For Immediate Release: Sept. 19, 2023

Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, [email protected]

New Episode: “Actually…Hold Up” Revisits Pop Culture Headlines to Dissect Strategic Media Manipulation Patterns and Discuss Community Pushback

MediaJustice delves into how the Media Manipulation Cycle influences how we process news coverage and the harm the Cycle’s calculated pattern causes to marginalized communities

*First three episodes available on Spotify | Apple | iHeartRadio

 Fourth episode available upon request*

OAKLAND, CA – Today, MediaJustice, a national grassroots leader advancing communication rights, access, and power for diverse communities, released its third episode of “Actually…Hold Up,” a new five-episode podcast series hosted by Eteng Ettah, to revisit recent pop culture media frenzies and analyze how they were fed to consumers in a calculated and patterned way to manipulate how audiences processed the headline-grabbing coverage and caused harm to Black and other marginalized communities. Episodes address coverage of the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial (Ep. 1), the writer’s strike (Ep. 2), and Nicki Minaj’s Covid vaccine tweet (Ep. 3). The fourth episode will address media coverage of DJ Akademiks’ deal with Rumble and the fifth and final episode will reflect on the analysis of all of these stories, the stages of the Media Manipulation Cycle, coined by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and how communities are fighting back.

Listen to the first three episodes here 

“‘Actually…Hold Up’ is a podcast for listeners who were among the millions who tuned into headline-grabbing stories and want to pause to think about how they were packaged and delivered in a specific way to elicit extreme reactions from us and why,” said Eteng Ettah, host of “Actually…Hold Up” at MediaJustice. “Black people and other affected communities are looking critically at how audiences are being fed stories in a calculated way and how to disrupt the distortion and disinformation that have an outsized impact on our lives.”

**NEW: Episode 3**

“Hold Up: Nicki Minaj Giving Medical Advice?”

Media Manipulation Stage: Responses by industry, activists, politicians, and journalists

Nicki Minaj famously tweeted that her cousin who took the vaccine became “impotent,” following her decision to reject an invitation to the Met Gala, requiring all guests to have proof of vaccination. The assertion that the vaccine was dangerous caught wind of many including activists, politicians, and journalists, with the Trinidadian government responding to these allegations, and even the Biden White House inviting Minaj to a call for a discussion about the vaccine. The Minaj tweets reflect a moment in time that government leaders and public health officials stepped in to address misinformation, and will be a point of focus for our conversation in this episode.  

Episode 2

“Hold Up: AI Can’t Write TV”

Media Manipulation Stage: Mitigation

30s preview here

The Writer’s Guild of America began their 2023 strike on May 2 to pressure the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for better compensation and equity structures in their contracts. Studios and streaming services have a vested interest in controlling the narrative with AMPTP using the media to portray the writers’ demands as unreasonable though many of them live paycheck to paycheck while corporations rake in billions from their work. Angela L. Harvey, a writer/producer and co-chair of Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity, joins this episode to discuss this misinformation campaign and the work that writers are undertaking to mitigate the spread of inaccurate information about their situation. 

Episode 1 

“Hold Up: Here Come the Stans”

Media Manipulation Stage: Seeding the campaign across social platforms and web

30s preview here

The trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard took social media by storm in Spring 2022, in the wake of the #MeToo and Believe Women movements. This case is situated at the center of discussions about domestic abuse and this episode will unpack how survivors of domestic abuse, and abuse in general, is viewed in society through the prism of media coverage and the resulting social media conversation that it ignited. In this episode, we’ll be looking at the intentional crafting of hashtags and memes by influencers, fans, celebrities and opportunists, to see how they were able to sway public opinion online with our guest Bridget Todd, host of the podcast There Are No Girls on the Internet.  

For interviews, short audiograms from the episodes, or to preview future content, please contact Christina DiPasquale at [email protected] or 202.716.1953. Follow MediaJustice for alerts on new episodes and clips @mediajustice on Instagram.


MediaJustice is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for a more just and participatory media—fighting for racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age. MediaJustice boldly advances communication rights, access, and power for communities harmed by persistent dehumanization, discrimination and disadvantage. Home of the #MediaJusticeNetwork, comprised of more than 100 grassroots partners, we envision a future where everyone is connected, represented, and free.


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