A Parent in Silver Spring on CNN, how the story changed & how I’m changing it again for Crickett’s Answer

UPDATE: I’ve extended the commenting donation to Crickett’s Answer of $1 per daily comment until Friday January 21st.

I received an email last Thursday from a CNN producer, wondering if I would be willing to talk on-camera with my family about how we set digital limits for our children and make efforts to unplug as a family.

My husband Chris and I discussed it and thought it was a good idea. We agreed that we might be a good family to interview. The CNN team wanted to come to our home on Friday and we welcomed them.

We spoke to the reporter, producers and camera operator about how we don’t check our smartphone/Blackberry constantly, we limit the kids’ time in front of the television, thought long and hard before allowing our family to get a Wii this Christmas (our first foray into video games). We have made the conscious decision to only have one TV in the house, in an area away from where we eat meals and spend most of our family time, and we purposely chose a minivan that did not have a built-in DVD player.

I talked about how although I have this website, I make a very conscious effort not to work on it, my creative outlet and public hobby, or on worky-work assignments, around my children. When they are awake or at home from school, my focus is on them.  My husband likewise, when home from work, does everything in his power to not bring work home with him. And if he has to, then how it’s important that I as Mom am plugged in…to the kids.

Chris talked about growing up in Ireland with parents who limited television watching, and how he thought that was good for his upbringing. He talked about how he and I often would rather read or choose a movie to watch together at night, rather than staring at our individual screens.

We both waxed on about how essential it was for us as parents to set healthy limits on technology and media in our home. To turn off our mobile phones when with our kids and at Mass. How when our children get older, we understand that they will need to use computers often for their education, that is a given, but that they will not have computers in their own rooms. That we will establish a family computer in a communal space in our home, with software and firewalls to help keep Web research age-appropriate.

But all that stuff was too boring I guess.  Too preachy?  Too vanilla?  Because none of that discussion made the two-minute news story.

What was the focus? When I admitted that I knew firsthand how seductive technology and online media can be, how I had learned how tempting it would be for my children to go overboard. That when I started blogging for fun, there was a short while there that I now believe I spent too much time online. Specifically, the hours in the evening after Chris came home from work. And that after the brand new excitement of blogging wore off, back in 2008 when I started, I made a conscious decision to cut back my time online. That I now don’t spend much time on Twitter. That I don’t post as often to my blog as in the beginning. That I decided a while back that my time with my family is more important and so set limits for myself.

The reporter used the words “digital affair” and the phrase “there was a third person in your marriage”. I didn’t introduce those phrases and neither did Chris. And then I responded to her question, referencing her use of the word “affair”, trying to make light of that word introduction. And ohhhh, I guess it was just too juicy because those few sentences of  mine and one of Chris’s became the crux of the story.

Here’s the clip from CNN.

At least the children look great!

So with my self-deprecating and self-reflective admission of how I personally know how important it is to set limits on technology, I became for the CNN story a “technoholic” (that was the header beneath my name at first – they have since changed it to “online writer”) and a “digital addict”.

Five bucks says they didn’t call that doctor on digital addiction until the next day, when they had found the sexier slant for the story.

Hey, it’s a much better story. I get it. Everything I said was true. But the story they aired was not the one they pitched.

Talking about how 30 minutes a day playing Star Wars Lego for Wii is, in our opinion, more than enough video game time for first graders? All that other stuff on the importance of family time? BOOORRRRING.

(By the way, I would just like to say that in those very early days of blogging when Chris would go to bed ahead of me and I would stay up, I wasn’t surfing, um, gross websites or chatrooms. I was writing blog posts about how to find a nature center and an Easter egg hunt, pitching The Washington Post about articles I’d like to write for them on family activities. You probably know this if you know me or read this site, but it sure seemed seedier in the piece. And why was I staying up? Because even back then I didn’t want to be logged on while I was taking care of my children.)

(And the blogging event I went to on Friday night?  That was in support of the “Be Blogalicious: The Movie” screening and Blogalicious Conference for blogging women of color! A moms’ night out special event supporting my friends, and a movement I heartily support and care about. I wished CNN had left that part in!!)

