Editorial: CMT vs. BET and Addressing Uncomfortable Issues

“All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone’s feelings.” -Denis Diderot

As student journalists, our job is to report the news and bring to light issues on campus that need to be discussed. In our recent news article “Fraternity Falls into National Trend: Guilty of Racist Party?” we wanted to do just that.

The McDaniel Free Press urges students to address uncomfortable topics and start discussions about them instead of ignoring them. Issues of race and stereotyping are of concern to many students on campus, and when our organization found out about a party themed “CMT vs. BET,” we decided this needed to be discussed. The McDaniel Free Press offers students a forum to discuss their feelings and opinions on a variety of different issues. We take submissions and will work with any student who has an idea that they want to talk about.

We published the article because students were concerned about this issue and we felt a responsibility to report on it, not because we have a vendetta against any organization on campus.

Each issue of the McDaniel Free Press had a sticker or a piece of tape over the Phi Delta Theta logo. This was a last minute decision when the organization expressed their displeasure about the use of their logo. We later contacted a representative from the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity office who said we were perfectly fine in using the logo to accompany the story.

We urge anyone to contact the McDaniel Free Press at FreePress@McDaniel.edu with responses to this situation or with ideas about stories we can cover on campus. We are here as a voice for the students to express and address issues they may be concerned about.

5 Comments on "Editorial: CMT vs. BET and Addressing Uncomfortable Issues"

  1. John Smith | March 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm |

    The problem with the publishing of this article was not the fact that students feelings were hurt. The issue is that due to this article 2 of the oldest and most well established organizations on campus were put on the chopping block.

  2. John Smith II | March 12, 2014 at 12:41 am |

    My problem with this article was that many of the “facts” were incorrect and because of those reports something that over 600 people over 50 years have worked to build might be destroyed. I might also add that both organizations now on the chopping block are also the most diverse Greek Organizations on campus.

  3. I wonder if the person who wrote the article and misquoted the president of phi delt and stated things that were not true knows that Phi Delt founded the free press (back then called the Black and White) and all they managed to do is slander the group that founded their paper.

  4. Shawn - Alumni | March 12, 2014 at 1:45 am |

    It takes one spark to start a fire. A story purporting accusatory “findings” such as those recently brought to light, seems juicy enough at first glance that any journalist would jump at the chance to write that story. I know that while I was writing for the Free Press, I would have. But prior to writing it I would have consulted my peers and advisors as to how I should go about reporting on such a topic, and would have had a long ethical conversation regarding the seriousness of the subject matter at hand (racial insensitivity), and the importance of fact-checking all claims regarding the situation before translating them into “News.”

    In the increasingly plugged-in and constantly logged-on culture in which we live today, there is a fair share of affordances and constraints. One of these major constraints is the way in which incorrect, biased, and unprofessionally gathered “News” can become viral in a matter of days. The nature of detrimental viral media is that it warns an immense audience of an issue before the whole story can be honesty written and reported. The images of the organizations involved in this investigation have already been defiled, that cannot be undone in today’s digital world.

    Enjoy the trickling away of charitable alumni contributions from anyone affiliated with, or supportive of two of the oldest, most influential, and highest caliber organizations this institution has ever had the honor of working with.

    Don’t lie to yourself by thinking that this school isn’t primarily interested in its appearance as an institution and it’s revenue as a business. Stop by the Administrative Finance department, request an appointment, and find out just how much of this college’s budget relies on charitable givings (primarily from the board of trustees and other alumni). The defamation of the overall character of these organizations affects not only the active members and their families, but also the nearly 1,000 alumni who hold their lifelong membership in these organizations in the highest regard. There will be a negative impact upon the college’s alumni fundraising campaigns regardless of the outcome in this situation. The only reason I stayed at McDaniel after a tough freshman semester was because I found my way into one of the most positive influences of my life, The Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

  5. Well the organizations are being punished by their superiors, which stands to reason that what they did was wrong. I fail to see how the exposing of the issue via news paper makes a difference. Essentially you are arguing that its only against rules or policy if you get caught, and that is the reason why it was a issue worth discussing. It is clear now more than ever that without the free press’s article, this would have never come to light, and it would have surely continued. If you insist on defending the accused, then maybe you should stop redirecting everything, and discuss the actual issue at hand–that being whether or not the actions of the fraternities was wrong or right. That needs to be concluded before anyone starts talking about the necessity of the article. So I ask you, mr John smith, why was it ok to employ racial stereotypes as a form of humor in regards to two ethnic groups?

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