Stick to Your Guns

The Phillipian is a publication that has always been firmly rooted in the ideals of integrity and honesty. There can be no debate when it is said that its greatest strength, or indeed the greatest strength of any newspaper, is an effort towards both an accurate representation of facts and reader sentiment. Thankfully, my perception of the paper thus far had held true to these standards. However, with the publication of last week’s “Letter From the Editor,” the foundations of The Phillipian have been deeply shaken. The letter was an apology, concerning an imbalance in overall content towards various aspects of Paresky Commons. It expressed regret for “biased reporting” concerning student opinion towards the new dining facility. In essence, this letter not only disregarded the opinions of those who had written on the subject, but also brought into question whether or not the paper would support the articles it had run. Instead, it implored forgiveness from those it believed to have offended. The letter said, “The opening of Paresky Commons filled students with opinions, most positive, yet some critical.” This is not an accurate representation of student sentiment. It is a group of people speaking for an entire collective. Given the largely negative volume of articles submitted to The Phillipian concerning Paresky Commons, is The Phillipian really in a position to state the opinions of the entire student body in one simple line of text? I find it hard to believe that our newspaper could call student response mostly positive with such an outspoken group of detractors. Although the reporting may have been imbalanced, the publication of the articles they had was the most accurate way in which The Phillipian could reflect the opinions of the student body. This, we must remember, is their prime mission. As such, they should have printed those articles without remorse, and should not have blamed them on “biased reporting.” As a publication with a section devoted to the opinions of the readers, the newspaper is obligated to reflect the opinions of those readers as well as it can. Apologizing for the manner in which it demonstrates those opinions violates the core values of journalistic integrity. The actions The Phillipian undertook by printing this letter brings forward some serious questions. Who is it that caused our student-run publication to buckle at the knees and offer profuse apologies for a content imbalance? Why are we trying to please them? Whoever it is, I urge The Phillipian, a publication whose illustrious career has always been steadfast in its integrity, to ignore them. The duty of this publication is to accurately represent what the students think as a whole. Last term, a Letter to the Editor was published in The Phillipian, in which a student claimed that he had been misquoted in a recent news article concerning the lecture given by former ambassador Dennis Ross. Regardless of whether or not the claims made in the letter were valid, there was a single line at the end of the letter that caught my eye. Despite its appearance as being rather commonplace, it was, in my opinion, a representation of the epitome of journalistic integrity. It was a line I was shocked to find absent from the Letter From the Editor. “The Phillipian stands by its story.” Chris Meyer is a two-year Lower from Darien, Connecticut.