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.
Dave Larsen Contributing Writer
As a registered Independent I make an effort to listen to all sides while attempting to block the political noise and decide on the merits. I am a new student here, so I read the piece on the Kavanaugh confirmation with eager anticipation. What bothers me is in the article no where was the innate unfairness to Judge/Justice Kavanaugh brought up, much less condemned by the author.
How is it that a man, who by all accounts, leads an exemplary life, is considered an outstanding jurist, husband, and father can get dragged through the political mud in an effort to destroy his good name and everyone is okay with that? Has politics gotten so bad that its okay to trash a man’s reputation on zero evidence and a 35 year old recalled memory?
When good people sit by and say nothing while they slander one of the best of us, whose going to say something when they come for one of us? Are we witnessing the death of Fairness in this country when so many are willing to ignore the difference between right and wrong?
You have an individual quoted in your article stating Senator Susan Collins “decided” not to do the right thing, perhaps this individual used mind reading skills to ascertain this critical information in which case I will use my mind reading skills to ascertain this individual succumbed to political correctness rather then standing up for the right thing which is Fairness for all Americans.
As a newspaper, it’s your duty to call out injustice in our country, while I understand this was an Opinion piece, why didn’t the Editor of the paper come out in the strongest terms condemning this behavior. Drop the politics and be the umpire, call balls and strikes but don’t take sides, be honest, fair then let your readers decide for themselves.
By Grace McIntosh Contributing Writer
US Supreme Court Justice nominee Republican Brett Kavanaugh was officially confirmed by divided senators in a 50-48 vote. Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation has sparked heated debates and public outcry across the nation.
Over the past few months, Kavanaugh’s name has been headlining news due to accusations of sexual assault. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick all came forward with allegations against Kavanaugh. The White House has stood by Kavanaugh’s denials.
Treasurer of UMF College Republicans, Isaac Michaud, explained mixed feelings on the situation. “On one hand, I believe that his judicial record and belief in precedence makes him a good candidate for the Supreme Court,” said Michaud. “On the other hand, I believe that the sexual assault allegations brought up by Dr. Ford made me not want Judge Kavanaugh confirmed.”
Michaud stated that if it had been up to him he personally could not vote “yes” or “no”, he would have not been opposed if they decided to end the confirmation hearing to put another judge up for consideration.
Jeffrey Willey, President of the UMF College Democrats, feels strongly that Dr. Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh were genuine. “Dr. Ford was clear and concise in her testimony and various people, including Mr. Kavanaugh’s college roommate, believed that the actions of Kavanaugh recounted by Dr. Ford were believable and truthful,” said Willey.
Willey believes that the reputation of the Supreme Court’s reputation has been tarnished by the decision by the Senate. “This was a blatantly political appointment to a Court that is supposed to be non-partisan,” said Willey.
Political science professor Scott Erb believed in confirming Kavanaugh before allegations surfaced. “I originally favored confirming him, believing he was intellectually solid and had a strong moral character,” said Erb.
Erb changed his opinion when people began coming forward with accusations of sexual assault. “A lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court is a major honor, given only to people one can believe has true integrity,” said Erb. “Any doubt is enough to say no, this is not ‘innocent until proven guilty.” He said that when he saw Kavanaugh’s “hyper-partisan” and “anger laced” testimony, he strongly opposed the confirmation.
Senior Aislinn Forbes, a registered Democrat, says that she is not surprised by the outcome. “It’s very clear that this administration doesn’t care whether a woman is telling the truth,” said Forbes. “They just want to win at all costs. Brett Kavanaugh is at the very least an extremely biased alcoholic, and unfit for the Supreme Court…”
Forbes explained that Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was not a trial of law, meaning the only “consequence” for him was the chance of not being appointed. “Anyone who claims this would have ‘ruined his life,’ is either willingly ignorant or purposefully trying to deceive you,” said Forbes.
Maine Senator Susan Collins was one of the 50 senators to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “I listened to her 45 minute speech and could hear in her voice the long hours of thought, discussions, and research she put into her final opinion,” said Michaud. “I think she voted the best way with what she had to work with at the time of the vote.”
Professor Erb simply stated, “She succumbed to pressure within her party, rather than deciding to the right thing.”
With the upcoming election on November 6, there is the possibility that the recent events will cause an increase in voter turnout. “I hope it means more people will vote. I hope it will make people realize that we need ranked choice voting and more regulation of how people can run for office and how much they can spend,” said Forbes.