EDITORIAL: An Embarrassment to Cornell

While reporters filmed a segment on Cornell faculty member’s political donations for Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor on Friday, University officials asked them to stop interviewing students on campus, a move that generated headlines across the country. The piece primarily mocked Cornell and its “liberal bias” through student interviews following a report conducted by The Sun that found 96 percent of faculty members who contributed to political campaigns in the past four years donated to liberal campaigns. Yet what stood out above all was Cornell officials’ decision to ask reporters to not interview students on campus. Despite the best intentions of administrators, we believe those in Day Hall only exacerbated Cornell’s embarrassment in Monday’s Fox News piece. Cornell’s “Best Practices for Media” guide, which was sent to Fox News, as well as The Sun upon request, dictates that journalists “are not permitted to interview, photograph or shoot video of individual students on the Cornell campus, without obtaining permission from the student and the University.” In regards to Fox News, Joel Malina, vice president for University Relations, argued in a statement that administrators sought to “protect student privacy” in their decision to enforce the media policy.