News

Trump taps Pence as running mate via Twitter

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 15, 2016

Pence safe but “lacking sizzle” — says Matthew Wilson, an SMU associate professor of Political Science.

A series of Thursday leaks that Donald Trump would name Indiana Gov. Mike Pence his running mate and an announced 11 a.m. introductory news conference was derailed overnight by a terrorist attack in Nice, France, eventually leading Donald Trump to formally announcing his vice presidential pick with a 9:50 a.m. tweet.

“It was an unfortunate confluence of events, with the deadline for Pence to withdraw from the governor’s race today that forced their hand,” Wilson says. “It would have been unseemly to do a big kickoff event with the attack in the background, but if Pence dropped out of the governor’s race, that would have served as an announcement as well. The Twitter announcement is a bit odd. They could have made a subdued statement letting people know Pence is the running mate, but they’ll defer a bigger event until later in respect for the people killed in Nice, but it turns out Trump loves Twitter, so he went ahead and did that.” READ MORE

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón finds Latino Growth will lead to Market Disruption in Dallas-Fort Worth

PR Web

Originally Posted: July 13, 2016

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón, president of the research company Rincón & Associates LLC, published his recent findings in a press release detailing how Latino growth in Dallas- Fort Worth will disrupt several consumer markets including legal services and healthcare. READ MORE

After tragic week, community leaders take ‘Unified Steps Forward’ at ‘Human Rights Dallas’ summit

SMU NEWS

Originally Posted: July 14, 2016

By Denise Gee

DALLAS (SMU) – It had been planned months in advance, but when hundreds of city and county leaders gathered at SMU July 9 for the first “Human Rights Dallas” summit, the city was openly grieving the July 7 murders of five police officers in downtown Dallas after what had been a peaceful protest march. That march was in response to controversial police shootings of two African American men in Louisiana and Minnesota – incidents that had produced anger, anxiety and grief.

In taking “unified steps forward,” Embrey Human Rights Program (EHRP) Director Rick Halperin emphasized his event’s goal would not be “to focus on your work, or my work, but our work – to ensure everyone is afforded human dignity, protection and advocacy of their inherent rights.”

What resonated most for “Human Rights Dallas” participant Toya Walker, a senior-level paralegal for SMU and the Sabre Corporation, “was getting to openly share thoughts on what a human rights culture could look like, and how we, as a diverse group, could make it a reality.”

During larger group discussions and smaller breakout sessions guided by innovative coaching from Journeyman Ink, attendees tackled issues and solutions related to concerns ranging from human trafficking crimes to racial, sexual and religious discrimination.

Leaders from business, law enforcement, education, faith, non-profit and other groups expressed overwhelming support “for an official referendum to establish human rights as a top-level concern for Dallas government leaders,” said EHRP Assistant Director Brad Klein. “We also would like to see a public forum for citizens to regularly address their concerns with people who actually can do something about them.”

Summit participants vowed to continue the dialogue by staying connected via social media outlets and creating educational opportunities that could start with initiatives as small as a neighborhood gatherings for coffee and conversation.

The ultimate question, met with resounding applause, was posed by Tri-Cities NAACP Director Carmelita Pope-Freeman, who summarized the feelings of those at her table: “How can we replace fear with empathy?”

While the timing of the long-planned “Human Rights Dallas” event came on the heels of tragic circumstances, Walker said, “I believe it awakened the soul of Dallas and America to know human rights matter.”  Leaving the event motivated and inspired, she added, “I believe we have an opportunity to truly enable the change the world so desperately needs.”

Progress on “Human Rights Dallas” efforts will be shared via future EHRP communications and also at its “Triumph of the Spirit” Awards event Nov. 16 at the Kessler Theater in Dallas. The celebration will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the program at SMU — only the seventh university in the nation to offer an undergraduate degree in human rights and also a master’s level degree in human rights and social justice. READ MORE

For more details about the Embrey Human Rights Program within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, contact humanrights@smu.edu, 214-768-8347 or visit.

It’s almost convention season. Many Dedman College students and faculty will be in Philadelphia & Cleveland

SMU NEWS

Originally Posted: July 14, 2016

Convention Experts: GOP hopes to avoid catastrophe in Cleveland
Democrats aim to keep Philadelphia focus on Trump

DALLAS (SMU)When the GOP meets in Cleveland July 18 and the Democrats gather seven days later in Philadelphia, SMU’s expert faculty will be available to discuss every aspect of the ongoing election battle from inside and outside these unconventional conventions. Several will be on site for both.

How do Millennials see the political landscape? SMU students also will attend the conventions in a variety of roles and are available for interview before and after their trips. READ MORE

Mark Chancey, Religious Studies, provides expertise for Washington Post article

Washington Post

Originally Posted: July 14, 2016

GOP platform encourages teaching about the Bible in public schools

Members of the GOP this week debated and ultimately embraced an addition to the party’s platform that encourages public high schools to teach elective courses about the Bible, one of several moves that contributed to Republicans’ broad shift to the right.