Why am I smiling so much in the CNN piece? Because I can see exactly how it is going down. As a freelance reporter and writer, I am laughing at myself that I allowed this to happen. My husband’s wry look reflects the same sentiment.

I opened my front door. I put on the sparkly eye make up.

I even agreed to go on national television while massively pregnant and puffy. (So. Hot)

I should’ve known.

I actually did know.  Before the crew arrived, I told family and friends that I was well aware that it was very likely that somehow we would not look good. That there was another slant in there. I used the words “media whoredom” about myself. I knew.

I was seduced again…for exposure for my blog! “As seen on CNN!” Hubris! Pride! Ego! Media! My name in lights onscreen! See, I can be one of the “cool mom bloggers!”

Looks like now that I’m all “digitally detoxed”, my next rehab needs to be a big narcissism detox. Time to AGAIN re-focus on my family and mothering and what really matters. Like inviting family and friends over…rather than news crews.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts on the story, on the media, on how you unplug personally or in your family, whatever you like as long as it’s courteous. You do not have to share my viewpoints in the CNN piece or on this post, but courtesy counts.

For every non-spam comment I receive I will donate $1 to Crickett’s Answer, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization partnering with LympheDIVAs to help breast cancer survivors with lymphedema obtain the essential lymphedema sleeves that their health insurance companies may not provide.  Please read WhyMommy Susan of Toddler Planet’s post explaining the project in greater detail here.

You can leave one comment per day until Friday January 21 at midnight and I will donate up to $300, or 300 total comments. I got the idea from Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored.

Because if I KNEW on Friday that I was going to be on CNN talking about blogging?  THIS campaign and the community that has rallied around it as WhyMommy begins to fight cancer AGAIN? That is what I wish I had talked about!


  1. First of all, you look beautiful.  Second of all, I don’t think you sound BAD AT ALL.  I think we have all, at time, spent too much time online, and you talked about making good choices.

  2. Oh Jess! You have a pure heart and anyone who knows you or reads your blog is well aware of that! Keep up the good work – we appreciate you!

  3. I love you so much. You are good and your heart is pure. Another $1 for Cricket’s Answer!

  4. morninglightmama says

    Too bad you didn’t get to plug your new 12-Step program, right?  Since it seems like you went off the deep end there with your addiction, huh? 

    (Please tell me that you understand my sarcastic tone… please!!)

    Yes, I can imagine that you told a much more nuanced story than what is presented here in just a few short minutes, but that’s just not what the piece was slanting toward from the beginning, I imagine.

    Eh, you’re cool with or without CNN, and a whole lot of folks know it.  🙂

    And this donation to CA is just fabulous.

  5. I have the sound down on the computer so as not to disturb T.’s viewing of football, so I didn’t actually HEAR what you said (I’ll look again later when I’m not interfering with hubby time) — I’m only online to check on whether we have trash pickup tomorrow — promise (notwithstanding the Facebook detour that led me to this delicious post).  But  you LOOK adorable and lovely, as usual — sparkly eyeshadow is great.  But we have a 1 hour per day limit on all digital media — tv, computer, or DS.  We have specially marked poker chips (daisy leaves for chickadee #1, my pretty pony for chickadee #2).  For each 15 minutes of digital time, they have to deposit one poker chip into a jar.  When the chips are gone, so are the digital privileges.  We’re trying to teach them about making choices and trade-offs.  

  6. Jess,
    I think the fact that you know who you are and recognize what way you wanted to be portrayed and what way you think they portrayed you says alot about how true you are to yourself. You do great with this blog and the fact that you know you need to be careful about your online time says alot.

  7. LeticiaTechSavvyMama says

    Having known you for years, I know you have boundaries for yourself and your kids because we talk about it all the time!  I applaud your courage for going up against CNN when you totally knew how they would spin the story! We have many of the same rules and if they had come to the Tech Savvy household, they would have been so totally bored by our PBS-watching selves who watch hardly any TV, whose kids only use their Explorers during doctor office waits and plane trips, and didn’t own a gaming system that we let our kids use until this year!  

