Letter To The Editor: PoliTech Should Release The Rest Of Their Footage

From Sara Carden, senior public relations student

The Texas Tech PoliTech club should release the full video footage used to make their notorious “Politically-Challenged: Texas Tech Edition” video. This video does not properly represent the student population of Texas Tech, nor does it accurately characterize the people in the video. It has been cut and edited to make Tech students as disengaged from current events as possible. Although PoliTech was trying to make a point about college students’ lack of current interest in politics, they did so in an unethical and immoral way. The video has been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube and shared and featured on numerous news sites and broadcasts. It casts an unfair light on Texas Tech, the quality of its students, and the worth of the school’s degree.

The video shows a student saying, “Ummmm…” when asked the question, “Who won the Civil War?”. The student, who wished to be anonymous, said that while he did hesitate to answer, he also told them he was trying to decide if he wanted to say the North or the Union. Instead of showing his full response, PoliTech chose to show the footage that best got got their point across, instead of the actual full exchange in which the student accurately answered their question, even over thinking it because he was on camera. While the video might have been made in good humor, instead of showing the political ignorance of today’s youth, it hurts the academic standing of Texas Tech and acts as a deterrent to potential students and prospective donors at a time when Tech is trying to reach tier one status.

PoliTech states that its goal is to “[focus] on providing important political information that is both clear and unbiased to the students of Texas Tech and the community of Lubbock”. This video is a direct violation of this standard as it is clearly biased by editing the information to show only the content it wanted to be featured. PoliTech also claims that it wants to make students look up from the world of social media and pop culture; however, the “Politcally Challenged” video was clearly influenced by the popular late night television host Jimmy Kimmel’s segment “Pedestrian Questions” in which people outside of his studio in Los Angeles are asked easy questions about a particular topic. PoliTech itself is influenced by pop culture and yet condemns Tech students for the very same thing.

As a self-proclaimed unbiased political organization, PoliTech does a great job of not showing all of the facts and only featuring their own side of the political awareness of Tech. PoliTech should release the rest of the footage from their student interviews. This will not completely repair the damage it has done to Tech’s academic reputation, but it would restore the community’s confidence in Texas Tech students and bring accountability and transparency to an organization with little support on Tech campus.

 

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Comments

  1. Sorry but if you don’t know who won the Civil War or who the U.S. won its independence from, no amount of context is going to save you. The argument of this letter is basically that videographers shouldn’t be allowed to edit. Meanwhile she refers to a “student, who wished to be anonymous”– but doesn’t even divulge how she knows this anonymous student calling for transparency. So this accusation of bias is pretty nutty and off the mark.

    • Madrona,

      I appreciate where you are coming from. However, if students do not know basic Historical facts, they would not be ‘redeemed’ by the rest of the film being released.

      I personally happen to be friends with two of the participants in this PoliTech video, and they confirm that the video’s editing was very biased. One friend said the Historical questions they answered correctly were not shown, while the pop culture answers, which had been fed to them, were the ones kept and highlighted.

      Whether or not my friends were lying straight to my face, to try to appear smarter or not, could be cleared up by the release of PolitTech’s full video footage. If on the other hand, the editing was in fact this biased, then it goes against PoliTech’s own, stated purpose of showing the unbiased facts.

    • Uhhh… context will save you when you correctly answer the question, but the edit cuts off your correct answer.

    • I call BS on the guy that claims he was deciding between the North and the Union. Where is he on this video? They are all shown giving a wrong answer or saying “I don’t know”

    • Young American says:

      it’s possible that they asked 5000 people and only those two or three didn’t know. That’s why they should release the whole thing.

