What struck me about the story is the lack of balance. The Hatchet devotes ample space to the efforts of a single student to organize a petition opposing Mr. Bond’s Commencement Address. The Hatchet gives even more space to quote Sergio Gor – a well know right wing extremist on campus – who encouraged students at the recent Karl Rove address to consider that their commencement address.
But, no where in the article do they offer any sort of counter position to these campus conservatives. They did not ask the College Democrats to comment, and to the best of my knowledge, did not ask any other progressive group on campus for their take. More strikingly, they do not even acknowledge that in their previous edition, the College Democrats expressly disagreed with the protests of campus conservatives, writing:
First, let us firmly state the position of our organization: We do not, and will
not ever, consider a few blunt quotes sufficient to outweigh the lifetime of
service Bond has given to his country and to the American people. We are proud
that our University will be giving Bond an honorary degree and our graduating
seniors believe Bond's consistent stand for justice is at the very heart of what
their time here at GW has taught them and what they will take out into the
What’s more? The College Democrats were asked by Alex Haimann, the senior with the petition opposing Bond, to join in his effort, but declined to do so because rather than opposing Bond’s invitation to commencement, we welcome it. (I say we because I am the Vice President of the College Democrats.)
Finally, I would not the irony of some of Gor’s holier than thou statements to the Hatchet. Gor told the student newspaper, “The University has labeled this event as the anniversary of MLK's speech, but Julian Bond is no MLK," Gor said. The hatred that he preaches is not accepting like MLK. It's utterly unacceptable." This comes at the same time that his organization circulates a petition (different from the Bond one) that attacks Islam and encourages Muslim Students groups to denounce parts of the Koran!
The Hatchet has a responsibility to report both sides of the story – not just the half that is thrown in their faces by campus reactionaries. That is the point of journalism: to dig deeper and uncover the underlying truth.
Write to the Hatchet at email@example.com. Tell them that they should present both sides of every story!