    You rocked that interview and are a supa-hot pregnant mama!  Love you!!!

  8. Thrift Store Mama says

    My 3 1/2 year old watches 20 minutes of an approved, age-appropriate DVD each day.  My 5 year old watches that 20 minutes plus another 20.  Happens most every day, always after dinner and it’s enough time for us to clean up after dinner !  But we’re also flexible – if a kid is sick, if a parent is sick, if it is ACTIVELY snowing and cold and one parent is outside shoveling, or if it is a special birthday or Christmas (or other holiday treat) they are allowed additional time.

    By the same token, if we go out to dinner or have a family date night or an evening playdate, then there’s no tv.  That’s more for practicality’s sake since watching tv on those nights would make bedtime late.

    We’ve watched DVDs in the car twice on trips that were over 3 hours.  Most of the time we listen to picture books on tape for long trips.

    For the daily short trips, I usually don’t talk on my cell phone, although I do sometimes.  We talk and play word and math games or sing along to the radio.

    I don’t own a blackberry/iphone and I don’t want one.  The lure of keeping on top of my personal e-mail already sucks me away from the family enough – I really need to work on it.  I’ve also cut way down on my blogging since I’m trying to exercise more and what used to be my blogging time is now exercise time.

    I have a really, really hard time staying away from my personal e-mail.  It gets me into major hot water when I just “jump on real quick to make sure there’s nothing urgent” because inevitably 30 minutes later I’ve missed out on family time, or prep time getting dinner ready or the kids ready for school and then we have to rush, and I get cranky and they get cranky and it’s all because I just had to “check my e-mail real quick.”

    I think it is HYSTERICAL how they spun the interview and it’s one more reason why I want to cancel my cable.

  9. Amie aka MammaLoves says

    And the reason I love you?  You turned this stinky thing into something awesome!

    I wonder when the mainstream media will get it.  We had a great contact at CNN, but he’s gone now… 

    CNN I watch you because you’re not going for the sound bites.  Or at least I didn’t think you were.

  10. It will make me think twice when watching an interview with folks. I like your honesty about why you did it. A human response. We only have tv in the basement and don’t watch it everyday, but we’re pretty bad about the handheld devices.

  11. you look fabulous. and i love the sparkly eye makeup!  😀

    it is a hard lesson to learn, and i learned it over and over again when speaking to the media when i owned my exercise studio. they only show they story they want to show. but we know the real jessica!

  12. You’re a true inspiration!

  13. Jessica – I don’t think you come off looking bad at all. The message is still there that you have lots of limits. My family? No screen time for the kids (this will likely change next year when we move from a Waldorf school to a public school) and no video games – but that’s because I would play them all the time. Yay LympheDIVAS and Crickett’s Answer!

  14. Justice Fergie says

    Jess! I thought you did GREAT! I know you are probably feeling a little hoodwinked, but let me tell you that you honestly got your message of healthy balance and family first across…all while looking stunning! And thank you SO much for the Blogalicious shoutout and for trekking to the event after your interview. You’re the best!


  15. Don’t beat yourself up.  You will reap the dividends of setting limits for your kids when they grow up with a balanced sense of how to interact with technology without forgetting the importance of real-world relationships.  I realize that sounds like a verbose fortune cookie saying, but who cares how CNN cast it — it’s what you’re teaching your kids that matters.  

  16. First of all–I wish I looked like you when I was preggo!  Secondly–it was awesome. Your points were well taken…and your committment to your family was obvious!

  17. I unplugged my daughter before she got too plugged in.  She only watches TV or plays on the computer on the weekend and only for 30 minutes.  She is a great reader and finds her entertainment that way.  🙂

  18. Sue @ Laundry for Six says

    You look absolutely LOVELY.  (As do the kiddies.)  As for CNN, BAH!  Way to turn this into something beautiful!  Take THAT, CNN!

