merrimack Garden

Sow carrot seeds directly into soil, ¼ inch deep, in rows about a foot apart (source: Farmer’s Almanac). Thin carrots to about 3 inches apart once they’ve sprouted. Clip off little seedlings to be thinned (perhaps using nail scissors) because pulling them up might also disrupt the carrots you want to keep growing. Almost all seed starting advice says to keep seeds moist after planting, but it really is true with carrots. 

Growing Advice: Carrots can even be grown twice a year in New England! Plant a spring crop (starting a few weeks before the last frost date) and a fall crop in late summer. 

Harvesting: Carrots often show their “shoulders” to give a preview of how wide they are. Harvest early for “baby” carrots or wait for a bigger carrot. Carrots take 60-80 (or more) days until harvest. Try to be patient. 

Carrots store well (with their tops snipped off), in a sealed bag in the fridge. Consider using the tops to make pesto! 

Recipe for Carrot Cake

Try this Southern Living carrot cake recipe that Chrissy Teigen loves. Dr. Perks made it near the start of the pandemic and agrees its delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Baking Steps:

  • Step 1 Line 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
  • Step 2 Stir together first 4 ingredients.
  • Step 3 Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cakepans.
  • Step 4 Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Kale

Overview: Kale is a cold-tolerant, versatile green, useful in salads, soups, “chips,” and as a steamed side dish. Kale can have two crops in New England: one planting before the last spring frost and one planting at the tail end of summer, with a harvest lasting into fall. 

This image is of green and red kale leaves.
Red Kale and Blue Curled Scotch Kale grow well in the Merrimack Garden

Seed Starting Advice: Kale can be started indoors under grow lights or on a sunny windowsill about 8-10 weeks before the last frost (end of March is good). Or, direct seed it in late April. Same goes for mid-to-late August–either direct seed or start in pots. Choose seed starting soil or a potting mix and plant seeds about ¼ inch deep. 

Growing Advice: Space seedlings about 12-16 inches apart. Slugs may attack young seedlings. If starting seeds in pots, it helps to wait until they’re about 2-4 inches tall before transplanting. Collars made of toilet paper rolls or paper cups may also protect young seedlings. (photo needed) Common pests include the cabbage worm. Pick off worms (which often color match to the kale) or consider an organic spray of Bt (which will kill other types of caterpillars such as monarchs) or Neem oil.

Harvesting: Pick just a few leaves off a plant as needed and watch the plant continue to produce for months. Baby kale is excellent for salads. Some cooks will even massage the leaves to soften them. Kale that is older, more leathery, and even ruffled will be great for kale chips. (Flatter kales tend to stick to the baking sheet.)

Recipe for Kale Chips (from Lisa)

  • Wash the leaves and rip into bite-sized pieces.
  • Dry them well. If you have time, let the leaves sit in a bowl in the fridge for hours of even a few days.
  • When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300.
  • Use a tablespoon of olive oil and two dashes of soy sauce for about 3 cups of kale leaves. Rub the oil and soy sauce into the kale leaves, spreading the mixture well.
  • Next, place kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes.
  • Leaves should be crispy but not be too dried out. It also works well to check at about 10 minutes, remove already-crispy leaves, and let the rest bake for 2 minutes or so longer.

Keeping Your Garden Safe from Pests

If you prepare your soil well, follow the plant spacing guides, and water as needed, you’re already off to a good gardening start. This post offers advice on how to tackle the next big problem for gardeners: pests. 

One of the main reasons vegetables gardens or flowers are unsuccessful is that pests have successfully feasted on them. This post is divided into fencing for the bigger animals and other methods to curb the insects. 

First, the good stuff: embrace spiders, snakes, birds, toads, bees, and many other bugs in your garden. You can all work in harmony together. 

Good Fences Make Good Gardeners

Even if you don’t “see” pests around, there’s a good chance they’re in your yard or visiting your deck. Deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, chipmunks, voles, woodchucks, and others can steal a harvest or hurt plants. 

If you start a large garden, consider adding poultry wire or other fencing to the perimeter. Sinking the fencing a few feet into the ground will also help. For a few hundred dollars and a bit of labor, you can have some peace of mind. 

