I am concerned about the publication of a March 3 editorial in The Lamron that claims in its headline that the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at Geneseo—of which I am the president—“fails to exemplify true political ideals.”
It is clear that the article was neither copy edited nor fact-checked to any significant degree. It is so sloppily written that it manages to incorrectly state the name of the organization it is attacking in the very first sentence.
The absence of fact-checking suggests that no one made a serious review of its journalistic merits. Did anyone ask, “Is this a scurrilous, bad faith attack on a political opponent and only using the school newspaper as leverage to intimidate students who hold views contrary to those of the author?”
The previous behavior of the writer suggests this to be the case. After attending the meeting he referenced in the article, he came to a second well-attended meeting, during the course of which he objected to the IYSSE receiving funds reserved for student activities.
This suggests that—far from being a political novice “eager to learn more than just [his] basic understanding of socialism” and leaving “disappointed and frustrated”—the writer holds definite political views.
And what are those views? He lets the cat out of the bag when he takes exception to our having “openly denounced the Democratic Party”—the horror—“with unfair and inaccurate criticisms.”
The writer does not elaborate on what those criticisms were, but this deficiency is easily corrected. Speaker IYSSE National Secretary Andre Damon said that President Barack Obama’s administration had bailed out Wall Street to the tune of trillions of dollars, started or supported wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria, spied on the private communications of the whole world and carried out drone strikes that have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people, as well as at least four American citizens.
Unlike a plurality of the American people—and especially young people—who, for these and other reasons, see the Democratic Party as a tool of billionaires or otherwise undeserving of their support, the writer expresses his belief that “not voting Democrat is hurting the individual’s personal interest.”
It is his right to hold this view, but The Lamron should have sent this editorial back to him asking that he get the facts—such as the name of the organization he is denouncing—include quotations straight from the lecture and make a good faith effort to explain how the speaker’s criticisms of the Democratic Party were “unfair and inaccurate” beyond personally disagreeing with them.
These are the basic journalistic responsibilities of editors, something I picked up during my time with The Lamron as an assistant Opinion editor. Without them, The Lamron runs the risk of enabling the writer’s undemocratic project of preventing the political opposition to the two parties of big business—held in different forms by hundreds or thousands of Geneseo students—from being expressed in student activities.