Letter to the editor:
I’m not sure which is more appalling, the fact that the House of Representatives is reducing student aid at a time when tuition is so high and an alternative to student loans clearly must be found, or that the journalism school from which I graduated has declined to the point that a story would reach the publication stage without removing the obvious signs that the source of the story is a press release from the party opposed to the legislation. I’m referring to the article “GOP House budget seeks to freeze Pell Grant awards,” published online by The Lantern on March 26.
The House of Representatives did not become the “GOP House” when the voters of the United States elected a Republican majority. It was not the “Democratic House” before and I sincerely doubt that you would have ever referred to it as such. The bias of the original source is obvious as you read the body of the story in which no elected Republican is quoted and all quotes from elected Democrats fail to identify them by party.
Taking a Democratic National Committee press release and printing it verbatim without even editing it for “objective” style, then intercutting it with quotes from two members of Democratic student organizations and two quotes from one member of a Republican student organization creates only the illusion of balance.
Again, I am opposed to reducing Pell Grants. In full disclosure, I received them when I attended the university and I am fully aware of their necessity. But I am also painfully aware as a graduate of the School of Journalism (as it was called at the time) that journalists need to be objective even when covering stories in which they have a vested interest, because their own credibility is at stake. The next press release from that friendly source might not be as truthful as the last one you published.
Cris S. Allen
Class of 1980