Mishler corrects comments about Throop

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999

From: Michael Mishler (walrus95482@yahoo.com)

Subject: Corrections of my comments in the eagle forum

The following excerpt from my previous comments in The Eagle Forum contain some unfortunate examples of "overheated rhetoric" and, arguably, some factual errors. I wish to attempt to correct them:

"The Eagle's style this year, you ask? The Eagle office is always closed except during what might be called production week. Only the instructor, (who, it may be argued, has no need of access to a truly independent student paper) and the editor, plus one more favored person, Kyle Throop, a member of the fundamentalist cabal (see my profile of him in Sept. 1999 Eagle), have keys. This lack of access to the paper sends two messages, imho: first, "we don't trust you;" and second, "we don't need you." I say: if you don't trust me, say so and I can decide whether to keep at it anyway, which of course I have done. If you don't need me, why act like you do and complain about lack of participation???"

Kyle Throop has denied any involvement at this time with Deep Valley Christian Academy. I regret my jumping to unwarranted conclusions regarding Mr. Throop's involvement in unethical dealings as outlined below. I apologize for any embarrassment, inconvenience, pain or any other unfortunate consequence of my error.

In the above rant, I referred to a "fundamentalist cabal." This had to do with a rumor I had heard regarding what might be called an "unholy alliance" between the private--and fundamentalist--DVCA and its sponsoring churches and Mendocino College. It seems, according to my very reliable--but single--source (I've been working on getting more sources, facts, figures, etc.) that DVCA gets the use of MC facilities for athletic practices and other school functions in a "sweetheart" deal with MC. To wit: the academy pays full price for a few uses of MC facilities, such as athletic practices or commencement ceremonies, and essentially getting the run of the place dozens of other times. This deal even has resulted in MC classes, including athletic practices and PE classes, being forced to move or postpone their scheduled sessions. All of this has taken place even as some local *public* schools have been unable to use MC facilities for similar uses without paying full price. If all this proves accurate, it seems, on the face of it, to be unethical (favoritism) and even a violation of the first amendment's provision of separation of church and state. Lest there be any misunderstanding regarding my motives, I am a Christian. I can still recall the day in 1971 when I first had a "Damascus Road" experience, and, I believe, was born again by God's spirit. I believe that the first amendment protects believers from state interference in private matters of faith. Erosion of the separation of church and state threaten religious freedom.

I also referred to "a truly independent paper." In rereading the above excerpt, I realized that I may have created the impression that the paper is not independent because of some blatant act or acts of censorship. My comment should in no way be construed as implying such blatant interference. Rather, I believe the independence of the student press should be scrupulously safeguarded, *especially* when the paper is connected with an academic course. In such a context, the instructor would have less need of a key than the paper's staff, since she would be on hand only when the staff was present. Of course, this is more of a rhetorical point than anything else. The bulk of learning involved in such a class would take place in the post-publication critique sessions. This is what is lacking at the 1999 Eagle. I stand by my remarks concerning access. Journalism can be defined as making information accessible to the public as much as humanly possible. Certainly, that should include, at the very least, access of the staff--*and* public--to the Eagle office on a daily basis, hopefully during posted office hours. As for Lee Ann, in charity it should be pointed out that the field of journalism as a whole is struggling with identity problems, so much so that it often is hard to tell the difference between tabloids and mainstream publications. Disillusionment has crept in, and a sense of mission has been lost. The result is that public respect for journalism, and journalists, has plummeted.

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Michael Mishler,
(Former) staff writer, The Eagle

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