If there’s one thing that people will always have, other than body odor, it’s opinions. As an opinion writer for The Badger Herald, I am one of opinions’ biggest fans, and I think they should be voiced to the world through all available channels. However, in the world of journalism, opinions are almost as feared as El Chupacabra has traditionally been in the southwestern United States.
Just recently, this fear became a reality in Appleton as an executive of The Post-Crescent newspaper became aware that 25 of its 223 employees had signed a Recall Gov. Scott Walker petition. Although none of the journalists who signed the petition report on politics or any news coverage of the sort, the president and publisher of The Post-Crescent is still fuming and searching for ways to “prevent future breaches.”
Really? Future breaches? What is this, the CIA? Did a Russian spy named Vladimir just infiltrate the secret headquarters? No. It is a newspaper, and, imagine that, even journalists are people and actually have opinions. To me, this is not a “breach” of any kind, but rather an exercise of the constitutional rights of American citizens. I know an obvious counter-argument is that journalists are supposed to remain as neutral as possible, but when you simply sign a petition that does not relate to any type of news you cover, is that really such a big deal?
Naturally, people like to find flaws in all sorts of things ranging from the button missing on my shirt to Megan Fox’s big toes. But in reality, I don’t use all of the buttons on my shirt anyway, and I’d like to think if I actually had a chance with Megan Fox I could look past those nugget-like projections of hers. So why can’t people just look past the fact that some journalists signed a petition? It would have been much easier to overlook if Mr. Executive did not blow the whole situation out of proportion and write an open letter to readers apologizing for the 25 writers and the conscious decisions they made as professional journalists.
In essence, the executive was apologizing for the employees of the newspaper because they are human. The executive basically said, “Sorry, my employees are not robots like ‘The Terminator’ with Austria’s favorite son Arnold Schwartzenegger.”
America is a country known around the world as a great democracy where dreams come true and opinions flow like the ancient rivers of Babylon. It is a free country where people are allowed to exercise beliefs. And it should be a country where the opinions of journalists are only viewed as opinions and not a skidmark on the underpants of their credibility. This should be especially true if their voiced opinion does in no way relate to the news that they cover. This is America. These colors don’t run — and our opinions won’t either.
Hayes Cascia ([email protected]) is a freshman with an undecided major.