All posts by Angela Fortuna

Plane Crash in East Haven Creates Talk Across Connecticut

Image result for east haven plane crash

by Sarah Willson

When it was revealed that the planes involved in the crashes in East Haven last Wednesday and in East Hartford last October were owned by the same man, Central Connecticut State University senior Julia DiSapio felt uneasy and confused.

“I think that he should have gone through most tests and regulations,” said DiSapio, referring to the aircraft owner, emphasizing that the Federal Aviation Administration should have done more to investigate the former situation before putting a plane back in the air.

According to East Haven police officials, after a plane went down last Wednesday, Feb. 22, one man was killed and another was critically injured.

DiSapio expressed her concern over the fact that this has been both the aircraft owner’s and the Connecticut Flight Academy’s second crash within the past four months.

According to family members and the East Haven Police Department, the man killed in the crash was 31-year-old Pablo Campos Isona, East Haven resident and flight student.

The person in critical condition has been identified as Rafayel Hany Wasser, a 20-year-old resident of New Haven and a known flight instructor at Connecticut Flight Academy. Wasser is currently being treated at Yale New Haven Hospital.

It is believed that both people involved in the crash were the only two people on board when the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk went down.

According to senior air safety investigator Robert Gretz, from the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot and student involved in the crash were doing practice take-offs and landings, known as “touch and go’s,” when an unidentified emergency was reported.

“They reported a generic emergency, a mayday, but they weren’t specific, and in trying to get back to the airport, the aircraft nosed down into a swamp area,” said Gretz.

It is unsure as to who was controlling the aircraft when the crash took place.

Due to the fact that it was a dual-controlled aircraft, it is possible that both pilots could have been simultaneously controlling the plane.

Officials plan to look into who was piloting the aircraft when it went down as part of the investigation.

The demolished aircraft, which crashed into swampy waters outside of airport property, was found 25 yards south of Runway 2.

A recovery company from Delaware paid a visit to East Haven on Thursday, Feb. 23, to remove the plane from the swamp and has shipped it over to Delaware in order to further investigate what could have gone wrong during the final moments before the crash.

The NTSB stated that their “preliminary report” could be released as soon as March 3, but their final report could take up to a year.

According to meteorologists, there were no known weather problems that could have played into the crash.

According to WTNH Connecticut, only 12 percent of fatal airplane crashes are weather related. 53 percent are due to total pilot error.

Officials said that muddy, icy conditions, tall grass and up to two feet of water made it difficult for fire crews to locate the aircraft.

It has been roughly four years since East Haven has seen a plane crash, when a small aircraft crashed into two homes, leaving four dead.

Fake News, Real Consequences

by Sarah Willson

Fake news can fill in the spaces of people’s knowledge with misleading information and is being spread through the modern-day media model of developing a target audience for advertisers to pay to reach, according to Craig Silverman the Media Editor at BuzzFeed.

Fallacies are increasingly being spread as individuals, particularly teenagers from Macedonia, use the modern-day media model for profit, explained Silverman.

They create a fake news site, write articles that satisfy the opinions of individuals, make multiple fake social media accounts and share the article to imitate traffic on the website. These “purely partisan and purely emotionally driven sites” are then able to make money from advertisers without them knowing it is a fake site.

“The headline [of news stories] often grabs people, but it’s often what is misleading people,” said Silverman. “Fake news sometimes fills in the gaps of people’s knowledge,” said the Toronto native to a crowd of about 110 people, Thursday night Feb. 16, at a presentation run by the Central Connecticut State University’s Department of Journalism about the current surge of fake news online.

Silverman explained how certain biased, untruthful and fake news sites are misinforming and confusing many Americans, and being spread through social media and fake news sites. Emotionally driven articles receive more of a reaction and in turn, more traffic, “because it makes an argument they want to push forward,” said Silverman.

The major factors that ultimately drive misinformation and misperceptions into the public eye. These include propaganda, hoaxes, un-credible news websites and fake news.

Fake news can come about within a society, emphasizing the fact that it often arises due to strong emotions and beliefs, according to Silverman, who is also the author of “Regret the Error,” where he reported on the issues and trends regarding the accuracy of the media.

“Rumors emerge in situations of uncertainty, fear or lack information,” said Silverman. “There’s never been a communication platform with that many people in history,” said Silverman, referring to social media, which he believes ultimately makes the public more susceptible to fake news.

Facebook, in particular, was notorious for spreading fake news during the 2016 election. The algorithmic filtering and lack of differentiating on social media account puts avid social media users in a “partisan echo-chamber,” said Silverman. This gives misleading and emotionally driven fake news sites an environment to thrive in.

According to a study done by Silverman, between February and Election Day, the total number of shares, reactions and comments for a piece of content on a Facebook source, soared from three million to 8.7 million.

Silverman believes this is due to a battle for attention; saying that it is fiercer than ever before, as social media has “achieved a scale unheard of in the history of human communication.”

One CCSU student had a lot to say about the epidemic of fake news like Silverman emphasizing how it’s taking a toll on the American people.

“If I want to stay informed about anything that is going on, I should probably come and see someone that’s speaking about it that has actual background in the media,” said freshman Amanda Rotch.

