by Dalia Zada
Anyone who has followed the Claremont Independent this year knows that we attend school with some of the most unethical journalists in America. In one of their most infamously popular editorials We Tell the Truth When No One Else Will, they proudly claim, “we build our news stories from quotes, and allow our sources to tell the story as accurately and impartially as possible rather than trying to provide our own commentary or insight. Simply put, our style of reporting lets the facts speak for themselves. Unfortunately for our radically liberal peers, the facts consistently reveal some serious problems on our campuses.” Better read as “we fabricate stories by stealing comments off of Facebook threads and silencing our ‘sources’ by painting a picture as falsely and biased as possible, while also providing our own unintelligent commentary and insight. We love to take every quote out of context to mold the story in our favor and manipulate the situation. Something we also especially enjoy is using quotes even after being specifically told we had no permission to do so beforehand. Unfortunately for everyone, the facts consistently reveal some of the more serious problems in not just our own campuses but also our entire country. These ‘stories’ bring out some of the most racist, terrifying and hurtful comments from our wonderful fan base and can be found on our Facebook page.”
Independent, you will never understand the pain you cause students on this campus consistently. You will never understand the pain you have caused my POC (people of color) peers and friends with your most recent article that I refuse to even mention specifically as you do not deserve any more attention brought to that poor excuse of an article. All I know is you used us. You had the audacity to quote my words in a context as if I supported your cause. You harmed my friends. You took their words out of context to accuse them to be something they are not, and in fact something that you actually are. We all specifically asked for no association with your paper. You ran the article anyway. I choose to not focus on the topic of that article. That topic was not a debate. It was never a debate.
I choose instead to focus on the fact that you practice unethical and shady journalism. These practices do not make you a real news source; it makes you an unreliable and immoral blog. You give journalism a bad name. You perpetuate the growing distrust our students in this country have with media. The reason your stories are so heavily criticized and controversial, especially in comparison to any other 5C publication is that you are the only “paper” that has the audacity to craft your articles to pit your peers against one another as a source of entertainment and profit. You are the only publication that feeds and thrives off the struggles of POC and other groups you care nothing for. Our struggles are your opportunities to get that much closer to working for Fox News; congrats. You fail to recognize how your articles never serve as a tool of progressive conversation and only bring out the worst in people. You enjoy fighting fire with fire. You find it rewarding, and amusing even, when students of color stop showing up to work, to class, engulfed in their anxieties and trauma as a result of your hateful words. You don’t have time to understand; your focus is on the likes and shares on Facebook, on the messages pouring in from news outlets across the country. But you won’t understand. I’m expecting your sarcastic reply. I’m expecting you to call me a liberal baby with too many feelings. I’m expecting you to wish me luck “for the real world.” I am expecting all of these responses, just like I had expected and was later confirmed right that you would go forth and use our words anyway. You are immorally predictable. Is that really what your publication wants to be known for?
You won’t understand the pain because you haven’t received the backlash my friends have been receiving. You haven’t had to angrily sit there, powerless as they receive message after message from racist strangers telling them to go back to their countries and throwing racial slurs at them left and right. You’ve never needed a safe space. You walk through this world with your privilege and stomp on everyone else on your way down. Don’t you have enough space on this earth? What does our safe space mean to you? Independent, you serve no purpose on our campuses. You provide no place for students to express progressive dialogue and pride yourselves on not being politically correct or even at the least, respectful. You not only deny the rights of a safe space to those who need it most, but also perpetuate further violence by putting POC students in danger by stamping their names, affiliations, and schools throughout your publication without their permission. This enables strangers to harm your very own peers, allowing them to easily search their names up online and send them obscene and damaging messages. Our issues with your publication isn’t even about the content you post anymore. It’s about the way you post it and the audience you target that incites this violence towards our students of color. You must learn to recognize this. If you are going to continue to run “stories”, fine, that is your right. But in turn, our rights to privacy need to be respected and enacted.
Perhaps for now, us liberal babies start to let the rest of the world know what’s really happening in Claremont. Every article you write provides clear evidence exposing our peers who support your publication for what they are: censorious, bigoted, insensitive bullies. And the students are taking notice.
*Credit given to the Editorial Board of The Claremont Independent for the references of many of the lines in this article from their article We Tell the Truth When No One Else Will. I won’t go so far to call it an inspiration, but I practice real journalism and that includes crediting all sources used. It’s interesting to see how the same lines can have drastic change in context all depending on surrounding commentary. Sound familiar, CI?
Dalia Zada is a Junior at Pitzer College majoring in English and World Literature. She is Kurdish Syrian, born and raised in San Diego. She plans on pursuing a career in teaching. Currently, she serves as a team leader for Jumpstart.