  19. another cali girl says

    Jessica-you are beautiful inside and out (your family too) and I applaud you for holding your head high as the media misrepresented itself and took advantage of you and your family.  It is a lesson learned for all of us that what we see on TV and other media outlets can be twisted into what they want us to see and not what really is.  You are an inspiration to so many–keep holding your head high and doing what you do.  It (and you!) are amazing!

  20. Hey Jessica,
    You and the entire family looked fabulous!!! I would not get too concerned with the way it came out – that is how you sell news!

  21. Jessica, you and your family look great!  Hasn’t everyone gone overboard with the internet at one point or another?  BTW, you should have gotten Kinect for Xbox.  So much better than Wii since you control it with your body not a tiny wand.  Way more exercise too.  And you can’t overplay because you get too tired out!

  22. As a longtime former journalist, let me be the first to say: 1. You did great. and 2. NEVER EVER trust mainstream media reporters, particularly TV reporters, to tell a story the way you portray it.

  23. How disappointing for you that they changed the focus of the piece.  sigh.  The media, can’t live with them, can’t kill them!  It’s what keeps us all talking to each other, but that really is disappointing.

  24. parentopiadevra says

    Once again CNN demonstrates why I have made the swith to TMZ for the news. More and more media outlets are abusing their sources in this manner. It’s truly disgusting. I’m sure you remember my lovely *cough* experience with the WAPO a number of years ago. Best thing you can do is drag the journalist’s name out and put the issue out in the public eye. Which you have done. Brava my friend, you are handling this very well.  Regardless of the bait and switch, you looked poised and those who know you, can completely understand why this situation upset you as it did. You are a woman of integrity. The journalist Endo? Not so much.

  25. Jessica, you looked fabulous and you did great, even if they slanted it — and you could tell they were skewing the whole report to make it sound sexier than the topic really was.   Great job!   🙂

  26. I think it was a success story!  Of course CNN slanted it, but they did show that you were able to change and put your family time ahead of digital time.  Personally, I’m very impressed that you and your family were able to set these limits and still get your work done!

    Oh… and you look fabulous!!!!

  27. Michele McGraw says

    I don’t think the story is too bad. I think you came across as a very intelligent woman who got caught up in the joy of starting something and working on something you created and of course connecting with others. You saw that it wasn’t what you wanted for your family so you made a change.

    I love that you are spinning it for good now. Every spin needs a good counter spin!

  28. heathercmd@gmail.com says

    I am sorry that you feel so manipulated!  But everyone who reads your blog knows where you stand on these issues and what a great job you do as a mom.  Hang in there.

  29. Oh, feh. Anyone who knows you or reads you KNOWS that you have your priorities straight. I’m sorry they twisted your words and perspective, but glad that you are turning it around for yourself.

  30. I’m sorry they slanted to store on you!  I think it is great though that you spun it back.  You do have a digi detox story to tell & maybe others will lear from it.  The fact that you have a great blog despite the limits you set for yourself is fantastic!

  31. amy @teachmama says

    Oh, Jessica, my beautiful and incredibly wise friend. I am SO sorry about the CNN slant. I saw you on Friday after the interview, and you knew–you knew!!–but we hoped that the producers at CNN would have been more respectful and would have honored your requests to include all of the information, all that you and Chris to do keep a healthy balance of technology and family time in your house.

    As upset as you are about the CNN-spin, you still manage to sound intelligent and eloquent, to be graceful and honest.  But I love that you’re spinning this again, in honor of our friend and her amazing cause.

    You continue to inspire me in so many ways–and no matter how CNN spins things, we love you like crazy. 


  32. Wife and Mommy says

    Jess, I am so glad you are doing this!

    I love that you went into the CNN experience with your eyes wide open.  You’re a smart savvy woman and I admire that about your.

    Hope to see you and your beautiful belly soon!!

  33. Joanne Bamberger aka PunditMom says

    You all looked great, but yeah — I think you’ve got this one pegged in terms of what happened.  🙁   But it’s not all that bad — at least your husband knows your “affair” was only with your laptop!

