December 12, 2005

The College Newspaper MO

On the heels of the latest college newspaper brouhaha- when a columnist at the Kent State paper wrote a column titled "Black People Need to Start Sharing"- a letter-writer to Romanesko has an astute observation on what always happens in those situations:

1. Student columnist writes something provocative (or even not provocative) on race/gender/ethnicity/religion.
2. Campus advocacy/grievance groups howl in outrage.
3. (sometimes) Editor stands up for publication of column as free speech issue.
4. PC/Diversity Police/Administration swoops in.
5. Columnist caves, sees error of ways, apologizes.
6. Editor caves, realizes he/she made the wrong call; writes weasely explanation (might even "fire" the student) of why he/she published the column and why he/she was wrong to have done so.

About the only distinctive aspects of the Kent State case were the extent of the groveling by the columnist -- you could almost see the knee and palm marks on the apology -- and the weeping of the editor.

Wow. Sound familiar?

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 12, 2005 12:07 AM
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