The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 68.0°F | A Few Clouds

Biases Exist in Recent Reporting

In the Nov. 23 issue of The Tech a huge amount of news space was pointlessly and unethically devoted to what is called a "homophobic slur."

Starting on the front page "Flyers Target Slur," the terms `homophobic' and `slur' are used four times outside of quotation marks. One would think that a news reporter would understand the importance of objectivity in a news story. Just because a group calls something homophobic or a slur doesn't mean that it is. As a news reporter, the author had two options; either to refer to the graffiti as an "alleged homophobic slur," or to establish that it was indeed a homophobic slur.

The rest of what I have to say applies not only to the article but also to the anonymous editorial and the letters to the editor: I am not convinced that the message was a slur. I have often heard Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals at MIT refer to itself and its members as "queer" and hold "queer dances." So the word itself is not a slur. The other possibility of slur-hood; the use of the word in the message, also falls short. The word "queer" was not used to be derogatory to homosexuals. It was used simply because it rhymes with "ear." None of Tuesday's contributors bothered to mention that the alleged slur said "To TEP ' 33 Nerds + 1 Queer," alluding to Harvard Bridge's message "To MIT ' 364.4 Smoots + 1 Ear." Granted this was vandalism, but vengeful and somewhat witty vandalism, not homophobic vandalism.

The Tech should focus more on being unbiased in its reporting. The rest of us should spend less time blowing out of proportion a simple misconception. Then The Tech can devote more space to real news stories. It amazes me that the gruesome death of two of our fellow students got less news coverage than the word "queer" painted on a sidewalk.

Let's get our values straight.

James Brooks '95