Commentary | In defense of the Prince Arthur Herald

The Prince Arthur Herald hopes to provide a fresh forum for moderate political debate in the McGill community. That is why I was concerned to read Haaris Khan’s recent Hyde Park, “Having guts: A conservative critique of the Prince Arthur Herald” (January 27). Like any campus newspaper, the Herald seeks to solicit as much feedback and criticism of our work as possible, in hopes of providing a greater service to the students of this campus.

There are some responses I would like to make to some specific contentions in Khan’s article.

Khan raises concerns that the Herald provides an outlet for “Zionist propaganda.” Of the many dozens of articles the Herald has published in her two weeks since launch, exactly five have discussed the Arab-Israeli conflict. I presume that the column Khan is concerned about is “The Left vs. Israel,” written by Russell Sitrit-Leibovich.

Sitrit-Leibovich’s column was followed by a Letter to the Editor which was critical of both Israeli policy and Sitrit-Leibovich’s comments about the political Left. In addition, another of the Herald’s columnists wrote a specific response to “The Left vs. Israel” that also engaged in a well-argued criticism of Israeli policy.
Sitrit-Leibovich published an additional column, entitled “The Two State Solution Isn’t An Option;” that piece was responded to by columnist Spencer Burger, in a column entitled “The Two State Solution is the Only Option.”

Of these five articles, two were distinctly “pro-Israel” while the remaining three raised specific criticisms of Israeli conduct in Palestine. I hope Khan will concede that this constitutes the sort of dialogue and open debate that should characterize campus media. His concerns about the Herald being a source of “Zionist propaganda” would thus, to my judgment, be unfounded.

A similar argument can be made regarding Khan’s argument that the Herald engaged in a “hit job of QPIRG advocates.” Again, of the dozens of articles the Herald has published, four thus far have been in regards to the Opt-Out campaign. Three of those encouraged students to opt out, while one offered a limited defense of QPIRG.

In a Letter from the Publisher appearing on the site, my co-founder Kevin Brendan Pidgeon said the following: “Consider this a callout: someone from QPIRG, someone who knows about them, someone who supports them. Consider writing me a column, refuting what you will and presenting new points of your own detailing the good work QPIRG has done, as I am sure it has.”

To this day the Herald has not received a contribution in defense of QPIRG. We continue to welcome one should it be provided. The Herald Editorial Board, which determines the official stance of the newspaper, has not published any editorial regarding QPIRG or the Opt-Out campaign.

As a matter of fact, I would welcome Khan to write a contribution for the Herald criticizing the Opt-Out campaign and criticizing the Herald should he so desire. Our newspaper is proud to participate in the free marketplace of ideas, and we are glad to host a variety of perspectives on this contentious campus issue.

Despite his misgivings, I hope Khan will continue to read the Herald, and I would like him to know that he is welcome to contact us about his concerns at any time.


Brendan Steven is the Editor-In-Chief of the Prince Arthur Herald, and a U1 Political Science and Economics student. He can be reached at brendan.steven@mail.mcgill.ca.


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