More than anything, Rotch was particularly concerned with President Donald Trump’s take on the media.

“I think it’s his way of dodging facts that he decides aren’t putting him in a good light,” said Rotch, referring to Trump’s comments about the media. “He’s finding a way to warp it so that the people who are reporting the facts about him are the ones that are at fault.”

“I think that he’s a businessman” said Rotch. “They’re very good at mincing their words.”

When asked about how to combat fake news, Rotch said she believed informing the public about it was the best way to stop it.

“Even stuff like having someone come here, who’s in the industry, and give a talk on fake news and his opinion and everything, I think is a way to help inform people and help them feel like they know what’s going on,” said Rotch.

Silverman also gave his opinion on the best way to not only stop fake news, but also how to regain the trust of journalists, who often bear the brunt of dealing with misinformation.

Silverman argued that ground rules need to be established when it comes to regaining the trust of journalists.

“The price for mistakes is greater,” said Silverman, believing that some journalists need to “slow down” in order to make sure they get the facts right before they are presented.

As for combating fake news, Silverman says the best way to do it is by informing others that what they are often seeing, reading and sharing is not always accurate.

“Don’t attack the person who shares the fake news, and don’t be confrontational,” said Silverman. “Listen to what they have to say, have a human conversation.”

Silverman also recommended showing the person trustworthy news sites.

For further information about fake news and how to combat it, Silverman recommended visiting, which informs and educates young people about journalistic integrity and the difference between facts and fiction.

PewDiePie’s ‘Fall’ and Media That Makes Journalists Look Bad


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by Kristina Vakhman

YouTube star Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, found himself in the middle of a “scandal” last week when the Wall Street Journal branded him as anti-Semitic.

The Journal’s report featured a compilation of nine of Kjellberg’s videos where he incorporated either Nazi imagery or anti-Semitic humor.

Since then, other news outlets joined in the biggest YouTuber’s condemnation, linking him to a fascist and accusing him of normalizing the alt-right’s controversial views.

The debacle forced Disney’s subsidiary, Maker Studios, to drop their partnership with Kjellberg. Moreover, YouTube cancelled the second season of his YouTube Red show, “Scare PewDiePie,” as well as removed the PewDiePie channel from their Google Preferred advertising program.

Contrary to headlines, Kjellberg has not “fallen” from his dominant YouTube throne. In fact, his 53 million subscriber count has only grown.

Additionally, fellow YouTubers and his fanbase have been quick to point out that the Journal’s video deliberately takes scenes from Kjellberg’s work out of context. It is also edited to make the material seem far darker than what Kjellberg intended in the initial content.

In one video, since deleted from his channel, Kjellberg poked fun at the absurdity of, where freelancers do practically anything for five dollars. To see how far the vendors would go, Kjellberg put in ridiculous requests, including asking two men to unfurl a banner reading “Death to all Jews” as they danced and laughed in the middle of a jungle.

While others denied Kjellberg’s ludicrous demands and threatened to report him for violating the site’s guidelines, the two men followed through with what he had requested.

In another video, Kjellberg compared the Nazi Party to the YouTube Heroes program, which gives users abilities that can be easily abused, like mass-flagging videos. Kjellberg is seen watching one of Adolf Hitler’s speeches.

The Journal’s depiction of these scenarios completely cuts out the original context. No other sides of the situation are shown, hence perpetuating the narrative that Kjellberg is anti-Semitic. Knowing the full substance of the complete videos sheds new light and dismantles the Journal’s argument.

Instead of examples of anti-Semitism, these instances were Kjellberg’s attempts at shock humor that — even he admits in his apology video — were of bad taste and poorly executed.

Of course, this does not excuse Kjellberg from making such crude jokes.

Maker Studios was right to sever times with him, considering the welcoming, inclusive image that Disney has spent years developing and maintaining. Losing his place on YouTube’s Google Preferred, which deemed his content “family-friendly,” is also understandable; it’s a shock that his channel was listed there in the first place, judging by his material.

However, the media labeling Kjellberg as a fascist or an anti-Semite, and purposely taking his videos out of context to fit that narrative, is not fair; it’s defamation.

Additionally, it undermines the credibility of the press.

With President Donald Trump claiming that any negative media is “fake news,” a situation where a slanderous piece of work can actually be deemed “fake” solidifies the argument. This is evident by the public’s reaction to the Journal’s attack on Kjellberg; while the Journal has long been considered a reputable news source, this one-sided report has caused many to turn away from them and from those that added fire to their flame.

The journalists who conceived the piece received so much hate that they privatized their Twitter accounts; the compilation related to the article has a massive dislike-to-like ratio.

More importantly, marking Kjellberg as the face of the alt-right movement — which he has unequivocally disavowed in numerous statements — is dangerous. It does exactly what the Journal and others accused him of doing: trivializing genuine racism and hatred.

He is a YouTube personality whose jokes went too far; aiming the dart at his forehead when there is an ample amount of actual neo-Nazis and racists scouring the Internet is a mistake.

Instead of pouncing on “edgy” comedy, the media should be focusing on real menaces.