  2. Amber LeFay says:

    Could not agree more. This video has the already ignorant people saying anyone with a pulse can get in this school. Honestly, from the looks of it this videos (sic) only purpose was to make our student body look like complete morons. Yes, they are basic questions. But what someone deams (sic) common knowledge someone else might not. It is silly to say that everyone HAS to know something. There is (sic) always going to be misinformed people everywhere, and this video makes it seem as though they all go to Tech. Who’s to say these people aren’t smart in another subject? Notice not one was an actual history major (they wouldn’t dare include one if there was one, though) so they probably just don’t care to remember. I know for certain I would have gotten these questions right and you wouldn’t see me in the video because it didn’t fit the manipulated message they want to force feed the ignorant.

    • Why do you keep writing “(sic)”? I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • It’s like they have copied the comment from someone else without attribution… the insertions of “(sic)” all follow grammatical errors, but there is nothing to indicate that this is a quote… It’s very odd.

    • Barbara Bankes says:

      Amber, ALL students at this level should know the answers to the questions asked in the edited video. The history of our nation’s beginnings and the issues that led to the Civil War are important to the fabric of this country. One should not get through grade school and Jr. High School/Middle School without knowing the answers to those questions in the video. One does not need to choose to be a history major to know the most basic of American (and world) history. All student should be required to take history classes in High School and, if they are not, there is definitely a dumbing down of education. Anyone who has access to TV, computer news, newspapers or books has no excuse for not know the answers. Who would not know the name of the current Vice-president, who has been in office for seven years? The video was obviously “cherry-picked”, but the point it makes is definitely valid.

    • Amber, these are elementary history questions that were reiterated in EVERY US HISTORY class they took from 4th grade to high school graduation. If they had a state history course in junior high, it would have all been covered AGAIN. And America’s independence would have have covered (yet again) in world history. Questions relating to both periods in history would have been covered on every college entrance exam.

      Our “concern” is very much like when a driver doesn’t know what a blinker switch is for…. One of those things you should know before you get to this place in the world.

  3. Christian beattie says:

    Really people, stop trying to defend the fact that for 30 years the left has been dumbing down our youth. My 14 year old Homeschooled son can answer all of the questions except the pop culture ones. And before you say he does not get enough socialization, he is the senior patrol leader of 80 boys, and is one step away from Eagle scout, surfs like nobody’s business, steersman of a State winning canoe team, skateboards and spearfishes! Teach our history, the 3 r’s and bring God back into the public square and you won’t have so many ignorant people!!!

  4. Staberdearth says:

    It would be nice to see the unedited video…in the name of transparency. I am not in any way implying that Poli Tech is following in the footsteps of the current regime. You know, the one that declared transparency from the scripted TelePrompTer to everyone but has done just the opposite over the past 6 years.
    However, I have seen evidence of ignorant answers to similar questions on and off university campuses. The same questions that LEGAL immigrants have to know before they are granted citizenship. The same answers to questions that those who were admitted to their respective colleges’ should most likely be expected to know.

    Never did I ever imagine that the line delivered by John Belushi, in his motivational speech to his Animal House brothers, …”when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor”.. would actually be given as a straight faced answer to a WWII question on Pearl Harbor posed to a student at a northeast university.

    Back to the point. Release the unedited video. It would be a step towards transparency and besides, if there is nothing to hide, then why not? Polit Tech is only giving fuel to those in abject denial of the dumbing down of the United States. A decades long dumbing down effort which is quite clearly the plan as scripted by left leaning academia populated with folks that came to college and never left that la -la Neverland to face the real world. Sort of like a gubmint employee who never worked in the private sector.

    BS – Materials Engineering, PE, and a, since childhood interest, in History and the facts and figures that go with it.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    ~ George Santayana

    PS. I never got an award for “participating” in anything, have you? That’s pseudo-achievement for “being in the right place at the right time”, nothing more.

    • Never did I ever imagine that the line delivered by John Belushi, in his motivational speech to his Animal House brothers, …”when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor”.. would actually be given as a straight faced answer to a WWII question on Pearl Harbor posed to a student at a northeast university.

      What? It wasn’t the Germans? Probably another CIA plot then huh? 😉

      • Chris, Maybe I’m misinterpreting your snark, but you DO know that it was the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor, right?

