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Anger works in funny ways

Being a journalist or part of a journalism entity is a lot like being an athlete: People in the general public will love you when you're on and hate you with a fiery passion when you're off or do anything to upset them.


And it's no ordinary hate. It's hate composed of shards of mal-informed hypocrisy spit out like daggers without any real preconceived notion of why the press is a target.

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In the past three weeks, I was told to my face that the Arizona Daily Wildcat is a joke and that we don't take our jobs seriously.


You try it.


There's no better feeling as a journalist than to print a story that has news value, oozes with truth, informs all readers and is 100 percent balanced. It's what we strive for. But in all reality, it doesn't work out perfectly every time we print a story. Even the biggest newspapers and news entities share this trait from time to time.


No one is perfect.


As a journalist, if one person disagrees with the story, you'll know about it. Your ears will bleed thanks to obsessive insults, and your phone will ring off the hook until that person, or group or people, is satisfied — and they almost never are.


The Daily Wildcat has endured this for the past three weeks.


On Feb. 15, we printed a story called ""Human rights violations"" about a group on campus attempting to have the University of Arizona Police Department's contract with Motorola terminated. The students' reasons for the recommendation to end the contract deals with Motorola's involvement with the Israeli government, which is occupying Palestinian lands.


Admittedly, the Daily Wildcat did not have two sides to this story, though this wasn't deliberate. There was absolutely no bias from the reporter or the Daily Wildcat in reporting the story — despite allegations against us — and some sources simply weren't willing to comment.


To make matters worse, the Daily Wildcat also published an opinions article on the same subject. The author's views, which do not represent those of the paper, mirrored the views of the UA group calling for the termination of UAPD's contract with Motorola.


In hindsight, we could have published the news story and the opinions piece on different days and we could have tried to counter the opinions piece with a view from the other side.


But we didn't, and it caused a great stir in the Jewish community on campus.


We ran readers' letters and guest columns of concerned individuals expressing their displeasure with our coverage, and Hillel UA said our ethics were in question. In reality, though, it was apparent that they were angry over political issues more than anything else.


Michelle Blumenberg, executive director of UA Hillel, spearheaded a campaign to have people sign a letter to the Daily Wildcat. This involved asking for support in an e-mail with the subject ""Speak Out Against the Wildcat,"" as well as collecting signatures at Israelpalooza, an on-campus event to ""highlight the positive aspects of Israel and to create solidarity.""


And that's fine with us, but it really doesn't show much. Anyone can write a letter and have about 600 people sign it, especially if they are signing it based solely on what they are being told. I bet the majority of the signees hadn't even read the article or column Hillel UA was upset about.


I was presented with the letter on Friday, and after review, the signature section looks shaky, to say the least.


Signers were allowed to choose more than one affiliation, so there are duplications of signatures, which makes the list look longer than it actually is. But there are also duplications for what seems like no apparent reason; seven times in the letter, a person and his or her affiliation is duplicated.


Coincidence?


Further, Michael Schwartz is listed as a signee and a UA alumnus. Schwartz, a former Daily Wildcat employee, said he received two e-mails from Hillel about signing the letter, but never agreed to sign anything, and is appalled that his name is listed.


Maybe it's Hillel's ethics that should be in question.


Regardless, it's time to move on.




— Lance Madden is a journalism senior.

He can be reached at editor@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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