February 19, 2008

Mearsheimer brief misrepresents talk

I was at the Mearsheimer lecture last week and thought it proceeded smoothly. I was therefore surprised to learn from a front-page caption that a student was “visibly shaken by his address.” When I flipped to a news brief about the lecture (“Mearsheimer addresses CFI,” 2/18/08), I further learned that “tension was palpable” and “one young woman in particular was visibly shaken.” I eagerly read on, anticipating some public meltdown that had somehow evaded my notice.

This sensationalist language instead referred to a student who left “after several shakes of her head.” Evidently, she also had “to return for her coat at the end of the Q&A session.” In no way does this constitute palpable tension or being visibly shaken. Perhaps the student got bored, or went to make a phone call. While I ascribe no political motive or bias to the Maroon, it is irresponsible journalism to make these assumptions about seemingly innocuous actions without following up with actual journalism.

Louis Potok

Class of 2011