If you choose not to fence, check your plants daily (especially when they’re young) and react quickly to noticeable damage. It is possible to spray deterrents (like “Liquid Fence” that will keep some animals away. However, these sprays often smell bad (not great for patios/decks with seating) and need to be reapplied after rain. 

Barriers, Sprays, and Hand-Picking: Battling Insects and Fungus

Insects can be hard to see and tricky to identify. Google lens might tell you what you have: spider mites, vine borers, cabbage worms, tomato hornworms, etc.  

For larger, slower insects (e.g., caterpillars, beetles), picking them off and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water can do the trick. This can be time-consuming, but it’s quite effective and doesn’t harm the broader ecosystem. 

Neem oil is a good general-purpose organic spray that can take care of aphids, mites, and some other insects. 

Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis kills caterpillars by paralyzing their digestive systems. It is organic and is considered (by most) to be harmless to humans. This spray will kill cabbage worms–but it will also kill monarch caterpillars and those other “beautiful” butterfly larva. It’s best to use any spray pest control sparingly and in targeted areas. 

A brick raised garden bed holds small garlic plants in the front. At the back of the garden bed a round tent of white floating row cover keeps young plants safe in the early spring.
Floating row cover keeps
young plants safe.

Row covers are another organic method for keeping pests separate from plants. Dr. Perks is currently trying this method to prevent squash vine borers (aka clearwing moths) from eating her squash plants. 

Additional Tips and Tricks

Crop Rotation: Planting different types or families of vegetables in different spots year to year can help prevent pest damage. Pests (like squash vine borers) overwinter in the soil. Moving a pest’s buffet to a different garden bed or space the following year may slow the pest down. 

A dangerous fungus (verticillium wilt) will also build up in the soil and harm plants like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplant. Verticillium wilt causes yellow foliage, wilting, and even death. If you had fantastic tomatoes one year and pitiful tomatoes the next, verticillium may be why. Rotate these crops to different beds annually. 

Companion Planting: Companion planting refers to planting two or more types of plants near one another for at least one plant’s benefit. For example, the Merrimack Garden has onions planted near kale and broccoli. Onions are said to give broccoli better flavor. We also have basil planted near tomatoes to repel tomato hornworms. 

Gardening is a lot of trial and error. Pay attention to your plants, do your best to meet their needs, and if that doesn’t work…try again next year! 

Merrimack Seed Library: Getting Started

We’re excited that you took home some seeds from Merrimack College’s Seed Library! This volunteer-run Seed Library works in concert with the Merrimack Garden (located at 27 Rock Ridge Rd.). Feel free to pop by the garden any time. We have a host of annual vegetables and perennial plantings.

A chalk board sign welcomes people to the Merrimack Garden. We have lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, apples, asparagus, corn, beets, carrots, potatoes, chives, kale, broccoli, rosemary, thyme, lavender, onions.
The Merrimack Garden welcome sign highlights the 2021 offerings
A hand holds a ripe strawberry.
One perfect Merrimack Garden strawberry

Our Seed Library will be open from early March through the end of November in the McQuade Library lobby (just to the left once you walk in the doors). We will have a rotating offering of seeds that suit the particular time of year.

If kept cool and dry, the seeds you take home should last for at least a year. Once you get growing, please tag @Merrimack_Garden on Instagram or email Lisa Perks (perksl@merrimack.edu) if you have any photos to share! 

This image is of a book shelf with garden-related books on the bottom and a seed library on the top in a card catalog-type box.
The Merrimack Seed Library on its birthday

This first post gives some general advice for starting and maintaining a garden. Click the links below for your type of seed to learn more specific growing advice. If you have more questions, feel free to do what some of the best gardeners do: Google it. 

Seed Starting

Many seeds can be planted directly in the ground. Others may need to be started indoors (under grow lights or on a sunny windowsill) during the colder New England months to get a jump on the growing season. Check out the seed-specific blog posts linked below:

Getting to Know Your Merrimack Library Seeds (more links to follow)

Site Selection

Plants can be grown in many ways: raised beds, straight in the ground, in pots or containers. 

The first main step is to find a site that gets a good amount of sun. Six to eight hours a day is ideal. Be creative: this may mean you grow plants on a deck, rooftop, front yard, driveway, etc. 

Part-shade can support greens (kale, lettuce, etc.), herbs, and shade-loving flowers. You could also consider growing mushrooms if you have shade! 