Several GOP delegates said that they aren’t seeking to inculcate schools with Christianity, but they are trying to make sure that young people are acquainted with a document that has played a significant role in shaping Western culture.

“This is not designed to teach religion in the schools as a means of proselytizing,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, and a GOP delegate from Louisiana who supported the Bible-in-schools provision. “You can’t really fully understand the American form of government and society without some understanding of the Bible.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, comments on the all-American rise of Katrina Pierson, Donald Trump’s unlikely spokeswoman

Daily Dot

Originally Posted: July 12, 2016

Picture the average Donald Trump supporter in your head. Whomever you pictured probably looks nothing like Katrina Pierson.

A single mother, Pierson voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and served on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign in 2012. But it’s Pierson who supplies the average Trump supporter with their dinner table talking points.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, tapped the 39-year-old Pierson to be his national spokeswoman in November. According to Politico, Pierson had impressed Trump, whom she met on the campaign trail while working for Cruz.

Pierson’s ascent into the spotlight of U.S. politics is as much the quintessential all-American story of a self-made life as it is unlikely.

As spokeswoman, Pierson serves as the Trump campaign’s most visible form of damage control. Over the course of nearly nine months, Pierson has served as Trump’s main line of defense on the broadcast news circuit, maintains an active social media presence, and scores regular appearances before CNN’s Don Lemon and Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.

To most PR people, defending Trump might seem like a tall order. But Pierson seemed to be well aware of that when she signed on to the job. The native of Garland, Texas, exhibits an admiration for Trump and his message that sometimes seems limitless. Even when her boss offends women, Muslims, or people of color, Pierson stands by his side.

“Perhaps Mr. Trump could have gone out and blamed Brexit on a video that never existed and maybe the media would have been okay with that.”
“The truth is, no one truly interesting is universally liked. So, most of the spin is to correct the biased reporting when he is pulled out of context,” Pierson said in a December interview with the Dallas Morning News. “The things he says are only controversial because we have evolved into a cupcake society. Everyone is offended by everything thanks to years of political correctness.”

Pierson’s disregard for political correctness is clear. You may be familiar with Pierson as the Trump official who retorted “So what, they’re Muslim!” in the middle of a debate with S.E. Cupp on Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration. Or from when Pierson tweeted, “Are there any purebreeds left?” during the 2012 election, referring to the fathers of then President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney being born overseas. Pierson also referred to President Obama on Twitter as the “head Negro in charge.” Like Obama, Pierson is half black.

When #TrumpGirlsBreaktheInternet began trending on Twitter, Pierson gamely jumped on the bandwagon.

Pierson, much like her boss, is candid and outspoken on both social media and cable news. When Pierson defends one of Trumps’ controversial positions on immigration, women, or national security, it will often add more fuel to the fire. If one of Trump’s statements lack any basis in fact, Pierson will often insist that it does. After Politifact found Trump’s claims on the vetting process to admit Syrian refugees into the United States false, Pierson retorted, “We’re not going to base national security off PolitiFact or even the United Nations.”

If one of Trump’s statements just seems ill-timed or insensitive, Pierson will often outright deflect. Trump was criticized for pointing out that one of the merits of Brexit was that it would bring more people to his golf course in Scotland; when asked to explain the faux pas, Pierson changed the subject to the Benghazi scandal, incorrectly stating that a YouTube video that sparked protests in the Middle East never existed.

“Perhaps Mr. Trump could have gone out and blamed Brexit on a video that never existed and maybe the media would have been okay with that,” Pierson said.

Such an approach has picked up plenty of criticism, even from Republicans.

“[Pierson] is a vital and integral part of Donald Trump’s plan to lose the election and hand the White House over to Hillary Clinton,” said Republican consultant Mike Murphy in an email to the Daily Dot. “She is a message train wreck.”

Others, meanwhile, have a more positive assessment of Pierson’s ability to control the message of a candidate as unpredictable as Trump—even if Pierson still seems like an odd choice for a major campaign spokeswoman.

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said in an interview with the Daily Dot that Trump’s hiring of Pierson was “deeply surprising” to him given her lack of experience. Jillson admitted his first thoughts upon hearing that Trump had picked Pearson was, “What the hell was he thinking? How did he even find out about her?”

Despite her relative newness to the world of national politics and presidential elections, Pierson has risen to the challenge, Jillson said.

“On the whole, she has not had the difficulty in being a spokeswoman that I would have expected her to have,” Jillson said. “There was no reason to believe when she was selected out of Dallas that she knew anything about national security, military affairs, even national domestic politics.” READ MORE

Psychology professor, former student reunite at Mount Everest base camp

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 13, 2016

Psychology Professor Susan Hornstein has taught more than 7,000 students over the course of her 14 years at SMU, so she’s used to running into former pupils around town.

