Editorial: Cronkite not to blame

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The Walter Cronkite School hosted Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a “Meet the Press” style interview on Nov. 30, and by the end of the night, many Cronkite students hung their heads in shame because of a group of students whose singing in protest ended the night early.

The problem is none of the protesters singing were Cronkite students, contrary to what was reported by The State Press in an editorial on Dec. 1. Besides perpetuating the assumption that the singing protesters were Cronkite students, The State Press refused to acknowledge their error when confronted in an e-mail.

It seems that many people, media included, have assumed that because the event was at the Cronkite School, all the students present were from the Cronkite School, including the protesters who rudely interrupted the journalists interviewing Arpaio. The Downtown Devil finds this to be an error of fact.

Downtown Devil reporter Dustin Volz, who actually interviewed student protesters, reported the protesters who interrupted with singing were not Cronkite students. One protester even admitted this to be the case. Further investigation by The Downtown Devil found the facts to be this: Yes, the people who interrupted were ASU students, but none of them even had classes on the Downtown campus. Most of them were not even current students but ASU graduates.

There isn’t any point in feeling shame for what these protesters did. They represent a small fraction of ASU students. The other 200 or so people, most of whom were members of the ASU community, behaved appropriately despite the fact many of them disagreed with Arpaio and his politics. We are saddened that the actions of few dominated the good intentions of many.

We stand by Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan in his column that ran Monday in the Arizona Republic. It’s unfortunate and silly that these protesters ended the Must See Monday event early. We agree wholeheartedly with those who think that ending the protest gave Arpaio a way out and it was beyond disrespectful to cut off the panel of journalists.

It is sad the coverage of this event had to be more about the controversy when it could have been a good time to get answers as well as learn how to get answers to hard questions. However, we will not feel ashamed for something that Cronkite students are not responsible for.

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