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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Letter from the Editor: David Horowitz’s advertisement

On Thursday, a paid advertisement titled “The Palestinians’ Case Against Israel is Based on a Genocidal Lie” was printed on page seven of The California Aggie. As editor in chief of The Aggie, a part of my job is to act as the final filter of all advertisements. Put simply, if I deem an ad to be unprintable, it will not be published.

About a week ago, David Horowitz’s ad was sent to me for approval, and I allowed it to go to print. As a direct result of my decision, people on this campus – our campus – felt racially discriminated against, and for that I sincerely apologize.

In response to the ad, a group organized a protest on Friday afternoon. They gathered on the quad and marched down to The Aggie newsroom. I spoke with about 10 people for over two hours. During the discussion, I was convinced that the ad is indeed racist.

As a result, The Aggie will update its advertising guidelines. An existing policy barring racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory written content from running will be extended to the advertising department.

During my tenure as editor, I’ve dealt with a bevy of controversial issues. Each of these issues had a person or a group of people demanding retribution. It is generally the policy of The Aggie to not succumb to protestors because we carefully make decisions that are intended to inform and promote discourse.

This is the first time that I feel compelled to publicly acknowledge a mistake, not because people protested and not to appease readers or advertisers, but because the situation truly merits it.

We at The Aggie take our job very seriously. As a result, we sometimes act as journalists to a fault, regardless of the consequences. However, before journalists, we are people who must try to comprehend the collateral damage of our decisions.

I deeply apologize on behalf of The Aggie for allowing a racist advertisement to run and I guarantee that, before my tenure ends, I will personally do all that is within my power to prevent this from happening again in the future.

If you’d like to publicly express an opinion regarding this issue, you are encouraged to write a guest opinion or letter to the editor or attend a special meeting of the Campus Media Board this Friday. The exact time and location are to be determined and will be announced in The Aggie later this week.

MARK LING can be reached at editor@theaggie.org.

22 COMMENTS

  1. You can call me Kate if you want. But katiewhatever is so ‘I don’t give a fuck’ and kinda turns me on so it’s up to you. :*

  2. Arafat, you get exactly what I’m saying. You’re right on target. Your racist/islamophobic ranting all over theaggie.org is sooooo intoxicating. I think I’m in love with you. Wanna date?? Cyber at least?? Hit me up on facebook (ceoneill@ucdavis.edu).

  3. The oxymoronically named Free Palestine wrote, “Free speech never needs to lump every person of a race and blame them for something. There are opinions, and there are false claims of propaganda. The ad was the latter, Arafat.”

    But he never mentions anything specific about what was propaganda in Horowitz’s claims.

    He also implies that free speech is not different for different people when, in fact, it is. Free speech has NEVER been practiced by Islam for it is counter to Islam’s very beliefs. It is NOT a coincident that free speech and Islam are also oxymorons.

  4. We could try to learn from history– if theaggie didn’t change servers every 3 years and lose all of it’s archives. In Fall 2007 Horowitz held an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” and also took out similar advertisement, I’m pretty sure from the aggie at that time as well.

  5. And, I didn’t mean to say that the *fact* is that it’s racist. I think the bigotry and attempts to dehumanize and humiliate a people (ie as if they don’t exist unless they have a nation that we recognize) is enough to qualify this as objectionable, dangerous speech, and not just an opinion. Dehumanizing arguments may not be overtly violent, but it seems to me that most of this kind of speech has encouraged violence and abuse in the past – ie what happened to the slaves, to the Jews in Nazi Germany (to the Jews in a lot of places throughout history, and to Christians and to Muslims), to the Native Americans and the indigenous peoples of Latin America, to the South African blacks, etc. Freedom of speech is such a unique freedom and it’s something I think we all highly value. Our government absolutely should protect our rights to say the most outrageous stuff we please. But our newspaper is not the government.

  6. It’s not that I don’t understand the argument for running the ad. I just think that the policies would need to be more clear about what ads the newspaper will run if they’re going to accept stuff like this. According to the vague policy they currently have, the newspaper is telling us by printing this ad that they don’t find hateful implicitly racist speech objectionable. I think the bigger problem here is that our current social climate is such that many of us don’t immediately understand the bigotry in this ad that attempts to de-humanize a people.

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