1.14.2005

Serious Back and Forth with an Editor

After reading the above-posted editorial from my home-town newspaper, I had a seriously heated back-and-forth email exchange (apparently, the editor didn't want to publish this:

"Your January 7 editorial "Campus Freedom" alleged an American university "liberal bias" in hiring, firing, and grading practices. Of course, you merely quoted editorials from radical right publications and offered ZERO quality empirical evidence (other than pointing to a number of said right-wing think tanks and ideological pundits who point to unnamed "studies"). This is clearly a transparent attempt to divert attention away from a Presidential Administration that bribed a supposedly "independent" press columnist to push its educational policies to the tune of a quarter of a million taxpayer dollars. Please stop asking academics to adopt the unbiased practices that we already practice and do your own job. I have been involved in several job searches and we follow strict nondiscrimination procedures respecting religious, military, race, gender, and sexual diversity. Perhaps the blinding log of bias is in your own eye."

At the end of a long exchange, the woman I interacted with maintained that, even though there is no peer-reviewed scientific study of this "liberal bias," it is "fact." The sum total of evidence is the party registration of tenure-track faculty members at select universities (nevermind that universities are made up of far more staff, administrators, adjunct faculty, and students) and stories of student harassment collected by ideologically right publications. I understand that news publications often take their marching orders from hate-pundits, but I am disturbed that editors in newspapers will admit that they base their definition of "fact" purely on personal belief devoid of empirical evidence. After all, I teach science writing...

Perhaps I should have a symposium on the lack of any objective journalistic standards.

1 comment:

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