Trump: ‘We Are Going to Deal with DACA with Heart’

by Kristina Vakhman

In a press conference on Feb. 16, President Donald Trump gave no definitive answer when asked about what he would do with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, stating that it is “a very, very difficult subject,” because “you have these incredible kids — in many cases, not in all cases.”

DACA was enacted through an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2012. Under the program, children who entered the United States illegally before the age of 16 have the chance to stay in the U.S. to gain an education or a job.

Renewable protection from deportation is given to these individuals every two years under the conditions that they have no criminal record and are actively pursuing their studies or employment.

According to Pew Research, “more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief” as a result of the program.

Central Connecticut State University is just one of a growing number of institutions moving towards the status of a “sanctuary campus” that could face these repercussions.

A sanctuary campus pertains to colleges and universities that adopt policies to protect undocumented students in a similar manner that “sanctuary cities” protect undocumented immigrants.

In December of 2016, President Mark Ojakian of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) wrote in a statement that he was “working with campus leadership, outside legal counsel and national immigration attorneys to understand all options and gather necessary information to make an informed set of decisions about the best path forward.”

Converting CSCU into “sanctuary campuses” was one of the choices President Ojakian mentioned being up for discussion.

He was not ready to officially designate CSCU with “sanctuary” statuses, saying at the time that it is “necessary to understand the impact of such a designation and whether it is appropriate for our system and all of our 85,000 students.”

CCSU Faculty Senate members also expressed their support, conveying in a December meeting resolution that they side with “all individuals on campus to exercise and enjoy in safety and security all of the rights and privileges appropriate to their status as students, staff, or faculty regardless of their immigration status.”

“We’re going to deal with DACA with heart,” said Trump. “The DACA situation is a very, very — it’s a very difficult thing for me because, you know, I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids and grandkids.”

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump threatened to revoke DACA.

His position has changed several times on the issue, with his stance in the Thursday press conference being another example of a pivot.

However, he has followed through on his vow to punish “sanctuary cities,” places in the United States that shield undocumented immigrants from deportation, by signing an executive order that upholds extreme immigration enforcement.

Despite court precedent leaving little room to force local governments to change, the Trump administration is calling for nationwide cooperation, promising to strip “sanctuary cities” of federal funding if they disobey the executive order.

Consequently, higher-education establishments that act as “sanctuaries” for undocumented students could be affected.

Currently, Connecticut legislators are working towards passing a bill that would grant undocumented students financial aid. It was struck down two years ago.

War and Peace in Syria

by Humera Gul

The “War and Peace in Syria” seminar at Central Connecticut State University was an informed and educated discussion about the ongoing war in Syria, where students were enlightened about the hidden truths.

The main speaker at the event, Joesph Daher, talked about the issues and continuous clashes in Syria.

Syria has been torn by war for more than five years. In March of 2011, pro-democracy protests erupted across Syria. The protests were meant to bring true democracy to the country.

The protest was said to have started when several Syrian teenagers were arrested for painting revolutionary slogans on walls. After this form of written protest, riot police in Syria opened fire on peaceful demonstrators and ultimately killed several people.

As this continued, people loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fought against the democratic people.

“In Syria, most people are considered conservative in their religious belief, but this does not mean they want to live in a religious state,” said Daher.

Syria’s conflict is divided by three armies: the Syrian Regime, the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Syrian Regime army is a strict Shia group that does not want the people to be democratic. The Syrian Regime wants al-Assad to rule. They are relentless in their murders, and have used many illegal weapons against their own people.

The Free Syrian army is comprised of people that reject the dictatorship and want a free country.

ISIS is a terrorist group that is mostly comprised of Sunni extremists. Members of the group tend to finds shelter in unstable governments.

“I feel that the conflict in Syria has been one of the most tragic failures of democratic progression in recent history, as well as a failure of global cooperation to curb human atrocities,” said Central Connecticut State University student Dante Parleche. “I think that the United States is unsure on how to proceed, which has only worsened the situation in Syria.”

Countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have also dealt with the Arab Spring revolution.

Most Arab countries took part in World War I and lost.

After the end of World War II, France and England were destroyed, and they left the Arab countries to rebuild their homes.

The leaders France and England elected, who were foreign to these countries, were left to take on the responsibilities and problems of each respective country.

These leaders and their heirs are the ones being overthrown today across the Arab peninsula.

The Free Syrian Army forces are creating more division today, acting as a more hierarchical and structured rebel coalition.

The United States has been preventing the provision of certain weapons to Free Syrian Army groups, as they are seen as harmful to the Syrian people rather than helpful.

Hazbeins, people of Hazbollah, blame this conflict as a Sunni revolution, and compare the situation with Iraq’s past revolution.

In Syria, the issue is not social, economical or political. Rather, they have a sectarian issue which is not getting resolved.

“Any occurrence of oppression crosses, at least it should, any sort of cultural difference and I believe that as a human being, these actions should not be permitted,” said Parleche.

Many countries continue to oppose each other today; Iran, Russia and Hazbollah as a resistance and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and some Western countries are for a reinstituted country.

The problems in Syria today continue, along with others across the Middle East.