What she isn’t used to is running into them at base camp on Mount Everest, but that’s exactly what happened May 21 when Hornstein was spotted by former student Aliza Greenberg during a Himalayan trek with two friends

“It was cold. I had my hat and my glasses on – I don’t know how she recognized me,” Hornstein says. “My two friends were talking with her father and when I walked up, Aliza turned to me and said ‘Hornstein?’ I was so amazed she recognized me.”

Standing in the middle of a small village of colored tents in the shadow of the world’s most famous mountain, the student and her former professor caught up.

“I asked how she was doing, what she’d done since graduation – she’d just earned a masters in holocaust studies and she said she was going to the Northeast for her Ph.D.,” Hornstein says. “I met her father, who she was traveling with, and then we took a picture together.”

It was the first time they’d crossed paths since Greenberg took Hornstein’s Introduction to Psychology class in 2011. Hornstein has developed a bit of a reputation for the class, as she frequently uses pictures from her travels to drive home particular points about each week’s lecture.

“Oh, this picture will absolutely make the presentation this fall,” Hornstein says. “It was a surreal experience and it goes to show how small the world really is.” READ MORE

After Dallas shooting, President Barack Obama will once again be consoler-in-chief

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 11, 2016

President Barack Obama, consoler-in-chief.

The title rang through in the raw emotion he showed after the Sandy Hook shooting. Again when he cheered on a city after the Boston bombings for showing the country how to “finish the race.” Yet again when he leaned on Scripture to comfort in the wake of the West explosion.

And at a memorial service Tuesday in Dallas for the police shooting victims, Obama will reprise the all-too-familiar role of guiding the nation through troubled and uncertain times.

Though he’s a veteran of such mourning, Obama faces no less difficult of a challenge. He must speak directly to those affected by profound loss — in Dallas and beyond — in the midst of lingering questions over the polarizing issues of gun violence and race relations.

Aides on Monday declined to preview the precise message Obama will bring to Dallas. That’s even as White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stressed concerns about racial disparities in policing and repeated Obama’s frustration that he’s been unable to curb access to guns.

But given the gravity of the Dallas attack — which the president described Monday as a “hate crime” in a meeting with police-association officials, Politico reported — political experts and elected officials predicted that Obama would focus first and foremost on grieving and unity.

“It’s important for a president to speak to the better angels of our nation,” said Karen Hughes, a longtime adviser to former President George W. Bush. “To bring us together. To give voice to our grief. To give thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Obama comes to Dallas at the invitation of Mayor Mike Rawlings, who has spearheaded the city’s response after a gunman last week ambushed five police officers at a downtown march.

The president will speak at an interfaith ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center to an audience of elected officials and law enforcement – including officers from Dallas police and DART police. He will also meet with the injured and the families of the slain.

It’s a gut-wrenching act that Obama went through just last month after the Orlando shooting. And signaling the poignancy of these moments, Obama has often turned to the Bible: 2 Corinthians 4:16 in Newtown, Conn.; Hebrews 12:1 in Boston;Psalm 66:10 in West.

The burden is also an inherent element of the presidency — one that’s come even more into the public view in the cable TV news era, experts said.

Obama won’t need to look far Tuesday for reminders of that fact, given that he will be joined by Bush, his Republican predecessor. The former president — a Dallas resident who will give brief remarks — was thrust into similar scenarios after 9/11 and other difficult times.

“Everything a president does, by definition, is political,” said Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. “But there are these moments, of course, when they need to rise above that.” READ MORE

SMU Adventures in Dallas

SMU Adventures

Originally Posted: July 12, 2016

Parker M. is a senior majoring in biochemistry and philosophy. He was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2016 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. He is spending the summer volunteering at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital and the Texas Instituted for Surgery, both in Dallas. READ MORE

 

How will Fox News move forward after Roger Ailes lawsuit?

Boston Herald Radio

Originally Posted: July 12, 2016

The future of Fox News is in question given the precarious position of chief executive Roger Ailes. As the furor around a sexual harassment suit filed by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson grows, the 21st Century Fox-owned network could be looking for new leadership.

The network’s parent has said it’s conducting an internal review of the allegations made about Ailes, who signed a new contract in June 2015 that keeps him at the helm of Fox News through 2018. He said in a statement last week that Carlson’s charges are “false” and “retaliatory.”

But if Ailes is ousted as a result of the investigation, there’s no telling whether other Fox executives or on-air talent could bolt. Several female Fox News employees, including Maria Bartiromo and Greta Van Susteren, have spoken out in his defense, while other women have come forward with stories of past harassment from Ailes.

No matter the outcome of this legal imbroglio, Fox News is coming face to face with challenges regarding the ways audiences gain access to information and significant shifts in cultural attitudes as new populations join its viewership base. “As of this moment, Fox News is in a better position than any of the other cable-news networks, but that’s no guarantee it will automatically be that way in the future,” said Matthew Wilson, an associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist Universityin Dallas. “They face a variety of challenges, on the horizon, to their current predominant positioning.” READ MORE