What are one-dimensional political opinions worth?


A recent opinion piece by Alex Perry suggested a pay wall to raise the wages of The Daily staff. Perry correctly asked the question, “Is what we produce worth paying for?” As a former student who does not currently reside in Illinois and has no journalism training but has published several opinion pieces in The Daily over the years, I offer this perspective: in its current state, i don’t think The Daily is worth paying for.

The main purpose that I read The Daily is to keep me informed of the state of an institution, Northwestern University, with which I have been affiliated for many years and for which I have great affection. Major university events are often covered by Chicago newspapers, such as the Tribune and the Sun-Times. Therefore, one of the strongest incentives to read The Daily is the opinion section. Although biased, it provides useful insight into campus life.

According to the 2019 Diversity Report, the political identification of the Daily’s staff was 55.9% moderate left, 35.5% far left and 4.4% centrist. Thus, only 4.2 percent remained to be moderate right, far right or unidentified. The 2020 and 2021 diversity reports did not disclose updated information on political identification. As little surprise as it may be that few – if any – identified as far-right, it’s astonishing that more than a third identified themselves as far-left. Far-left politics led to massive human extermination – largely due to starvation and executions – around the world during the 20th century.

I believe this imbalance of outlook has been reflected in the opinions section in recent years. Heated debates on busy topics, such as a recent exchange between Deanna Othman and Jonathan Kamel on Zionism, are too rare. As such, it is a disservice to readers and contributors. One-dimensional politics not only tends towards totalitarianism, where those with different options are vilified, but also deprives writers of the opportunity to have their positions challenged. Intellectual rigor demands opposition.

Whether a subscription-based model would generate higher revenue than “ads and donations” merits debate. It should also be questioned whether a greater balance in the political identification of staff – to foster a more active and nuanced discussion within the opinion section – would lead to more interest and donations from alumni. Exposure to a variety of positions on important topics of our time is an essential component of higher education. Worth paying for.

Norman C. Wang, McCormick ’94, Feinberg ’98

If you would like to respond publicly to this editorial, send a letter to the editor at [email protected] The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all staff at The Daily Northwestern.

Related stories:

Perry: Paywall, please!

Kamel: Like most things in life, Zionism is not black and white

Othman: Anti-Zionism is anti-racist, not anti-Semitic



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