Types of Gardens

Consider whether you want to build raised beds or an in-ground garden. To build a raised bed (which means you raise up the soil level), you can use lumber, logs, bricks, rocks, a kit, or something else. Just avoid using treated wood that could leach chemicals into the garden. Alternately, do an in-ground garden (with no border holding up the soil) and simply mound up the soil.

The Merrimack Garden includes a growing army of wooden raised beds.

Many towns offer free compost (usually from yard waste or leaf pick up). Or purchase compost, loam mix, or topsoil (in bags or a large delivery) to build up a bed. 

Container gardening can be done in pots, five gallon buckets, grow bags, reusable grocery bags–even a repurposed kiddie pool! Just make sure whatever container you have has good drainage. 

One additional thing to remember is that the container garden growing medium should be light and fluffy. Regular soil is too heavy for containers and doesn’t drain well. Find a bagged container potting mix or make your own with one part compost, one part vermiculite or perlite, and one part coco coir (a more sustainable alternative to peat moss).

Watering

If starting seeds indoors or in tiny pots before putting them in the garden, water the young seedlings daily. Container gardens also dry out quickly. Giving container gardens a soaking (at the base of the plant, not at the foliage) once every day or two is generally wise. 

If you’ve recently put baby plants outside into the garden (or you’ve planted seeds directly in there), give them a good daily watering about every day or two for about two weeks. Once they’re established (maybe 2ish weeks in their new spot) they can go longer between waterings–a soak every 3 days or so in the absence of rain. 

Trouble with Garden Pests? Check out this post.

Looking for Houseplant Advice? Check out this post (forthcoming).

#Healthcare in a New [Digital] Dimension

Written by: Sabella Fabiano

Growing up, I dreamed of being a nurse. I was (& still am) inspired by their ability to make a difference in people’s lives everyday. As you can see, that career path was not in the cards for me. So, how could I make my “dream” a reality in the communication field? I have realized that I have the ability to make the world a better place through effective communication. It doesn’t seem like much but effectively communicating healthcare literacy, cultural competency and language barriers  can build a patient provider relationship. According to Haran Ratna, author of The Importance of Effective Communication in Healthcare Practice , “Without it [communication], the quality of healthcare would be impaired.” Ethical communication in healthcare aids transparency and supports the patients’ goals to care

The global pandemic has brought prominence to health communications and has led healthcare organizations to rapidly expand. We have seen improvements in clinical services, manufacturing prescription drugs, medical equipment, and telehealth.These outcomes make healthcare providers more accessible, approachable, and can create stronger relationships with their patients.

Like any other industry, it is important for healthcare to continue to keep up with the latest trends. The overall use of technology within healthcare is great but it’s also important to build positive relationships with patients through social engagement specifically through social media (SM) platforms. SM has become a new dimension of healthcare allowing the public, patients and healthcare professionals to become actively involved in their communities.

There are Six Key Benefits that SM has provided:

  1. Increased interactions with others
  2. More available, shared, and tailored information
  3. Increased accessibility and widening access to health information
  4. Peer/social/emotional support
  5. Public health surveillance
  6. Potential to influence health policy. 

Born and raised in Boston, it only made sense for me to see how some of the finest Boston hospitals use SM. Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Dana-Farber Cancer Institution, and Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH)  utilize Instagram to create positive impacts on society.

@massgeneral Instagram Post https://www.instagram.com/massgeneral/

@Massgeneral engages their followers (42.6k) through uplifting and informative content. Posting photos of nurses, helpful hints, and hospital news allow for their audience to find comfort in making connections to the organization on a more personal level. Understanding healthcare is not easy for the average person. MGH has created a podcast to their profile providing a space that is informative and educational.

@Danafarber is a little more reserved with their Instagram profile compared to MGH. Dana-Farber focuses deeply on emotional support, providing their followers (27.4k) with quotes from survivors, friends and family members that have felt appreciated and respected through their journeys. This type of approach allows for an inclusive online support system. 

@Bostonchildrens has a high level of community interaction. Content consists of photos of patients that are light hearted and community oriented. It is pretty evident that no one wants to see images of sick children- BCH provides their patients and followers (59.1k) hope and commitment to service through involvement. I admire that their posts are cheerful rather than providing hard facts or statistics.

