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

by Editorial Board

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.