Friday, March 18, 2005

Discourse and Goings-On

I'm sure many of you have been wondering why I've posted twice in the last two weeks. Well, I can't excuse last week, but as for this week, it's Spring Break! And I'll tell you what, I certainly needed a break from everything. Full, regular posting begins anew on Monday.

As for the moment, I'll take a second to bring you up to date on a few key issues.

1.) Condoleeza Rice said Sunday that she would not run for President. Whether she sticks to that or not could be interesting, but somehow, I didn't expect her to giddily throw her hat in the ring right away. From where I'm standing, it looks as though she'll only run if she feels the country needs her, which is probably the most sensible way to look at a candidacy. It's a tough job, but as our Founding Fathers decided, somebody's got to do it. Whoever the Republican candidate will be remains to be seen.

2.) As you know, Dan Rather stepped down from the anchor's chair last week. I haven't been alive long enough to give a proper analysis of his career, yet I thought it was curious that he chose to revisit his infamous sign-off "courage" in his final words. Some people thought he was goofy for saying that back in the day, but I think he wanted the word to define him. I leave partisan sniping alone on this point. After all, it really would take courage to walk a mile in the shoes of Dan Rather. I understand he will go back to field reporting; honestly, it's probably what he's best at. I had issues with Memogate/Rathergate and the glaring bias involved in that scandal; nevertheless, my hat is off to him. Was he bizarre? Quite often. Was he biased? Certainly. Was he one heck of a journalist? Definitely.

3.) I said earlier that I would talk at length about a possible challenge to Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) in 2006. Byrd is the oldest incumbent Senator and has not aged particularly well, but he still has enormous influence in Congress. An in-depth analysis of this issue is still coming. WVU Press is publishing his memoirs soon, which should be of great interest indeed.

A lengthy side note involving my post "How to Fix the DA": CBA blogger Dave Ryan provided his own take on the issue, and I have to admit, some of what he said surprised me. He stated that he almost never reads the DA, which is not a good sign for the paper because Ryan himself leans left and would agree with them more often than myself. In his words, not mine:

I just don't like it, it's not a paper. It's a byproduct of clutter and confusion, hastily written and poorly put together.

He also takes serious issue with their growing reliance on AP wire reports instead of original reporting, which is a not yet fatal flaw that I didn't touch on in my post. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Dominion Post has to use the AP wires heavily because they're under-staffed for their size. The DA should be capable of more original reporting, but it seems like they take the path of least resistance more frequently than they should. My "exclusive" on Peter Arnett's speaking engagement back in February was an exclusive in the sense that I had it first; however, I ended up being the only source for it because the DA never wrote a line about him the next day. Would it have been so hard to have someone there to cover the story? I don't know the internal workings of the paper, but I don't see why his remarks were so badly under-reported.

Anyhow, back to my post...Ryan seemed to really like the idea of aggressive advertising for new columnists and staffers, so long as it wouldn't turn the paper into the print version of CNN's "Crossfire". I don't see how it could myself; I don't believe that DA columnists are supposed to openly attack each other, and one of the things that made "Crossfire" so annoying was the element of crosstalk (where both sides attempt to talk over each other simultaneously in order to be heard), which becomes an impossibility in written form.

He thought my second proposal, partisan tagging, was "a dumb idea" (his words, not mine). I do agree that the possibility of tuning out columnists from your opposing party exists, but signifying their party has potential to serve an educational purpose that is anything but dumb. Although not all Dems and Reps are partisan shills, students with an interest in political science could benefit from observing the interplay between the columnists from those parties, as well as the alternate viewpoints of Greens, Libertarians, and independents. Partial disclosure is a less radical option that would get the job done on a smaller scale, which is what tagging L.J. Ulrich and Steve Nicholas as President and Vice-President of WVU's Young Democrats would be. That proposal has legs because they have highly pertinent titles that should be publicized. I'm not attacking them, but I think that readers should have a clear understanding of their organizational positions.

Oddly, Ryan doesn't understand why "someone who revels in anonymity would be so for public disclosure amongst writers." Frankly, who ever said I was "reveling" in it? Let me make something clear for everyone. I would never hold back any politically-related title I hold. I tell people that I am a moderate Republican from WVU so that they may better understand my views. If I were to become President of WVU's College Republicans tomorrow, I would want readers to know about it. If that means revealing myself, so be it; fairness is more important to me. I am anonymous partially so that my blogging may remain separate from my "real" life and partially so that people who know me personally don't color my opinions with their memories of the man the opinions belong to. The "real" me has known many of my classmates for years. The "real" me has met Dave Ryan in passing (don't flip out Dave, I've barely said five words to you). The "real" me fights the daily temptation to spill the beans in similar public moments, even when others bring up something I blogged about with praise or contempt. Most of my own family and best friends are completely in the dark about this, and I like it that way. I am unknown so that all of you may better understand my thoughts on the issues. Whether you agree with me or not is entirely your choice.

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