I am the first person to argue that SM has negative effects on society but utilizing platforms like Instagram for the greater good reminds me how important it is to be able to communicate to people in all different ways. Is SM going to cure cancer? No, probably not. However, making small connections on social networks help open new opportunities for providers and their patients. With the right intentions of social media platforms through medical communications, we can continue to see impactful change within the future of our healthcare system.


Trouble in Paradise For the Kane Family, But Who’s to Fault?

Written By: Connor Powell

When talking about professional athletes or people of the like, you usually have to take things with a grain of salt when talking about media. These people are celebrities in their own right and are constantly under a spotlight that most normal people aren’t and a prime example of this is just how much they are on or in the presence of camera’s. One of the more ethical topics in the National Hockey League has been the story of former San Jose Sharks winger, Evander Kane. Kane certainly has all the skill in the world, but he has found himself in boat loads of trouble dating back to last year.

SAN JOSE, CA – FEBRUARY 29: Evander Kane #9 of the San Jose Sharks prepares to face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at SAP Center on February 29, 2020 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The most recent drama Kane has found himself in is with wife, Anna Kane. The couple are amidst a crazy divorce battle that keeps getting crazier and crazier. The whole ethical case we’re going to get into started once Evander won sole custody of their 1-year-old daughter, Kensington. (New York Post, Lemoncelli) This sent Anna on a spiral of questionable media ethics decisions that we’ll now get into.

After the custody decision was made in Evander’s favor, Anna took to Instagram and started posting some really revealing things about her soon to be ex-husband. The first thing she did was post a private video of Evander pointing a “loaded gun” at her. This is obviously a terrible look for Evander and should never happen, but he defended himself by saying it was a “photo shoot”, which apparently worked based upon the fact that the courts think and still think that Anna has untreated mental health issues. (New York Post, Lemoncelli) To me, I think releasing the video to a private court room is really necessary here, but releasing a private video (no matter how bad) to the public is unethical. You have to think of all parties when you deal with social media, especially when young children are involved in any way. Now the Kane’s child has a video of her father pointing a gun around, which I’m sure she doesn’t want to grow up with. At the end of the day what both Evander and Anna Kane did in this instance I believe is very wrong and you can tell that the relationship has spiraled to a point of no return for the couple.

THE 2019 ESPYS PRESENTED BY CAPITAL ONE – The world’s best athletes and biggest stars will join host Tracy Morgan for “The 2019 ESPYS presented by Capital One.” The star-studded evening celebrates the best moments from the year in sports and will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on WEDNESDAY, JULY 10 (8:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (Image Group LA via Getty Images) EVANDER KANE, ANNA KANE

This past July was also an interesting media ethics development. Since Anna has been so upset about the entire legal proceedings and really upset about her relationship with Evander, she took to social media once again. She first accused Kane of cheating, that their home was being seized by the bank and then said that he was betting on NHL games including ones he was playing in. Evander denied all of the claims and the NHL even did an investigation, but “could not substantiate any of the allegations. What does this say about Anna? Was she trying to take advantage of what was already known of her husband to make him appear in a worse light? Or was she trying to get the truth out there and since he is a professional athlete it is harder to “get them canceled”. Since the NHL did a full investigation and found nothing to be true about what she said, on top of the fact that the court had concerns about her mental stability, I think that Kane – even though he has plenty of flaws – is more in the right here than Anna. Going to social media and spreading misinformation is not the way to go and both Evander and Anna should look at themselves in the mirror after this entire process is over.

The billion-dollar question: Vietnam’s social media guidelines and the pressure for social media platforms to protect free speech.

By: Trinh (Tom) Ho

Getty Stock Image

The digital age moves at breathtaking speed, and how it transformed the way people communicate in Vietnam is no different. As digital technologies have become entwined in the way people connect and relate to one another, Vietnam, like the rest of Southeast Asia, is undergoing radical social transformations. Fast expanding digital infiltration and mobile technology adoption mean that people are increasingly performing significant parts of their everyday lives online. The rise of the internet and the different media platforms have become increasingly important in how the public gathers information as well as form opinions on day-to-day life as well as political opinions. In June of 2021, the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) rolled out a set of guidelines under the name 874/QĐ-BTTTT This new code will function as Vietnam’s national social media guidelines, encouraging users to share positive content about the country. Certain restrictions apply to social media users and companies, with social media providers in Vietnam being required to follow local laws and regulations when it comes to removing different content from different respective platforms. While not a definitive legal binding regulation, the guideline raises ethical concerns on free speech and the conflict of interest between government agencies and the different platforms as well as its users. Was this guideline a solution to combat the rise of defamation, fake accounts, spam, and trolls on the internet in the country or is it another way for the Vietnamese government to keep a check on its citizen’s digital movement?

