The DTH showed poor judgment today

But why should any of us be surprised given their track record this semester?

Their front page article about the vandalism of ROTC buildings at UNC and NC State was fine until the Tar Heel decided to publish an email from the vandals about their political motivations for defacing them.

Our illustrious campus newspaper only furthered the vandals’ cause by giving them precisely the publicity they sought, and by doing so, the paper became a conduit for these crimes, whether knowingly or not.

Nevermind the fact that I disagree with the vandal’s message (I’m not going to repeat it because that would only make me a hyprocrite, but you can probably connect the dots either by reading the linked article or by realizing it was vandalism against an ROTC facility–it’s not too hard). I don’t care if the vandals were trying to gain publicity for sword-fighting pirates in Indonesia. They committed a crime for the purposes of furthering a “cause” (sound familiar?), and by spreading this cause the DTH has only added to the problem. The paper’s imagined, absolute devotion to “inform fully” seems to trump everything, including common sense.

Now, nevermind the fact that I fully support the DTH’s right to publish what they did. I love the free press as much as the next guy, and legally speaking, they certainly haven’t overstepped any bounds that they shouldn’t have. As a journalist, I like being protected for publishing stupid things. (It happens).

What I am saying, however, is that the paper has an ethical duty to the well-being of our community (and you’d certainly have to hold them to this duty considering their incessant columns from editors to readers about wanting to be “your paper”). They clearly ignored this duty when they decided to give these idiots the attention they so badly wanted. It was an oversight at best, irresponsible decision-making at worst.

Sometimes I just wonder what they were thinking, or if they even thought at all…

8 thoughts on “The DTH showed poor judgment today

  1. The job of the DTH is to report the news — all the news. You cannot sensor information that readers have a right to know. You need to understand that not all people have access to media the way that the ROTC and other white politicians do. Sometimes painting a sidewalk is a necessary way to expose injustice, especially when the papers are not reporting it. So you are just creating a cycle that would resort to –gasp– graffiti. And, while we’re on the subject, how do you define graffiti? Is it propaganda that YOU- you, white middle class male- don’t agree with. YOU showed poor judgment today by being a hypercritical journalist.

  2. you didn’t read what i wrote. i said i don’t care what the vandals are trying to promote (it’s coincidence that i disagree with them). any message on the part of the vandals isn’t newsworthy bc it’s a part of the reason they committed the crime. they wanted the publicity. it only re-inforces their actions, it signifies nothing, and their message isn’t actually newsworthy.

  3. David, anonymous is clearly a racist and brainless simpleton; and apparently an anarchist as well (this stemming from the fact that he doesn’t seem to know what graffiti is). Carolina should be embaraced if anonymous is one of its students. How does this person get into Carolina, let alone not flunk out?

  4. well, i know who the anonymous is (they told be, i’ll respect their decision to be anonymous).but, posting as “eddie” without any other information is negligibly less anonymous than “anonymous”appreciate the feedback. nobody else is mad about this except me, it seems. oh well. those are the breaks.

  5. Yes, well you made a very valid point regarding ethical journalism. Clearly it is understood that you were not advocating sensorship, but rather a level of ethical responsibility on the part of the DTH. But alas, ethics is of course one of those things lost on our modern generation.I really don’t feel that strongly either way, but just had to respond to the extreme level of idiocy exuded in that attack upon your comments.Keep up the good work. Making people think with substance rather then just throwing out illogical and incoherent emotional babble.

  6. That’s ridiculous. One of the first things any school child learns in elementary school about journalism is that news articles should answer five questions: “who, what, where, when, and why?” The e-mailed rationale is the why. I don’t know about you, but I certainly wanted to know exactly why a stupid crime like that was perpetrated. Leaving their readers in the dark is irresponsible journalism if they can find out why it happened and can help people learn from the event. Do you think people should have been shielded from articles about Al Qaeda’s motives for the 9/11 attacks? I think we can all become more informed and responsible citizens if we know the reasons people do the things they do, whether crimes or good things.

  7. dustin:i understand that. and after i’ve had a chance to cool down, i think the DTH made the right decision to publish it the way they did. my only hope is that they were at least aware of the ethical ramifications on the newsroom floor, and i doubt that they were. what we print has real effects on the people who read it, and on their motivations to act.i dont know how you’re supposed to express that type of “awareness.” you can’t do it in the article itself, because that only muddles things further, and nobody wants to have to explain themselves until they’re blue in the face.

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