Campus Editors Apologize to Cupcakes ... for Practicing Journalism
And the 2019 award for the most pathetic example of sniveling journalism in a college newspaper goes to The Daily Northwestern, a publication staffed –ironically -- by members of one of the most prestigious journalism schools in America.
When I first heard that the editors of the paper ran an apology because they committed the crime of practicing journalism, I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t.
Turns out that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke on campus to a group of Republican students. Progressive students were unhappy with Sessions' appearance so they protested. Some of the protests were peaceful; some were disruptive.
Campus progressives who don’t put much value on free speech when they disagree with the other guy’s point of view, chanted, “You are a racist; you put kids in cages.”
The paper sent several student reporters to cover the event, along with a photographer – who had the nerve to actually take pictures of students trying to disrupt the speech. You might think this is what journalists do – document events. But you obviously don’t understand how snowflakes on campus think.
The editors of the paper got together after the unruly activists said they were unhappy with how the event was covered. The activists didn’t like the fact that the paper’s photographer took pictures of the students who were confronted by campus police officers.
This just in: Activists on campus are often unhappy with how student journalists cover events, especially when journalists are trying to be objective and not aligning themselves with the goals of the activists.
Journalists don’t cave to pressure from activists. Except the editors at the Daily Northwestern did.
In an editorial, the paper’s top editors apologized for their coverage, which they said was invasive and “hurt students.”
Here’s part of what they wrote:
“Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive. Those photos have since been taken down. …While our goal is to document history and spread information, nothing is more important than ensuring that our fellow students feel safe — and in situations like this, that they are benefitting from our coverage rather than being actively harmed by it. We failed to do that last week, and we could not be more sorry.”
This raises a few questions. Starting with, Huh?
How are the campus cupcakes “retraumatized”? How were they traumatized in the first place? Why would a news story about their demonstration make them feel unsafe?
Here’s more from the editorial: “Some students also voiced concern about the methods that Daily staffers used to reach out to them. Some of our staff members who were covering the event used Northwestern’s directory to obtain phone numbers for students beforehand and texted them to ask if they’d be willing to be interviewed. We recognize being contacted like this is an invasion of privacy, and we’ve spoken with those reporters — along with our entire staff — about the correct way to reach out to students for stories.”
You can’t make this stuff up. The paper is apologizing because its reporter asked the demonstrators “if they’d be willing to be interviewed.” How is this an invasion of privacy? And what’s the “correct way to reach out to students for stories”?
The editorial finally gets around to telling us why the editors are really apologizing – and it’s because they sympathize with the activists who were protesting Sessions appearance on campus.
“Any information The Daily provides about the protest can be used against the participating students — while some universities grant amnesty to student protesters, Northwestern does not. We did not want to play a role in any disciplinary action that could be taken by the University.”
This is beyond sniveling. Beyond pathetic. The editors are actually saying they’re sorry because they took pictures that could lead to punishment by the university of students who might have violated campus rules.
Imagine if a progressive was invited by students to speak at Northwestern, someone like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. And imagine that conservative students tried to break into the venue and shout her down. And imagine if the student photographer took pictures that might result in punishment for the conservative students.
You think the editors of the Daily Northwestern would protect those students? You think they would apologize for showing their faces and reaching out to them for comment? You think they’d care if conservative activists got punished for disrupting the event?
Neither do I.
What are the journalism professors teaching these kids at Northwestern? That caving to pressure is a good thing? (Though the dean of the journalism school, while defending the paper's coverage of the event, said the apology was "not well considered."
Instead of their embarrassing apology, the editors should have written an editorial that told the offended students to grow up and stop acting like hothouse flowers. It should have explained that the role of the press is not to make people happy, but to cover the news and tell the truth. But you’d think students at an elite school like Northwestern would already know that.
For that matter, you'd think the editors of the Daily Northwestern would know that too.