I recently wrote that there are subtle but clear signs that the Editorial Board of the Virginian-Pilot was shifting away from its years of liberal ideology intractability. It’s a new Board this year with a new editor.
Today’s editorial proclaimed that Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is right and the Obama Administration, yet again, overreached its authority.
At issue is how colleges and universities handle sexual assault claims between students, referred to as Title IX. As reported in the Republican Standard, Obama’s Department of Education issued a 2011 letter of “guidance” about using the lowest level of evidence and throwing due process out the window. Don’t follow the guidance and risk your school’s federal funding.
The Virginian-Pilot objects. Well, it objects now.
“In short, they had no choice but to comply — even though some of the guidance was an over-reach by the government.”
The Pilot continues in showing the problem with the misguided guidance.
“Instead of helping alleged victims receive fairer treatment in on-campus investigations, the letter tossed aside due process and forced schools to treat the accused less fairly. Many media reports, including most recently a three-part series in The Atlantic, revealed how the OCR guidelines had created a bizarre on-campus justice system that in too many instances presumed the suspect was guilty until proven innocent and punished the person before any evidence was submitted.”
Then the Virginian-Pilot wrote these magical words:
“Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that her department would try to clean up the mess, though she did not specify how. It’s the right decision”
Kudos to the Pilot, but partial kudos.
The Washington-Post Editorial Board wrote a DeVos-is-right editorial almost immediately after she made her announcement, and referenced the Atlantic article as well.
Would’ve been nice if the Pilot led the way, rather than tailing behind the Washington Post, but let’s not nitpick here. When two of Virginia’s most liberal newspapers start patting Betsy DuVos on the back, it’s worth noting.
And the Post was very careful not to applaud DeVos so much as be concerned she would overreach and surprised that she didn’t, while including jabs at her. The Pilot did none of that stuff. And the Post soft-pedaled its criticism of the Obama “guidance” while the Pilot took a hammer to it.
So, extra credit to the Virginian-Pilot, for being clear in their kudos and critiques and also going so far as to recommend positive changes.
The Pilot recommends three courses of action DeVos should take: Utilizing an independent three-person panel (the ABA recommends that), raising the standard of proof for allegations, and clarify the rights of the accused to utilize legal advise and counsel, something that was frequently prevented by colleges under Obama.
All fair reforms and good suggestions.
Would’ve been nice if they all suggested this six years earlier when it happened rather than follow DeVos’ lead, but good that they at least wrote it now.
Perhaps the newspapers can rid themselves of the “Everything Obama Did Was Wonderful, Everything Trump Does Is Horrible” narrative and judge issues fairly on the merits.
The first step for the media to rid our political dialogue of blind hyperpartisanship is to stop practicing it.