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College Paper Publishes Anti-Muslim Cartoons; Refuses to Publish Responses to Them

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As I posted last week on Pink Pumps & Politics, The Communicator, Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne’s student newspaper, ran the 12-cartoon anti-Islamic cartoons that have been creating controversy worldwide. No context to them. No editorials. Just a staff editorial saying why they were running the cartoons, and the cartoons themselves.

This week, I expected to open up to “Podium,” the Communicator’s op-ed section, and find swarms of letters to the editor, staff editorial, or a column or two detailing what happened. I know for a fact that Lamar Dixon, our student body president, wrote two letters to the editor — one as student body president, one as a Muslim student. I wrote a letter to the editor as an outraged journalism student. I’m sure there were more letters. It creates a nice big stir. So I opened up to the op-ed section with a little bit of masochistic glee and found….

Nothing.

No letters to the editor. No staff editorial. No statement.

Nothing.

It was as if the entire incident had never happened. The Communicator has officially, and swiftly, silenced its readers.

For a paper that stated it was informing its readers and creating a public forum for debate, The Communicator has performed a marvelous act in hypocrisy.

It was bad enough that the newspaper published the cartoons with little disregard to their relevance or to the audience it serves. But now the staff — more specifically, the editor-in-chief — has acted with outright malice and disregard to its readers in refusing to print the letters to the editor or allow any forum for debate in its papges.

Someone must burn for this. This cannot be tolerated, even for a college newspaper.

***UPDATE, 2/24: I was mistaken. The Communicator did run a special feature that included student responses, but it was in a separate insert not in the newspaper I picked up. I was wrong … but I still feel letters to the editor should have been included rather than an obscure corner of the newspaper. ***

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About Chelsea Smith

  • Nathaniel Winn

    “Someone must burn for this.”

    I hope that your statement was not meant literally, as some Muslims have been acting to quite literally fulfill such statements.

  • http://onlychelsealou.blogspot.com Chelsea Snyder

    Ouch. Bad choice of words. My bad. Totally not meant literally.

  • Stephanie

    Lost of someones have been burned for it…read up on Nigeria.
    The cartoons should be printed in every paper in America…not only for their value as news…I mean c’mon everyone wants to see what all the burning is about, don’t they? But also so Muslims get the message, loud and ef’in clear, that they do not receive special treatment, they are not the supreme religion who no one criticises. Non-Muslims in Muslim-dominated countries live in fear of their lives constantly, they dare not criticise their masters, the Muslims, or else! They know what the ‘or else’ means, soon we will too, or our grandchildren will, if the media remains fearful. Imagine, us being the generation who doesn’t defend free expression and letting Islam make the rules on freedoms in America….shameful.

  • http://human-interface.blogspot.com/ gazelle

    … a whiff from the salem days … -_-

  • GammaQuadrantSectorA

    What’s this then:

    I do not support the decision [to run the cartoons] but I support your right based on freedom of speech. A university is the best place to publish them and opens a dialog that will further respect, understanding and tolerance.
    -Pam Shifley, student

    Solidarity with the free press is always good. People will finally get to see what the fervor is all about. I think any Islamic student, a small minority, would find it awkward to protest. Also, they would be more aware of the idea of a free press.
    -James Lutz, professor of politcal science

    I think it is terrific, very brave, of The Communicator. I am very impressed. Very few IPFW students read papers… most would not know what you were talking about [the Danish cartoons]. International news is not as high a priority.
    -Sophie Glazer, professor of English

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. There’s nothing different than jokes about other stuff or religions.
    -Andy McMillan, student

    [The Communicator] should be considerate of other religions. Christianity has been made fun of forever, but when you know that it will incite a riot I think you should think twice about it. [The Communicator is] responsible so, in that sense, I think that we should have responsible journalism. I don’t think it’s wrong to print them, I just think it’s a difference in views.
    -Tina Funkhouser, student

    Personally, I don’t see what the problem is. I found the cartoons funny. Knowing the comics pissed off people made it funnier.
    -Eric Searles, student

    I believe that The Communicator is creating controversy by publishing the Danish cartoons. I support freedom of speech, and I am curious to see for myself the cartoons that offended millions of Muslims and launched international revolts. However, the provocative nature of the cartoons cannot be ignored. I am concerned that The Communicator’s method of educating students about current events might be interpreted as insensitive.
    -Merav Kanpol, student

    [I am] disappointed. It was a bad journalistic choice. My understanding of journalism is when you have something provocative, established as provocative, you use words to describe it instead of using the actual picture. The Communicator presented the article as news, not as publicity, which was the case. The cartoons used 60 percent of the page: it was all about the cartoons themselves. Inflaming, further inflaming a provocative situation. I don’t think anyone wants to add to the problem; they don’t want to give it [the Danish cartoons] credibility. By talking about it on either side, they will give it inertia and further misunderstanding.
    -Lamar Dixon, SGA President

  • Brianna Belford

    Ms. Snyder,
    I do believe that you have a personal vendetta against this paper. As the editor I know that there was a spread dedicated to the above mentioned controversy. There was no separate insert. The pages you ‘missed’ were six and seven. The Podium section is on pages four and five. The paper’s front section was eight pages.
    Also, all letters submitted must be signed. Perhaps your letter was the one taped to the office door (unsigned).
    I’d also like to let you know that Lamar Dixon did not send a single letter.
    So that you know, since you obviously missed the spread on pages six and seven, I will let you know that there was an additional news story, my column on tolerance within this controversy, an informational graphic, letters to the editor, and various quotes from students/faculty/staff.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I know I’m showing my age here, but from the way Isee it, college papers ought not be on the internet quoted by adults. When the young snots on the college papers get real jobs and have a little maturity, then let them enter the fray of serious debate.

    If America re-institutes the draft, I’ll reverse what I’ve just said. Till then…

  • Jamie Miller

    I suggest you get your facts straight. In fact, in the first issue, there was a news story dealing with the cartoons. If you would have bothered to read the newspaper, you could have seen that. Second, the layout for the cartoons in the second issue was NOT a seperate insert. You lie. It is on page A6 and A7. Lamar DID NOT write letters to the editor–at least not that he sent to us. And as for your letter, it must be sent in on time for us to publish. You, being a previous employee, should already know that. Who are you to question our integrity? Your whole blog was incorrect.

  • http://welfle.blogspot.com Andrew Welfle

    Maybe this is a subject you should stay away from, because of your sordid personal involvment in the Communicator in the recent past. It is a conflict of interest, and since you are one of the best local bloggers I’ve read, you don’t want screw that up…

    Just a thought…

    -Andy

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