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Journalists should be held accountable like you and me: A response to Kevin Sullivan

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Due to it’s timely matter, The Commentator has decided to publish this piece online. It will also appear in our physical publication later this month. 

On Monday, January 6th columnist Kevin Sullivan published an opinion column in the Daily Emerald that left a rather sour taste in my mouth. Of course, I’m not much of one to read the Emerald regularly (because I already know how to have fun in the snow in Bend and find an instruction manual for this not necessary), but when I happened upon Kevin’s most recent opinion piece “Athletes should be held accountable like you and me” I knew a response from The Commentator would be necessary. Of course, here at The Commentator, we couldn’t agree more with Kevin’s notion that athletes are a favored bunch throughout our national universities (and especially here at UO). Kevin, we commend your effort to put these athletes in their place and ensure that everyone is held accountable for their actions.

The problem with Kevin’s piece is his insight into the Jameis Winston rape case that was closed a little over a month ago in December. Writes Kevin:

         Imagine a case of sexual assault. A 9-11 call surfaces after a month of the case being in the mainstream news but a year after the survivor first reported the rape. The survivor has already identified the man who had raped her and DNA evidence had proven that he indeed had sex with her.
        This guy was obviously convicted right?
        Wrong.

Now hold it right there, Kevin. Why should this guy obviously be convicted? Based on the story you just told, I reached the conclusion that the man should obviously not be convicted! We’re supposed to think that DNA evidence proving that two people had sex is evidence of rape? Because there’s no such thing as consensual sex, right Kev?

I’m not here to argue against the innocence of Winston [...] I’m here to state the truth writes Kevin right after conclusively referring to Winston as “the man who had raped her“. Welcome to America, where all are guilty until proven innocent… good thing our justice system doesn’t operate on the same rules that Kevin does.  All I’m saying is that we have words like “alleged” so that journalists can refer to the accused without definitively calling them, as Kevin does,  ”the assailant“. Throughout his piece, it is clear that Kevin has made his mind up about the Winston case. He repeatedly refers to the accuser as “the victim” and contextualizes the story in a way that makes it obvious to us all that the tenant of “innocent until proven guilty” is only applicable until an Ol’ Dirty Emerald columnist decides that it is not. And all this in a piece where Kevin calls out the media for not properly framing a story and for “poorly reported stories“. Kev, we’re all beginning to drown in the irony here.

Of course, I cannot disagree with your main point that the accuser received a lot of hate from FSU fans and the public alike. Yes, that happened, but it does not determine whether or not Winston is guilty or not. Let’s be honest this rape allegation will always be tied in with Jameis Winston’s name as well. The truth is, there just was not enough evidence to convict Jameis of anything. This doesn’t mean that he isn’t a rapist, but (without concrete evidence) we will never know what happened.  Of course, since Kevin is already sure of his verdict, we invite him to pour through the case evidence that the state attorney released.

The point is, while there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with our judicial system, it’s ethically wrong to debase the innocent until proven guilty that our justice system is based on. Kevin, until you’re ready to present concrete evidence that Jameis Winston is a rapist, we cannot refer to him as one. And when you do have that concrete evidence, we highly encourage you to fax it over to the Tampa police so the case can be reopened.

It was not only Kevin’s absurdly definitive reporting of Winston’s guilt that infuriates us here at The Commentator. It seems like it would also be relevant to point out here that the opinion piece misreported a couple things. Writes Kevin:

[O]ne insightful anchor on “Good Morning America” put it on Dec. 12, “I just want this one to go away.”
Let me repeat that.
One of the anchors from ‘Good Morning America,” the leading morning show in America, said that he wanted the story of the Winston case to “go away.”

Good thing you repeated this twice, Kevin. Does that mean we can charge you with two accounts of false reporting? Take a look at the video that is being referenced, and I think it will be as clear to you as it was to me- Stephanopoulos says “They just want this one to go away.” Of course, by changing this one critical word you completely change the intention of Stephanopoulos’ comment. I see what you did there. Clever, Kev. Very clever.

Of course, why stop here? Let’s also get a source for those statistics you’re referencing. Writes Kevin: “the percentage of women who falsely report rape is very low and not any higher than any other false reporting of other crimes” I’ll forget about how terribly phrased this sentence is for a minute, so I can present some statistics:

Since 1996 “unfounded” rape accusations are reported by the FBI to be around 8%, while other index crimes have been around 2%.  Of course, “unfounded” does not necessarily mean “false allegation”. It is almost impossible to discover the true percentage of false rape accusations, but many estimate that they are higher than index crimes. Of course, I’m guessing Kevin found his statistics in ”Against Our Will”. Nice. Very reliable source, Kev.

