[Editorial] Neutrality in a Polarized World
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Two weeks ago, in anticipation of the upcoming election, F.L.A.G. and Young Republicans hosted a debate between two alums: Sam Ratner, a former member of F.L.A.G., and Charlie Johnson, a previous head of Young Republicans. Many students noted that Charlie Johnson had also served as Editor-in-Chief of The Milton Measure. As Milton’s official school publication, The Measure has often been labeled the more “traditional” and less controversial of the two student-run newspapers, and therefore the more conservative one. The Milton Paper, on the other hand, is commonly regarded as the more open — and therefore more liberal — publication by virtue of its relative independence. This perceived divide between the papers has persisted even as the demographics of the school have become increasingly liberal. Indeed, since Johnson’s day, the student voices on The Measure’s editorial staff have become more liberal as well; while that trend has not necessarily held year-to-year, the current Editorial Board is no exception to it. Though conservative students at Milton are well-represented among the writers of both papers, and can be outspoken when expressing their opinions, they are in the minority on the boards’ of both publications.
Casting aside our editors’ personal views, we would like to stress that, as a publication, we are politically neutral. We live in an era of increasingly polarized and hostile political parties. The spread of anonymous negative campaigning from independent “super PAC” groups thanks to the Citizens United decision has only escalated the antagonism between liberals and conservatives, much to the detriment of our political system. Many issues can quickly become emotionally charged. Under these circumstances, we feel that maintaining neutrality as a publication is more crucial than ever. We represent a student body with diverse views, and by unanimously advocating for a fixed set of beliefs, we risk silencing the students that disagree with us. This election issue seeks to underscore the many political viewpoints in the Milton community. More regularly, the pages of the Measure seek to provide fresh ideas about public policy, the role of government, and the place of public discourse in a democracy.
Milton has always strived to create a community in which every student feels comfortable voicing his or her opinion. The school’s motto, “Dare to be True,” is a testament to the centrality of that mission. In many ways, this appreciation for uniqueness is very much alive in the Milton community. We hope that students’ ability to embrace and celebrate differences, rather than condemn them, can extend to political disagreements as well. Only by opening our minds to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable will we learn.
As Milton’s official student publication, we wish to carry on this attitude to foster an open and inquisitive dynamic on campus. Journalism, the “fourth estate,” can be an immensely powerful political force and should never fall prey to the perception of impropriety during contentious times. More relevant to our situation, student journalism should provide a platform on which students can express their unique views and educate the community. We are a platform for Milton’s collection of individual voices, Democratic and Republican, American and international, liberal and conservative — all of which have a say, and all of whom are valued.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=4081