Thank goodness for moderation

By and

A trip to Reno, Nev., has strengthened my love for the U. And no, I didn’t blow my tuition in the slot machines.

The University of Nevada, Reno, has three student papers. One, The Nevada Sagebrush, is official — like The Chronicle — while the second is compiled by the College Republicans and the third is from the College Democrats.

I was in Reno for a conference on Saturday and couldn’t believe so many students were interested in print journalism. It turns out they weren’t — they were interested in politics and newspapers were their medium.

Apparently, Michael Moore was invited to speak on their campus around the time he was at Utah Valley State College. As in Orem, conservatives in Reno freaked out. Rumor is a wealthy businessman offered to fund a new newspaper, The Pack Patriot, to offer a right-wing alternative to the campus paper.

Once the right-wing nuts had a paper, the College Democrats decided they needed one, too. Through friends on the student council they secured student funding for a “newsletter,” and thus The Nevada Blue was born.

Journalism students in Reno are so unreceptive to the positions of The Pack Patriot that its publishers don’t even bother putting copies in the journalism building.

I read two issues of The Sagebrush and was surprised to see that it makes Salt Lake City Weekly look like The Church News. No doubt the animosity is mutual.

The Nevada Blue was written with a mild, positive and friendly tone in comparison to the hostile, angry, fascist and even racist tone of The Pack Patriot. It was not, however, any more respectful of opposing views.

If you were a student in Reno, which paper would you read: Sex and the City, Savage Nation or ObamaRama? The campus has three student papers and absolutely nothing for moderates to read.

The political divide on the U campus gets hot sometimes. A “pro-marriage” rally held a few years ago comes to mind in which a rogue chapter of the College Republicans ate cake in front of a mock wedding while lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender sympathizers screamed at them with a megaphone in the Marriott Library Plaza.

All the same, I believe that if Moore had come to our campus, everyone would have acted in a civil manner. Jokes are made that the U is a blue dot in a very red state. But compared with Reno, Salt Lake City is purpler than we realize.

Complaints are made that The Chronicle is too liberal, but having spent nearly four years here, I can attest to its commitment to balance and impartiality.

I wish there were more students at the U who realized the value and power of print journalism, but I don’t think the U College Republicans could scrape together enough fascists to create a Ute Patriot. I don’t think the College Democrats could get enough funding from the Associated Students of the University of Utah for a Utah Blue. The U is too moderate — and respectful — to support three student papers.

The apathy of U students now gives me hope for the future. I don’t want to live in a country where everyone believes his or her political opponents aren’t worth working with. I don’t want to attend a campus where everyone is screaming at everyone else — even if it is on the print-soaked rags I love so much.