Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What does the Pacifican have against drinking?

We're admitted journonerds over here. While we're not slaves to the AP style guide or even proper spelling, we are fans of the whole journalism thing. We try and keep tabs on local papers but, as you can probably tell, we tend to keep the focus on one paper. Mostly because the other papers in Stockton are college run student newspapers, and we just feel wrong making fun of kids who barely know what they're doing in the first place. But UOP's paper The Pacifican has raised an important question that we feel needs to be asked. Namely, what does The Pacifican have against drinking?

We first began to question The Pacifican's objectivity when we saw the front page teaser about UOP's new alcohol policy. It touted it as the "New and Improved Alcohol Policy". While no one here is trying to argue the newness of the policy, improvement is in the eye of the beholder. If you ask the group of students who have a fondness for White Russians what they think about the banning of mixed drinks, they probably would object to the inclusion of the word improved.

While that's not nearly enough to prove bias, the next edition of The Pacifican irked us a little bit. We had written off the teaser as somebody throwing in an often used phrase without realizing that they were saying the policiy was an improvement over the old. It happens, trust us. But then we were tipped off to the story that graced the front of the Pacifican last week. It visits the whole college presidents signing a letter story we talked about earlier, and then decidedly comes down on one side. Which would be fine if it wasn't presented as a news story. It's not a news story, it's an opinion story where UOP VP of Student Life gives us the cold, hard facts.

Facts like "The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that more than 1,000 lives are saved in traffic crashes each year with the increase in the legal drinking age to 21 from 18."

Estimates are facts? I could have sworn they were just educated guesses, but I'm sure all estimates end up being fact. Just ask the Delta trustees.

Another "fact" from Griego, "Lowering the drinking age will have the effect of increasing drinking overall and will push problems with drinking to even younger ages."

Any of that sound familiar? Well it shouldn't because that quote directly contradicts the study we linked to in this story. Those facts, they're stubborn things.

While that story may have just suffered from a writer who didn't do research and didn't even bother to find the other side of the story to reamin somewhat objective (which again, happens in college journalism more than we'd like to remember), what made us finally think that the Pacifican had a vendetta against imbibing was an advice column letter. It reads:

Dear Jane,
Last year, I never went out to parties or did anything "fun." This year, I seem tohave already started out on the wrong foot. I have begun to consume alcohol almost every other day, and it's getting too much to handle. There is so much peer pressure and I don't know how I can stop without getting made fun of or kicked out of the group of guys I hang out with. What should I do?
Frank the Tank

The advice given is something along the lines of friends who pressure you aren't your friends. And if someone hands you a cup, nurse the drink all night.

In other words it's a bullshit answer. I gathered the braintrust together to give some advice with hair on it's nutsack.

Frank, quit being a pussy. Oh no, you drink with a group of friends every other night. How about you write in when you're drinking every night alone! And if your biggest fear in quitting drinking is that you're going to be made fun of, then let us all cordially invite you to grow a set of balls because if the guys are going rip on you whether you drink or not. It's what guys do. In conclusion, we're beginning to question whether or not you're even a real college student or just a giant gaping vagina that roams around campus.
Sincerely, Reclaiming the Title

Wow, sorry. Got off an a tangent for a sec there.

In reality, the Pacifican probably isn't biased. It's probably just like every college newspaper, a bunch of kids learning how jackasses with too much time on their hands can critique every word they write to question their ethics. The bias question does need to be raised, but in all likelyhood it's not an intentional bias. Although we still seriously doubt Frank the Tank exists.

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