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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 22. September 17, 1968

Thomson hits at Wilde

Thomson hits at Wilde

Sir—In the issue of Salient dated April 9th of this year, you wrote an editorial justifying the independence of the student press. In the course of argument' you stated:

"Salient channels its [unclear: irility] into seduction of the student mind with its non-news pages, attempting the impartiality of abstinence from opinion only in news, that is, in the facts it publishes about student and university affairs."

Students could be excused for assuming that this was some kind of editorial policy-statement In view of the publication of Roger Wilde's article attacking the President of the Students' Association, Mr White, your sincerity in making these statements is open to question.

The article accuses Mr White of, among other things, "political impotency" and "lack of political guts". These are rather serious charges One would expect them to be justified only by an enumeration of political failures and evasions of important decisions.

In fact, the only issue on which Mr Wilde has based these accusations is on Mr White's handling of the student protest against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.

It is only fair to point out that Mr Wilde was at the time a co-chairman of the Student Action Committee on Czechoslovakia. F.een within the narrow bounds of this single issue one finds few concrete examples of Mr White's "political impotenutiucu".

One of these is,presumably, his "declining of authority" to provide financial assistance to the Action Committee. In fact, as Mr White pointed out in his rebuttal, and as Mr Wilde should have known at the time he wrote the article, authority to spend student funds is vested not in the President but in the Executive.

Further "evidence" supporting Mr Wilde's allegations is provided by the fact that Mr White spent "only half an hour" at the vigil, Mr Wilde be it noted, stayed theere overnight, cold and wet hut "enfolded in the luminosity of a common cause, a common dedication to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all mankind".

It is difficult to understand the relecance of the duration of Mr White's stay at the vigil to his political abilities. Perhaps Mr Wilde could enlighten us all on this point.

In the first sentence of your editorial, Mr Logan, you pointed out that monopoly control of the campus media is potentially dangerous. Later, with reference to the "power of the press" you wrote:

"This must he used responsibly because it can at times be a decisite power".

Mr Wilde's illogical, badly-written and biased article has done little to engender confidence in either his impartiality or his sense of responsibility, Neither has the fact that last week's issue was at one stage withdrawn because parts of the article were considered defamatory.

Mr Wilde has been appointed editor of Salient for 1969. If the student newspaper is to command any degree of respect from the student body. Mr Wilde would be Well-advised to read and digest the editorial which you, Mr Logan, seem SO conveniently to have forgotten or ignored.

Yours faithfully

J. B. Thomson.

[Jim Thomson has been elected Publications Officer for next year. He is mistaken in thinking that the feature purported to be news—ed.]

Jim Thomson

Jim Thomson