One of America’s Great Student Newspapers

The Pitt News bills itself as “one of Amercia’s great student newspapers”. If only it were. Then again, maybe it is. *shudder*

In the 11 years I’ve been in Pittsburgh, I’ve watched the quality of writing and journalistic integrity of the Pitt News wax and wane with the arrival and graduation of classes. When it’s good, it’s no worse than any other small paper. When it’s bad, it’s awful. Sadly, it’s been bad more often than it’s been good. There have been years when the only feature I looked forward to reading was the comics page. Some years even that sucked. I’ve read articles that would make the journalism department go apoplectic – if Pitt had a journalism dept.

In the last couple years, though, I think the paper inproved a great. Perhaps there was an editor that was more interested in relatively unbiased news than sensationalism and sex columns. Those halcyon days may be over, though. Observe exhibits A and B:

Prices up for birth control

Joseph Mance remembers a time when packets of birth control pills cost $8 each. Today he is trying to spread the word to his student clientele that prices have hiked up once again, this time to the $40 range. “I hate telling these kids, ‘We’re raising your pill price,'” he said with a troubled look. “It’s like pulling a gun on them.”

Telling kids their birth control pills will cost more is “like pulling a gun on them”? First of all, if they’re kids, they’re too immature to be having sex. Secondly, what ever happened to advising people to keep their hormones in check? If expensive birth control is either going to majorly disrupt students’ lives or result in a lot of unintended pregancies, Pitt has much biggers problems than government economic policies. Granted, the Pitt News can’t be faulted for Mance making an ass of himself by allowing himself to be quoted uttering that nonsense, but the article is entirely one-sided. The entire front-page piece is written from the point of view that the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which is responsible for the price hike, is a bad law, at least as it pertains to offering cheap birth control for the masses. Reporting on the price hike is just fine and a public service announcement, but the second half of the article pertains to the politics of birth control discounts, which should have been presented in a more balanced fashion.

Gay sheep should look to Jesus, not science for cure

…[S]cientists have attempted to change the sexual orientation of sheep to help farmers, who have accused gay sheep of causing them financial loss. The scientists gave the sheep injections, adjusting the hormone levels in their brains and, amazingly, some previously gay rams became attracted to female sheep. Naturally, the gay and lesbian community was not happy. Their fear is that this success could be a gateway to experiments involving human sexuality and may one day be used to “breed out” homosexuals entirely. Personally, I think this experiment is debauchery. The scientists responsible should be tarred and feathered – or maybe tarred and wooled. Altering sexuality is a very slippery slope. But it seems as though these scientists have forgotten an important fact: If those sheep would just accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they could easily overcome their homosexuality.

At least this tripe was printed as opinion rather than news. Still, any newspaper that would print this should be embarassed and ashamed. It’s a sophomoric attempt at satire of Christian bioethics that reads like a secular Jack Chick‘s poor imitation of a “A Modest Proposal“. The kind of Christian presented in this article is straw man. Sure, there are Christians like the charicature the author presents; after all, stereotypes don’t appear out of thin air. Still, the author needs to realize that we’re not all fans of the 700 Club, any more than all gays are fans of Will and Grace.

You don’t have to be Fred Phelps to think active homosexuality is wrong. You also don’t have to hate or fear science if you’re a Christian. Heck, you can even believe that homosexuality has a biological component and still think it’s wrong to perform homosexual acts.

Christianity aside, arguing that a disorder of lower animals is natural and therefore acceptable in humans is ridiculous. Lots of lower animals practice cannibalism and incest. Will it soon be PC to defend those behaviors?

In summary, this article isn’t just bad satire, it’s ironically full of the kind of disgusting malice and prejudice that seems to have offended the author, and the ignorance and denial he specifically mentions.

Be sure to let the editor of the Pitt News know how you feel about these articles. Regarding the latter, you might want to let ACLJ and the Catholic League know, too.

Comments 7

  1. Terry wrote:

    Christianity aside, arguing that a disorder of lower animals is natural and therefore acceptable in humans is ridiculous.

    Meanwhile the author implies Christians are less than intelligent for believing life begins at conception. Butchering “zygotes” is okay; experimenting on sheep is not. Interesting that cloning wasn’t brought into the mix too.

    Posted 26 Jan 2007 at 10:06 am
  2. Chris wrote:

    You don’t have to be Fred Phelps to think active homosexuality is wrong.

    Okay, three questions about this:

    1. You specifically point to “active” homosexuality in this quote. Is this some how different from latent homosexuality?
    2. Is homosexuality wrong?
    3. If you believe that it is wrong, then aside from his tactics do you really disagree with the core of what Fred Phelps is teaching in regards to homosexuality?

    You also don’t have to hate or fear science if you’re a Christian.

    I agree you don’t have to hate or fear science if you are a Christian. I do feel that you should understand that Christian beliefs; miracles, the resurrection of Jesus, transubstantiation, etc are incompatible with science, because there is zero scientific evidence to suggest that any of these things are anything more than fantasy. Faith by definition is incompatible with science.

