The Truth of the Matter at The Review
By Won Joon Choe, Guest Columnist
Published on Monday, April 11, 1994
If The Dartmouth Review had any claim to seriousness, the paper forfeited it with the abrupt (and perhaps forced) resignation of Daniel Garcia Diaz '95 as editor-in-chief. Diaz, along with his predecessor Oron Strauss '95, did much to combat the negative image of the conservative weekly. But The Review's brief experiment with sanity is now over.
Last winter Diaz, a quiet, reserved academic, became the 16th editor-in-chief of The Review, beating out Andrew Gold '95 for the position. Now Diaz, barely two weeks into his tenure, has announced his resignation.
Officially, Diaz has said he resigned because he wanted to devote more time to his studies. He had not recognized, he seemed to be saying, that being editor-in-chief would be so time-consuming.
This is absurd. Diaz was executive editor of The Review while Strauss was editor. He knew firsthand the time commitment involved in editing the paper.
As a former writer for The Review until Diaz's resignation, I believe Diaz lost out in a power struggle with the more gaga and reactionary elements within The Review - that is, by Gold, (who was publisher of The Review) and his sidekick, Tom Uger '96, the publication's president.
Gold, Diaz's replacement, was recently quoted saying that he "pretty much agrees" with Diaz on most things. Uger, too, denied any friction with Diaz.
That is contrary to all evidence. A few days prior to Diaz's announcement, Gold and Uger were both overheard criticizing Diaz. Uger went as far as to say that Diaz was "incompetent"and that things were "boiling."
A petty annoyance which largely contributed to the pair's criticism of Diaz was the fact that he failed to produce an issue during the first week of Spring term, as was intended. A computer malfunction was the reason for this.
But their hostility toward Diaz is by no means of recent origin.
Gold and Uger had ample reasons to dislike Diaz: his reformist vision of The Review was diametrically opposed to theirs. Diaz wanted to minimize fraternity influence in the paper and curtail alcoholism in The Review office. More important, Diaz wished to foster a more intellectual atmosphere at The Review and introduce objective, responsible criteria for writing news articles (egad!).
What followed, then, from the day Diaz was elected editor-in-chief, should have been expected.
At the changeover dinner where the new editor was declared, Gold and Uger were seen brooding away much of the night. Those unfortunate Review staffers who had to suffer sitting at the same table with the two said the experience was a singularly unpleasant one.
The passage of time did not seem to dissolve the discontent in the unhappy duo either. In fact, they became more shrill and overt in their antagonism toward Diaz. The conflict in The Review leadership was apparent to all Review staffers who frequented its office.
What is not clear is whether Diaz was explicitly told to resign or did so out of frustration.
One thing, however, is transparent: The Review's future direction. Gold, the new editor, has a skewed idea about journalism. For Gold, facts are infinitely malleable commodities, utterly dependent on the whims and ideological foundation of the reporter. Gold has trouble distinguishing fact from opinion or, more to the point, news articles from editorials.
A case in point is Gold's article about the College's government department, published last fall in The Review. In it, one male professor is lauded as one of "government's finest," while another female professor is branded a "biased grader" against the male students.
These assessments do not square with other students' experience, including my own. Instead, they were predicated on the fact that one was a known conservative who had enjoyed a warm relationship with The Review while the other was considered a liberal.
Another telling example of Gold's journalistic ethic is contained in his application letter to the Board of the Trustees of The Dartmouth Review, where he presented his qualifications for the editor post. In the letter, Gold was trying to make a case that different writers have different talents and, hence, should be employed accordingly. Concerning one writer, Gold said that he was excellent in writing columns but "contributes almost nothing" in news articles.
Curious (because the statement was simply not true), I asked Diaz about the meaning of Gold's assertion. Diaz replied that Gold knew that he was lying but did so to "prove a point." Oh.
Of course, people change. According to Gold's latest editorial - his first as editor-in-chief - he presents "A Review of Principles." He decries ad hominen tactics and opines that The Review is being unfairly "dogged by negative labels." He also argues that The Review "deserves more thought."
But what do I find in the same page's "joke box"? A subtle racist jibe at yours truly. "I am sexist and homophobe." The reference is from what I said facetiously in the first meeting of The Review: "I am a sexist and homophobe." I am told that The Review deliberately excluded the "a" to poke fun at the Asian - and I guess my own - proclivity for forgetting the articles.
Sure. The Review deserves more thought.