Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chronicle Intentions Become Clearer

On Monday, we posted on the peculiarity that the Chronicle opted not to report on Stuart Taylor's speech on Duke's own campus while several other, far larger papers did. We also noted that instead, the Chronicle published a highly flattering front page article in the Chronicle on President Richard Brodhead. Specifically, we noted the preposterous and (perhaps) wishful assertion that the "lacrosse scandal [is] nearly behind him." Meanwhile, the Herald Sun published an article of the much more accurate title Author: Lacrosse case will 'get uglier'.

Today, the Chronicle made clear that the absurd assertion was no accident with a staff editorial officially endorsing Brodhead by repeating the assertion with a slight modification. In what has to be one of the worst examples of journalistic hackery, to borrow a bit of vernacular, from the Chronicle, the staff editorial preposterously claims to speak for all Duke Students:

Yet because the Presidential Review Committee formed to evaluate the president's performance closed comments last week, we are compelled to offer the students' perspective-incomplete but important-on his performance thus far.

Simply astonishing. They do not even make mention of conducting a poll.

Duke Students for an Ethical Duke aims to represent, among others, the Duke student body, and to that end we go to great lengths to seek out varied opinions. Though we aim to advocate principle and principle alone (indirectly at times), we do our best to consider all perspectives, and in the end come to educated, measured, and wise conclusions where conclusions are warranted. Though we aim to represent and to serve the students, we could NEVER claim to speak for the students. With every position we take and every perspective we voice, we can speak only for Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, and that is the best we can do.

The Chronicle has no business whatsoever claiming to offer the "students' perspective" - not even in an editorial, and especially not in a staff editorial. Their job is to speak to the students (among others), not for them. Tuesday's editorial voices the opinion of a small handful of Chronicle staffers and should be presented as such. If the combination of Tuesday's staff editorial, Monday's article, and the curiously simultaneous decision not to report Stuart Taylor's speech do not make it clear that Chronicle editors have decided this week to rather overtly dedicate the newspaper toward the advocacy of a single man, then the Chronicle's attempt to claim the "students' perspective" should make it exceedingly clear.

The Chronicle should correct this absurdity and apologize. We have again written to them for comment and will post any reply.

Tomorrow, we will break down the remainder of the editorial itself. We will also post again on Stuart Taylor's speech in the near future.

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