    Posted 26 Jan 2007 at 12:31 pm
  3. Funky Dung wrote:

    You specifically point to “active” homosexuality in this quote. Is this some how different from latent homosexuality?

    The Catholic Chuch makes a distinction between having same sex attraction (SSA) and living an active homosexual lifestyle.

    2. Is homosexuality wrong?

    Yes

    3. If you believe that it is wrong, then aside from his tactics do you really disagree with the core of what Fred Phelps is teaching in regards to homosexuality?

    Yes. Phelps teaches people to hate gays. The good news of Jesus Christ is not about hate. Also, Phelps teaches that gays are guaranteed to be damned. The Church says that while homosexual acts are objectively grave sins, one’s culpability for those sins is contingent on the same factors as any other grave sin, sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. Both of these are required for sin to be mortal. Furthermore, the Church teaches that to judge someone’s eternal fate is sinful. To tell someone they are certainly damned is to presume the prerogative of judgment that belongs only to God. At most we can say that acts are objectively grave and therefore liable to be mortally sinful should the other conditions obtain.

    I agree you don’t have to hate or fear science if you are a Christian. I do feel that you should understand that Christian beliefs; miracles, the resurrection of Jesus, transubstantiation, etc are incompatible with science, because there is zero scientific evidence to suggest that any of these things are anything more than fantasy.

    I recommend reading C.S. Lewis’ book Miracles as refutation of that claim.

    Faith by definition is incompatible with science.

    1) Tell that to Thomas Aquinas.
    2) Science, properly understood, answers “how” questions. Faith, properly understood, answers “why” questions. They are not incompatible because their prusuits are usually orthogonal to each other.

    Posted 26 Jan 2007 at 12:56 pm
  4. Tom Smith wrote:

    “I do feel that you should understand that Christian beliefs; miracles, the resurrection of Jesus, transubstantiation, etc are incompatible with science, because there is zero scientific evidence to suggest that any of these things are anything more than fantasy.”

    Science can have absolutely nothing to say about, at the very least, transubstantiation. Transubstantiation is not physically testible. As soon as you come up with a test effective on purely metaphysical material, science will have something to say about transubstantiation. Science, because it is not able to deal with metaphysics, has nothing to say on the matter.

    Posted 26 Jan 2007 at 7:45 pm
  5. Funky Dung wrote:

    Chris, I think there are a few comments of mine stuck in moderation queue limbo at your blog. Every time I try to resubmit, your blog tells me I’m sending a duplicate comment, but there’s no comment to be seen.

    Posted 26 Jan 2007 at 7:58 pm
  6. John wrote:

    FunkyDung, while you’re usually on the level, your attacks on the pittnews are consistently ingenuine. Any time that they print something that you disagree with, you declare that they’re an illegitimate news organization. People can disagree with you and still be legitimate.

    As to the point of science vs. miracles. They deal in fundamentally different realms. Science is ultimately statistical, and miracles are particular. It’s not that science disproves miracles, if they happen, a scientist just has to see those data points as outliers.

    Posted 29 Jan 2007 at 11:20 pm
  7. Funky Dung wrote:

    John, I believe you’ve confused “illegitimate” for “incompetent”.

    Posted 30 Jan 2007 at 10:25 am

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 4

  1. From Living Catholicism on 01 Feb 2007 at 1:20 pm

    grabs some gadgets in iPod Transmitters and Satellite Radio. But hes immediately disappointed when a Catholic host discredits the importance of the Mass. Ales Rarus takes a critical look at his alma mater in One of America’s Great Student Newspapers. Sometimes sloppy education, sloppy thinking, and sloppy journalism collide. He explores several a news story and an editorial from the Pitt news. Deep Furrows asks us to consider our situation in

  2. From Three Rivers Online: We're Putting the Alternative Back Into the Press/Editor and Publisher Philip Shropshire on 30 Nov -0001 at 12:00 am

    let this one go: Could you name those angry atheists? Could it be that the overwhelming number of studies–there’s more than one–show no positive correlation or perhaps these unnamed angry atheists understand the placebo effect?) gives cover to Catholic Jihadists like Funky Dung. So they must all be…destroyed. Okay he didn’t say that last part. He has said that people who take the Old Testament God at his angry off oft times malicious word should be taken as seriously as, say, palmists and astrologers. Sounds good to me.

  3. From Mirror Universe on 06 Sep 2007 at 1:12 am

    (Can’t let this one go: Could you name those angry atheists? Could it be that the overwhelming number of studies–there’s more than one–show no positive correlation or perhaps these unnamed angry atheists understand the placebo effect?) gives cover toCatholic Jihadists like Funky Dung. So they must all be…destroyed. Okay he didn’t say that last part. He has said that people who take the Old Testament God at his angry off oft times malicious word should be taken as seriously as, say, palmists and astrologers. Sounds good to me.

  4. From Three Rivers Online: We're Putting the Alternative Back Into the Press/Editor and Publisher Philip Shropshire on 06 Jul 2007 at 7:40 am

    […] or perhaps these unnamed angry atheists understand the placebo effect?)  gives cover to Catholic Jihadists like Funky Dung. So they must all be…destroyed. Okay he didn’t say that last part. He has said that people who […]

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