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THE DAILY REVEILLE

Opinion

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OUR VIEW

friday, march 6, 2009

Daily Emerald goes on strike, protects student press Editor’s note: Through this op-ed provided by The Daily Californian, The Daily Reveille’s Editorial Board supports The Daily Emerald’s staff strike.

BERKELEY, Calif. — On Wednesday morning, the entire editorial staff of the Daily Emerald — the independent student newspaper of the University of Oregon — went on strike in protest of the attempts of its Board of Directors to install a publisher with control over the paper’s editorial content. Today, college newspapers across the country stand in solidarity with the editorial staff of the Daily Emerald in support of the independent collegiate press and studentcontrolled editorial content. We are deeply dismayed by the

unethical actions of the Emerald’s Board of Directors and strongly support the strike until the staff’s demands are met, and independent student journalism can be safeguarded from such attacks at the Emerald and on college campuses nationwide. On Thursday the Board of Directors had the audacity to publish its own version of the Oregon Daily Emerald using content from The Associated Press and a front-page statement from the board. This move is as offensive as it is stupid. In November, the Board of Directors hired Emerald alumnus Steven A. Smith as a consultant, and he drafted a plan which included a call to hire a publisher. Smith then authored the publisher’s job description as well as his own terms of employment for

the position, which the Board approved without negotiation. The Board voted on Feb. 24 to hire Smith as the Emerald’s publisher and give him unprecedented control over the paper’s editorial content and day-today operations. Since its inception, the Oregon Daily Emerald has served as an invaluable learning resource for its student journalists, but if the Board continues to revoke student control over the paper’s content, its mission and legacy will be invalidated. Without objectivity and independent content in the newsroom, the paper cannot properly train its student reporters, and the campus will lose an irreplaceable source of information, outside of the influence of university public relations efforts. The Emerald, like many papers

across the country, is in dire financial straits and faces the possibility of closure — this financial reality, however, should not force the staff to compromise their guiding ethics as journalists or to sacrifice the paper’s autonomy. The decision to give a publisher sway over content would in no way solve the paper’s financial crisis; as such, this seems to be a callous overreaching by the Board and the university, and an attempt to take advantage of a financially struggling, but influential student organization while the time is right. We are living in a tough time for the newspaper business — left and right, the financial crisis is forcing papers to shut down or sacrifice their autonomy under corporate control to remain viable.

Now more than ever, we must stand strong and stand together to maintain our editorial independence — any measure of overarching interference in content undermines our journalistic standards and is unacceptable, no matter the financial situation. Practicing journalism under the possibility of censorship and the meddling influence of an administration undermines the purpose of a free press — we hope the Board of Directors will recognize this undeniable fact and immediately meet the staff’s demands. Until then, we stand with the Oregon Daily Emerald. Contact the Editorial Board at editor@lsureveille.com

THE PEANUT GALLERY

Was George W. Bush the worst president in history? On Presidents’ Day, C-SPAN conducted its second Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership, which asked 65 presidential historians to rank all former presidents. The list wasn’t exactly scientific — it was compiled according to 10 loose and subjective “attributes of leadership” — but it was relevant nonetheless. Former President George W. Bush was ranked 36th out of 42. Those ranked behind him were — in descending order — Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding, William Henry Harrison, Franklin D. Pierce, Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan. As Bush fades from the public consciousness, does this mean he’ll receive a fairer critique? So is Bush another Johnson, or is he the next Harry Truman? We asked some notable voices on campus, and this is what we found. Join the conversation at lsureveille.com.

Paul Paskoff, history professor George W. Bush will likely rank near the bottom of the list of former presidents, though he won’t displace Buchanan from his well-deserved dubious distinction of having been the most incompetent and ruinous chief executive in our history. Bush may, in fact, go lower than Hoover, who is remembered by most Americans for having presided over the collapse of the Great Bull Market

of the 1920s and the rapid sinking of the American economy into the depths of the Great Depression. But rankings of George W. Bush, made so soon after his departure from the Oval Office, inevitably suffer from the problem of historical near-sightedness. That is, we can’t be certain today how our descendants will regard Bush because we can’t now know the events that will transpire over the next 25, 50 and 100 years and influence their opinions.  Those events will be the prism through which Bush’s historical reputation is refracted.  But, just so you don’t think I’m being mealy-mouthed and waffling, I’d rank George W. Bush among the five worst presidents we’ve had, and I don’t think posterity will be much kinder to him.

KYLE WHITFIELD TYLER BATISTE GERRI SAX DANIEL LUMETTA MATTHEW ALBRIGHT TRAVIS ANDREWS ERIC FREEMAN JR.

his legacy rather than burnishing it. These are the key sources that will shape how Bush himself is talked about by the news media in the future.

Gaines Foster, history department chair I am a bit embarrassed that historians participate in such rankings, since we try to understand the complexity of the past, not turn it into

a contest. As for the most recent President Bush — as for almost all of his predecessors, some later historians will condemn him and others rehabilitate him.  That’s what historians do. And how far in either direction that process goes will depend in part on what happens in the future. But presiding over one of the nation’s worst economic downturns and failing to complete his foreign policy goals hardly bodes well for an outstanding historical reputation. Contact The Daily Reveille’s opinion staff at opinion@lsureveille.com

ANOTHER SHOE

Regina Lawrence, political communication chair Obviously, historians will play a key role in how Bush is remembered and ranked. Not being a historian myself (I study media and politics), I would say his future reputation will also depend upon the news media.  How the media make sense of Bush’s key policies — the war on Iraq, secret surveillance, torture, Guantanamo, No Child Left Behind, Katrina, etc. — will also influence how Bush is

THE DAILY REVEILLE Editorial Board

remembered. Bush’s future reputation will rest on how the initiatives of and problems begun by his administration are understood in the future, and for the general public, that primarily means how the news media talk about those things. Some of those issues may be open to more positive news framing in the future, but some, like Katrina, will probably never be re-framed as “successes.” A lot will also depend on how the Republican Party treats Bush in the future.  They are unlikely to lionize him, as they have Ronald Reagan, and right now, most Republicans seem to be running from

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Best & Wittiest, King Features Syndicate

EDITORIAL POLICIES & PROCEDURES The Daily Reveille (USPS 145-800) is written, edited and produced solely by students of Louisiana State University. The Daily Reveille is an independent entity within the Manship School of Mass Communication. Signed opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, paper or University. Letters submitted for publication should be sent via e-mail to opinion@lsureveille.com or delivered to B-26 Hodges Hall. They must be 400 words or less. Letters must have a contact phone number so the opinion editor can verify the author. The phone number won’t be printed. The Daily Reveille reserves the right to edit letters and guest columns for space consideration without changing the original intent. The Daily Reveille also reserves the right to reject any letter without notification of the author. Writers must include their full names and phone numbers. The Daily Reveille’s editor-in-chief, hired every semester by the Louisiana State University Media Board, has final authority on all editorial decisions.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together.” George W. Bush 43rd U.S. President July 6, 1946 — present

The Daily Reveille — March 6, 2009  

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