KATUIN: Political slant, or diverse reader base?

The Cavalier Daily must continue engaging debate across party lines

Concern about liberal bias in The Cavalier Daily is one of the most common complaints from readers. Is there truly a slant in reporting? If so, how concerned should readers be? Is it possible The Cavalier Daily engages with a more diverse reader base than other newspapers? Newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post typically attract readers who agree with the political leanings expressed in these papers. This contributes to a confirmation bias for their readers. As a state, Virginia has shifted from a consistently conservative state to a swing state. In 2008 then-Sen. Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Virginia since 1964. On average, graduates of the University are slightly left of center, making them moderate liberals. However, the Virginia Law School has been identified as more conservative than other elite law schools in the country. There seems to be a fair mix of liberals and conservatives at the University.

The Cavalier Daily’s news articles attempt to present a non-partisan narrative and focus on reporting objective facts. There is very little rhetoric in these pieces, but one could argue the topics tend to be more relevant to those on the left. Opinion editorials on the other hand are much more likely to contain liberal rhetoric. This may be partially due to anxiety among conservative authors who are concerned about presenting a different opinion than the majority of their peers. However, it appears The Cavalier Daily is making a good faith effort to include conservative voices. This week Adam Kimelman, the incoming Chair of the College Republicans wrote an article in defense of the American Health Care Act. Interestingly, this column was also met with a large number of negative comments about the political argument the author made.

In this heightened political climate, with the media at the heart of a lot of contentious debate, it is challenging to present arguments which are palatable to those on the right and left. However, I believe The Cavalier Daily is attempting to provide a platform for individuals from different backgrounds with varying opinions. The newspaper often prints articles in a point, counterpoint manner, encouraging debate among authors and students. Since University students and alumni span the political spectrum, it is not surprising there are complaints from both sides of the aisle about content. In this vein, I believe it is important to continue this dialogue and encourage healthy, substantive debate about political issues and other content in The Cavalier Daily.

Jacquelyn Katuin is the Public Editor for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at publiceditor@cavalierdaily.com or on Twitter at @CDPublicEditor.

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