TIME Race

Survey: Blacks and Hispanics Say News Doesn’t Reflect Their Communities

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Jose Luis Pelaez—Getty Images

1,492 U.S. adults were polled about the media over the phone

Black and Hispanic Americans say the media does not accurately cover their communities, according to a study released Tuesday.

The survey of 1,492 U.S. adults was conducted over the phone by the Media Insight Project, a joint initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Media Insight Project found that 33% of Hispanics and 25% of African-Americans believe the media portrays their community accurately. Only 19% of the African-Americans polled said that the most accurate coverage of their community comes from general local news, and only 18% from African-American specific news sources. Of Hispanic Americans, 49% said they felt that the most accurate news comes from Hispanic specific sources.

The full survey results can be found here.

TIME Spain

Go Inside the World’s Biggest Tomato Fight

The La Tomatina festival draws thousands of people to Bunol, Spain, every year

Getting into a food fight is every school kid’s fantasy, but once a year in the town of Bunol, Spain, it becomes a reality.

The objective of the La Tomatina festival is simple: Throw as many tomatoes at other people as you can (or perhaps just roll around in the puree that covers the streets). This year, according to the Associated Press, there were approximately 125 tons of tomatoes and 22,000 participants.

Both residents and non-residents participate in the festival. This is the second year that Bunol charged out-of-towners 10 Euros (about $13) to help paint their town red.

[AP]

TIME viral

The Best News Bloopers of August

With a special cameo from the 'Apparently Kid' and a hilariously solemn "breaking news" announcement

It’s been a pretty dismal month, as far as world events go, but the news wasn’t all bad thanks to some very entertaining on-air mishaps. So here you go: seven minutes of pure schadenfreude.

TIME Bizarre

A German Man Was Evicted Because His Sex Swing Was Too Squeaky

A new Swingers club,
Here's an example of one. Rick Madonik—Toronto Star via Getty Images

And you thought your neighbors were bad

It turns out that the only worse thing than having upstairs neighbors who tap dance or have a newborn is living in the same apartment as a man with a very squeaky sex swing (and a very active, um, social life).

A German court ruled Friday that a landlady had the right to evict a tenant who broke his rental agreement of keeping quiet between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. by using his “very old,” loud, chain sex swing, the Associated Press reports. Neighbors filed numerous complaints since the swing’s 2012 installation.

The court said that by using the swing late at night, it “would no longer correspond to normal rental use, and must therefore not be tolerated as socially acceptable,” AP reports.

[AP]

TIME Election 2014

Republican Group Rolls Out Fake News Websites

The NRCC has released a line of websites to attack Democrats with the look and feel of local news sites

The National Republican Congressional Committee is getting into the local news business — at least until the midterm elections are over.

The NRCC has released a line of websites to attack Democratic candidates that have the look and feel of local news websites. The sites have names like “Central Valley Update” and “Augusta Update.” A box at the bottom of the page indicates the website is paid for by the NRCC. Some two dozen of the sites are now live.

“This is a new and effective way to disseminate information to voters who are interested in learning the truth about these Democratic candidates,” NRCC spokesperson Andrea Bozek said of the new line of sites. “While Democrats would rather hide their candidates and their reckless agenda, we believe voters deserve to know the facts.” Bozek added that the websites are not illegal.

The group drew criticism earlier this year over websites, including fundraising portals that confused some voters, which spoofed the websites of Democratic candidates.

The new websites are being paid for and coordinated by the NRCC’s independent expenditure arm, which can raise unlimited sums of money but is not permitted to coordinate with candidates’ campaigns.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC’s Democratic counterpart, called the websites deceptive.

“House Republicans’ campaign strategy to overcome their own historic unpopularity is to resort to deception—again,” DCCC spokesperson Josh Schwerin told TIME.

TIME Transportation

FAA Implements No-Fly Zone in Ferguson Amid Unrest Over Killed Teen

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man
With their hands raised, residents gather at a police line as the neighborhood is locked down following skirmishes on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Scott Olson—Getty Images

Police say their helicopter was shot at multiple times Sunday

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a no-fly zone over Ferguson, Missouri, Tuesday at the request of the St. Louis County Police Department.

