Tartan Response to Dury-Agri: The Tartan is not Propaganda

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Last week, a letter to the editor was published that characterized one of our articles as propaganda and irresponsible reporting. I would like to respond on behalf of my writers who work incredibly hard for this paper to these frankly ludicrous claims, since, as news editor, I am responsible for the tone of our news section and not the individual writers who were cited.

I would like to say first that I disagree with Dury-Agri's critique of the Gingrich article, as I felt that the writers made it clear they were referring to the specific projects Gingrich cited in his article, including minimally invasive heart surgery and remote medical analysis, and not the research done at Carnegie Mellon as a whole. This is not to say that even those projects do not have potential downsides, but that I thought it was not an unreasonable stance to point out that equating (a word our copy staff debated over but ultimately decided was used correctly in the article) those projects to fracking was a false equivalency due to the established evidence of the harms that can be caused by fracking.

It might have been interesting to discuss the potential downsides of the projects Gingrich visited, but ultimately the focus of the article was Gingrich’s piece for Fox. I take full responsibility if the article read as if the writers were trying to claim that the research coming from Carnegie Mellon was somehow flawless, but I know that it was not their intention and if that was not communicated, that comes from my failure as an editor.

While I think Dury-Agri's point about this individual article was unfounded, the larger point that he failed to make as he was busy picking apart a fine sentence in a good article might have been a real constructive contribution. We at The Tartan have a responsibility to turn a critical eye on the university on behalf of the campus community we wish to inform. I want to work hard at doing this, to welcome readers to point out the ways in which we could be serving the campus community better, and to urge those who agree with this mission to contribute to reporting.

Nora Mattson
News Editor