  34. I didn’t think it was really that awful.  They certainly played up your “affair”….but balanced it with your view on setting limits, which was what you were trying to get across .  But really, CNN?  I kind of thought they were beyond totally manipulating a story….oh well.  Be glad it wasn’t the Jerry Springer show where you would have ended up as a porn star by the end of the story!  We still love APISS! 

  35. Holy frijoles, you’re gorgeous! It’s so hard to be interviewed and not have your words used pretty much any way the reporter wants to. I have found myself, as a writer, having to stop myself from using a great quote in the way that it doesn’t really mean what the person I interviewed meant.

  36. Oh my gosh if you’re not one of the cool mom bloggers than I don’t know who is. 🙂
    Seriously, I love this piece for the honesty you always bring and for the lesson we all need to remember. I kind of agree with Michelle though that you actually look pretty good. Yes, they took the affair angle but the end made it clear that you guys are actually tech-limit rockstars and have a super hero marriage and parent thing going. But maybe it’s just cause I know you do.
    Also-the house looks amazing and your children are gorgeous.
    Love you even more!

  37. Bethesda Locavore says

    So slimy that they spun your interview like that. So manipulative. Ick. All of the stuff they left out was great 🙂  glad you shared it here!

  38. musingsfromme says

    I agree with others that your story wasn’t that bad. Yes, the focus of the interview was less about unplugging as a family and more about digital addiction. The reporters should have told you the focus of the interview up front. I have been interviewed twice — both times the subjects were noncontroversial. I’ve been lucky that I have not been misquoted.

    I was called on Thursday by CNN, too. I really wanted to do the interview at my home. The timing didn’t work out. We left early Friday afternoon for a weekend volleyball tournament in Richmond. I was crushed that I had to turn down CNN. I hate having to turn down work opportunities, but this one didn’t work out. I vented to my husband. He gets that I want to be free to go on fun events. He’s helpful when I need him to be. My reality is that my children need me to be there for them. Unless I am almost 100 percent certain that an event/opp will not have a negative effect on them, I have to say No. Although I was bitterly disappointed turning down CNN, it was the right decision for our family. I did not tell my children. I didn’t want the kids especially my teen to feel responsible for mom losing a work opportunity.

  39. I quit talking to any kind of media after being outrageously misquoted then seeing how badly misrepresented my brother-in-law was during his political campaigns. *shudder* If the public only truly knew how little ‘truth’ is reported!

  40. Why? Why be bummed to turn down CNN? Now I’m asking myself why I did it.

    I’ve started asking myself “why”” when offered media opportunities. Why will this *really* benefit me or my family? Does heading downtown to appear free on the local news increase hits on my website? Nope. Increase my credibility as a blogger? Maybe a little, but the writing on your site is the real meat in this bloggy realm. 

    If I were promoting a book, a cause, a conference, a new business tied to blogging, OK, but I’m a one-woman writer. I should be seeking out sources to interview, rather than tap dancing to be a source at whatever the cost.

    And mom bloggers are easy marks as far as sources when a parent is needed. We’re just regular mothers, but regular mothers who are ALWAYS WILLING TO GO ON THE RECORD as attention hounds.

    Just because I, or any blogger, appears on CNN for a minute does not mean that some big company is now going to call for a big fancy opportunity. Instead, it means I sold out the “mom” portion of “mom blogger.” Ewww.

    There’s not a whole lot of point.

    Unpaid “work” to boost my ego is seeming less and less important every single day.

  41. I’m back to cost you another dollar.

  42. thank you!!!

  43. You, mama, look ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!  I didn’t think the piece was terrible; yes it made you seem a little more “tech addicted” than you were, but the moral is balance, which you clearly stated your family now had. At least they didn’t zoom in on that crack pipe hidden behind the sofa.

  44. And…winning the award for cutest pregnant mama…Jessica! You’re making the world a better place with your donation. I’m going to go make mine now.

  45. BananaBlueberry says

    Your kids do look great 🙂   And I don’t think you came off bad 🙂   xoxo

  46. Re-donk-ulous. But at least you saw it happening, and weren’t blindsided. I can’t watch the video at work, but I can sense that you were being edited like a Real Housewife… 😉

    Just be glad it wasn’t FoxNews. That could have gotten messy.

