They Flee From Wyatt


Featurewell founder David Wallis cites some disturbing examples of colleges offering "guidance" on what their student newspapers can and can't say:

In recent months, there have been several examples of college administrators sending young journalists the wrong message. Barton County Community College in Kansas fired its paper's media adviser after she resisted an order not to run a letter criticizing the school's basketball coach. La Roche College, a Catholic school in Pittsburgh, confiscated 900 copies of the La Roche Courier in which a columnist suggested that "condoms and other forms of contraception could eliminate unwanted babies out of wedlock."

And at its Brooklyn campus, Long Island University changed the locks on its student newspaper offices and suspended its editor for rigorous reporting—revealing the failing grades of a former student government president who had mysteriously resigned.

The showcase incident took place at the Baylor Lariat, where the president of Baylor denounced a pro-gay marriage editorial that came "dangerously close to violating University policy." As Wallis notes, this incident brought out less support for free expression than pedantic reminders that you only have freedom of the press if you own one. The most disturbing of these seen-it-all raspberries comes from New York Times reporter and Baylor alum Edward Wyatt:

"If there are newspapers out there that routinely defy their publishers' values on their editorial pages, I have yet to discover them."

Note Wyatt's disingenuous adverb: This wasn't something happening "routinely." It was a single event. Or maybe we should infer from this that Arthur Sulzberger Jr. "routinely" nixes content he doesn't agree with in the Times? If he's at all concerned about his paper's credibility, I'd doubt that's the case, but who knows?

Whole article.