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Christopher Harper

Christopher Harper

Christopher Harper is a professor of journalism at Temple University. He worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and "20/20" for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at

Articles by Christopher Harper

** FILE ** The Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Associated Press)

HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton

As much of the media failed to acknowledge that the "knockout game" involved mostly black-on-white crime, two well-known black leaders have decried the violence: the Rev. Al Sharpton and Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page. Published December 4, 2013

JONES AT JONESTOWN - Rev. Jimmy Jones, founder of People's temple, clasps an unidentified man at Jonestown, Nov. 18, 1978,  during Congressman' Leo J. Ryan's visit. Shortly after, Ryan, newsman Don Harris, Cameraman Bob Brown and San Francisco Examiner photographer Greg Robinson, who took this photo, were killed in ambush at Port Kaituma, Guyana. (AP-Photo/str/Greg Robinson)

HARPER: Horror of Jonestown tainted Thanksgiving 35 years ago

On a day when many Americans thank God for their blessings, I often recall how I spent Thanksgiving after Jim Jones, the leader of the Peoples Temple, perverted the word of God, leaving more than 900 people dead. Published November 27, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Obamacare's sticker shock

As many journalists focused on the technical problems of, the website for signing up for the Affordable Care Act, few looked at a much more serious problem — the actual cost of Obamacare for individuals and families. Published October 30, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: New York Times doesn't care what you say

I tried recently to comment about a column on the Times website, but I found I could not do so. It appears they allow comments on only 17 articles each day. Moderators reject posts for being "inflammatory," including material considered off topic, name-calling, profanity ... Published October 23, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Sharing the blame: Shallow Western press, Obama's empty promises

As the U.S. government reportedly plans to cut back significantly on its aid to Egypt against the wishes of key Arab allies and Israel, a question looms over the American relationship with one of the most important countries in the region: Who lost Egypt? Published October 16, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Al-Jazeera due some criticism

Al-Jazeera America, the new network bankrolled by the Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar, has criticized other U.S. news organizations for their coverage of the budget battle, despite providing little significant insight itself about the conflict. Published October 9, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Mixed feelings as Congress weighs media shield law

It took the Senate Judiciary Committee 837 words to define a journalist. That's nearly 20 times as long as the First Amendment. The definition has become part of the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013, which passed the committee last week by a vote of 13-5. Published September 18, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: In Syria war debate, media are missing in action

As the American public, Congress and the president grappled with the apparent use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, the media failed to provide a coherent understanding of what the United States should do and why. Published September 11, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Is U.S. willing to pay the price in Syria?

It was Sunday — a day of rest for the American troops at the Marine compound in Beirut. Sgt. Steve Russell stood guard duty early that morning when he heard a yellow flatbed truck rev its engine and head for the entrance. The truck, carrying the equivalent of 21,000 pounds of TNT, exploded. Sgt. Russell survived, but the attack killed 241 America troops, mainly Marines, who had come to Lebanon on a peacekeeping mission. Fifty-eight French soldiers died in another attack across town. Published September 4, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Lethal toll on journalists clouds view from Syria

French journalist Yves Debay died in Aleppo. Yara Abbas, a reporter for Syrian television, was killed by a rebel sniper in Al-Qusayr. Hozan Abdel Halim Mahmoud, a citizen-journalist working for a rebel website, died covering a battle near Syria's border with Turkey. Published August 28, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Journalism education

As I ponder retirement, I wonder who's going to educate the next generation, particularly as journalism professors and communications scholars, including me, arrived last week in Washington, D.C., for the annual get-together of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Published August 14, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: Skepticism required in the face of Obama's terror warnings

As new information surfaces about last year's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and as the National Security Agency scandal continues to swirl throughout the media, the Obama administration has come out with a worldwide warning about the possibility of serious terrorist attacks. Published August 7, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: James O'Keefe and guerrilla journalism

James O'Keefe III may not be a household name, but his work has made headlines in the past few years. He and his colleagues provide an example of what's right about journalism. Published July 31, 2013

Christopher Harper

HARPER: A tepid Trayvon protest, despite what you read

Despite the Rev. Al Sharpton's call for rallies and President Obama's insistence he could have been Trayvon Martin, last weekend's protests met with mostly indifference — except in the media. Published July 24, 2013