Fresh off the heels of the WESU-NPR controversy, students are already protesting the recent announcement that the Argus will join with Fox News starting with the paper’s Jan. 26 issue.
The move is designed to infuse the Argus with huge amounts of cash from Rupert Murdoch’s Australia-based mattress and provide Argus readers with a more “professional” and “balanced” paper.
“We believe Wesleyan students will soon applaud the addition of our fair, balanced and high-quality content in their paper,” said Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. “I’ve always thought the media were liberal, but nothing compares to that commie rag, the Argus.”
The paper will gain a new manager from Fox and about one-fourth of the paper’s content will be provided by the network.
Additions to the paper will include such syndicated Fox columns as Shepard Smith’s “Anger Management Monthly,” Alan Colmes’ “How to get bulldozed by a conservative daily” and Bill O’Reilly’s “guide to making creepy calls and NOT getting caught.”
Other changes will include all articles written using caps lock to simulate yelling, lots and lots of graphics, and making fun of the Hermes in every article.
“We’re really excited to be branching out into campus papers,” said Fox News representative Mark Selout. “This is a great opportunity to expand our propagand—I mean, freedom efforts into new outlets.”
The announcement of the new Fox-Argus (Fargus) joint venture was made behind closed doors without student input.
“I first learned about it on the Wesleyan homepage,” said Hemp Hipster ’07. “After I read the article, I broke my computer, shredded the Argus, and burned a Bennet effigy. Then I sent out a mass email calling for a civil, panel discussion.”
That discussion was held Monday and featured President Bennet, Argus editors, Peter Pach and a representative from Weekly World News talking about journalistic integrity. “Bennet listened intensely to our concerns,” said anti-Fargus activist Noh Showah ’05. “He said we have 24 hours to come up with an alternate proposal.”
That they did. Given the Argus financial crunch, the Argus will almost certainly be forced to join with another news organization. Students have suggested possible links with Al Jazeera, LiveJournal and High Times.
“I’m all for the LiveJournal idea,” said Froshie Frosherstein ’08, speaking after the discussion. “I really like the idea of the Argus being filled with semi-voyeuristic emo entries about the inanities of college life. Plus, I always wondered what the Argus’ current mood is.”
Still, other students fear any change.
“I can’t bear to think of an Argus with fewer Wespeaks, less great Wesleyan campus coverage, and fewer typos!” said R. Gus Fan ’06. “It’s argific!”
Fox insists that they will not take away the Argus character.
“We’ll be sure there’s lots of extraneous cussing in all our opinion pieces,” Ailes said. “Students will really like O’Reilly talking dirty.”
A final decision about the proposal will be made Thursday on “The Big Story w/ John Gibson,” that really creepy anchor guy with the glasses.
One former Wesleyan official is hoping for Bennet to reverse his decision.
“While I get dizzy rolling over in my grave every time I hear a Wesleyan student disparage God or say ‘hir,’ I can’t stand to see those Fox opportunists denigrate our historic newspaper,” said Methodism founder and Wesleyan namesake John Wesley, speaking posthumously. “It feels like 100 black eyes!”