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Letter: Herald coverage of Kanders must improve

To the Editor:

As an ex-managing editor of the Brown Daily Herald, it is with great sadness and embarrassment that I read the Sept. 12 op-ed “Warren Kanders still must go” and the validating Editorial Page Board follow-up comment Sept. 23, “University should further clarify its ethical gifts policies,” on the topic of Mr. Warren Kanders. There was a time when opinions of the Editorial Page Board were thoroughly researched and vetted. We have always had alumni who were involved in all sorts of endeavors — I recall that at one time Brown was considered a breeding ground for CIA recruitment. We did not possess the arrogance nor the stridency to opine upon matters that we had not researched, that we knew very little about as students. What I find appalling is the weak line of argument in both pieces that suggests that since Mr. Kanders stepped down from the Whitney that we at Brown must therefore completely expunge the man from all connection to Brown. The extreme political forces and the guerilla tactics employed by the group who attacked Mr. Kanders at the Whitney bullied a morally weak board of trustees into submission. Why would we at Brown assume that the actions of one group were valid and act upon the judgements of people we do not know with motives unknown?

As an ex-journalist of this paper, I find the extreme bias inherent in the op-ed and its validation by the Editorial Page Board a violation of the trust conferred upon journalists by the community.  Not surprisingly, the University recently decided, for the first time ever, not to renew its subscription to The Herald, forcing it into a questionable financial position. Perhaps outreach to alumni, such as myself, who had such an excellent experience at The Herald, could have easily relieved the newspaper of its funding problem. However, the paper has clearly gone awry and is no longer representative of the community at large and has become some sort of mouthpiece for extremist external groups.

The Brown community has always been a place where fair, balanced, thoughtful and researched ideas were welcome, from whatever side. As I recall, intelligence, hard work, fairness and most of all respect were key values of the Brown community. These attacks, which place Mr. Kanders at its center as a symbol, are destructive to and certainly not representative of the community’s core values. Most disturbingly, Mr. Kanders, as a personal friend of almost 20 years, has been dehumanized and forced into the spotlight with no regard by the attackers for the well-being of his family and associates, without regard to the positive endeavors that have marked the 40 years since his graduation. For those of us who have lived this life, we realize that there is a complete picture of a human being that is complex. Before one violently attacks a person of substance in a public forum, one needs to be in possession of the facts. Unfortunately, not knowing the facts has now relegated The Herald to a place of irrelevance.

Dan Tapiero BA ’90, MA ‘91

The Herald’s Associate Managing Editor, 1989


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