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Inventing The News

An intercepted e-mail from the executive officers of the Native Americans at Dartmouth club has the subject, “Notifying National Media,” and reads as follows:

Hello everyone,

The idea has been proposed that we notify newspapers and the media across the country about the issues and events this term. One suggestion was to wait a little while to see how the administration will respond to our meeting with President Wright, however another sentiment is that we’ve been waiting for too long. If we decide to undertake this action, we must do so NOW.

Thanksgiving is next Thursday, and as wrong as it is, newspapers and other media across the country like to highlight Native American issues during this time of year, probably more than any other time of the year. It would be advantageous to submit something to National, local, and regional newspapers by Monday because of the likelihood of having it included before Thanksgiving. To be honest, it does not seem that many newspapers would publish something about Natives in December which is the “Christmas Holiday Season”.

Thus, we must meet soon to decide how to go about this. We already have a lot of stuff to work with (past editorials, our own knowledge, etc) so it should not involve a large amount of effort.

I am not certain what “the issues and events” are. Certainly one is the crew team’s “Cowboys and Indians” party, which event has been described in detail on this humble page. (In short: The crew team had its annual formal event with the aforementioned theme. A single student, offended by the indian costumes, found a dean on hand, who promptly inspected the event and called security forces, who stopped the party and questioned its organizers.)

Now, the Native American group seems to have undertaken a campaign to elicit newsmedia coverage of their particular “issues” here on the Hanover plain. Of course, everyone has a right to appeal to the fourth branch of government, but the NAD’s strategy strikes me as unpropitious. They seem not to realize that the tide of public opinion—and indeed the newsmedia, leftist though they are—is against them, and for, firmly, the stance that free speech does indeed trump the feelings of a few. A sob story about a scary indian costume won’t win a drought of ink, I suspect. And vaguely discussing “issues” and “social spaces” and “challenges” usually cause newspaper editors to fall asleep before they even have a chance to pass such pieces on to copyediting. (The Dartmouth, the NAD group should understand, is a rare exception.)

Anyway, good on the Native Americans at Dartmouth for seeking some black-and-white redress in this nation’s fine newspapers. But their press strategy, in the end, only reveals how out of touch they are with the American public.


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