Trinh Ho, Vietnam New and Old.

Vietnam is a rapidly growing country, both from its GDP and population as well as its digital media consumption. A report from Stasia, Vietnam has around 72 million active users on different social media which is around a 74% penetration rate. Vietnam is a large market for Facebook with 74 million active users and generates over $1 Billion Dollars in revenue. Late in November of last year, Reuters reported the Vietnamese government’s demand for Facebook to censor more of their platforms in the country. Vietnam is not new to censorship and regulation of speech on any type of media and for social media platforms that are run by private entities, Vietnam is approaching uncharted territories in its “struggle” for power over its citizens as the population grows younger and “smarter”.  Vietnam threatened to ban the platform if it fails to increase its censorship of content coming out of Vietnam. To not lose out on the large revenue that can be generated from the country, Facebook has seemingly given into the Vietnamese government demands as data from its transparency report,  shows that Facebook removed nearly 3000 posts from June of 2020 to January of 2021. While Facebook community standards guideline states “The goal of our Community Standards is to create a place for expression and give people a voice. The Facebook company wants people to be able to talk openly about the issues that matter to them, even if some may disagree or find them objectionable.” giving into a government agency seems like Facebook is failing to uphold its mission to give everyone a voice. The battle for free speech between social media platforms and governmental agencies is not a new topic and Vietnam remains under scrutiny on how they are imposing restrictions on media but we have to put Facebook’s ethical stance on the issue under question as the platform seemingly prioritizes profit over the wellbeing and freedom of expressions of its users. 

Young people surf the Internet on their phones in Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Shutterstock/Anh Huy.

In our day and age with the many factors that are affecting the socioeconomic landscape of different countries and societies, whether it’s false information, malicious intent, financial decisions, or government agencies’ influence, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for social media platforms to remain neutral platforms for everyone to voice their opinions. While a private entity and can change its policies as they see fit, giant social media providers such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. have the influence and the responsibility to be a space where everyone can have a voice without judgment or influence. This move by Facebook and the Vietnamese government can affect and hinder how the Vietnamese public voices their opinions and view the integrity of the firm.  For me, it’s not new that the Vietnamese government wants to track and control what we say but it is confusing to see a private entity that is Facebook to give in to the government’s demand. As for me and many of my peers, social media will remain a big part of our personal and professional lives, but after the guideline and Facebook’s action, there will be a lot of ambiguity in what I can and can’t do on social media that can affect me. 



Reality TV: Are we really getting a full idea of a person?

By Geena Levine

Reality television can be problematic to watch as it allows viewers to make assumptions about people that they only really know from edited pieces the show decides to air of them. This can lead to false perceptions of who a person really is and lead to negative criticisms of a person where it may not be warranted. 

Selling Sunsets Star Davina Patratz has been highly criticized as being the “villain” of the show in season 3. The show tends to highlight the negative things that she says and does and rarely, shows her as a good person. She is often seen on the show causing drama and conflict among the real estate agents and not listening to the viewpoints of others. 

In the season 3 finale she is shown starting an argument with another employee, Chriselle about her divorce and whose fault it really was. This has led to her being hated and getting a lot of backlash online, but is all this hate really justified or is this a product of the producers creating a character for her?

Davina Potratz during season 3

In an interview with Vulture she states that, “I can also tell you with certainty that you don’t know my entire personality. You don’t see very much of me — you only see maybe 10 percent of me. When you don’t see any other part, then your perception is only what you see: You think that person equals something negative, but whatever was shown was pretty harsh. That’s what you identify that person with, but that is not the entire person.” 

