Spiro Kass responds to criticism

Spiro Kass, Editor-in-chief

After the distribution of the Sept. 22 issue featuring my profile on Nick Fuentes, I was well aware that my profile would stir discussion, one of the major reasons why I chose to write the article in the first place. Since the distribution, I have kept updated with all local complaints surrounding the intent/message behind the article, and I want to make it clear that I understand the concerns. There are certain parts of the article that I could’ve rephrased, including emphasizing the fatal outcome of the rally, and stating what Fuentes meant by saying “we”, which in fact was not in reference to the group of White Supremacists, but rather a group of friends he was accompanied by who he claimed were “traditionalist conservatives” in our personal interview, even if it seems otherwise. Yet through all of this, myself, the LION staff, our adviser, the administration and the Board of Education stand behind the reality. The reality that what I wrote was objective, non-biased, and journalistically ethical.

Objectively, we cannot denounce the fact that Fuentes is a newsworthy alumnus. A person’s political ideology, and their infamous perception, does not make them more or less of a newsworthy topic. The fact of the matter is that Fuentes graduated LT, and he eventually made national news due to his infamous activism and attendance at a controversial rally, ultimately proving his newsworthiness and reason behind his appearance in our first issue. We are well aware that there are several LT alumni that are newsworthy, but Fuentes attended LT with current juniors and seniors, giving more of a reason to report on him now.

After the controversy came to my attention, I asked fellow students what they thought of the article, consciously making an effort to ask students who represent different racial backgrounds, and not one peer found my article offensive, biased or glorifying white supremacy. Which goes without saying, I am aware that some found the profile to endorse Fuentes’ beliefs and glorify white supremacy, yet it appears that the major concern arose from the the adults of the community, rather than the high school students themselves.

I had a specific intention behind the profile. Before starting to write, I knew Fuentes was a common name here at LT, and I knew he was featured in several other major news networks. So, I wanted to offer something different, something that you can’t find online, by portraying the personal interview I had with Fuentes. I wanted to leave the interpretation of his quotes up to the reader, to encourage the viewers of my profile to formulate their own perception of him and his ideology. Yet some saw past this, and drew the conclusion the I leaned right while crafting this profile.

As I made evident in my personal column on page seven, I embrace multiculturalism. I purposefully chose the topic of my column to refute against the ideology of Fuentes, which I was not able to do in the article itself due to the necessity of staying objective while reporting. We live in a society where major news networks incorporate opinion and bias in news that should be held strictly bipartisan (New York Times, CNN, Fox News to name a few). But here at LT, we’re taught to be objective and to avoid personal bias in reporting, no matter the circumstance. I made an effort to offer both views of Fuentes by including a Boston University student who titled him a “Nazi”, yet some believe this inclusion was insufficient.

In the end, I am a student here at LT. I embrace our diversity. The LION staff embraces our diversity. The information we entail in news stories does not mean we support what is written. That is simply not how journalism works. In order to truly understand the importance of different perspectives, you must be presented the other side. We work actively in the LION Newsroom to emulate what is happening in our community, and filtering out newsworthy stories to protect students from improper values is not learning. It’s shielding. And if anyone believes otherwise, stop by NC room 220 during eighth period and I’d be happy to walk you through it.