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

Post-Trump TV Storytelling

Because of research I’ve done on the relationship between entertainment and politics, I’m often asked how TV storytelling will change after Trump’s election. In our survey research at the Norman Lear Center, we have found over the years that the most popular shows on primetime broadcast TV appeal most to… More

My iPhone is my Egypt

What is your Egypt? The people, the food and the storytelling are what I love most about the Passover seder I go to, but I also really like the updates to the ritual. We spill drops of wine as we name the ten Biblical plagues, but we count off ten… More

Good News About Bad News

Everyone knows TV political journalism failed us during the 2016 campaign. Everyone knows TV news was clueless about Donald Trump voters and blue states swinging red. Everyone knows anchors let lying candidates roll them. Everyone knows TV coverage hyped the horse race and gave issues the cold shoulder. Everyone knows… More

Searching for Truth in an Age of Lies

Back in the day, Truth began with a capital T, and it came straight from God. Then science had a long run with it. The Enlightenment. Good times. But modernity was no piece of cake for truth. All that everything-is-relative business was shattering. As for post-modernity, let’s just say that… More

The High-Concept Presidency

Anyone who has ever pitched a movie or television idea in Hollywood knows the tyranny of the “high concept.” It’s a staple of the entertainment world. A high concept is a simple, succinct, immediately comprehensible gimmick: Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter; the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and… More

Beyond the Wall

Is the U.S.-Mexico border a political calculation or a humanitarian crisis? Richard Misrach, Wall, east of Nogales, Arizona, 2014 © the artist There is a line between Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo. On the cover of Border Cantos, it is little more than a keystroke, a simple design flourish… More