  47. You are still beautiful and smart and witty today!

  48. Thanks for your lovely blog. It’s a fabulous resource, and I appreciate the time that you’ve obviously taken out of your life to share your insights with everyone in the area. 

    Re the CNN bit, you are lovely and not puffy and they totally were after the story. What a slant! What editing! Oh my!

  49. Janine (@twincident) says

    Oy – I’m sorry that it was spun around on you but I’m so glad you’ve shared that experience AND turned it into something positive!! Love you for that. You are a great example of how to keep technology in check.

  50. Wow, they certainly did pick the parts that they wanted.  I am sorry they did that to you and proud of you for writing about it.  And, as a fellow pregger at 39 3/4 weeks, I think you looked GREAT!!  Go rock your pregnant self!

  51. Catherine Sobieszczyk says

    I don’t watch CNN typically, but I watched the clip and would have been disappointed too.  But, you and your family are a great inspiration and you looked real and great!  Any of us who rely on your blog, know that you have principles.  Thank you for your blog, it makes this huge community feel much more manageable. 

  52. LeticiaTechSavvyMama says

    Love that you were inspired by Kristen and are doing this too!

  53. You and your family totally ROCK! Jessica!!!

  54. I let it get to me and agreed to go on…a very popular daytime talk show. Thankfully, I was edited out! Congrats on turning it around into something totally positive, which I believe was your true intent.

  55. Susan @WhyMommy says


    It’s interesting how the media still have the power to spin stories, isn’t it?  It’s funny, you’d think reporters would be MORE careful these days, when any interviewee can immediately post a counter-article to the internet.  And twisting the words of a blogger?  When there are literally hundreds of articles out there by you showing the counterpoint — each day, showing your dedication to your children and the children and parents of Silver Spring by taking the time to write up your experiences at educational and fun places to go around the area, at the expense of your “free time” and sleep? 

    Harumph.  You told your story.  CNN told theirs.  You didn’t talk about digitial addiction.  You talked about enjoying a new hobby.  And that’s ok.  They took it further, and it’s totally clear what they did.  And really, when you just listen to YOUR answers in the interview?  You came out great.  Even in the context of their story about digital addiction, you came out great.  The story now talks about the 30 minute limit to tech time, it shows you and Chris in the room WITH your kids as they play wii, and it is totally clear that the shots of you talking while pulling something up on your computer for them were staged. 

    I had pics like that taken once during an interview, and it is totally weird.  I’m thinking that whenever a reporter asks to take footage of a mom typing on her laptop at the table or on the couch, it’s a tricky one – especially if (in my case, not yours) there are kids in the room.  I’d say to other bloggers: be careful.  And remember that your footage can be used to drive their story.

    I still think you did great, and you’re still my go-to blogger for things to do in the Washington, D.C. area – in fact, I recommended you to a local mom just yesterday!

  56. I love how honest you are. 

    I’m sorry they did that to you. And I’m sorry that none of us are surprised that they did.

    Thank you for being such a good friend to my friend. <3

  57. Tina Morrow says

    Our televisions (i large and 2 old small ones) are all in our basement.  Our rule is no school night viewing and otherwise it’s a chosen movie or college football with Dad.  The famiy computer sits in the kitchen hallway and is used for 20 minutes of email time once homework is comleted.  Our youngest is now 14 and does not own a cell phone – fairly shocking for her peers to believe.  Our older 3 received theirs upon getting their drivers licenses. 
      I loved your ‘addition/correction’ to the new segment.  May your blog prosper as you rear some loving and well-mannered children with your husband’s full support.

  58. Tina Morrow says

    Our TVs reside in a lonely basement.  They are used for rare movies, Olympics or college football with Dad.  Meals are served ustairs without electronics even though the family computer is in the kitchen hallway.  Our youngest is 14 and is surviving without her own cellphone.  Enforcing concise rules on a consistent basis is crucial to a child’s trust in his/her parents ability to set boundaries.  This is one way we’ve chosen to show love to our children. 
      I’m so glad that you corrected the ‘news’ story!  May your children grow into loving and well-mannered young adults  while your blog continues to prosper.

