It’s unclear to us why August Ritter, son of Gov. Bill Ritter, decided against running on a presidential ticket for ASCSU.
But on Wednesday afternoon, the current presidential candidates seemed to know who was at fault.
Both Jake Blumberg and Katie Gleeson pinned at least part of the blame on the Collegian during a debate on the Plaza.
The Collegian reported last month that Ritter was set to run as vice president with an undisclosed running mate.
On Wednesday, Gleeson went so far as to say that it’s the Collegian’s responsibility to respect ASCSU’s bylaws – which prohibit active campaigning prior to the March 19 campaign period – and that we shouldn’t have reported that story.
We have no obligation to abide by ASCSU bylaws.
The son of Colorado’s governor was, according to multiple sources, planning to run for a top-level political office in our student government.
Some may reasonably disagree with our news judgment, but we felt it was news our readership would be interested in.
Our rationale in running that story, however, is beside the point.
The underlying issue is whether that story harmed Ritter’s ability to run for office. The story we reported, we strongly feel, did not constitute “active campaigning” before the election, which is against the ASCSU’s bylaws.
ASCSU members – including ASCSU President Jason Green – did the “campaigning” for Ritter, if any was done at all.
The Feb. 6 Collegian story reported simply that multiple officials confirmed that August Ritter was expected to run for office.
Ultimately, we don’t know why Ritter chose not to run. If it was because of the Collegian story, that’s a shame. And ASCSU officials who may have pressured him have some explaining to do.
Regardless, Gleeson and other ASCSU officials should learn some basics about the media.
For now, here’s a basic lesson: We are not beholden to any kind of governmental bylaws.
The media and governmental entities, in general, do not (and should not) have the smoothest relationship.
As an example on a much larger scale, we’re sure the Bush administration wasn’t too pleased when the New York Times reported on secret domestic wiretapping.
The fact that August Ritter was considering a run at the top student spot is far from a national security issue.
The walls of the ASCSU office could not contain the buzz. Several of our reporters and editors had heard about Ritter’s possible run for office.
And newspapers aren’t about keeping secrets.
Our gods are the interests of our readership, journalistic ethics and the constant striving for honesty and accuracy. And if our modest article derailed a worthy candidate, then it isn’t the Collegian that is broken.
Rather, it’s ASCSU – if the student government is depriving the students a valid choice for a representative for ridiculous reasons, something must be done.
Or, you could just shoot the messenger.