Cross-posted from the California Review blog on April 4th, 2011. It is also featured in the April 2011 print edition:
Once championed as the “marketplace of ideas,” American universities are now overrun by liberal, anti-American, and anti-Semitic bias. Campus Reform reports, “According to campaign finance data from the Huffington Post, of the UCSD faculty and staff who contributed to 2008 presidential campaigns, 96% gave to Democratic candidates and just 4% to Republicans. In total, UCSD donated $48,966 to Democrats and $2,192 to Republicans.”
UCSD is allegedly mired by “political apathy” according to students. This phenomenon is rooted in the idea that political activities on campus are minimal and that students are too focused on consolidating their careers to be involved. With the intent of combatting this “challenge,” the “official” newspaper at UCSD, the Guardian, seeks to fill this void.
While the Guardian is typically seen as UCSD’s official paper, it is not representative of all student viewpoints. Leftist, anti-Israel, anti-American, pro-alternative lifestyle, pro-illegal immigration, and pro–big government biases comprise many of the published articles. As UCSD students routinely hide from politics on campus—unless they are personally afflicted by Associated Student (AS) rulings or campus incidents—the Guardian should uphold its journalistic integrity and maintain neutrality in its reporting.
Nevertheless, statistics compiled from articles printed Winter Quarter 2011 debunk assertions that the paper upholds journalistic principles of fact-based reporting and neutrality. Our analysis found that the Guardian’s six sections (opinion, news, Hiatus, Focus, sports, and Letter to the Editor) are all infested with some type of bias—particularly a leftist bias.
Of approximately 307 articles printed from January to March 2011, almost one-third displayed some form of bias. Of those biased articles, 78 percent boasted a left-leaning bias compared to 22 percent with a right-leaning bias. The least leftist section was Sports, which had only one politically biased article out of 67 they published. On the other hand, both the letter-to-the-editor and opinion sections were tied with 75 percent total bias and 75 percent leftist bias, respectively, but this is to be expected.
However, it is their news section that bears the most disheartening “news.” Of the 107 articles published, one-third displayed the slant of the Guardian staff and the abandonment of their principles of neutrality and unbiased reporting. Many of their news articles paint a picture specifically designed to generate support for a certain perspective. They also often focus only on one side of a news story, while completely ignoring possible alternatives or opposition.
Some of the most egregiously biased articles were “Chicano Mural Will Become Permanent Mosaic in April,” “Students Rally Against Prop 23 Supporters in Rancho Mirage,” “UC Students Campaign for D.R.E.A.M. Act,” and “New Diversity G.E. Approved for Fall.” This leftist slant is also reflected in the number of articles covering the same topics. Five news articles cover the UAW 5810 union and the deportation of postdoctoral researcher Wilda Helen, three news articles cover support for the D.R.E.A.M Act, and eight news articles advocate for increased spending and for fighting the budget cuts. In all of these articles, they present one-sided portrayals of the story they are covering.
In their article regarding the Chicano Mural on Peterson Hall, the Guardian ignores the blatantly political bias presented within the mural and possible critiques of the administration’s decision. Instead, however, it features glowing statements of support by the UCSD administration, the artist, and a member of MEChA.
Similarly, in an attempt to cast the Koch Brothers as evil billionaires, in “Students Rally Against Prop 23 Supporters in Rancho Mirage,” the writer wrote that the prominent conservative-libertarian donors secretly met with others to set aside “hundreds of millions of dollars” to take over elections. According to Open Secrets.com, Koch Industries only invested $11,002,235 dollars into campaigns from 1989-2010 and ranked number 83 of 140 “Heavy Hitters.” Nevertheless, Open Secrets.com reveals that Democrats—who are so-called champions against “evil billionaires” and “greedy rich folks”—ironically got the most donations from 1989-2010. Most pointedly, this “news article” also lacks any quotes or statements to balance the 8 anti-Koch quotes by the Director of the California Student Sustainability Coalition and the Director of the UCSD Student Sustainability Collective.
In all three of their articles about the D.R.E.A.M. Act, no arguments are presented or sought by students who do not support California tax dollars to go to illegal immigrants. Rather, they solely present quotes in support of the D.R.E.A.M Act. Then in their article, “New Diversity G.E. Approved for Fall,” they discuss the additional diversity requirement being added at UCSD, and they continue the trend of bias by only citing sympathizers and supporters of these new requirements. Most outrageously of all, they cite that “The new requirement has generally garnered a positive response from students” without providing any evidence to support their claim. At least we at the California Review have the decency to admit our political point of view
As is to be expected from their opinion section, the Guardian doesn’t even pretend to be unbiased most of the time. From editorial board statements such as “Moving Back the Goalposts” and “Growing Diversity,” to “point/counterpoints” which present sham defenses for the controversial topics they address, such as “Chick-Fil-A Anti-Gay Support,” “Arizona Immigration Crackdown,” and “South Carolina’s New Currency,” the Guardian penchant for leftist ideology runs rampant. Also, in the “Props and Flops” section of the opinion section, they give Obama “props” for not enforcing DOMA and they give the TSA “props” for their enhanced body scanners (i.e. pornoscanners). At the same time, they give “flops” to Republicans for repealing Obamacare and to Gov. Rick Perry (TX) for supporting students in their right tocarry concealed weapons on campus.
In “Moving Back the Goalposts” the Guardian laments that even though holistic review is “big step toward leveling the playing field and acknowledging applicants’ privilege” it does not do enough for affirmative action, and does not do enough to increase UC diversity based on skin color.
In their point/counterpoint segment, the Guardian ignores the common sense defense for controversial topics and instead presents students with straw man arguments. In their discussion of Chick-Fil-A’s decision to offer free catering to a Traditional Marriage conference, the Guardian presents their choice as either bigoted, or as a choice by wealthy executives out of touch with society. If the Guardian wants to bash Chick-Fil-A’s decision to support traditional marriage they have that right, but they should at least present a legitimate counterpoint. The same situation occurs in their discussion of the Arizona bill to repeal birthright citizenship. Two of the three arguments presented cast this bill in a negative light, while the third offers a weak defense of it. The only valid point made is that this bill likely violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, and one of the arguments even calls this bill “a regressive step in the direction of a pre-Civil Rights era.” Sadly, the pro argument portrays the bill as a step toward a solution while simultaneously bashing opposition to illegal immigration, incorporating language into their discussion such as when they write “children of undocumented immigrants, [are] pejoratively called ‘anchor babies’.” Then, both arguments about South Carolina’s desire for an alternative currency support the Federal Reserve and bash the idea of competing state currencies (even though these were the norm prior to the establishment of the IRS and the income tax).
Finally, in “Growing Diversity,” the Editorial Board asserts that engineering diversity through General Education (GE) requirements is the only means to combat “racism” on campus. The article unabashedly claims that UCSD is racist, stating, “…it’s important to remember the root of this proposal: irrefutable evidence that our campus is not nearly welcoming enough to minority students.” The Editorial Board ignores the idea that intellectual diversity—rather than reverse discrimination— is what should be encouraged on a college campus, and it is the merit of a student that should be rewarded rather than the color of their skin or their gender.
Although the Guardian claims to be UCSD’s student voice, it is merely an outlet that trashes any viewpoints that do not fit into their “politically correct” worldview. This paper tramples over “unpopular” beliefs, providing both misinformation and the narrow range of opinions representated by the Guardian. It is imperative to write Letters to the Editor and challenge the Guardian whenever they violate their own principles of neutrality.
Gabriella is a sophomore in Eleanor Roosevelt College majoring in political science.
Guardian Investigation Chart