Vermont Public Radio, my favorite news source, ran a story earlier this week about Middlebury College and the position it is taking on the American Studies Association's academic boycott of Israel.
As reported by Mitch Wertlieb:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has found its way into a controversy that has some American colleges and universities at odds with the American Studies Association, a group that promotes American History and culture. That’s because the ASA recently issued a resolution to boycott Israeli universities over that country’s treatment of Palestinians.
Middlebury College is a member of the ASA and is among up to 20 other colleges and universities that, in response, issued a statement condemning the ASA boycott.
The story goes on to quote a professor about why they don't agree with the boycott, calling boycotts of this nature a “challenge to the free flow of ideas”, and doing a pretty good job of explaining why the college would not support the boycott.
What the story did not do was give much of a sense of context, or of the opposing view in this hotly contested debate. Would it have been that hard to talk to someone at the American Studies Association, or to find an academic who supports the boycott?
I think it's fine to do news stories about local institutions, particularly when they relate to how our Vermont institutions relate to the greater political debate. I do think, though, that VPR could have done a better job in fairly presenting both sides of the debate.