“Football should not trump [...] our judicial system” writes Kevin in conclusion to his article. Let us remind you, Kev, that bad journalism should not trump our judicial system either.

Alright, kiddos, that’s all we’ve got until we hear back from Kevin. In the meantime let’s all remember that everyone accused of rape is guilty, especially if there isn’t enough evidence to prove it.

Thomas Tullis

UO Cheer tryouts: $5 …Ogling cheerleaders: Priceless

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

I know this is old news but, in case you haven’t heard, the UO Cheer squad hosted tryouts and invited the public to come watch for a 5 dollar entrance fee. Busted Coverage has the story (and pictures!).

UO Matters has the story, too. On that post you will find a screenshot of a bid war for a pair of Official Women’s Soccer shorts:
20130504-132158.jpg
Disgusting. And Hilarious. The Busted Coverage gallery is the best though. Locker room pics!

But honestly am just saddened that the ASUO mailing lists didn’t forward any notice of the cheerleading tryouts. I would have forked over 5 dollars any day to get a close up view of the cheerleaders in action. Wait, I take that back. Most of them are too orange for me.

UO Cheer did have an advertisement on their official Twitter feed, though. I wonder what kind of fellows and how many of ‘em were lucky enough to get in there…

A Call to [Informational] Arms

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

UO Matters points out the tendency of the Oregon Commentator to be blunt, citing the “beery indifference to the law of defamation” that Dave Frohnmayer loved so much about us.

Not all of us were given the gift of subtlety:

20130216-222314.jpg

Third Party Candidates

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Jill Stein is the Green Party’s presidential candidate. The Green Party is a very liberal party, with an emphasis and equality and equal opportunity for all. There is also a major focus on the environment and sustainable practices. Stein is proposing a “Green New Deal” in an effort to control global warming and the financial crises facing America. The deal encompasses government investing in green technologies, higher taxes on oil and petroleum profits, break-up of large financial institutions and stricter tax oversight of large corporations. It is predicted that Stein will win between 1% and 1.9% of the popular vote.

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. He was the Governor of New Mexico for 8 years, and he notably vetoed 750 bills and left the state a nearly $1 billion dollar budget surplus. He proposes to cut government spending by 42%, and eliminating entirely the federal income tax in favor of the “Fair Tax”, a tax on the amount of money one spends. He is also a proponent of legalizing marijuana and drastically decreasing our foreign involvement. Many have called Johnson a “Ron Paul Libertarian.” He has also climbed Mt. Everest!

Rocky Anderson is the Justice Party’s presidential candidate. The Justice party is a very young political party, being created in November of 2011. Rocky Anderson was the Mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000-2008. The Justice Party doesn’t have a lot of information regarding their platform, but they do want to abolish corporate personhood, end the Bush Tax cuts, and they want to work towards campaign finance reform. They are a party with ecological concerns, wanting to ban mountaintop removal mining and they have a firm stance against the expansion of the Keystone pipeline. Anderson also endorses a single-payer healthcare system to help further equality.

Virgil Goode is the presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. He is running on a basic platform of four points: Restrict immigration, cut back the size of the government, balance the budget and impose congressional term limits. Interestingly, he has been criticized more harshly than any other candidate as being a “spoiler”, taking away votes for Romney and helping Obama, though he is only the third most popular Third Party candidate, behind Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. The Constitution Party is a quite conservative party, and as the name suggests, attempts to determine policy based on the documents that founded our country.

Prevalence of On-Campus Sexual Assault Highlights University Failures

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

As anyone with a working University email address already knows, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently sent out an email detailing two separates rapes that occurred near Autzen Stadium and Chase Village. The tentatively-worded email states that

“Police have learned from second and third hand sources that there may have been three separate rapes within a five-day period near Chase Village and Autzen Stadium, beginning Thursday, June 28. No female victims have come forward or wish to file a report, so the information is unverified…

In one incident on June 29, a woman was walking alone around 10 p.m. on the bike path near Autzen Stadium when she was raped by a man with a knife. The suspect is described as a black male, 6′ tall, 200 pounds, with muscular build, and shaved head.

A second-hand report EPD has received is that two additional female victims have been raped on unknown dates, but within the same week, also in the same general area. One of these two incidents involved a similar suspect: black male, 6′ tall, 200 pounds, with muscular build, and shaved head.”

Besides being a horrifying and disturbing event, the incidents described in the email also point out the relative ineffectiveness of DPS and the overbearing presence of a “rape culture” around the UO. These are big claims to make, but stick with me here.

