VALDARY: Defense Of Student Reporting

Daniel Mael is one of those sports guys. 


You know the type; one of those fans who’s also a player that participates in every sport from basketball to hockey during his free time. He has what some might call “mad skills” on the court and his competitive spirit always dominates the atmosphere.; and like any other 22-year old gamer, he always plays to win. 


But unlike other 22-year olds, Mael is mostly interested in politics — that game of life that entails the affairs of state and the business of public servants. Mael’s philosophy is that in order to play a part in making the world a better place, one must be actively engaged, vigilant and attentive to the ills of society, the bad ideas that can plague the community  and the troublemakers who act on those bad ideas. Thus politics takes up almost all of his time. (Indeed, I am always telling him to remember to eat.)


As a reporter Mael believes it is his job to ensure that those in positions of authority carry out their duties in a responsible manner; that there be no discrepancies between what people claim to stand for and what they actually promote; that intellectual consistency, virtue and the well being of the people be of the utmost importance to those who hold office and wield influence. 


This is why Mael is my best friend. 


From the time we met two years ago on an Israel trip to now, Mael has been unwavering in his creed — and when he sees something gone amiss in the public or private sphere, he will report it. This is his job. 


It is no surprise then, that when a student leader at Brandeis university said she had no sympathy for two police officers who were brutally murdered in Brooklyn, Mael immediately picked up the story. That an individual in an influential position at a leading university would promote such heinous and heartless views was certainly worth covering and bringing to the attention of the student body. 


Yet some commentators decided of their own volition to hurl racist epithets at the student in question. In order to express their frustrations, they became the very thing they claimed to eschew — callous and bitter. Others were rightfully angry at such comments and condemnations of those discriminatory remarks were justified. 


But over time as the story gained more traction, the lines between justifiable outrage and collective injudiciousness became blurred. Some began to accuse Mael of harassment merely because he reported the story. Some students became infected with the symptoms of amnesia and make-believe-itis wherein they claimed Mael had intimidated the student leader; students then responded to their own invented interpretation of what had occurred by intimidating Mael. Would-be campaigners against vilification vilified him, apparently unaware of their own sanctimoniousness. 


As a result, Mael has had to be in contact with the police around the clock. He has received frightening  threats and has had to bear the brunt of bigoted insults ever since the story broke. 


Needless to say, all of this backlash is unwarranted and illustrates a disturbing trend of mistaking narrative for fact and sacrificing the latter on the altar of the former. Indeed, a movement is rising whose proponents shout ‘no justice, no peace,’ and do a disservice to the cause of both in the process. In order to break this cycle, we must work to preserve and defend personal accountability,  journalistic integrity, and societal decency. This is what Mael did in publishing his initial article and this is why we must stand with him.


Chloe Valdary is a regular contributor to TruthRevolt.


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