First, go here. This is the list of articles by reporter Daniel Hemel who, as you can see, covers issues in University Hall and more specifically President Summers. Now, go here. This is an editorial comment from the very same Hemel arguing that Summers and the University in general should look to more than just the news-dominating tragedies of the world if it intends to act as a “freelance philanthropist.” It’s a very well-written piece. So what’s the problem?(more in expanded post)
It’s an interesting problem for another reason, however. Embarrassing as it will be for the Ed Board and those higher-ups to violate their own C.O.I. policies, it also raises a legitimate question about subjectivity and objectivity in the media. The American media today, maybe now more than ever (although what the hell do I know, I’m 22?), seems to be struggling to figure out what objectivity is. Consider the Valerie Plame case and the stuggles of the New York Times (a newspaper the Crimson loves to consider itself a kind of farm team for). Watch this video clip from CNN about how the NYTs struggled to maintain good reporting while dealing with the legal and loyalty issues of having a controversial reporter in jail for defending a White House source (or two). If they struggled to maintain any level of reporting, what happens to the Crimson when conflicts of interest are everywhere for them because this is a small community of friends, lovers and enemies. What would have happened if there had been no other newspaper to pick up the NYTs slack when they abdicated their journalistic role on this case? Welcome to the Harvard media monopoly.