Column: Fairer treatment needed

First of all, I would like to say that I am a political centrist, even perhaps leaning a little toward the left. Despite this, I believe The Hatchet’s treatment of President Bush is unfair.

I did not want to come out crying liberal bias on The Hatchet, but Brian Smith’s article covering the State of the Union (“Bush addresses U.S.,” Jan. 22, p.1) was unfair toward Bush. The article’s first quoted student said he was “so anti-Bush that I still don’t think he was ever even elected.” The story then moves on to another criticism, quoting a generic non-specific kind word followed by a genuine Bush compliment next to two criticisms. Smith could have found more specific Bush praises to balance the negatives.

It seems this trend goes into the past. I looked at all The Hatchet articles and opinions regarding Bush since his campaign in 2000 and found many articles attacking him and few even coming close to praising him. Negative words like “claims” and “disappointment” permeate the articles.

In the Jan. 20 Hatchet, an editorial described Bush’s space plans as “Just a Pipedream” (p. 4). The editorial quickly comments that “it is only logical that such a robust project will go disastrously over budget.” What? Where does this come from? It is only logical that this will go over budget? There is nothing to back up this claim, but the author moves on to write, “Given the precarious security reality in our nation’s capital, it is illogical that Bush would consider such an expenditure at this time.” Again, where does this come from? Just because Bush wants to spend money on NASA doesn’t mean security in our nation’s capital will be directly cut. The article makes it appear that the money from NASA will come only from the National Security budget, which is plain wrong. The opinion does not mention any reason in support of Bush’s plan – not his goal of possibly finding natural resources on Mars or the moon or boosting the nation’s morale akin to the first moon landing or any of the other reasons reported. Where is the balance?

The Jan. 22 Hatchet’s opinion section contained a slanted editorial titled “A Failed Policy” (p. 4). The article condemns Bush’s abstinence program as a “utopian fantasy” that does not “address the serious issues of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prevention.” It is a utopian fantasy to expect all teenagers to not have sex, but the article’s logic is all wrong. “If such education were 100 percent effective in preventing individuals from making bad choices, then it would be logical to implement such a policy solely and universally.” Just because a program is not 100 percent effective doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Students – seeing the effectiveness of some forms of birth control – might think abstinence is a better option.

The article makes this claim: “Unfortunately, abstinence education has a high failure rate, as many young people choose to have sex anyway.” Once more, where does this come from? Is this just something the author threw in there with no source to back it up? But the unsupported claims do not end: “Washington would no doubt be negatively affected by the implementation of the president’s vision.” “Teaching abstinence will only guarantee that an already epic problem will get much worse.” No doubt? Where are these declarations coming from? Maybe teaching abstinence can work. In fact, to avoid poverty in the United States, the Clinton administration’s William Galston said to do three things: (1) finish high school, (2) marry before having a child and (3) don’t have a child until you are at least 20 years old. Only 8 percent of people who do all these three things end up below the poverty line, while 79 percent who fail to accomplish these goals fall below the poverty line. Perhaps some abstinence education will help our nation, but the author thinks differently in guaranteeing the problem will only get worse. The author seems to think that Bush will replace all sex education techniques with abstinence training.

The Hatchet would benefit from articles and editorials that take a more balanced approach.

The writer is a senior majoring in political science and economics.

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