She claims that the show manipulates the footage in order to make her come off as a lot ruder than she really is. She explains how you only see a portion of who she is and never get a complete idea of who she really is as a person, because of the way the producers edit the footage. She explains in another interview with RadioTimes that when talking about an argument she had on the show with one of the agency’s bosses, Jason, “‘There’s a lot of joking around and fun that we’re having as well,” she told us. “And I don’t know if you necessarily see that, especially from my character on the show. You know, I’m not a one-dimensional person, nobody is, and you really cannot define anyone based on the show, right?”’. 

With that being said, are producers at fault for airing these clips, or is it the fault of the agents for saying what they said on the show? I think that this ethical issue becomes tricky when you look deeply into it. The allure of watching reality tv is seeing the arguments between castmates, so obviously this is what the producers are going to want to air, even if it makes the people look bad. However, I think that sometimes the producers can go overboard with their editing when portraying characters. Although they are using footage of what the star is actually saying in the moment, they are using it to put a negative spin on the character and often do not include parts of the conversation where the individual is coming off a lot nicer. 

I believe the main ethical issue here and what is difficult to put blame on is how the producers are able to create a false persona of a character, rather than the character being able to create their own persona. No matter how many positive things you say or do during filming, the producers are only going to air what they think is going to give them views, and typically that is not characters being nice to each other, but rather the huge arguments. Working together and spending so much time together outside of work, friends are bound to get into arguments, but the way that reality tv spins these arguments to create a persona for a person is ethically wrong and should not be allowed.

To What End Will One Go for the Love of a Brother?

Chris Cuomo faces consequences for “family first and job second” conduct

written by: Claire Foley

On November 30, 2021, CNN suspended its prime-time anchor, Chris Cuomo. Chris Cuomo, who has hosted Cuomo Prime Time since 2018, was suspended indefinitely for his unethical involvement with his brother’s (former N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo) on-going investigation into sexual misconduct.

CNN’s Brian Stelter (Chief Media Correspondent) reports on Chris Cuomo’s suspension

The sexual misconduct allegations against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been covered by national news outlets from early 2021 through his eventual resignation in August of this year. Since those allegations surfaced, Chris Cuomo and CNN agreed that he would not be able to objectively report on the subject, since it was involving his family. CNN confirmed this in a statement made by the network in May 2021 saying “Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes… In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective.” It was recently learned, however, that Chris Cuomo had been using his position at CNN to advise his brother’s legal team for his defense.

In 2020, Chris Cuomo often had his brother (then Governor), Andrew Cuomo on his show Cuomo Prime Time.

The documents that were released on Monday (Nov. 29, 2021), were not the first sign of a potentially unethical connection between the brothers, though. In May, when CNN released the above statement about Chris Cuomo’s involvement in the network’s reporting, CNN was made aware that C. Cuomo had participated in strategy calls to help his brother. At the time, CNN called it “inappropriate” and C. Cuomo was told to stop doing so.

Evidently, that did not happen.

It was learned this week that Chris Cuomo continued to use his power as a journalist to gain information from sources and other journalists about details involving his brother’s case. In depicting the information within the documents, Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter wrote,

“The documents released by New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday included text messages and transcripts of interviews with investigators who led the probe into allegations against the governor. The cache of documents included text messages between Chris Cuomo and Melissa DeRosa, a then-top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that suggested he was instrumental in working to craft a defense against a flood of sexual misconduct allegations. The text messages also revealed that Chris Cuomo sought to use his connections in the press to help prepare the then-governor’s team as accusers started to make their stories public”(Darcy, Stelter, 2021).

Chris Cuomo spoke about his suspension on his SiriusXM show saying, “It hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing, but I understand it…the last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues and do anything but help.”

Audio from Cuomo’s apology was posted to the SiriusXM Youtube channel

According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, Cuomo’s action will have challenged a few subsections within the “Act Independently” category of the guidelines. It is evident that in acting to aid his brother, he neglected to avoid a conflict of interest, avoid practices that compromised his integrity, and above all, made his primary obligation to his brother (who at one point was a government representative) over public interest.

It is not unreasonable to think that anyone would feel pressured to help a family member when their occupation privies them to potentially helpful information. However, as the press is often considered a fourth pillar of government, it is the primary duty of a journalist to understand the power of their position and either maintain objectivity, or completely remove oneself from the equation when it is not possible. Chris Cuomo was given the chance to remove himself with integrity, but failed to do so.