The St. Louis County Police Department told TIME it asked the FAA for the flight restriction after a police helicopter was fired upon “multiple times” during civil unrest Sunday. Ferguson, located just outside St. Louis, Missouri, erupted in street violence amid demonstrations sparked by the death of Michael Brown, a black teenager who was shot and killed by police on Saturday.

The FAA order restricts flights over the Ferguson area below 3,000 feet to first responders only, including medical and police helicopters. Private aircraft, including news helicopters, are prohibited from flying below 3,000 feet in a 3-mile radius around the town. The rule doesn’t apply to aircraft landing at or taking off from the nearby Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, a major commercial hub. The restriction is in place through August 18.

The order says the flight restrictions were put in place “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.” The FAA would not elaborate further on the reason for the St. Louis County Police Department’s request. “If you want it, file a FOIA,” FAA Spokesperson Elizabeth Cory told TIME, in reference to a Freedom of Information Act request.

It’s not unusual for local police departments to request flight restrictions over potentially dangerous zones, and it’s typically done to clear airspace for police helicopter operations. The Ferguson restriction, however, may make it more difficult for news media to get aerial footage of the town as the Brown story continues to develop.

“If we feel that order is restored we can request ran early termination,” St. Louis County police spokesperson Bryan Schellman told TIME.

TIME Crime

Mystery White Flags on Brooklyn Bridge Provoke Social Media Frenzy

"We will not surrender"

The New York Police Department has removed a pair of white flags that mysteriously replaced the American stars and stripes on top of the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday morning.

While the unexplained security breach is under investigation by police, the incident has incited a slew of social media confusion and some conspiracy theories.

Has Brooklyn surrendered?

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement that no, “We will not surrender our public safety to anyone, at any time.”

Were the flags in question actually American flags that had been whitewashed? Oren Yaniv of the Daily News said yes:

Even more suspiciously still, the police folded the flags in a ceremonial manner after taking them down:

While Adams is approaching the confusing stunt very seriously — “If flying a white flag atop the Brooklyn Bridge is someone’s idea of a joke, I’m not laughing. The public safety of our city is of paramount importance, particularly our landmarks and bridges that are already known to be high-risk targets.” — others online are taking a lighter approach.

It’s a marketing stunt for a little-remembered British singer of the 1990s:

Some thought it was a message from the borough on the other side of the bridge:

Others speculated what Brooklyn might be giving in to:

If it helps, public officials aren’t sure either. In the words of an NYPD Deputy Commission for Public Information officer to Business Insider, “We don’t know anything.”

TIME animals

Ohio Man’s Therapy Ducks Fall Foul of Local Ordinances

Iraq war veteran Darin Welker holds one of his ducks at his home in West Lafayette, Ohio on July 10, 2014.
Iraq war veteran Darin Welker holds one of his ducks at his home in West Lafayette, Ohio on July 10, 2014. Trevor Jones—AP

Veteran Darin Welker says raising the birds helps him overcome PTSD from the Iraq War

Darin Welker loves his ducks. He feeds them, looks after them, and sometimes the Iraq War veteran from West Lafayette, Ohio just watches them interact. But Welker’s community doesn’t share the same affection for his feathered friends.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reports, Welker will appear in a local municipal court facing a minor misdemeanor charge for raising 14 ducks in violation of local village rules. He could face a fine of up to $150.

Welker, an Iraq War veteran, says he’s been raising the ducks as a form of therapy for a back injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Welker told the AP that although the Department of Veterans Affairs paid for his back surgery in 2012, they did not provide mental or physical therapy.

In March, he got the ducks to help fill that void, after hearing raising them could be therapeutic.

“Taking care of them is both mental and physical therapy,” Welker told the AP. “[Watching them] keeps you entertained for hours at a time.”

In West Lafayette, however, raising ducks or any farm animal violates a 2010 ban on housing “chickens, turkeys, ducks, live poultry or fowl of any kind, horses, ponies, cows, calves, goats, sheep, or live animals of any kind except dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds or mice.”

But there is hope for Welker and his ducks. A local woman fought to keep the pot-bellied pig she and her daughter use for therapy in 2013. Mary Smith, the pig’s owner, told the Coshocton Tribune at the time that she would rather move than give up her pig. “He’s part of our family,” Smith said.