  5. Joe Iandolo says:

    “immoral”? I think not. There are a lot of things today that are immoral, but this is not one of them.

    It might be immoral to take citizens’ earned income and tax it multiple times. It might immoral to promise a thorough and efficient education with our tax dollars, and college students do not know how many states are in the United States of America. It might be immoral to find out a majority of U.S.A. citizens think they are the only Americans.

    I could go on and on, but there is no need to bore you further.

  6. I know for a fact that this group selectively edited out virtually all of the correct answers and only included the incorrect answers. To intentionally release a video such as this under the guise of bringing “unbiased” political information to the campus is completely irresponsible.

    • I don’t care if every one of these students got 2 dozen other answers right (they didn’t, but for the sake of argument…), the fact that they got these essential ones so badly wrong is evidence of a huge problem. Even if they eventually got some of these answers right after hesitating or guessing, the fact that they even had to think twice about them reveals a problem.

      Even if these wrong answers only reflect 10% of the answers given and even if this pool of students represents less than 1% of the school’s population, that’s still shameful and embarrassing and horrifying.

  7. Of course they editted the facts to serve their purpose! It is a POLITICAL club.

    • Please point to the time on the tape where any one of these people may have been cut off before giving a correct answer

  8. “…Cevallos said 30 students were interviewed for the video and two students answered the questions correct. He also said the organization took less than an hour of footage and they did not edit it to only show the incorrect answers…”

    OOOPPS!

  9. Sara, This will actually help Tech by exposing its ridiculously easy acceptance standards. Maybe the admissions board should include those questions and some basic math on the application?

    Not exposing the ignorance of Tech’s students does not help the school’s cause as your letter would suggest..

    Lets be honest, its currently a spillover program for those students that don’t get accepted to A&M, UT, TCU, SMU, etc….

  10. In any case or any way you cut this pie.
    We are doomed the youth of today will be worthless as adults.
    Who will change my diaper when I am in a nursing home?
    I am afraid for future generations.

  11. Russell Betts says:

    There is no excuse that can make up for that totally embarrassing display. Instead of making demands of the PoliTech Club, you should be demanding entrance exams to your university at least test to a 6th grade level.

  12. Tyler Durden says:

    Wah wah wah. Here comes the wahmbulance. Get in.

    This is EXACTLY how Michael Moore makes his “documentaries”.

  13. Even if this were strategically edited to make the point and even if it’s a small minority of students which don’t represent Texas Tech’s population: (1) Nobody would want to watch a video 3-5 times as long where people are hem-hawing around and cannot instantly answer such a basic question – if they can’t answer these simple questions instantly or have even a moment of hesitation about them, that’s definitely a problem, and (2), The existence of even a small percentage of students on any campus anywhere as clueless as these who can immediately answer a Snooki or Pitt/Jolie/Aniston question but can’t answer the most basic & important of US Gov’t questions is downright scary. That means that some High School somewhere let them graduate like this, which is shameful & abhorrent…and worse, a college admitted them.

    • That would be because 60-70% of high schoolers 1) Do Not study, and 2) Schools are full of kids who are products of parents and grandparents who are not involved.

  14. I completely support this letter! Brains aren’t as simple as people here to like to think. If somone isn’t actively using a piece of information, they’re probably not going to remember it as well as something that’s current in their lives (or they hear talked about regularly, like Jersey Shore). And why would you need to? When is knowing the vice president’s name going to be of any use to these students? I’m sure they all excel at things beyond memorizing information they learned in high school and haven’t needed since.

    To everyone commenting here saying these students should know better, take a look at your own lives before taking such an elitist stance. Where are you in life? What have you achieved? Are you better prepared for the future than these kids? Probably not.