Based on the amount of “Campus Crime Alerts” I receive in my inbox on a weekly basis, it’s fairly clear that DPS is unable to “provid[e] a safe, secure, and welcoming environment.” While the emergency call boxes that litter campus are a great idea, it’s DPS’ inability to do anything other than dole out prevention tips and “Campus Crime Alerts” that really calls their authority into question. Not to mention the subtle fostering of a rape culture, where women are seen as “victims” rather than “survivors” and are perceived as “asking for it” because of their clothing or body language.

Just look at the passive voice in the first description: “A woman was walking alone around 10 p.m. on the bike path near Autzen Stadium when she was raped by a man with a knife.” Not “a man raped her” or “a man assaulted her”: she was raped. While this may seem like a minor syntactical kvetch, this kind of passive voice fails to accurately highlight the criminal nature of the act. You wouldn’t say “A store was robbed by an escaped convict.” You would say “An escaped convict robbed a store.” Instead, the attacker is placed in the background, and thus escapes scrutiny.

But it’s not all bad. The groups listed at the bottom of the email — Womenspace, SASS, the White Bird Clinic, the Counseling Center, SafeRide, and SWAT — are all excellent resources for survivors. Yet this doesn’t seem to be enough to change the prevalence of the University’s rape culture. There are many places that foster this kind of misogyny, undercutting the excellent work done by the aforementioned groups. Greek Life is an especially obvious target for such criticism, but you can find signs of rape culture anywhere. From the shouted “bitches” and “whores” within Taylor’s to the intense consumption of pornography, this mindset is everywhere around Eugene.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love porn. But all these factors have combined together to create a strangely patriarchal cocktail, one that views women as objects to be seized or sold. Women don’t deserve to be treated that way. And before the snarky comments come pouring in, remember that this isn’t about some bullshit in Washington D.C. or a genocide in some faraway country. This happens to people you know and love every day: your friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and even your family.

Rape is wrong no matter what your political beliefs. The failures of the University and DPS only stand as a testament to the kind of incompetence our school is slowly (and sadly) becoming known for.

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

 

Get yours today! Call 541-346-3721

OC editor, former publisher also married

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Publisher Emeritus Ross Coyle (pictured) and Editor-in-Chief Sophia Lawhead have been in a sham marriage for two years. They have never so much as been photographed together.

Look, it didn’t occur to us until now that this would be an issue, but our editor-in-chief and publisher emeritus have been married for two years.

Better financial aid packages are available to married students and, though Publisher Emeritus Ross Coyle’s schooling was paid for because he is a member of the US Army Reserve, Editor-in-Chief Sophia Lawhead would not have had the money to attend the University of Oregon if her sham marriage to Coyle didn’t up her financial aid.

Coyle has said he thought the marriage would be a romantic union when he entered into it. Lawhead admits she perpetuated that illusion.

The Commentator is unapologetic about this situation. It’s a matter of class. Some of us have rich parents who can pay our way through school. Others need to defraud the government. It’s all in the game.

Lawhead said her relationship with Coyle “has not had any impact” on the Commentator’s affairs.

“This year, I have been more removed from the Oregon Commentator than I ever have,” Lawhead said.

We wouldn’t have even mentioned it except that it seems this kind of thing is such a big deal to everybody.

Which of North Korea’s Kims is hottest?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

OK, so this is one for my 1. my ladies and 2. the Juche Idea makes clear that homosexuality is abhorrent, so not my gay guys. It’s an important question.

Who’s hotter? Kim Jong Un or his dad, Kim Jong Il, at his age?

Stern, masculine Kim Jong Un

Steamy young Kim Jong Il

The answer after the jump: (more…)

The Freudian Issue Online Today

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I am sure there’s some clue to my deepest sexual depravities somewhere in that headline. Surely.

Sit there, consumed with lust for the rest of the evening as you wait for the print version to arrive, or read it here now!

Sorry, Dan

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Dan Savage visited the University of Oregon for a few days last week, gathering content for an upcoming MTV show/special/saturnalia on college dating, sex, and relationships. During the taping of a Nov. 2 Q&A session in the Ford Alumni Center Savage was “glitterbombed” by a member of a group calling themselves “The Dan Savage Welcoming Committee.” This committee, which should maybe reconsider the truthfulness of their moniker, called the “It Gets Better” project founder a “transphobe,” “racist and misogynist and a rape-apologist, too!” before fleeing the room.

