Angry Johnnie: Endorsements (Updated)

Aloha,

This week, The Torch decided to make the decision to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States. While it is fine that most of the staff probably supports that decision, I feel it is wrong for the Torch to make such a move. Why?

For starters, no paper should endorse any political candidate. If you strive objectivity, why would you ever admit to bias thinking? For example, the New York Times (notorious for being liberal in the first place) strives in their ethics code for their employees not to do show support for causes. That would include putting a candidate bumper sticker on your car, or allowing your spouse to do so (Source: a professor’s word–yes I know, but go with it to some extent, ok?). However, the Times turns right around and endorses Obama along with numerous other outlets.

Does that sound right? Should a publication striving for objectivity be endorsing anybody? Obviously if you support the candidate they have chosen and loaded yourself up on excitement, you will see no problem with it. But if you can put any personal feelings aside, it’s clear it is a direct violation of their own mission.

I must argue, though, that it may be acceptable for an intentionally bias publication to come out with an endorsement. It would be somewhat odd if they didn’t. But I also have to say that may be the only authorization for endorsement.

Secondly, why does the Torch need to endorse anybody in the first place? Sure, it’s won awards for this and that, but at the end of the day it is a college publication with no true place in anybody’s hearts. Besides, from their coverage they’ve shown they’re already liberal. When Sen. John McCain accounced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, all we saw from the Torch was criticism of McCain’s choice. Where was the opposing view?

The endorsement is also useless in other ways. St. John’s is already a blatantly liberal school in a very liberal city. It may not stand up to NYU or Columbia, but those non-apathetics voicing their opinions around campus tend to be liberals. Which, don’t get me wrong, is respectful if they are willing to listen to anybody else’s side.

The endorsement also stands useless because the Torch doesn’t tend to be respected enough around campus for it to mean anything. Chances are if you talk to a random student, they may not give you the best opinion of the Torch. (On the other side of things, I’m not trying to say this is the world’s most highly regarded blog)

“That’s all I got to say about that.”

*UPDATE*

That actually isn’t all I have to say about that. The closing of my article obviously came across too harsh and left it more open to being taken as me bashing The Torch. I just want to clarify that I am NOT saying the Torch’s opinion is worthless (that would be counteractive to stating my own opinion and make my own useless). Of course the Torch is obligated to have its opinion in the editorial section, as that’s the point. The way I put this is just a bit too harsh. And, being a Torch writer for the past few years, I wish The Torch was more respected by the student population. There is a chance this may alienate some people, but then again it could gain more people’s respect.

NOW, “that’s all I got to say about that.”

-Alex Quevedo

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3 Responses to “Angry Johnnie: Endorsements (Updated)”

  1. angrier johnny Says:

    this article made little sense, and unnecessarily bashed the torch, though it was written by a torch staff writer! pathetic.

  2. Gregory Leporati Says:

    Greetings flashlight!

    I think ‘angrier johnny’ is a bit hasty in bashing this article. After speaking with Alex more about this, I can understand that he is not bashing the torch at the end of this article, but rather suggesting that the paper is ‘not respected enough’ around campus – which is perhaps a very valid statement.

    In regards to his opinion, I completely respect it – though I think it should be clarified further. At first read, I got the impression that Alex was suggesting an opinion section of a newspaper should be more objective – which, by its very nature, does not seem to make sense. Additionally, if a newspaper should never show any opinion, then why stop with ending endorsements? Logically extending Alex’s argument would mean ending all editorials from newspapers, which I think is not the right thing to do.

    Though, I believe Alex has a good point – I think that perhaps presidential candidate endorsements could be too polarizing a topic for newspapers. It could alienate a significant portion of readers. So, while it is fine for newspapers to run editorials about legislation, local events, etc., it may be an unwise move to endorse a candidate simply because of the divisiveness of the issue.

    Thinking of it that way, I can see where Alex’s opinion holds water. However, it is not my opinion; the Torch decided to endorse Barack Obama for a number of reasons – one, I believe it is an opinion we all wished to express. Two, I feel that students and faculty do respect the Torch enough to care about our opinion (at least I hope!). And finally, the Torch has historically endorsed candidates of both parties, so we felt no need to end that tradition, especially an election as talked about and important as this one.

    I don’t believe any editorial statement regarding the candidates will hurt our coverage of the election – especially since our news has a pretty strict campus angle. All of our political coverage has linked back to the students and to how the campus feels about events more than anything, so the reporting has been objective and fair so far.

    Interesting post, and I look forward to reading more on the Flashlight. But no need to hate on Alex’s opinion – it’s certainly an interesting topic, and one worth some discussion.

  3. A letter from The Torch « The Flashlight Says:

    […] Read the original article here. […]

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