After Human Events Online posted a July 12 article on the College Republican National Convention (“President of College Republicans Sets Sights on ’06”), the blog CRNCtruthcaucus.com listed the piece as “More bad press.”
Why, you might ask, is an unassuming story about the aspirations of newly elected Chairman Paul Gourley considered negative coverage? Maybe the last few paragraphs about fund-raising have something to do with it.
An obviously displeased CRNC intern approached me soon after the article’s publication and asked if I’d be interested in writing an “alternative” piece about their field representatives. Gourley himself then offered, more delicately, the same suggestion. To any journalist, this of course implies a “puff piece.”
It goes without saying that HUMAN EVENTS is not a tool for the Republican Party, let alone the CRNC.
Even after defeating opponent Michael Davidson of California, who had received the support of Ann Coulter and Michael Reagan live on the “Al Rantel Show” on KABC in Los Angeles on February 22, 2005, Gourley’s staff still feels threatened by last year’s allegations of questionable fund-raising practices. It makes Republicans and Democrats alike wonder if there’s still something to hide.
Many well-meaning College Republicans would like to wish away last fall’s fund-raising letters, or at least dodge them with elevated talk of establishing unity within the organization. And who could blame them?
But to discourage any publication about the issue at all, even a simple recounting of the mishap, is counter-productive. It only promotes suspicion and distrust in an administration that has already been criticized by Davidson as needing to be “more transparent.”
If the CRNC wants to continue advocating the Republican agenda on college campuses and maintain credibility, it needs to establish specific and stringent fund-raising policies that hold national officers accountable—then display them for all to see.
College Republicans involved at the local level will feel better knowing there is a protocol, and critics will do their homework before crying, “Scandal!” A widely- publicized policy would boldly declare that the new leadership is committed to preventing such an embarrassment from happening again, and even more importantly, that the organization values integrity (ethics) over efficiency.
Puff pieces won’t salvage a wounded reputation, Mr. Gourley—only actions will.