At this time no charges have been filed and Savage has not made a comment, but we here at the Commentator would like to take a moment to thank these brave protesters who possessed the clarity and courage to take offense with one of the most vocal gay-rights activists in the nation. It is truly a story one could only here at the U of O, and it is what gives us the reputation as a group of rational, mature young adults and not self-righteous children who confuse “activism” and “justice” with “picketing” and “successfully causing a scene.” Go ducks!

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/02/dan-savage-glitterbombed-oregon-transphobia-_n_1071627.html

Student loan company nip-slip

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Tears are the best lube

As many as 5,000 lucky students social security numbers made a sexy special appearance when a glitch in a student loan company’s website showed users other peoples information instead of their own for a good seven minutes before they pulled the plug to do damage control for the next 48 hours. The real victim here is, of course, the loan company who’s reputation was damaged by whistle blowers who carelessly sought the acceptance of their peers by pointing out the mistakes that the company probably didn’t even do.

I mean, come on guys, it’s not like social security numbers even do anything. They’re just the bar code imprinted on your spine by the Illuminati at birth, and everybody knows that, so why make the Direct Loan Program feel like the bad guys? It’s the students fault, anyways, for not having enough money to learn things, and then getting all mad because their private information was released, and it’s like come on guys, you signed a user agreement we can accidentally leak this shit all we want brah. The company was also confronted with claims that their site wasn’t “user friendly enough”, but they were told to go to Hell. The rest of the article is pretty super boring and I wouldn’t try reading it, but people were all mad about shit and stuff went down and I think they promised it to never ever do it again, swear on my mother.

The Daily Caller

Oregon Ranked Among the Largest in Penis Size

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

In a recent study released by Condomania, Oregon was rated as the second largest state when it comes to penis size. Though this comes as no surprise to anyone who has a passing familiarity with the hulking lumberjacks who comprise our state (or the marble-cut hunks of the Oregon Commentator office), the news comes as a sick shock to neighboring states such as Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, which all ranked in the bottom ten.

According to the survey, the tumescent curve falls between 3” and 10”, falling into a normal Bell curve between 5” and 6”. This data is supported by a 1996 UCSF study, a 1996 German report and a Brazilian study that places average penis size between 5.1 and 5.7 inches. No significant discrepancies were found between African-American males and Caucasian males, although the rankings seem to refute this (New Orleans, Washington D.C. and San Diego are all in the top ten.)

I’m personally bursting with pride. Way to penetrate the top ranks, Oregon. I know the ride was hard, but we shot to the top of the heap. So keep on struttin’ that Cascade cock lumberjacks and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Unless you have micropenis.

eduHookups Sold

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Earlier this year eduHookups.com went viral. What started as a casual sex site for UChicago students turned into a dating/sex site for many universities across the nation.

The website had just barely made its way from the Ivies to the University of Oregon before it was sold.  And for how much? $1,000. Seems a bit odd considering how many users were on the site.  According to this website which may or may not be very trust-able, eduHookups was facing security problems.

A look at their twitter confirmed not only that eduHookups was sold on eBay but that the original site, www.UChicagoHookups.com, is now for sale as well.

Now the website redirects to http://www.ratemylasthookup.com where you can describe your last hookup in terms of bases, like you’re in second grade again! How exciting! You can even list their initials!

The Commentator deeply regrets the loss of eduHookups and in memorial (and on Memorial day) will be launching our own casual sex website  www.oregoncommentator.com/ran_out_of_girls_at_the_district: A Sudsy Site for Casual Friends.

The Oregon Commentator, an independent journal of seduction/fornication etc.

*Nicholas Ekblad contributed to the reporting of this article.

Christian preacher stirs up controversy in the EMU Amphitheater

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

“I have become a preaching machine!”

Thumping a well-worn blue Bible, Jed Smock – or Brother Jed, as he likes to be called – is one of the new faces generating controversy around the EMU Amphitheater for his confrontational preaching method. Sporting a bowtie, a sweater vest and a blue blazer, Brother Jed addresses individuals in the amphitheater audience and calls out to “wicked” and “promiscuous” students about how to “change their ways and follow Christ.”

A self-admitted “former hippie” who “found Jesus on a hippie commune in Africa,” Brother Jed is usually met with disdain, mockery and impassioned debate from students, groups such as the Alliance of Happy Atheists and random people walking by the amphitheater.

I had a chance to sit down with Brother Jed and talk about his presence on the University of Oregon.

