[eDebate] the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is a joke

brian rubaie brubaie
Fri Aug 15 14:52:14 CDT 2008

Since I wasn't interviewed, I can't testify to the journalist's style or
purpose in how he collected testimony. However, since Hester was
interviewed, I'm not sure why I should distrust him. He gave a whole
interview and clearly identified himself as a party to the events yet didn't
make the final cut. Journalists sometimes cut testimony, but given the
supposed nature of the interview, it seems suspect.

Two quotes bothered me and I thought revealed an angle. Perhaps I am
over-interpreting this, but both seemed like a major call to the reader as
the quotes come directly from the beginning of his argument about video tech
to the conclusion of the article:

The first thing that bothered me was this quote, about the 'hidden Jerry
Springer episodes going on in debate unbeknownst to the public':

>> The "mooning" capped an obscenity-laden shouting match between the two
that turned part of a national debate tournament into a scene right out of
"The Jerry Springer Show." Spectators stepped in to separate Dr. Shanahan
from Pitt's debate coach, Shanara R. Reid-Brinkley, and at one point someone
off-camera is heard saying, "You better chill out."

>> The episode occurred in March at a tournament sponsored by the Cross
Examination Debate Association, or CEDA, and went virtually unnoticed by the
public for months. That changed after the YouTube posting a week ago became
a hit, getting 124,000 views as of yesterday and becoming the subject of
news stories nationwide.
The thing that bothered me more was the closing quote from an outside group.
I'm not sure if this quote was about all academia or about debate, but given
the context of the article, it sure seems like this is supposed to apply to

>> Dan Shea, director of Allegheny College's Center for Political
Participation, said the confrontation is unfortunate in an age when it's
already tough for faculty to get students to engage in civil discourse. He
said technology is bringing out raw and previously seldom-seen aspects of

>> "It's possible these sorts of things have happened often, but they
weren't brought to our attention," he said. "YouTube brings these sorts of
things into our living rooms."
Given both the nature of Hester's interview, the hyperbolic elements of
description (Jerry Springer??), and the 'debate has something to hide'
theme, I thought the article was over the top.

It can definitely get worse before it gets better, but I think talking about
things now would lessen their harm. This whole thing seems like the Swift
Boat Vets thing with Kerry. We might all think and know it's silly and laugh
it off (Kerry campaign), but we ought to address it quickly for what it is.
Kerry lost major ground on this issue despite its obviously bizarre nature.
Media will do that. What we have to discuss is an event that went beyond our
normal bounds of convention that is being handled by the appropriate
organizations and institutions. If that is stressed across a greater number
of forums then it will help explain why debate really is worth the
investment made by universities, colleges, high schools, middle schools, and
the coaches, judges, and debaters at all levels. I agree with Mr. Hyland
that it's strong enough to survive these tides, but I don't think we should
take for granted the opportunity to explain the other side of the story.


On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 2:16 PM, Duane Hyland <privethedge at yahoo.com> wrote:

> HI, I don't think the author has an agenda. I think there is a lot of stuff
> in the debate community that should NEVER be up on Youtube, or even written
> about in an open forum like this (referencing a prior post from another
> author which, if seen by administrators, would throw more fuel on the fire.)
> It seems like a fair description of what happened.
> I can tell you that this incident is resonating through higher education
> circles that go beyond normal school administration. My wife is very
> involved at the administrative level in the higher ed community, and she
> fielded a question about this incident at a meeting she was at today (she is
> a high school LD coach, but people just know she coaches debate so people
> ask questions from time to time) so more people than your deans are now
> asking questions....
> I still think it's a meaningless incident, and we've all done stuff we
> don't want out there on Youtube...but I'm afraid it's going to get worse
> before it gets better.
> H.
>     "You may be whatever you resolve to be." Thomas J. Jackson"
> "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person were of
> the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that
> person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind? If the
> opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error
> for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the
> clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by  its
> collision with error." John S. Mill
>  Who said Dr. Who isn't Funny: "Rose: You Didn't Have to Kill him! Dalek:
> "Neither did we need him to live."
> Dalek to Cyberman: :"You are Superior to us in one respect." Cyberman:
> "What is that?" Dalek: "Dying!"
> --- On *Fri, 8/15/08, Darren Surch <darren.surch at gmail.com>* wrote:
> From: Darren Surch <darren.surch at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is a joke
> To: "brian rubaie" <brubaie at gmail.com>
> Cc: "edebate at ndtceda.com" <edebate at ndtceda.com>
> Date: Friday, August 15, 2008, 3:01 PM
>  The article seemed pretty accurate and unbiases to me.
> On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 2:50 PM, brian rubaie <brubaie at gmail.com> wrote:
>> http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08228/904458-53.stm
>> the writer's angle seems to be 'debate is hiding lots of dark secrets that
>> are only sometimes caught on video.' i definitely agree with jay hawk on the
>> need for good publicity to counteract the bad. i've just been posting links
>> on discussion boards and news sites to more quality debates, particularly
>> the CEDA finals debates featuring the fort and towson, in an attempt to show
>> what debate really is and why it's good.
>> unfortunately, schakner has a major readership and we're a bit more
>> insular, but press releases, good interviews, and backchannels will
>> definitely be a help if/as the story develops. .
>> brian
>> On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 9:01 AM, michael hester <uwgdebate at gmail.com>wrote:
>>> i was interviewed by multiple news outlets yesterday. all but one were
>>> very professional, actually trying to gather information and asking the
>>> appropriate questions.
>>> the exception was the reporter from the PPG. Bill Schacter (?). he was a
>>> complete prick. worse, he was a poor reporter. by identifying myself as a
>>> first-person witness to the events, i assumed he'd actually care what i had
>>> to say. instead, he kept trying to correct me. when i explained that the two
>>> people arguing were not participants in the debate, he said, "yes, they
>>> were." i emphasized they were NOT and began trying to explain what a debate
>>> entails. he repeatedly interrupted me, telling ME what was happening in the
>>> debate (which was funny, since when the conversation started, he didn't even
>>> know what i meant by "i'm the red head in the video" and had to watch it
>>> again before he could ask me questions). when i start to explain the debate
>>> was over and the two going at it were not participants in  that round, he
>>> interrupts me again and says "yes, they were, there were the coaches of the
>>> two teams." this is the freakin' reporter for the PITTSBURGH Post Gazette,
>>> and he doesn't even understand that one of the two people in the video works
>>> at the Univ of Pittsburgh?!
>>> he was unprofessional, rude, and clearly had an agenda about what he
>>> wanted to write about, damn the facts.
>>> hester
>>> p.s. - any team that reads a Consult CP using Pitt-Post Gazette evidence
>>> in front of me will get block 24's.
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
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