Sunday, April 6, 2014

Assessing blame for the Villanovan column

On Friday, I posted a response to a column written in this past week's Villanovan that made some uninformed, overly broad, and frankly absurd assertions about perceived benefits received by student athletes at Villanova and elsewhere. Given that I already said enough about the author, and the fact that she took some abuse for it, deserved and otherwise, I feel the need to clarify my position, because the writer of the column, Blaire Fenniman deserves to know that she is not solely to blame for this debacle. 

The lion's share of the blame in this shitstorm should go with the editors of The Villanovan. Not only because it's author's thesis was so fundamentally wrong, but because the column was simply not well written enough to publish even if the points it made were 100 percent correct. It simply did not meet the standard of what an opinion column in a weekly publication should be, especially one at a school that is as selective as Villanova. By allowing that column to go to publication, without a disclaimer, the editors of the paper showed that they were in tacit agreement with the author, and essentially threw her to the fire by allowing it to be published. If the editorial board disagreed with her, the fact that they did not publish a rebuttal piece next to the article is reprehensible, because even a moron would know that something like that would generate controversy.

Ultimately, this situation should have never happened was created by a media environment that values sensationalism over hard news, and content over quality. Hopefully Blaire Fenniman, and more importantly, everyone involved at the Villanovan's editorial staff learns their lesson, and hopefully the athletes and students of Villanova give Blaire Fenniman a fair chance to explain herself, and ultimately forgive her, because grabbing pitchforks and torches and chasing her off campus is counter to Villanova University's core values of truth, unity, and love.

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