I agree with Chris Zivalich’s larger point that media often focus on sound bites instead of substance. But I was disappointed by his ad hominem tone.
While he calls for “critical thinkers” and “tough questions,” he spends his column calling names and avoiding serious arguments. He calls Bachmann and Cain nonsensical, ludicrous, stupid, vane, ridiculous, laughable and disturbing. While that may be his opinion, it does not add to the dialogue, just like those who argue against Obama by asking for his birth certificate or simply calling him a name. In addition, he only mentions one policy proposal, Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, and quickly dismisses it without an argument or fact.
He brings up drone attacks and statements about sexuality, but doesn’t give candidate’s positions or arguments about those issues either. Zivalich does exactly what he criticizes in the column, which is a symptom of a larger problem on campus: the lack of intellectual diversity. I hope the campus community uses the 2012 elections to learn about the candidates and also the arguments and ideas behind their policy proposals. Students should take the time now to read ideas with which they disagree, and strengthen their own perspectives by respectfully discussing ideas with those whom are different. Don’t fall into the trap Zivalich does by using ad hominem attacks without arguments or facts.
Roger Custer, ’04