Oregon Commentator: Why did you decide to preach in the University of Oregon amphitheater?
Brother Jed: I mean, you’re not going to get college students to get up and go to church early in the morning. So we need to go to them.
OC: Would you say you’ve made an impact [on campus]?
BJ: Oh, yes. I was just talking to someone who recently started reading the Bible. I get letters on my website, brotherjed.org, letters I’ve received from student over the years. They go something like this: “Dear Brother Jed, Your preaching made me so mad that I started reading the Bible to prove you wrong.” And then they find the faith!
OC: So is provoking people the main way you get your message across? It seems very in-your-face, very uncomfortable.
BJ: Yes, you need to engage the audience. I call it confrontational evangelism. The radical left [in the 1960s] talked of “confrontational politics,” really challenging the establishment. Whether you agree with their position or not, it worked… So yes, I want to stir up controversy and dialogue and debate… all college students are thinking about is mundane. They’re not asking “What is our moral foundation?” They aren’t the true questions, the right questions. They’re just focused on “Oh, I’ve got a test today” and “I hope I get laid tonight.” You’re distracted from God.
OC: Let’s talk a bit about how you became a Christian. You mentioned that you lived on a hippie commune in Africa…?
BJ: Yes, I did. One day a man who was dressed in Arabic attires – you know, a turban, a robe, all that – came preaching Jesus to us on Christmas Day, 1971. And we all laughed at him! But as a historian I had to admit that the Bible has great literary qualities. I mean, I was the son of an English professor and some of the greatest works of literature have been inspired by the Bible. So I thought I should read it for academic and spiritual purposes. I was going to study under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India but I thought “Why don’t I study my religion instead?”
OC: So Judaism, Islam and Christianity all recognize Jesus as a prophet.
BJ: Well, the Jews don’t.
OC: Right. But still, all three religions come from the tree of Abraham. Would you say there’s kinship between Jews, Muslims and Christians?
BJ: Islam denies that Jesus died on the cross. The Qur’an says that “God had no son”… so really Islam is an attack on Christianity. They deny Jesus’ sacrifice. We’re different. No, we believe in the Trinity. We believe Jesus is God!
OC: Has being in academia informed how you preach?
BJ: Yes. I remember reading the Bible and wanting to tell the good news to people! But there’s only so much you can do inside a building, so I decided to go outside.
OC: Would you say you appeal to reason in your preaching?
BJ: It’s about preaching but it’s also about teaching. It’s an appeal to man’s conscience, recognizing this party lifestyle and trying to get them thinking about their life. Most students aren’t thinkers, they’re feelers. So I appeal to that emotion.
OC: Let’s talk about Satan. Do you believe in Satan, that there is an evil force out there?
BJ: I do believe in a fallen angel, Lucifer does mean “bringer of light.” He was perfect in all of his. But they found sin in him. So he rally one third of the angels to rebel against God. Now that took a long time, that’s not an overnight thing… I do believe Lucifer became frustrated with God because God governs the universe not by sheer force but by love. And love puts restraints on us all. It’s like our soldiers over in Afghanistan… if we didn’t have this Christian morality, we’d just wipe ‘em all out, get it over with, y’know? [Laughs] But God is about love, so we can’t do that. God is gonna demonstrate that love always wins. The Devil has all this experience in the realms of hate and power, but what looks stronger than Jesus hanging on the cross? Love defeated hate on the cross. Love will defeat evil.
OC: Would you say the devil is on college campuses? How do you reason that?
BJ: I do believe in demonic possession. I don’t think any students are possessed, but the Devil does influence us with temptations.
OC: What kind of temptations?
BJ: The drugs, the alcohol and the sex before marriage… they all make us morally weak. Drugs and alcohol puts our conscience to sleep. And the music! They’re listening to this decadent rock music, or hip-hop and this music is seductive!
OC: Thank you for your time, Brother Jed.

A story on the controversy surrounding Brother Jed will be available in the forthcoming Commentator.

Feds uncover Bin Laden porn stash

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

American officials have uncovered what appears to be Osama Bin Laden’s porn stash in his Abbottabad compound, and it’s “fairly extensive” according to Reuters. While the contents of the hard drive haven’t been leaked by Wikileaks / Anonymous yet, an unnamed source told the news organization that the collection consisted mostly of modern, digitally recorded videos. This, despite the fact that he lived devoid of wired Internet and phone connection to the outside world, and relied on flash drives and Internet cafes to send messages (and, apparently, collect porn).

There’s no word yet on where in the house it was found, or which rooms were wired for viewing pleasure, so there are a lot of questions remaining. Was it his personal collection, or a shared spank bank to help quell insurrection and improve morale of the troops? Avi, or Mpeg? What sort of porn is a fundamentalist nutjob in to, anyway?  The world may never know / care.

What we do know, is that it’s only a matter of time until someone starts blaming he evil porn that corrupted his mind and drove him to jihad.

My bet is for Pat Robertson.