This semester, Ole Miss was blessed with the presence of a leader in the field of misinformation. NBC News set foot on the Ole Miss campus and, in the article “The Confederacy still haunts the campus of Ole Miss,” published Nov. 16, reinforced age-old lies about our university and state.
Apart from the easily verifiable factual error of referring to ASB Secretary Dylan Wood as attorney general, which has since been fixed, the piece was remarkably predictable in tone.
Just like all other mainstream media reports on the state of our campus, NBC News made a point of aggrandizing political and racial tensions to appeal to its audience of liberal, coastal elites while ignoring anything remotely positive about the university.
Opening with remarks regarding the accident that hit the Confederate memorial last month, the author, Phil McCausland, takes readers on a journey filled with tales of riots, institutional racism and the elusive yet ever-present beast that is white privilege.
Using a slew of interviews from prominent political activists across campus, NBC News masterfully juxtaposed interviews with conservative activists with those of liberal ones in a way that artfully presented conservatives as gleefully ignorant to the proclaimed struggle of their peers.
Though it is disappointing that the media considers this type of reporting acceptable, I would be lying if I said I expected more from NBC News. After reading the article, I found myself disappointed that McCausland did not take time to mention that while some members of our community often obsess over political divisions, this discourse truly operates on the fringes of university life.
We are Ole Miss Rebels. We are not a divided bunch.
I’ve never known division in the Grove on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve never known anger when someone looks you in the eye and greets you with a Hotty Toddy. Yet I’ve known the great joy felt while locking the Vaught with 60,000 of your closest friends whom you have yet to meet. This is the heart of Ole Miss.
When you’re in these places on campus, nothing matters except for the love of the place from which we will never graduate. This is why it’s so challenging for journalists, regardless of affiliation, to report on life as it is at Ole Miss.
The next time a major news outlet finds itself in Oxford, whether it is NBC, NPR or Fox News, I invite it to accompany me on a tour exploring the true Ole Miss community outside of the spotlight, which all those before it have cast down. I have full faith that if members of the media witnessed the magic of this place, even for a brief moment, they would reconsider all past dispersions and discover the true values of the Ole Miss family.
Will Hall is a junior journalism major from Atlanta.