Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Prof. Morris Questions Spec's Submission Practices

Today's Columbia Spectator includes an excellent op-ed piece by anthropology professor Rosalind Morris. "When Fair Isn't Balanced" questions Spectator's decision to publish Paula Stern's "Greatest Victory, Even in Defeat" earlier this month.

Prof. Morris observes that publishing the Stern piece, which had previously been published in five other venues, violated Spectator's own policy that all submissions must be original material. She further criticizes the paper for its willingness to publish any submitted piece without skeptical examination of the facts or consideration of the argument. "'Opinion' is not an alibi for misrepresentation," she argues.

Prof. Morris's critique is well-founded. On the same day that Stern's vitriolic attack against El-Haj appeared, and in fact on the very same page of the print edition, the Spectator editorial board wrote, in "Protecting Professors", that the "University must reaffirm that while the marketplace of ideas may expose professors to criticism, the intrusion of non-academic pressure on the tenure process is unacceptable." Of course, this is an important point, but the Spectator editorial board could itself help reduce this "intrusion of non-academic pressure" by refraining from publishing politically-driven, biased diatribes masquerading as reasoned, respected opinion.

No comments: