The President of Stranger Things

A full moon ambushed me the other morning. It was pasted on the sky like a crafts project, too flat and too burnt orange, and too close to Beverly and La Brea, to be real. I wasn’t, How beautiful! I was, How strange. How strange there’s a four-and-a-half billion-year-old rock… More

Celebrating the Impact of Healthy Media Depictions

On September 27 in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of attending the Sentinel Awards, an annual celebration of television programs that entertain millions but also help viewers gain insights into serious health and social issues. These are popular shows that we (or some subset of we) love watching, shows… More

Enemies of the People? Hollywood Doesn’t Help!

A favorite scene from one of my favorite films happens midway through the 1996 horror flick Scream. Moments after being attacked by the serial killer Ghostface, Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell) is attacked again. This time it’s by the bright lights of a television camera crew as she’s confronted… More

The NFL’s Most Conservative and Liberal Fan Bases

Does NFL team fandom transcend political ideology or is it an expression of political ideology? The 2017 NFL season kicked off last weekend as a microcosm of the polarizing political climate in this country. Some fans aren’t tuning into games because of continued racial inequality protests during the National Anthem.… More

More “Cronkite Moments,” Please, ASAP!

Mere weeks ago, The Washington Post ran a story headlined “‘Lie after lie after lie’: Fox News’s Shepard Smith has a Cronkite moment on Russia,” which caught our attention because the Lear Center reveres the TV journalistic legacy of Walter Cronkite and presents biennial awards named for him. Watch the… More

A Tale of Two Portrayals: Suicide and Eating Disorders on Netflix

Two recent projects by Netflix, 13 Reasons Why and To the Bone, have attracted attention among public health officials for their portrayals of serious issues – rape, suicide and eating disorders. 13 Reasons is based on the popular novel by Jay Asher and involves a teen who commits suicide (in a heart-wrenching, four-minute wrist-cutting scene) after sending… More

The Power of Media

I believe in the power of media, for good or bad, and I’ve dedicated my career to getting people to think about how entertainment impacts us. ​ And what better place than the Norman Lear Center to look at these issues? I attended a TV Academy event a while back… More

The Cultural Diplomacy of KCON

“Let’s Play! Let’s KCON!” CHECK OUT KCON 2017 in Los Angeles | INFO KCON is the largest annual three-day festival for South Korean music and pop culture – often referred to as The Korean Wave or Hallyu – in America. Celebrating its 5th anniversary, 2016 KCON took place in New York and… More

Just How Gay Is ‘House Hunters’?

New research reveals 4.3% of “House Hunters” episodes feature gay people A record-high number of Americans think our country is divided – I count myself among them. Political divisiveness is so pervasive and ever-present that I find myself consistently searching for ideological bridges – topics that forge connections across ideology… More