Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 3. 1965.
Sirs,—The student Press should be ahead, not behind, the dallies in its opinions.
It is hardly appropriate for writers such as G.E.J.L. to take a stand in Salient 2 berating the daily Press for one of the most searching series of news stories and commentaries, namely that on the recent Sutch Affair.
Not only did the Press inform the public of the circumstances surrounding the retirement of a man well known in the community, but it illustrated important principles governing the relationship of the politician to the public servant, among other things.
The Press did not give a "disgusting exhibition" as G.E.J.L. so blithly suggests, nor did they present "no facts" as he notes. A retirement is a "fact," the reasons for it must be speculation. A quote from a letter saying that Dr. Sutch "did not enjoy the confidence of the business community or the Government to the measure desired" is a fact. The report of the PSA's stand was a factual report, and to a political commentator the silence of Dr. Sutch. of the Labour Party, the phrasing of the Prime Minister's statement and many other phases in the affair were "Facts."
If the public affairs of public men are to be the concern of the public, then G.E.J. L.'s comment "if there is a story to be told, then it surely is Dr. Sutch's prerogative to tell it when he chooses," is a plain contradiction of this principle.
Dr. sutch's public affairs, and the matters of public concern surrounding them are our concern, and Dr. Sutch's view is only one aspect of the issue. He may have very sound political reasons for "lying low"; it is just that our interests lie in having the issue fully presented.
G.E.J.L.'s comments about journalistic distortion have validity, but they could have not been affixed to any other current issue more inappropriately.
If he, or any other student, is further interested in studying the case, I recommended that they read H. W. Orsman's article in the last issue of "Comment" on the affair.
In a scholarly manner, the brings together most of the available facts connected by generally astute comment. Of the comments I have read and heard on the affair, it is by far the most comprehensive.