Dear Editor,

In the progressive sphere, negative stereotypes are commonly thrown around to describe conservative activists or conservatives in general. One of the worse terms, “extremist,” may constitute a violation of your ethical standards.

This term “extremist” was recently used to characterize a conservative activist’s beliefs. “Extremist” is used in discourse to justify ostracization, legal action, and even violence against people. It is synonymous with fanatic, radical or zealot, and carries the implication that one intends to advocate for or resort to extreme action. Why is this unethical rhetoric apparently allowed by The Mirror? I have seen pieces that use this type of unethical language, usually about conservatives, continually pop up over the years. 

Writers being mostly progressive is not a problem. Free speech is protected here. I know that. However, when I contacted the opinion editor about what standards the opinion pieces in the Opinion section are held to, I was told that there is an ethical code that you follow. Students may hold free speech rights, but now I understand that The Mirror edits the pieces to remove anything “inappropriate” as well. That was the term used to describe the policy. I was only referred to the formal policy after pressing further. 

If applying negative stereotypes and derogatory labels to conservative figures is not “inappropriate” then why do you have the ethical standard against “negative stereotyping?” Many issues over the years have contained these types of low rhetorical attacks on decent people and beliefs, usually conservatives. When common pro-life or pro-second amendment beliefs are casually characterized as extremism, hasn’t the threshold for “inappropriate” been passed?

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