The Daily Aztec

Editorial: We stand by our decision to run the David Horowitz ad

by Editorial Board

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Recently, several students and members of the media have criticized The Daily Aztec’s decision to run an advertisement purchased by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The advertisement in question ran in our April 20 issue, shortly before protests erupted regarding anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanction posters on campus from the same organization.

The advertisement ran with a disclaimer that The Daily Aztec did not necessarily support or endorse the content.

But we stand by the decision to run the advertisement.

As a news organization, we strongly believe in the freedom of speech, which includes a person’s right (or a group’s right) to publish his or her opinion, even if that opinion could be considered offensive to some. We serve to reflect the voices of all students and community members in our paper, regardless of the perspective.

One of the ways we determine whether or not a politically charged advertisement should run involves asking ourselves if we would run a similar advertisement from an organization on the opposing side.

Would we have run an ad from a pro-Palestine organization that used similar language? The answer is yes.

If we as an editorial board began to distinguish between the ads that we personally agreed with and ads we personally disagreed with, it would irrevocably damage our integrity as a news organization.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics calls upon us to, “deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.”

If we had chosen not to run the advertisement, we would have been in violation of the ethics that guide us.

We would have let down our readers and ourselves if we chose not to run an advertisement or article simply because it might offend someone.

Unlike the posters on campus, which named activists, we strongly believe this advertisement did not endanger any students. It was a condemnation of anti-Semitism on campus, which used language that some found offensive.

And we believe that these students had a right to be offended, just as we believe the David Horowitz Freedom Center had a right to purchase the potentially offending advertisement.

Overall, we’re excited to see the students on our campus engaging in passionate political discourse about a number of issues, including this one. We welcome any and all commentary — even if it might offend us.

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “Editorial: We stand by our decision to run the David Horowitz ad”

  1. Abdul Keddou on May 5th, 2016 1:53 pm

    Thank you Daily Aztec for standing up against the forces of CENSORSHIP for FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    If speech is not controversial it’s not really free speech.

  2. Anna Y. on May 5th, 2016 11:05 pm

    Your Decision Is Highly Respected and Much Appreciated!

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states that:

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth .
    There are not a “but”or “however”in the First Amendment. And it should stay that way.

  3. elizabeth on May 6th, 2016 8:14 am

    Let’s all beware of creeping censorship.
    In 1903, Turkey trashed Armenian free speech 12 years before the genocide:
    http://sentinel.christianscience.com/issues/1903/2/5-25/items-of-interest:
    Finding it inconvenient, in the face of the sentiment of Christian Powers, to destroy the national spirit of the Armenians by force, the Turkish government undertakes to coerce it by putting Armenian school textbooks and press under strict censorship. Such words as the following have been interdicted: Star, because its Turkish translation means Yeldiz, which is the name of the Sultan’s palace; astronomy, because of its relation to the word star; the chemical symbol of water, H2O, because this might be construed into H (Hamid), 2 (second), and O (cipher),—that is, Hamid Second is nothing [in other words, someone might interpret the chemical symbol, H20, as an insult to the Caliph of the Ottoman Empire, Hamid the Second]; the word Armenia, so that the American missionaries who had founded a college in Armenia by the name of “Armenian College” were obliged to change its name into “Euphrates College;” and the words liberty, freedom, home, nation, sacrifice, thistle, obstacle, stumbling, hope, faith, emancipation. Lincoln, struggle, right, tyranny. No verses are to be published in the daily papers; the Boers are not to be sympathized with; Americans never praised; Germany never criticised, and Russia never mentioned.

  4. Bjorn Steller on May 6th, 2016 5:48 pm

    I slightly disagree that the use of names on the poster in question would endanger a student. They associated themselves with those organizations and the agendas which is the endangerment by itself. One core target of those organizations is the elimination of the State of Israel and the eradication of Jews around the world. If you sign up for that and than manage to be offended for having your name posted as a supporter of such than you might not have checked carefully enough who you are associating yourself with.

  5. gary fouse on May 9th, 2016 10:47 am

    Aside from the fact that Horowitz speaks the truth, it’s called free speech, an American tradition, which some folks want to strip away. The Daily Aztrec did the right thing.

  6. Aristotle Bean on May 19th, 2016 9:17 pm

    A wonderful man. A man of uncompromising principles and eloquence a. We need to offer him a professorship here, or certainly invite him back to speak really soon!

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