Volume 92, Issue 78

Tuesday, February 16, 1999


Freedom of the press not for monopolies


Strategic plan combats society's systemic barriers

Freedom of the press not for monopolies

Re: Maybe next year, Feb. 9

To the Editor:

I would like to direct this to every student at this great institution. Some of you may share the opinions I am about to express, some of you may not. Whether you agree or not, you will probably share my sentiment that this is a useful, healthy dialogue none the less.

It troubles me to see The Gazette, year after year, endorsing a specific candidate during the University Students' Council presidential campaign. There are very specific reasons why this troubles me:

1)The Gazette has a "monopoly" of sorts over daily printed news at Western, in that this paper is the only voice and opinion that is so widely distributed and so easily accessible.

2) USC elections policy (Resolution 6) clearly states that third party endorsements are prohibited. Is The Gazette above the laws and policies of the USC? I think not.

3) The job of the student-run, USC funded (conflict of interest?) newspaper is to inform students of FACT and not exert an undue influence over them.

4) You may say "freedom of the press!" But to that I say SURE, great if The Gazette were not a monopoly, instead competing with other daily newspapers. How about some "freedom from the press!"

5) You may also say that there are faculty papers or the Western News. Fact is, both of these are not published often enough or in enough volume, also faculty papers are not allowed to endorse candidates (third party).

The reason I think that the endorsements are such a problem is because in my opinion, many students who vote rely on The Gazette for their election news. It's almost become a substitute for attending the forums or actually talking to the candidates themselves.

If you ever plan to vote in your future at Western, remember this, take everything you read in The Gazette with a grain of salt.

You may want to be aware of the following bits of information. There were numerous all-candidate forums over the past two weeks of campaigning. At each of these forums many different issues and opinions have been discussed and expressed. What you may or may not have read in The Gazette is the interpretation that one or two students had made of what happened at the forum, NOT the whole story. So, already the facts are being filtered.

Secondly, the editorial endorsement (of sorts) that you may or may not have read is the opinion of about six to 10 people (the editors and reporters) who have decided based on their minimal knowledge and research who to endorse as the best candidate.

You may think I have something against the candidate who has been endorsed (and did win), that is not true. I may have voted for that person, but if I did it was not AT ALL based on what I read in The Gazette.

I strongly urge each student, next time this election rolls around, to make an informed, unbiased decision. In order to do so you should talk to the candidates or read the campaign material or browse the election web sites or even attend a forum and hopefully ask a few questions.

So in closing, make sure you make your own choices and don't let six to 10 people make them for you. Oh by the way, if the Editor-in-Chief of The Gazette were to run for USC president next year, would he get the endorsement? I think so.

Robert Walker
Political Science IV

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Copyright The Gazette 1999