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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

'Dialectic' promotes political discussion

Students looking for political discussion no longer have to search high and low to find it -- they only have to flip their radio dial to 1340 WDCR, the College's AM radio station, to listen to "Dartmouth Dialectic."

"Dartmouth Dialectic," started this term by Henry Broaddus '97, is a Crossfire-style political discussion between a panel of four students. It airs every Wednesday night from 5 to 6.

The regular panelists include one representative from each of four political campus publications -- The Beacon, Bug, The Dartmouth Review and The Spare Rib. The Beacon is a conservative journal, Bug is a liberal journal, The Review is a conservative weekly and Spare Rib is a gender and women's issue publication. Only The Review is not a College-recognized publication.

This term, Broaddus, who serves as the show's moderator, brought together Davis Brewer '95 from The Review, Sean Donahue '96 from Bug, Erika Meitner '96 from Spare Rib and Morgan Ricks '97 from The Beacon for the panel.

"I would say that it's a good group, in that we've created a good dialectic," Broadd us said. "Although things have remained civil, we've maintained a tension that's needed."

Topics on the show so far have ranged from military intervention to arts funding to campus publications.

Broaddus said he came up with the idea for a political roundtable during Summer term.

"Basically, I was the general manager of Dartmouth broadcasting and I realized that although there are a few shows with news content, there aren't many," Broaddus said.

Broaddus said he first approached Ricks, the editor in chief of The Beacon, with the idea for the show. Over the summer, Broaddus and Ricks had discussed the show, "so I knew I had someone from The Beacon," Broaddus said.

After getting a commitment from Ricks, Broaddus contacted Bug staff member Donahue, who in turn put Broaddus in touch with Meitner, a former editor in chief of Spare Rib.

"It sounded like a great idea," Donahue said of his decision to join the panel. "I think it's interesting to see what's in other people's heads."

To complete the panel, Broaddus said he went to the offices of The Review where he found Brewer, the weekly's editor in chief.

Broaddus said he was happy to get such prominent members from each of the four publications.

"I'm very pleased that, of the four most prominent highly politicized publications, I was able to get such high-ranking members," he said.

All that was left was putting them in the same room at the same time and getting them to talk.

"I was not familiar with their rhetorical skills -- and that was a concern," Broaddus said. "There was a fear that some of them might not come across well over the air."

Broaddus' fears so far have proved to be unfounded.

"I can always tell it has been a really good show when I can get through it without saying anything but the introduction and the conclusion," he said.

"We have a very loose structure," Broaddus said. "Each panelist has a prepared statement on the show's topic, then the other panelists will respond."

The show has been airing since the beginning of the term, and Broaddus said it has evolved since it first started airing. He described the second show, where foreign policy was discussed, as a "learning experience."

"The topic was broad and it wasn't really related to Dartmouth," Broaddus said. "Now we try to alternate between close-to-home issues and national ones that are related to Dartmouth."

Ricks also said he thinks the program has changed for the better since the beginning of the term.

"Things have gotten a little more informal and less structured," Ricks said. "We're less afraid to cut in [to the discussions], which has made for a better program. There's more interchange."

Ricks said the amount of preparation he does "depends on how much I know about the topic." For a previous show on military intervention, he said he did a couple of hours of reading, but he said last Wednesday's topic of campus publications did not require much research.

"It's been fun," Ricks said. "It's been a good experience."

Broaddus described himself as the "promoter, producer, engineer and moderator." He records the show prior to its airing, because station policy does not allow a live broadcast.

"The way I have it set up, it's a one man show," Broaddus said.