Columnist addresses politics and journalism

first_imgAmerican Studies professor Jack Colwell delivered the fourth and final lecture in the Mendoza College of Business Ethics Week series Thursday, stressing the public’s responsibility to stay informed and invested in politics without falling into the trap of “taking things for granted.” Colwell, who is also a political columnist for The South Bend Tribune, framed his discussion of ethics with the interaction between politicians and journalists, two entities that deeply affect the public experience of government. He said the role of the journalist has shifted to accommodate the partisanship and divisive nature of politics today. “Many viewers seek out the news that they want to believe,” Colwell said. “Objectivity is boring and fact-checking is biased if those facts dispute what you want to believe.” The business of journalism affects the content of the message the public receives, Colwell said, and voters today are very willing to avoid logic and rationality in order to doggedly adhere to their political parties of choice. “Voters want to believe what is claimed by candidates and commentators of their particular side of the political spectrum,” Colwell said. “They think the other side must be lying, must be cheating, must be stealing the election, must be defeated.” Colwell discussed the prevalence of negative political advertisements and their success in altering the public opinion of political figures. The ads’ target populations take the policies of their affiliated parties for granted and assume these loyalties should supersede practicality, he said. The parties’ unwillingness to compromise severely inhibits legislative productivity and polarizes news outlets, Colwell said. “In Congress, it is easy to spout anger at any time, for any purpose, in any way and that is not good for democracy,” he said. “Divisiveness and anger in politics is not totally uncommon … but [compromise] is something I fear we lack today.” Colwell said the increased number of news sources, legitimate or not, creates a disconnect between the reality of politics and public awareness.   “Don’t think that [everyone] is providing unbiased news or objective news,” Colwell said. “I hate the term ‘news media.’ The term has come to encompass everything from The Wall Street Journal to tabloids at the supermarket … to Twitter to some blogger writing in the basement in his underwear. “The term now means anything and everything and thus, it now means nothing.” Colwell said the unbiased presentation of facts and political information is an important part of journalists’ duty, and society needs more qualified reporters to take on this mission. “We need reliable news in our democracy, even if it isn’t coming from newspapers delivered on our porch like it used to be,” Colwell said. “We need real journalists. We need real news. We can’t rely on what is said by that blogger in the basement, nor can we rely on what politicians say in their 30-second spots.” The ethical dilemma of the political media relates to the unbiased presentation of facts, Colwell said. The manipulation of public opinion to win elections is a dangerous, ignoble result of the media culture today. “It’s possible, though I won’t say probable, that the voters will stop taking things for granted,” Colwell said. “And if they do, the political consultants will respond. Their job is to win and the negative attacks have won [in the past], but if that changes, their strategies will change as wlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s sports teams prepare for spring break excursions

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s golf, softball, lacrosse and tennis teams will be traveling to different parts of the country in order to face new competition over spring break.The trips are funded by individual contributions, players and team fundraisers like working parking before football games. The golf team, consisting of seven players, travels every year for spring break. This year the team is going to Jekyll Island in Georgia.“We have three, 18-hole practice rounds the first three days, and then we have three days of a tournament,” freshman Sydney Hruskoci said. “We are also going on a dolphin cruise and will attend team dinners.”Hruskoci said this is the furthest this team has ever traveled together, and they will all be staying in a villa together.“This year is going to be fun because the team chemistry is great,” she said. “I am so excited to spend a week with the team.”The softball team is also going south over break, traveling to Tucson, Ariz. Senior and fourth-year player Zoe Bruni said the team will have one practice and a total of 10 games spread throughout the week. However, it is not all work and no play Bruni said.“We get to spend the afternoon with our families on Monday, and we have an off day on Wednesday, so we [are] have a surprise team bonding activity planned that day,” she said. “We play all morning games so afternoons will probably have other fun activities as well.”The team has already done an overnight trip to Brighton, Mich., this year.“This trip will be different [from past trips] due to the location as well as [it] being the first time we are in a hotel not a house,” Bruni said. “We have a lot of underclassmen, so this should be a fun first spring break for them and a good change in location.”The Saint Mary’s lacrosse team will be traveling west to Los Angeles for the break, where they will visit Santa Monica state beach, hike to the Hollywood sign and explore the Walk of Fame, freshman Rachel Ledyard said. Ledyard said the destination has the added benefit of being her hometown and her family will be hosting a team dinner at their house following one of the games.“I am most looking forward to being able to go home and be in warm weather,” Ledyard said. “I’m excited for my family to be able to meet some of my closest friends and amazing teammates thanks to the Saint Mary’s College lacrosse program.”The lacrosse team is scheduled to play a total of three games against Whittier College, Chapman University and University of Redlands.The tennis team enjoyed going to San Marcos, Texas so much last year that they are going back again this year, coach Dale Campbell said. They will play five matches and have a few practices during their time there, he said.“It’s a great opportunity for the team to get more connected and to play some excellent teams,” Campbell said. “Hopefully it is a lot warmer than here and gives us the opportunity to play outside for the first time this year.”Tags: Saint Mary’s Athletics, Saint Mary’s Golf, Saint Mary’s Lacrosse, Saint Mary’s Softball, Saint Mary’s Tennis, Spring Breaklast_img read more