Smith obtained a letter from her doctor confirming her pig was for therapy. According to the AP, Welker has already gotten a letter from the mental health department of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs recommending he keep the ducks.

[AP]

TIME viral

Dog Casually Relieves Itself in the Background of a BBC Weather Report

During a live report for BBC Breakfast, weather presenter Carol Kirkwood was totally upstaged by a dog that wandered into the shot and then squatted to calmly relieve herself. Back in the studio, the show’s hosts naturally began to giggle and tell Kirkwood not to turn around.

The pooch was later outed as Connie, who belongs to a BBC producer:

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, BBC confirmed that it was a “number one”.

WATCH: Hilarious Camera Error on BBC News

WATCH: BBC Reporter on Royal Baby Watch Is Already Bored

TIME

Daily Mail Takes Down George Clooney Article After Actor Blasts it in Op-Ed

Omega Le Jardin Secret
Actor George Clooney arrives for the red carpet of Omega Le Jardin Secret dinner party on May 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China. Feng Li--Getty Images

The actor slammed the "Daily Mail" for a false story about his fiancee's family, prompting the publication to apologize and remove the piece

What a week for celebrity op-eds!

First, we have Taylor Swift opining on the future of the music industry for the Wall Street Journal and now we have none other than George Clooney sounding off in USA Today. The subject of Clooney’s op-ed? The Daily Mail, which Clooney essentially chews up and spits out. Clooney rages against a story in the publication that claimed his upcoming nuptials to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin was a major source of contention for his fiancée’s family, particularly her mother, Baria, who supposedly opposed their engagement on religious grounds.

Clooney writes:

It says Amal’s mother has been telling “half of Beirut” that she’s against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride.

Let me repeat that: the death of the bride.

First of all, none of the story is factually true. Amal’s mother is not Druze. She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage.

Clooney goes on to write that an incorrect story about a celebrity isn’t the issue — as he’s apparently “used to the Daily Mail making up stories” about him — but that this particular story goes beyond celebrity gossip: “The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous.”

The actor, who is the son of retired broadcast journalist Nick Clooney, explains that he has respect for right to freedom of speech — and knows that it will interfere with his private life from time to time — but he seems to view the publication as far more sinister. He writes:

The Daily Mail, more than any other organization that calls itself news, has proved time and time again that facts make no difference in the articles they make up. And when they put my family and my friends in harm’s way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence.

For its part, the Daily Mail denies fabricating the story. In an email to TIME, a MailOnline spokesman said that the “story was not a fabrication but supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist … However, we accept Mr. Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize to him, Miss Amal Alamuddin and her mother, Baria, for any distress caused. We have removed the article from our website and will be contacting Mr. Clooney’s representatives to discuss giving him the opportunity to set the record straight.”

Yet Clooney certainly isn’t the first person to strike back at the British publication, which was named the most widely read news website in the world in 2012 with upwards of 52 million visitors a month. Just a few months ago, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling won a libel lawsuit against the paper; singer Elton John and business mogul Alan Sugar have also won libel suits against the Daily Mail.

And then there are those who have leveled their criticism specifically against the publication’s website, Mail Online, which traffics largely in celebrity gossip. The site’s “Femail” section, which tends to focus on women celebrities and their bodies and what they may or may not be wearing at any given moment they’re caught by the paparazzi, is known for being petty or cruel or demeaning.

Though criticism lobbed at the website’s “Femail” content doesn’t tend to center on whether the stories are factual or not, many do view them as destructive in another way. In 2012, Observer columnist Eva Wiseman wrote that she was partaking in a self-inflicted boycott of the Mail Online, because “I was boring myself with my constant outrage at the sidebar’s dissection of women, and worried that it was making me more judgy … As judgmental as the sidebar, whose camera is constantly focused on pop stars’ thighs.”

While it might be hard to reconcile the denunciations of the Daily Mail and its extreme popularity — again, 52 million visitors a month on the website — it appears as if Clooney has struck a fresh cord of outrage. Online and social media comments, including many from journalists and editors, are almost unanimously and forcefully in support of the actor. As Clooney himself notes, the Daily Mail “must be so very proud.”

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