The Chronicle’s View: Endorsing a political party is perfectly ethical

The Chronicle’s endorsementof the StudentsFirst Party on Wednesday(“Students First is the bestchoice,” March 9) was criticizedas being inappropriate and poorjournalism.We argue political endorsementsare not only appropriate,but required of a newspaper.Joseph Pulitzer of the New YorkWorld (and many before him)said the duty of a paper is topromote progress and reform,be intolerant of injustice and corruption,fi ght public plunderers,sympathize with the poor, neverbe afraid to attack wrong andnever be content to merely printthe news. Newspapers are in theunique position of being moreinformed than public at large. Assuch, disseminating informationis only a portion of their purpose.They also serve to analyze,comment on, criticize or endorsethe issues they report.The Chronicle was informedabout several actions committedby one of the parties running forASUU position. According to theinformation we had, that partyhad committed more acts of misconductthan the other.The Chronicle’s senior staffhad also observed one party’slead candidates politicking in amore accessible, personable andconfi dent manner.After considering our observationsand information, the seniorstaff felt it was our duty to publiclycomment on which party, inour educated opinions, was morequalifi ed for ASUU offi ce. Exceptfor two who abstained, the staffwas unanimously in support ofStudents First.We were not being malicious.We were not shooting from thehip. We did not write the endorsementlightly. Accusationshave also been made that thesenior staff had an agenda topromote Ali Hasnain because heused to be on the senior staff. Ofthe eight people who contributedto the endorsement, only fourhad worked with Hasnain. Noneof those four was supportive ofHasnain resigning more than ayear ago to serve in ASUU.Connie Coyne, current readeradvocate of The Salt Lake Tribune,was asked about the ethicsof endorsing a political party.She said, “If you had more newscoverage of one party or another,that would be an ethical breach.But the editorial department isthe opinion of the paper and isthe judgment of whoever writesthe editorials.”In 1966 at the University of Miami,Coyne had to fi ght the headof the publications board forthe right to endorse a party. Thepublications board determined itwas unfair to prohibit a studentpaper from doing that which wasthe function of other papers.Only if The Chronicle hadbeen bribed or been promisedfavors would the endorsement bean ethical breach.The Chronicle was ethical andjustifi ed in offering its endorsement.