Debate story failed readers
1 year ago
Robby DubeLetter to the Editor
Coverage of contests between Democrats, Republicans only presented one side of story
A recent article published by The Mercury failed to accurately portray the Republican side of a student debate meant to be unbiased.
On March 24, the College Republicans faced off against the College Democrats. Over the course of two hours, we presented viable solutions and critiques on healthcare, affirmative action, education, gun safety, terrorism and immigration.
However, if you had read The Mercury article that came out on March 28, you would not have known that. If you were not at the debate, and had only read The Mercury’s article, you could not be faulted for assuming the debate was a Democrat blowout. This is because The Mercury had only one objective: to portray the College Republicans as frothing Trump supporters, with all the delights of racism and lack of information that comes with that.
In this, The Mercury was particularly successful by cherry picking lines and stringing together scenarios to craft their chosen narrative. Ask yourself this: what was the Republican proposal for education? How did the Democrats respond to our critiques on healthcare? Which group was pilloried for the use of “illegal immigrant?” (Hint: It wasn’t the Republicans).
If you had only read the article, you would have no idea. The Mercury claimed we denounced Trump, but did you know we did it twice, to thunderous applause? Unlikely. Instead, you know that we said that Muslims should be accountable for terrorism, with no details about our clarification that this meant through imams working with the FBI and Muslim countries being responsible for providing ground support. The Mercury also neglected to inform you that one of our debaters is in a long term relationship with a Turkish Muslim, while another is a Marine and the son of immigrants.
That doesn’t fit into the racist caricature of us they want you to have, so it is no surprise it was left out. You know we support permanent residency status, but you don’t know our concerns about how Social Security will work with the legalization of undocumented immigrants. In fact, it’s fair to say that you don’t know much about the debate at all. And that’s not your fault.
The point of a newspaper is to inform its readers. We all know that The Mercury has a left-leaning bias. While unfortunate, it is tolerable assuming that they at least inform the students at UTD of what was actually said and proposed.
They did not. And this is not just the complaints of a Republican who feels mistreated. Even departing SG Vice President Grant Branam is vocal about the misrepresentation of the College Republicans and feels that The Mercury failed to relay most educational information at the debate. Furthermore, Democratic debaters Maham Tirmizi and Tessa McGlynn voiced their solidarity with the College Republicans in their belief that The Mercury’s article was biased and uninformative.
If both parties and SG can agree that The Mercury failed, it is time to reconsider how The Mercury does business. Our proposal is simple: The Mercury should re-print the article with a detailed listing of the policy positions taken by both parties. Give the students at UTD a chance to really evaluate the policies and benefits from each party. Put aside the bias just once and let the students make up their own minds. I think The Mercury would be surprised by the results (and how many people would actually read it).