    • EVERY American citizen should be able to say not only who won the Civil War but also to explain its significance. EVERY American citizen should be able to tell what nation we got our independence from as well as when (it’s only the most important event and date in America’s history and the foundation of everything we value). EVERY American citizen should know who the President and VP of the United States are without hesitation. These are not trivia items. These are of monumental importance to our country and political process and they impact daily life in significant and powerful ways…far more so than what’s on popular TV shows and tabloid fodder.

      If the interviewers were asking exact years of minor events or names of specific battles or less important leaders, sure, those who are more inclined to history and memorization will excel at that while others may have to look it up. But the questions asked here are so BASIC that it’s downright shocking that anyone would question the importance of knowing them. Why does it matter who the VP of our country is? Well, let’s see…they preside over the Senate and are the President’s right hand person and often set the agenda for departments and agencies, including the very programs that students are a part of and benefit from, and historically there is a very high likelihood they will become the President within a term or two, if anything happens to the president or once their term is up.

      These are not obscure facts that you memorize in High School for a quiz once and then never have to use again. These are things you should KNOW without thinking twice about it because it comes up in your daily life frequently…and if it doesn’t, something’s WRONG. Your suggestion that it’s something people “haven’t needed since” only proves the point further; that is PRECISELY the problem and what this video exposes!

      It is not “elitist” to expect that college students should be able to answer the same questions that immigrants are required to know to become citizens. It is not “elitist” to expect American citizens to know what virtually all exchange students and a large majority of foreign nationals know (it’s shameful if we don’t). It is not “elitist” to expect that when a principal and Board of Education chairman sign a High School diploma certifying that a student has met all of its graduation criteria and achieved the core competencies required by their state governing bodies, they actually have – not as rote memorization but as values and competencies they understand and can articulate. Nor is it “elitist” for a college admissions review team to admit students who actually can function in today’s world with the common knowledge required of all citizens.

      It IS “elitist” to think these don’t matter, to presume that somehow ignorance is acceptable and superior to those who care about their country and their future.

      And no, this has nothing do with the complexity of the human brain…that’s a lame excuse (and an insult to those of us who love to research the science behind cognition and learning).

      These students will be interacting with people of other cultures and ethnicities, working jobs and starting careers, and voting on what affects us all. Yes it matters! Just in the last few months, every one of the answers to these questions has had a significant shaping influence on legislation, politics, court decisions, news media, the current election climate, school funding, insurance, and foreign policy. Snooki and “brangelina” have ZERO influence on what matters, but ignorance of the Civil War has nearly cost us one of the crucial freedoms ensconced in the Bill of Rights and furthered racism. Not knowing these answers means we’ve thumbed our nose at our Founding Fathers who gave up their lives, fortunes, & sacred honor “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” and have spitefully rejected those hundreds of thousands of Americans who’ve lost their lives to protect those freedoms we currently enjoy. If we’re that clueless about these core basics, we’re incapable of making the world a better place.

    • Shmuli Buch says:

      Kirsti, which horrendously ill informed and unprepared for the future (and for the present for that matter) in the video are you?

    • Then you probably think Independence Day about the fireworks, ah?

  15. My 11 year old son could answer any of those history questions without hesitation and immediately elaborate on their historical context as well as his feelings about the current Vice President and President. There would be no room for creative editing.

    Agreed that 100% of those admitted to college should be able to at least answer the basic questions. I don’t blame Texas Tech, I have the sinking feeling you could find this many clueless people on any college campus.

  16. I want to see the female who filmed the video on the spot answering questions that somebody else came up with. I think that a lot of the people that want to release more are probably uber nerds that couldn’t confront the cameras in an area unfamiliar to them if they tried. Basically they are just wet cats sulking in a temporary glory of orgasm produced only by their need to feel superior to others if only for a moment. I’ve been in the military for 7 years and have seen these cats run about all day long every day. Prove me wrong or shut your trap.

    Sincerely,
    Luis

    • You’re kidding, right? In what possible way can any of her questions be regarded as challenging to answer “on the spot” as you put it. As challenging as “what’s your name.?” Sheesh!

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