Thursday, September 27, 2007

Collegian says, "Taser this."

By now you’ve probably heard about the editorial in the Rocky Mountain Collegian at Colorado State University in response to the tasering of Andrew Myer at the University of Florida that has sparked another debate over free speech.

The editorial, which appeared in Friday’s edition of Collegian contained four word: “Taser this. F--- Bush.” The paper’s already lost $50,000 in advertising and many are calling for editor David McSwane to step down, which he has refused to do, defending his actions as freedom of speech.

McSwane said he and his staff were trying to spark a debate with this editorial and they certainly have, but never expected the kind of response they’ve received. (Though I suppose McSwane probably wouldn’t have sanctioned the editorial had he known people would be calling for his head).

I’ve been on an editorial board that’s trying to make decisions about what to write for the week’s editorial and can understand how it might have seemed good like a good idea at the time. I do, however, think it was an unintelligent move, as using expletives to get your point across makes you sound uneducated. Smart people should be able to express themselves in a compelling way other than using profanity.

That being said, I still don’t think McSwane should be forced to resign or asked to step down. Just because he is the editor doesn’t mean the blame should fall solely on him and though what the paper printer was ill-advised, it’s still an issue of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

It’s not exactly a secret that Bush isn’t well liked by the majority of citizens these days and if the Collegian editorial board wants to write something like that to express themselves, they should be able to. I think they should have done it in a classier way, but the issue of freedom of speech still stands.

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