Monday, January 26, 2009

Campus Journalism at UC-Irvine

Being a big critic of the media, I try to cut a little slack when it comes to college newspapers. Though they tend to be heavily slanted to the left, I expect that and am generally willing to understand the occasional examples of unprofessionalism. After all, they are still learning their craft. Yet, I don't think their flaws should be completely ignored. After all, they are the future journalists of America, and they are a product of their journalism schools as well. The one campus newspaper I get a chance to read regularly is that of UC-Irvine, where I teach. It is called New University.

In past years, there was more of a balance in their editorial writing, at least in my opinion. Presently, however, it is pretty much left-wing, Democratic dogma-bash Bush and adore Obama. Below are some excerpts from this week's edition.

The front page story is entitled, "A Candle for Gaza" and reported on a candlelight vigil last Wednesday night organized by the Society of Arab Students. The full article can be found at:

According to the article, "the overall message was of non denominational mourning". The article also stated that the remembrance (for the victims of Gaza)"lacked the noticeable accusatory edge of previous Gaza-themed events on campus."

Or did it?

In addition to the candles, there were speakers. The moderator, SAS president Aayah Fatayerji gave casualty figures.

"As of last night, the death toll has been raised to 1,312 civilians, of which 580 were children" (numbers that have been strongly challenged in recent days).

Taher Herzallah, a student from UC-Riverside who has family in Gaza, asked, "Where is the humanity"? He then went on to describe the "brutal murder" of three members of his family who were killed when the building they were in was hit by an Israeli bomb. "Where is the humanity when human rights and relief organizations are bombed by Israel and the Palestinians are put to blame?"

Apparently, there were no candles lit for the innocent Israelis killed by Hamas rockets launched into southern Israel. In fact, the Jewish group on UCI's campus, "Anteaters for Israel", was not invited to participate in the event (which the article mentioned along with a statement by the AFI president expressing sadness at the loss of life).

Obviously, this was a one-sided event. Yet, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Manuel Gomez showed up to say a few words to the audience. I will quote the article below.

"Gomez also cited the tragedy of the Gaza situation, but emphasized the potential for international change with Barack Obama’s inauguration the day before."

'For almost a decade now, Americans have been repeatedly warned that we are … at war. However, yesterday we celebrated a new vision not only for ourselves, but hopefully for the entire world,' Gomez said. 'This is a vision that begins with preparing for peace. I want to believe that this is more than words. I want to believe that we are indeed on the precipice, on an important international paradigm shift away from conflict and war to one of dialogue, diplomacy and peace.'

If that's all he had to say, Gomez must have taken care to walk a middle line here. (Many critics charge that he has been insensitive to Jewish complaints of anti-Semitic hate speech on campus on the part of the Muslim Student Union and their speakers.)

But in other news:

Last Thursday, Lani Guiner spoke at UCI. You remember her, don't you? She was nominated by Bill Clinton to be Deputy Attorney General. Then it came out that her affirmative action agenda and past writings were so far to the left even Clinton threw her overboard, rescinding her nomination. The title of the article was, "A cry for diversity". Again, I wasn't there, but according to the article, Lani is still Lani.

I want to add here that those were news articles. The lead editorial (by the Editorial Board) was devoted to that favorite liberal bogeyman, Fox News. The focus of the article (I think) was how the network would do under Obama as opposed to when Bush was president.

Now I am not going to get exorcised because the campus newspaper wants to blast Fox News (my favorite news channel). But consider this language:

"It seems as if Sept 11 was the push that Fox News needed to get its slimy head completely out of the womb and into the ass of Bush Jr." The "editorial board" then goes on to blast Bill O'Reilly by bringing up his famous on-air meltdown and fully quoted his use of the F-bomb.

Then there is the weekly feature of New University- "Douchebag of the Week", sort of like Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" routine. This time, it was another shot at Fox News and their coverage of the inauguration.

As I said before, I don't expect to see my point of view featured much in a campus newspaper. Forget the fact that they may be a few conservative students at UCI (and I suspect there are plenty) whose views are mocked by the New University. What I do find ridiculous is the fact that many of the young writers have to resort to bad language in their writing. Is this what they are learning from their journalism teachers? Are there any adults in charge over there?

If you think the New York Times is bad now, wait until these young rascals take over.


Rory Cohen said...

I firmly belief that a newspaper needs to present two sides, if possible. When I wrote for the New U, my pieces were often rejected or pushed back two or three weeks. They were also heavily altered (and sometimes mistakes were inserted by the editors). It used to make me skeptical about the editors. This was one of the reasons I started blogging. I figured I would have more control over what I write and wouldn't have to worry about any malicious attitude from people who control what goes to print.

A friend of mine who is classifies himself as a liberal (but is very fair) finds it difficult to get his pro-Israel and pro-Western op-eds published. He has mentioned that many of the writers are also part of the New U.

Some editors, in the past, were better than the ones who currently control the paper.

The UC Irvine paper lacks journalistic integrity. And that is a shame.

Gary Fouse said...


It sure is. It only contributes to the indoctrination that students get in college.