Letters to the Editor

Hard to know where to begin

There are so many things wrong with your Sunday story — “Professor Watchlist alerts students of ‘radical’ instructors” — that it’s hard to know where to begin.

But let’s start with this: The CDT seems to have utterly abandoned the idea that hard news stories should begin with a factual lead telling the reader who, what, when, where, why and how. “Think your college student might be learning things in school you don’t exactly support? A new website has decided to keep an eye out for ‘radical’ instructors for you.” Seriously, Centre Daily Times?

Next, you utterly missed the boat. Here is a right-wing group targeting allegedly liberal professors with a McCarthyite “watchlist” that clearly invites online and even in-person harassment. Yet you pitch it as a harmless resource for concerned parents? Three seconds of research would have revealed deep concerns about this website’s potential to stifle free speech and academic freedom. But the only quotes you present about the nature and purpose of the watch list are taken directly from the website of Turning Point USA itself. Are you in the PR business or the journalism business?

Third, you name a PSU professor who is on the list without offering a clear explanation of exactly why his views are considered “radical” and, even more egregiously, without making any apparent attempt to contact the professor himself and give him a chance to respond to the accusations the site makes against him.

But for the 250-word limit, I could go on.

Jon Wallace, State College