Printing ad was unfortunate mistake, oversight by editors

Newspapers have long been considered the guardians of free speech, but they also act as gatekeepers. For instance, when an editor chooses one story over another, the editor uses his or her best discretion to decide which is the most relevant. Also, when a writer investigates a story, he or she uses only the most credible sources to inform. In the end, some opinions and viewpoints go unpublished. Some would call this a violation of free speech, but gatekeeping – or controlling access to information – is an unavoidable reality of journalism.

And at times, there is a place for it.

We at The Daily Cougar deeply regret and apologize for the publication of an advertisement in Wednesday’s edition (Issue 116, Volume 74). The ad, sponsored by the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, subtly suggests the possibility that the Holocaust did not occur.

The information intimated in this ad is misleading and the argument is flawed. It was not our intention to legitimize this opinion.’

This incident was an unfortunate oversight. It was printed accidentally when our advertising manager, who screens out ads of this nature as a rule, fell ill.The ad was calculating, manipulative and specifically designed to target a vulnerable audience and to fly under the radar of proofreaders.’

We refuse to recognize this so-called ‘debate’ as such by responding to it, except to say that Holocaust denial is recognized by many, including the editors of The Daily Cougar, as a form of anti-Semitism.

We apologize to anyone who was offended by the ad. We will continue to work hard and be diligent in maintaining the credibility of The Daily Cougar. Our first steps will be to investigate ad revenue policies and return any funds received from this organization.

Let it be clear: this isn’t an issue of free speech. Holocaust deniers often conflate the right to make an argument with the right to be judged for it. We at The Daily Cougar believe that while they have the right to their opinions, they do not have the right to have them validated – even tacitly – in the printing of our newspaper.


Editor’s note: The Daily Cougar values the right to free speech, however, The Daily Cougar does not tolerate hate speech targeted toward any group of people. The staff editorial was not meant to be a springboard for hate speech. In order to preserve respectful, open dialogue on our Web site, all comments on this editorial have been removed and future comments will not be accepted. If you wish to respond to this editorial, you may do so by writing a letter to the editor.

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