  59. UGH!  I would be so angry, but I love how you’re dealing with it.  And I love Susan.  Go Lymphedivas! and Crickett’s Answer!

  60. tracy thompson says

    In this case, I respectfully disagree. CNN said they wanted to do a piece on “how we set digital limits for our children and make efforts to unplug as a family.” I viewed the clip and that’s exactly what I saw. No, it didn’t include your husband’s childhood and every single thing you said, but it’s TV! They have 90 seconds! You and your family came across as likeable and very responsible. There is plenty to beat up the media about, lord knows, and I do it myself frequently–but it’s not fair to complain about “spin” when what you mean is “they didn’t tell the story exactly the way I would have told it.” IMHO.

  61. Sunday Stilwell says

    I have been concerned in the past when a news group has contacted me wanting to do an article on myself and my family for fear that exactly what you have experienced would happen to me.

    I think it is deceptive for anyone to pitch a specific topic to a family and then spin it into something entirely different.  Especially without first disclosing this new story to the individuals interviewd.

    I’m very sorry this happened to you.  Clearly, this must have been a painful learning experience.

    BUT, I love that you are taking a difficult experience and turning it over into an opportunity to give back and assist others in need.  This is what social media SHOULD be about!  Kudos to you, my friend!

  62. Ashley Marie Armstrong says

    I was directed here from Susan’s Whymommy blog and I must say, it really concerns me that news editors tweak a family story about setting boundaries to make it fit a racier/seedier theme. My blog posts would probably a lot less composed and irrational compared to yours if this had happened to me. I think it is great that you can present a calm retort and explaination of your experience and how it was altered to fit CNN’s wants. I love that you are turning it into a positive thing and helping out LympheDIVA!

    Although I am not a parent yet (or plan to be one soon), I look forward to browsing and reading more of your blog!

  63. Supa Dupa Fresh says

    I’m with Jodifur. I don’t think any of you look all that bad. It’s clear to me that you have good boundaries (plus you purty) and that this doctor isn’t talking about you. You and he don’t use the same language at all.

    Still, lymphedema sleeves? Sure!!! Thanks for doing this, and I’m sorry you’re hurt over the event. Good media lesson for all of us, even if we disagree about how much “spin” was applied.

  64. Urban Mama says

    I just wanted to let you know that you are amazing and an incredibly devoted wife and mother, no matter how they spin it; we all know you are! You’re gorgeous, by the way.

  65. I can understand how you felt like they twisted the story, and agree that it was unethical to tell you that the story was about one topic to get you to agree to it and then change the topic without verifying your continued consent to participate.

    I also agree with WhyMommy, however, that if you just listen to your answers–taken out of context though they may be–you come off like a very level-headed, down-to-earth, engaged in parenting family.

    It’s so nice that you’re taking this opportunity to raise some money for a great cause!

  66. The final story was not what they pitched, but I also don’t think it’s reasonable to expect, as some commenters seem to suggest, that a 90-second TV story is going to be a word-for-word replay of everything someone said during an interview. Or that it would only feature all the great things you do know to limit Internet/screen time without contrasting it with how things were in the past. That’s what makes it interesting and makes you more of a real person rather than someone who otherwise might have come off as preachy and perfect. And for everyone who wants “the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” then I guess CNN also should’ve included something about how you wanted to be on the show to promote your blog.
    All that said, I think you came across as engaging and articulate.

  67. Heather719 says

    My kids are 4 and 2 and we’re already struggling with setting the limits. My 4 year old, if allowed, would watch hours of TV a day. Sure it’s all mostly educational stuff- but we don’t allow it because we’d rather him be playing, coloring, running & reading.  Same goes for his Leapster- he gets 30 minutes a day otherwise he’d turn into a zombie playing all day long. I admit, in the winter in the NE, it’s easy to give in and allow more since going outside isn’t an option.

