Monday, September 24, 2007

Campus Newspaper Should Have an Editor Who Knows When to Edit

Colorado State University defends their campus newpaper for printing in their recent headline, Taser this, -F--- Bush. "Taser" referred to the fact that a Florida student was tasered by campus police for refusing to limit his question to a politician who was speaking there. I gather the student was monopolizing the microphone. Tasering him was considered extreme and unnecessary force by anyone viewing the video.

So CSU's student paper, The Collegian --which is funded at least in part by advertisements and not student fees, decided to comment on multiple issues in one headline: treatment of students, free speech in both Florida and Colorado universities, and Bush policies.

One of the CSU students said to the TV news that she thought the editor should be replaced with someone who can edit. I agree. Or at least reprimand him and demand some kind of mea culpa. Newspapers, librarians,schools --they all edit, censor --all the time. They impose their judgment over what is printed, purchased and allowed in schools, libraries, student publications, drama productions, graduation speeches, etc. After all, they all need public support --and sometimes, they wisely choose to restrain the free speech and actions of themselves and others --for various reasons: alumni concerns and support, tax payer support, simple courtesy and decency, truth and objectivity --the last being most important.

There is a limit to speech which is funded by someone other than oneself. There is a limit to free expression, such as shouting "fire" in a crowded building when there is no fire --such as the nooses hanging from the school yard tree in Jena, LA. The school punished those students. CSU should punish this newspaper editor for his foul language in print directed at the U.S. President. They can criticize his policies all they want; free speech is not a license to libel, slander, or use vulgar, crass, lowest-common-denominator language in a public forum. There is no license to "incite to riot," either.

That being said, I don't want to see all things improper made illegal and punishable --as in forums --because I don't want to deal with the punishment angle for people who have potty mouths and call Bush a liar, etc. (However, that is libel, regarding the WMD's. The administration did not LIE; they BELIEVED something that apparently was untrue --as far as we can tell, to date.)

I do believe in freedom of expression--but people should also be free to use their purchase power and voting power to influence the nature of free speech--so that it is decent and honest in the language and images used, not damaging to public health, safety and morals. Yes, I believe all porn manufacture and distribution should be punishable by law--as kiddie porn is supposed to be. It's evil --but that's another subject for another day.

I'm not saying that there should be ANY limitation to political free speech--the Communist party is still legally operating in the US. I'm talking about the sort of speech that good parents don't want their children to learn, the sort of pictures that good parents don't want their children exposed to.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


mud_rake said...

sports report

Barb said...

Gee, thanks, Ed.

mud_rake said...

I fully expect a lengthy set of comments from you on my Calling all Fundamentalists! post which I have opened for comments.

Go at it, girl, show 'em who's boss!

John Spalding said...

I found the snippet from the Editor of the paper to be right on. In terms of speaking with my wallet, I would by a copy of that paper.

Barb said...

I hear they lost $30,000 in advertising support, John, by people who didn't think they wanted to support such a headline --so you better buy an ad and put your money where your mouth is, i guess.

John Spalding said...

The paper won't go anywhere, they will just get different ad sponsors, possibly anti-bush sponsors.

steve said...

The editors of the newspaper must have been peeved at Stephen Colbert's calling them out for general student apathy during the "Don't taze me bro" incident.