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PB Post editor admits and comments on anti-FAU bias in article

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PB Post editor admits and comments on anti-FAU bias in article

Part of the Post's editorial:

Staff writer Kimberly Miller's story set the scene for what soon would have eyes around the world riveted on FAU's Boca Raton campus. The article detailed the "whirlwind of planning" as the university "launched a two-week series of events leading up to" the Republican presidential primary debates Thursday night.

The story also reported: "The burst of publicity comes at a time when FAU is in dire financial straits. On Friday, FAU President Frank Brogan announced freezes on hiring, travel and equipment purchases, in response to a second year of bleak state budget predictions."

The story further said that "FAU was forced to cut $6 million from its 2007-08 budget," and "Brogan said the school could take a $7 million hit next year. 'This reduction will come from an operating budget that is already stretched well beyond reasonable limits,' he said."

But a line which reported that more than $250,000 had been donated to the school to host the presidential debates somehow was lost. What appeared in early online versions and in the newspaper was that "The school has spent more than $250,000 to host the debates … "

You can see how the original statement makes it seem that not only is FAU losing money from a budget shortfall but is spending even more money on the debates when it clearly should not. FAU raised the money to put on the debates and instead should be commended for the effort.

The question is valid. On its editorial page, this newspaper long and strongly has supported the public benefits of this local public university. That should not translate, however, into unquestioning support. In fact, Post editorials have questioned the public benefit of FAU's costly move up to the top division in football. Other editorials have questioned the public benefit of the recent settlement awarded to FAU's former chief fund-raiser, who reportedly resigned.

Perhaps that's why I sensed that school officials suspected the editorial page's critiques may have translated into unprofessionalism in the news pages. In any event, it seemed that the news editors were obligated to respond, publicly, to the questions.

You can read the entire response and explanation here:

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Ultimately the Post blame the incorrect article on "confusion" rather than "bias". Either way, the Post dropped the ball.
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