    Where we really struggle is the car. We do have a DVD player in our car and travel 1 hour each way at least weekly to my parents. My 2 year old hates the car and has since the day she was born. Putting in a DVD is the only way to make the trip peaceful for any of us. We limit the DVD watching for long (1 hour or more) car trips, but I still feel guilty for even that!

  68. womanwithnoregrets says

    I am reminded of a recent South Park in which Cartman made himself out to be something he wasn’t just to win a prize. I wonder how excited they would have been if you tarted yourself up and spoke outrageously. Sorry for the experience you had!  (directed here from WhyMommy)

  69. Aww heck Jess, you do a much better job of managing your “digital affair” than I do and you produce far more content!  You rock and your readers know the REAL Jessica McFadden and anyone who comes to APISS to check out the digital-addicted mother CNN depicted will quickly realize who you are.  But I think most moms saw the CNN story for what it really was!

  70. Oh, wow, what an incredibly frustrating experience.  You’ve handled it with more grace and humor than I would have, I think.  Good for you!

  71. I went to a seminar once on how to deal with the media.  It was so informative and I have never forgotten their lessons.  Sorry this happened to you but just what I have come to expect.

  72. From CNN … I wouldn’t have expected anything less.

    PS~ I love the sparkly eye makeup. 🙂

  73. … or should I have said “anything more”??!!

  74. So sick of the media taking stories that can be a positive influence on others and turning it into something totally different.  Had you wanted it to be a story about a “digital affair” they might have spun the story into a different direction.  

    It’s nice to be able to read the true story.  Congratulations on finding a way to set digital limits to improve family time!

  75. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting says

    Gosh, what a crappy thing they did to you and your family. I hate reporters for doing stupid crap like this. Hugs to you, I think you looked radiant.

  76. How terrible of them!!  At least you found humor in this, and are doing something positive as a result, so thank you CNN 🙂  

    The more I think about it, the more it angers me. How rude of them, to walk in YOUR home, and then twist the story in their faovr.

    By the way, I’m huge, puffy, pregnant too…and very HOT.  Ha!

  77. Everything gets twisted. My self imposed limit is on the “news” these days. I feel as though all of it has gone through the crazy-filter of only keeping only what the news outlet thinks will get our attention and not any truth.

    Go truth!

    Well done.

    ps:  My thoughts and prayers are with WhyMommy.

  78. It’s great to see your side of the piece. Of course they latched onto your “sexy” internet “addiction”. Yuck. I’m not surprised.

    I would really loved to have see the rest of what you said, that stuff IS so much more interesting.

  79. Liz Katkics Thompson says

    The media’s around moms and technology never ceases to amaze me.  Until now.  Then again, look at all these fabulous responses, right?   Nicely done and a wonderful way to prove CNN’s ignorance, my friend!!!

  80. I wish I could say I am shocked or even surprised that CNN would do such a thing. That’s about as much as I can say and still remain within the “courteous” constraint.

    God bless you and your family.

  81. Kristen- Motherhood Uncensored says

    Sorry I missed this Jessica – but so awesome that you did this.

  82. Michelle Lowrey says

    It’s good that you can laugh and be humble about your experience.  It’s also great that you were able to share the (true!) version on your website. It’s unfortunate that many don’t realize how badly the stories we see on T.V. are spun…..and we’re the “land of the free”- not being censored, but definitely being tangled in media webs! BTW- you looked great, not puffy at all- just perky and prego! 🙂

  83. I came over from WhyMommy to see what happened.  So sorry you got slanted!  I know the feeling of trying to balance work/computer time with children.  And I’m probably way more guilty than you of not spending enough time with my children.  Too bad they couldn’t have shown how you were now so more people like me would have hope…

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  1. […] with CNN last week and wasn’t happy with the results.  So she went online and told her side of the story – what she thought she was being interviewed about, and what she wanted other parents to […]

  2. […] Jessica, Amie, Joanne, Marty, Victoria, and Elizabeth then put their money where their voice is and donated […]

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