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Monday, November 30, 2009

Double standard of student journalism

In the latest issue of the Dalhousie University student newspaper The Gazette, I came across this gem after seeing the name of a friend and fellow conservative writer Ben Wedge of The Campus Free Press.

Ben Wedge needs balance Ben Wedge is at it again. One of his latest articles, “How not to protest,” should cause concern among readers. His unprecedented far right bias is being allowed free rein in The Gazette, with no articles from a different perspective challenging his radical views. This letter is a modest attempt to correct that.

The Gazette is the perfect example of left-wing university newspaper. God forbid there's a conservative among their staff. I may be a student of Saint Mary's University, but I still read the Gazette and I come to expect issues obsessing over "sustainability" and an assortment of other stereotypical hippy garbage. Although I'm biased, I welcome the change of pace when it comes along every now and then. Guess it's just me.

In his article, Wedge argues that the fundamental issue surrounding recent protests against government inaction on climate change is not government inaction on climate change but the protesters themselves. Indeed, Wedge concludes that “we should all take the time to view the footage (of the protest), to research what really happened, and form our own opinions.”

He says that recent allegations of police brutality are exaggerated, and he hopes that the police can be vindicated and the protesters can be sent “a strong message that theatrics will not be tolerated in protests.”

The problem is not the catastrophic consequences of inaction on climate change, but an alleged affront to the reputation of the police.

Did your readers see how Wedge completely avoided engaging the issue of climate change? For Wedge, the problem is not climate change. It is protesters challenging the powers that be.

Uh, yeah - that is the whole point of the article. Hence why it's called "How not to protest" not "My opinion on climate change".

I will concede that Wedge has been consistent in his articles in this respect: at root, his articles are always a defence of the rich and powerful, and always critical of non-elite groups promoting change, particularly change that threatens the established order. His argument is inherently antidemocratic and authoritarian. The incipient catastrophe of climate change is of secondary importance for Wedge when police officers are allegedly being slandered – no doubt a greater threat to humanity.

If Wedge supports action against climate change but does not support the protesters, where are his positive suggestions for effective political activism? So far as I can tell by reading this article, it is nothing more than an attempt to admonish the protesters for their excessive behaviour. Is that contributing anything other than doublethink into the discourse of climate change?

Gazette readers beware. Opinions Contributor Ben Wedge is propagating a radical vision of the world that is not clear upon a glance at his articles. The Gazette should refuse to publish his opinions without a response from someone who is not a Conservative Party sycophant. – Kevin Johnston, second-year arts and history

Yikes. Apparently, if you are conservative, you must accompany your opinion articles with an opposing opinion, but if you're left-wing you're free to publish all the opinion articles you wish.

All conservatives I personally know enjoy and welcome debate - without insult. We're not afraid of outside opinion. If anything, the opposition strengthens our arguments. It's interesting seeing this trend of trying to stamp out right-of-centre individuals from journalism on campus. They will tell you they are not afraid, but if they are not, then they should welcome the article to flaunt all its supposed faults. Let the article speak for itself.

[Cross-posted at The Right Coast]

Posted by Dane Richard on November 30, 2009 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


The only article I have ever read in the Simon Fraser University (my school) paper was some third-year psych student insisting that the MLA change its writing standards to require using both sides of each page, in order to save paper, which in turn would save trees, which in turn would prevent global warming.

School articles are fun to pick apart, but since they don't even bother disguise their deluded and broken thinking, they aren't really that much of a threat.

(Smart people graduate and find jobs. The people writing these articles, on the other hand, never seem to leave. I say, better they stay cooped up in their bullshitteries than step outside and spread their nonsense in real publications.)

Posted by: Andrew P | 2009-11-30 7:18:29 PM

Seems like the students are keeping the same standards that the 'big' journalists do. Well indoctrinated by leftist propagandists in the media and ultra-liberal education, (the largest part of which is paid for by public money) can we really expect more? No-one teaches them reason, just a particular fundamentalism.


Posted by: lwestin | 2009-11-30 9:01:52 PM

" I say, better they stay cooped up in their bullshitteries than step outside and spread their nonsense in real publications".

Unfortunately the "real" publications are just as prone to brainwashing as the students.
No panic....no story.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-12-01 10:08:09 PM

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