Letter: 'Live and Let Dialogue' crossed boundary of invective

Posted by Hannah Kagan-Moore Dear Editor,

In its Ethics Code, the Society of Professional Journalists asks that journalists "examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others." Though as a college paper, The Skidmore News is not a member of SPJ, this would perhaps be a helpful standard to consider in light of this week's article. Although an op-ed by its definition shows a bias, "Friendly Fire: Live and Let Dialogue, Part I" inappropriately crossed the boundary between stating a respectful opinion and delivering needless invective.

The newspaper has requested in the past that responses to its content not employ "ad hominem" rhetoric, which is entirely fair — but it should adhere to the same standards it expects of its readership. I found the tone of the article contemptuous, particularly in depicting dialogue members' responses to Mr. Brust. Skidmore News website comments and personal discussion show that many readers perceived the article the same way. Mr. Brust, if you did not aim to offend your audience, then it is time to reconsider the tone of your writing. Any good newspaper should be willing to examine its content when it realizes it has overstepped the bounds of professional content; I urge The Skidmore News to do so now.

I think we can all agree that fostering discussion about the usefulness of any measure on campus is important, and the press is at the heart of questioning its governing bodies. Any good discussion, however, is also constructive, which this week's column was not. Mr. Brust offered no better solutions or suggestions for improving the campus climate. While he may feel that getting rid of dialogue is an answer, "Live and Let Dialogue" excoriates that institution without providing insight. Ultimately, no one profits from this kind of criticism; it reflects poorly on the paper, and by association, the College.

This paper does indeed represent the College, on campus and online; please write in a manner appropriate to your role as a campus representative. I speak for many members of the community when I say that I expect greater professionalism and integrity from The Skidmore News in the future.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Respectfully,

Hannah Kagan-Moore

Class of 2012

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