The Controversial Chronicle

By Nabeeha Ahmed

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Harvard-Westlake School’s Natalie Winters, Aaron Park, Eli Adler, and Asa Saperstein recorded their first “Right on Point” podcast for their school podcast nexus, Chronicle Podcast Network; little did they know they had begun their own controversial chronicle.

The intent of the podcast, “Right on Point: Ep. #1 (9/7/17): Diversity, Equity, and Exclusion,” was to stimulate a discussion on diversity and political perspectives; however, the students’ responses diverted from what was expected by the rest of the podcast organization.

The podcast touched upon majority of the white population feeling inferior towards the rest of the country because of their race and economic positions. Many claim that the previous administration prioritized minorities over the majority, which is why numerous white individuals voted for the current presidential management: to feel represented.

Due to their race, they feel ineligible to participate in and excluded from certain protests (#BlackLivesMatter, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, etc.) because of their ethnicity.

The students explained that women can still get abortion and do whatever they want to under Trump’s presidency as they were able to under Obama’s.

The Harvard-Westlake pupils also proposed that political correctness shouldn’t be taken so seriously; Natalie Winters claims she should be able to joke about transgender people without being judged for it. Similarly, she believes those with conservative or right-wing perspectives should not be shut down for their views. Winters has felt the need to remain anonymous in a previous interview about her opinions because she was scared of hate from her peers.

The podcast orators also explained that diversity should not be considered an issue at their school because it would mean that staff members of color are not hired based on merit.

The broadcast certainly created commotion and rage amongst listeners who disagree with the thoughts expressed in it. What may be more shocking would be the fact that the management team behind the Chronicle Podcast Network did not edit the podcast beforehand. They issued a letter on their online newspaper, The Chronicle, in which they elaborated on how the podcast was not reviewed prior to its release. They reported that there was no set editing process for this particular podcast as the previous ones were regarding sports; however, they will now approach future segments with a stricter editing system.

The management group also posed that they “did not want to silence an opinion that had already been publicly expressed.”
The newspaper’s response to its own podcast was not surprising; it was damage control. Their honesty, however, must be applauded as they took initiative by owning up to their actions of not monitoring their post. In order to avoid losing the portion of listeners who may have been offended by the podcast, the newspaper attempted to defend themselves by promising stricter revision, which shows potential and a sense of responsibility. Similarly, most organizations/groups who may want to continue successfully pursuing their work try to accommodate to the majority like-minded audience.

There were definitely statements within the podcast that may be quite worthy of objection:

“It’s identity politics or no one because that double standard, it’s not fair and, I, you know, you leave people outside the political spectrum and I think that’s why Trump won because there were so many, you know, white people who were just like, ‘My government doesn’t represent me’. You know? ‘This country, does it represent me?’ and I mean- Yeah, it’s funny how- Especially given the, especially given the priorities of the previous administration, you know? Yeah!”

Natalie Winters, expresses how she thinks focusing on certain identities in politics creates double standards. She concludes the hand behind Trump’s victory were the white population who felt underrepresented in politics. Aaron Park and Asa Saperstein, agree with Winters and contribute by hinting the white people felt undermined by minorities, who they thought the Obama administration gave more importance to. The “priorities” given to the minorities people was and is necessary. The previous administration was working to resolve issues that may have not involved the majority racial group; however, throughout history, minorities have not been given enough salience, and when their urgent needs were being tended to, the majority wanted to ignore them and have the focus shift to them. Minorities deserve and require the attention and time to find solutions for their problems so they, too, can be equal in various aspects to the rest of the nation.

As a result of the new administration not giving priority to those the Obama administration tried to assist, particular ethnic groups are having difficulty and not being given the same equal representation as the majority. For instance, the end of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has created a huge issue for certain prospective college students who need financial aid to support their higher education. They are not being given sufficient significance as they do not fall into the category now being favored. Had more time been invested in bettering the situations of minorities, then perhaps the whole country would have been on the same level/position to deal with matters that concern the whole public and each individual.

In The Chronicle article, the management team intends, “We hope in the future this podcast will do the same by allowing students and faculty members of varying backgrounds to speak their minds in a respectful and thoughtful way.” The mannerisms of Winters and her peers were the opposite of inclusive and “respectful and thoughtful,” as they were not only insensitive to people of different genders, religions, and political parties of. However, when one has the opportunity to be heard, they should take advantage of that opportunity wisely. They should not be utilized to inappropriately hurt sentiments. That does not mean that one should suppress their ideas nor should they be shut down for having an opinion that does not agree with those of others.

If the management behind the Chronicle Podcast Network dedicates enough attention to their future podcasts, they will be able to effectively express opinions of all students in a manner that will not offend others. This will allow tensions between students who support and  students who are against the views of the podcast to gradually ease.

People become less open to hearing ideas they may be against because of the way they are expressed. It is important to not have platforms be biased because that can either turn away or attract the audience.

Podcasts and newspapers serve to share with the public, not hurt them. The Chronicle, other newspaper teams, and individuals need to keep in mind that what they say has an effect on others, so being mindful in not attacking, but discussing would be an efficient route to pursue. If one puts down others for projecting their thoughts, then society cannot progress nor make the needed changes as there would not be any new stimulating ideas.

Check out the podcast and the Chronicle management team’s letter for yourself.


2 Responses to “The Controversial Chronicle”

  1. Mary SHINE on December 11th, 2017 10:08 am

    ahhhhh NABEEHA IM YOUR NUMBER 1 FAN!!!!!


  2. Paris Viloria on December 15th, 2017 7:46 pm



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