On that Wabash article: how it really went down

Dateline: Thu 30 Nov 2006

Staci Hupp, who covers higher ed for the Star, is being blistered for her Page 1 story on Wabash College Sunday. Letters to the editor, Talk Back, etc. -- she's continaully been taken to task.

OK, the critics are correct: the article was one-sided, pointed in an obvious direction, PC and may I say it again -- agenda driven?

But as a former colleague of Staci's, I know her to be a person of integrity. Her only problem is the one I had: she works for Gannett. That means (and I would bet Ezra's rice cereal on this): she was assigned to do this piece by an editor, who probably got the idea from On High (Babs to Dennis, Pam Fine to Dennis, whatever). There was never any intent from the editors to produce a definitive or fair or accurate piece. It was a case of "Wabash is all-male. That sucks. There's a curious little movement afoot to DIVERSIFY Wabash. Let's get on it!"

I've read the Talk Back section in the Star, where all the Wabash students, grads, family members, etc., correctly defend what is an obviously very successful school. And to the keepers of the Liberal Flame, hello, this is the school that produced the play "Angels in America" a few years back. Yes, that AND "The Vagina Monologues."

But I am confident, and this is the voice of experience talking here, that Staci's original reporting on the story was rewritten and twisted so that it fit the Star editors' agendas -- get Wabash, because (can I say it?) strong men are a threat. And no, it would not be PC to go after an all women's school. Two legs bad, four legs good.

OK, call me nuts. Nothing new in that. But trust me: I absolutely believe that Staci Hupp has not leaped to defend her Page 1 words in Talk Back because, while the story bore her byline, a lot of what was printed was not based on her reporting. It was twisted, by a certain editor, or editors, who shall remain...anonymous. But let's just say: they like to sex up stuff, make it jazzy, push the buttons. And after all, they are just doing the master's bidding...and to Hell with decent journalism.

The problem was never Wabash College. The problem was is and always shall be -- THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR. (which has a particular habit of taking young reporters and trying to "mold" them).

God help us. OK, go ahead, privatize us, outsource the whole damn thing. The information center. Whatchamacallit. How could it be worse?

Comments: ruth@ruthholladay.com

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