September 19, 2019 | 49° F

SURIANO: The Centurion should not be counted out

Opinions Column: A RINO's View


My colleague Brittany Gibson published an opinions column in Wednesday’s edition of this fine newspaper arguing that the newly-revived conservative campus news outlet The Centurion was bound to fail. In the grand tradition of healthy debate, I would like to mount a defense of this new conservative publication and argue why conservatives, moderates and yes even liberals should at least give it a chance.

First off, Gibson argues that creating a one-sided outlet will not help conservatives reach their goals on campus. I disagree with this notion because historically the conservative movement has been strengthened from creating publication with a conservative point of view. Many credit the creation of William F. Buckley’s National Review in the 1950s with helping to create the modern American conservative movement. Fox News for better or for worse has dominated cable news ratings for years. This has broadcasted conservative ideas into the homes of millions of people around the country. These along with other national conservative outlets have mainstreamed conservatism. Let us not forget that before former President Ronald Reagan's Revolution the Republican Party was not overwhelmingly conservative. Conservative outlets have literally helped shape the national political landscape. If The Centurion can do this on the campus level, then surely it has the chance of helping conservative goals.

Gibson spends a great a deal of her column talking about The Centurion's past iteration and what it published. I find this unfair as this is a new Centurion and is under completely new editorial management with new writers. Indulge me in a thought experiment: In 1932, The New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty sent back false reports whitewashing the deadly Ukrainian famine caused by Joseph Stalin. Would it be fair if I argued The New York Times today is a communist-sympathising newspaper because of Duranty’s 80-year-old journalistic malpractice? I think it would be unfair. But you may say The Centurion only stopped publishing in 2010 — that is eight years ago not 80. Well for a college newspaper eight years might as well be 80 because no students on campus (besides the possibility of a small number of older students continuing their education) even know anyone who has read a copy of The Centurion from its original run. It seems to me the only thing the new Centurion and the old share in common is a name, slogan and ideological perspective.

I believe conservatism contains a wide variety of perspectives that a publication dedicated solely to conservatism is warranted. I write for this paper and provide a conservative perspective but I cannot speak for all conservatives. Conservatism contains multitudes: there are fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, neocons, reformcons, constitutional conservatives, populist conservatives, establishment conservatives and more. These different types of conservatives do not always agree on everything and if given room to challenge each other through debate the logical basis of their ideals will grow stronger. In a straightforward news outlet such as The Daily Targum, conservative writers like myself will not get the chance to have many inter-conservative arguments because more often than not our literary arrows will be aimed at the Left. The Centurion can provide a, dare I say it, “safe space” for conservatives to hash out arguments among themselves before they go out to the general political battlefield.  

In conclusion I believe we should give The Centurion a chance before declaring it dead. Only time will tell if this new publication will succeed or fail. I firmly believe there is an underrepresented group of students on this campus who are conservative, center right or even liberal but want to understand a conservative perspective, who will enjoy a conservative outlet. If The Centurion provides a place of intelligent, thoughtful, conservative opinion and news, it can tap into a wide pool of students ready and eager to take in its content. I will provide one piece of warning to this new paper. Gibson did have a point when she brought up the past iteration of The Centurion — if this new outlet comes off as mean spirited or plays into negative conservative stereotypes, it is bound to fail. I believe the last paper failed because it too often came across as unserious and was just trying to get a rise out of the Left. I am all for pointing out the failings of the Left in a humorous way, but if it ends up being nasty you will never keep readership. But if The Centurion is a place for intelligent, conservative debate and news, with just a hint of light hearted-ribbing of the Left, then sign me up as a reader!

Robert Suriano is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in history. His column, "A RINO's View," runs on alternate Mondays.


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Robert Suriano

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