Letter to the Editors: In Response to Nov. 7 News Piece “Trinity College Responds Tepidly to Genocide of Palestinian People”

I write to express my deep dismay over the Tripod’s recent article “Trinity College Responds Tepidly to the Genocide of Palestinian People.”

Although the article is identified as “news,” the headline makes clear that the unnamed writers are engaged in editorializing rather than in news writing. This same editorializing runs throughout the article, which uses the term “genocide” twice more to characterize the IDF’s military response in Gaza.

Let me be clear: Israel’s response to and treatment of Palestinian people is certainly fair-game for criticism. But the Tripod’s insistence that it be understood as genocide—and that it be acknowledged as such by the administration—misrepresents as fact what is, in actuality, an opinion, albeit one that might be sincerely or even widely held. But opinions are not facts, and confusing the two—as the writers here do—serves only to further erode public confidence in journalists.

The charge of genocide requires the satisfaction of very specific conditions. Whether Israel has satisfied those conditions is a matter of serious debate. But once again, debatable matters are not matters of fact. The business of the News Team should be to convey the news, not to engage in advocacy for a particular (and highly contested) understanding of the conflict in Gaza. Reserve that for the Opinion page.

Eric Johnson-DeBaufre

Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian

Watkinson Library, Trinity College

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  1. 1
    David Copland

    Good for Mr. Johnson-DeBaufre for speaking up. All the more so because he works on campus and these days you never know what the nutty kids are going to do in reaction to a College employee disagreeing with them.

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