THE DIXIE COLLEGIATE STAFF
UPDATE: The Crimson White’s Editor-in-Chief, Peyton Shepard, has clarified with us that there is another pro-Trump column that ran Aug. 24, 2016 (“Why conservatives should support Trump”). As promised at the conclusion of this article, we sincerely apologize for the error, and are happy to update this article with said clarification.
The Editorial Board of The Crimson White, the flagship student news publication of the University of Alabama, issued strongly-worded denouncements of the manner in which students consume news, in an editorial published in the Thursday, Jan. 26 edition.
In what appeared to be an irritable and condescending tone, The Crimson White demanded its readers pay attention to the distinction between ‘news’ and ‘opinion’ in journalistic reporting:
We suppose that in a world where so many media consumers are incapable of differentiating fact from fiction, it is a lot to ask of those same consumers to distinguish news from opinion. This Editorial Board nevertheless implores you, as a reader, to at least try…
If you look closely, above each opinion piece published on our website, you will see a large graphic with “OPINIONS” in a speech bubble. In the physical paper, you will see “OPINIONS,” “NEWS” or some other designation at the top of each page after the cover. Even our tweets and Facebook posts come with a blaring disclaimer that the piece is an opinion. Most reputable publications will have similar distinctions visible in anything you read.
Following these statements, the Editorial Board appealed to its own alleged intellectual diversity as proof of its lack of bias:
Here at The Crimson White, we have a news editor who has written for the right-wing publication Yellowhammer News, the founder of which now works in the Trump White House. Our opinions editor is, to put it lightly, a card-carrying Democrat. Members of our staff voted for all four major and minor presidential candidates. Still, our news section has never been credibly accused of partisan slant. We have opinions columnists from both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. Our staff consists of people who each have their own individual biases, and we regularly work to reconcile those differences among ourselves because we believe in the democratic ideal of open discourse.
To date, The Crimson White has run two pro-Donald Trump opinion piece from any in-house conservative – on its website (“Republicans have a chance to change history,” Jan. 12, and“Why conservatives should support Trump” Aug. 24).
Finally, the Editorial Board attempted to apologize for the numerous press falsehoods that have occurred in recent years, but nonetheless mocked President Trump as well:
Distrust of media institutions is dangerous for democracy, especially in these times, and to some extent we have ourselves to blame for waning public trust. The pressure to be the first to report on something is ever present and has led to many reporting mistakes in recent years. If you don’t trust an outlet, however, ask yourself if it is because you have read a news story that contained factually inaccurate information or because it published an opinion piece with which you disagreed. Contrary to what the President of the United States seems to think, things you disagree with are not necessarily “Fake News.” Acknowledging that fact is vital to a free press and a functioning republic.
The Jan. 26 editorial came during a week in which both the News and Opinion sections of The Crimson White, both print and online, contained:
- a generic anti-Trump piece (“Why I’m skipping the inauguration,” Jan. 19)
- a three-page feature on the Birmingham Women’s March (“March On: Tuscaloosa community participates in worldwide Women’s March,” Jan. 23)
- a pro-abortion piece (“There is no such thing as an anti-choice feminist,” Jan. 23)
- a pro-Leftist feminism piece (“Activists must not become complacent,” Jan. 23)
- a piece criticizing conservative commentator Tomi Lahren (“Stop giving Tomi Lahren your attention,” Jan. 24)
- an anti-‘police brutality’ feature (“Cell phones shed new light on police violence,” Jan. 26)
One balanced article about the new President was published: “UA students comment on Trump plans” (Jan. 23). Another opinion piece advocated for pro-life feminism, but seemed to be written from by a liberal dissenter, not a conservative (“Pro-life and pro-choice feminists can work together,” Jan. 19).
Two Left-wing cartoons also ran during the week: one depicting a ‘resistance figure’ of a girl in a hijab (Jan. 23); and another claiming Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexican border would ‘crush the hopes and dreams of American youth’ (Jan. 26).
Many other editorial cartoons published in TCW over the past academic year have had an extreme Left-wing slant as well. One cartoon immortalized Hillary Clinton as the next President, and another compared Trump supporters to armband-wearing Nazis.
Furthermore, in the past year, TCW explicitly ‘un-endorsed’ Trump for President (“OUR VIEW: Vote tomorrow, but not for Trump,” Nov. 7). It more recently attacked potential Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a racist (“OUR VIEW: Senate must reject Jeff Sessions,” Jan. 19).
The aforementioned editorial was also published in the wake of a College of Communication and Information Sciences-hosted panel reported on by The Crimson White, in which leading mainstream media journalists decried so-called ‘fake news,’ the dissemination of which they believed won Trump the 2016 Presidential election.
Editor’s Note: Headlines of articles may appear differently between the print version and website of The Crimson White. If it is revealed that TCW has published more than one explicitly pro-Trump opinion piece over the course of the past academic year, we will be happy to update this piece with a correction and apology.