By Brandon Marx
While I may not be a registered Independent, I still do make quite the effort to block out bias and so-called Fake News before formulating an overall opinion on anything political. In a past edition of the Farmington Flyer, an article was featured that conveyed the opinions of UMF students and staff on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The publication came under heated critique with a featured letter to the editor in issue 4 of the flyer. Dave Larsen, the author of the letter, was quick to call out the editor, asking why they didn’t “condemn this behavior.” Dave stated that it is a newspaper’s responsibility to “call out injustice” and to be honest, fair, and “let your readers decide for themselves.” All of this was in response to Dave’s perceived bias in the author’s original piece.
I find fault in Dave’s criticisms. He insinuates that the author and the editor’s political opinions blinded them from reporting the story objectively. Reading the original piece, the author refrained entirely from reporting their own opinions and did a superb job in ensuring the fairness of the piece. They reached out to multiple people, encompassing a larger perspective and reporting many opinions, not her own. Both Isaac Michaud, treasurer of UMF College Republicans, and Jeffrey Willey, President of the UMF College Democrats were interviewed, and their vastly differing platforms were reported, unedited and without any fake news. I would ask Dave rather if his political bias got in the way of digesting this piece as the truly fair article it was. I would argue that Dave’s predetermined opinion on the issue resulted in a “quick to judge” fashion of reading.
However, I would like to address a more troubling quote in the letter. Dave asks “who’s going to say something when [sexual assault reporters] come for us.” To this question, I offer one piece of advice— don’t sexually assault women. Kavanaugh, “one of the best of us,” according to Dave, was put on trial for sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Ford. It happened. It does happen. And not just by creeps and pervs, and they don’t all get caught. In fact, according to the criminal justice system, out of every 1,000 rapes, only 310 cases will be reported and a terrifying 994 perpetrators will walk free. These statistics should be frightening. So, instead of worrying about who will come to the rescue of abusers when women start reporting them, we should be more focused on helping victims report their assaults without fear.
Dave closes his remarks with a statement to the editor. He says, “…be honest, fair, then let your readers decide for themselves.” I agree with Dave completely here. Editors and journalists should be just that: honest and fair. In fact, I don’t think the article in question could have been more honest or more fair. I praise the author for her objective, unbiased, and overall brilliant reporting of UMF’s student and staff opinions on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. I also praise the editor for their ability to see the true honesty and fairness in the publication.