Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 9. July 1, 1954
Now, Mr. Scott . .
Now, Mr. Scott . . .
Dear Sir,—It was startling to find your editorial "Just in Passing" dealing at once with the war in Indo-China (16 lines), the reprieve of the Niue Islanders (15 lines), and our capping celebrations (6 lines). But your manner of dealing with these question was even more startling.
If "Salient" believes "that the (Indo-China) question must be answered with some degree or (sic) urgency" why does it deal with the matter "just in passing"? Secondly. "Salient" states that "although New Zealand remains part of the 'free world' . . . this is mainly due to our fortunate geographical position. There is no guarantee that such will be the ease in future". Faith can move mountains, but to what region of the earth is "Salient" going to move New Zealand? Thirdly, "arguments . . . concerning a 'Second Korea) and 'American Interference'" cannot be refuted by saying that the defeat of the French armies "will have implications which this generation will have to face." There are similar logical and grammatical confusions in the Niue Islanders paragraph.
The most startling feature of the editorial, however, was that it so rarely attempted to justify its assertions by reasoned arguments. Even the "Evening Post" reasons in its editorials. But "Salient" seemed to abandon reason in favour of stating a private credo—the words "we believe" appeared three times, together with "we ourselves feel" once.
The conclusion is inevitable, that "Salient's" editorial, however praiseworthy in intention, was shoddy journalism. As such, the merits of any set of political ideals cannot excuse it.
First of all. Mr. Scott, since when has the Editor of this paper boon denied the right of expressing his own opinion. And if he is so versatile as to actually have an opinion on three different and we admit unrelated subjects by what canon of journalism is he denied the right of expressing those opinions in an editorial, as we did in the issue of "Salient" of April 30.
We did not presume to deal with these, questions in the sense that your letter implies. "Salient" is "an organ of student opinion." The facts that are available have appeared in the newspapers and in other sources, and they are as accessible to you. Mr. Scott as to anyone else. We did nothing but assert the right of any member of the community be the Editor of "Salient" or L.D. Austin—the right to express an opinion.
Secondly, Mr. Scott, we appreciate your statistical computations which have revealed Interesting facts of which we would have otherwise remained in ignorance. We have continued your researches and we are now in a position to inform you that the editorial also contained eleven commas.
Finally, Mr. Scott, we assure you that we did, not in any way wish to write a "startling" editorial, and wo apologies for any mental stress it may have caused you.—Ed.