Journalistic integrity

I was disappointed with Mike Needham’s article in last week’s Record, “Students cautious on war with Iraq.” In particular, I was disappointed with the following passage:

“‘We call on the people of the United States to resist policies increasingly at odds with the principles for which the United States stands, and which pose grave dangers to both the United States and to much of the rest of the world,’ the statement reads. ‘[W]e are calling on all Americans to more actively resist a war which a majority of Americans question.’

“According to the Post/ABC poll, two-thirds of Americans support the United States taking military action against Iraq to force Saddam from power.”

Regardless of one’s personal stance on this issue, the statistical evidence is ambiguous, and there are polls, such as those conducted by the New York Times, which support the statement written by Professor Ed Epping. Exactly what the opinion of the American people is on this particular issue is not something I wish to discuss here. What upsets me is that Needham abused his position as author of the article to present one-sided evidence in such a manner that failed to present the complexities of the issue at hand in order to further his own viewpoint. If the author of the article wished to address the legitimacy of the petition’s claim, he should have presented numbers from multiple sources rather than arbitrarily choosing a poll that supports his own beliefs. If it was Needham’s wish to argue for his own viewpoint, he should have done so in an editorial or opinions piece, not in a news article. Such behavior shows a lack of journalistic integrity and a manipulation of Needham’s power as Editor-in-Chief. I would have expected better from the official newspaper of this institution.

Kathleen Gibbons ’03

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