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For just $502.42 you can bash Muslims in Columbus

on 18 Comments
David Horowitz
David Horowitz

Everyone I know at Ohio State University, as well as in Columbus, was sickened when, last week, the student newspaper The Lantern published an ad by David Horowitz and David Greenfield, titled, “Former Leaders of the Muslim Student Association (MSA): Where Are They Now?” The ad lists people it claims are linked to terrorist groups, while selling a book called, “Muslim Hate Groups on Campus.”

The reaction to the ad was so great that The Columbus Dispatch later reported on the controversy: “Ad in ‘Lantern’ upsets Muslims: List of alleged links to terrorism decried as hate speech.”   The Dispatch explains, ”Many Muslim students at Ohio State University have been outraged by an ad in the student newspaper that ties former Muslim student leaders in the U.S. to terrorist groups.”

“Many”? “Muslims”? “Outrage”?  

“All” people of good will–of any or no religion–were saddened by The Lantern’s willingness to pass on smears.  

Nevertheless, The Dispatch does give some valuable truths, including:

1. The “conservative David Horowitz Freedom Center…., based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., paid for the ad.”

2. “David Horowitz, founder…, said Ohio State was one of the first schools his group sent the ad to, and the first to agree to run it.”

3. The “black and white quarter-page ad cost $502.42.”

4. “Dan Caterinicchia, faculty adviser for The Lantern, said the newspaper can reject advertising that denigrates individuals, groups or organizations based on such things as race, nationality, ethnicity and religion. ‘In this [case], the adviser and co-chair of the publications committee agreed that the ad did not violate the policy,’ he said.”

5. “Caterinicchia added that The Lantern plans to publish a commentary on the ad in the Student View section of the paper, as well as a few letters to the editor and an ‘editorial response of some kind.’”

That response and the letters appeared here: “Lantern staff prides itself on diversity, dialogue.” The editorial–like The Dispatch’s article–frames the ad and the offense it caused as a disagreement over free speech:

“Our responsibility as journalists is to bring our readers fair and objective stories, no matter how unpopular the views expressed in those stories might be. In order for us to continue to invoke our right to free speech every day, we cannot, in good conscience, support the suspension of that right for other people.”

But the editors have neglected their first job as reporters: to investigate. A simple web search would have revealed David Horowitz’s mission to censor honest debate on campus and in the world–particularly about Palestine and Israel–, through CAMERA and FrontPage, as well as the incitement Horowitz himself provided Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 90 youths in Norway, in part out of a mad belief that he was defending Israel.  

Horowitz has achieved his goal, for as The Dispatch tells us, “He’s glad it [the ad] created a stir. ‘There is no other hate group that can be on campus and have public support,’ he said. ‘I think people just have their heads in the sand, and I want to help inform them.'”

But The Dispatch interviews only one member of the Muslim Student Association, Jana Al-Akhras, and does not quote any representatives of other reputable organizations, including the many who co-signed the letter Al-Akhras wrote to The Lantern’s Editor.

The Dispatch mentions, but does not investigate, the fact that “The ad also pitches a pamphlet called Muslim Hate Groups on Campus, published by FrontPage, an online publication funded by the conservative David Horowitz Freedom Center.” The Dispatch merely juxtaposes the lie embodied in the pamphlet’s title with a counter-argument: “OSU Undergraduate Student Government President Nick Messenger called the ad ‘false, bigoted and full of hate speech that doesn’t have a place on campus.’”

The public in Columbus is ill-served by such cowardly “He-said”-versus-“He-said” reporting, as we can see by the ignorance in some of the “Comments” at the Dispatch.

This dismal sell-out for a mere $502.42 by OSU’s student newspaper smears not just people of a faith, Islam, but all OSU students, faculty, and staff, people of conscience, who daily dedicate themselves to learning. The fact that the citizens of OSU immediately swamped The Lantern with brave resistance to Horowitz’s effort to spread fear tells far more of the campus loyalty to freedom and fairness for all than anything I can say. Likewise, the few letters that The Lantern printed–of the many it received– eloquently prove how committed are the people of OSU to liberating their own minds, rather than clenching them shut.

Susie Kneedler

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18 Responses

  1. Western Sky on January 30, 2012, 12:10 pm

    This is just creepy. Did they just scour JihadWatch for the names and then somehow tie them back to the various MSAs?

    I can’t believe a student newspaper would print ads basically calling other students terrorists.

    • patm on January 30, 2012, 4:27 pm

      Did they just scour JihadWatch for the names and then somehow tie them back to the various MSAs?

      Or did Horowitz get the names out of a phone book?

      Dan Caterinicchia, faculty adviser for The Lantern, should be ashamed of himself. Think of the lessons he has taught these aspiring journalists: money is all that matters; don’t bother doing any research; don’t worry about trampling on the feelings of others.

  2. pabelmont on January 30, 2012, 12:24 pm

    Feels like a very active double standard out there: [1] it is regarded (by some) as anti-Semitism to decry Israeli lawlessness, even tho Israel is *NOT* all Jews, but [2] it is not regarded as racism (by the same “some”) to decry terrorism on part of SOME Muslims.

  3. Kathleen on January 30, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Sorry to hear about this. There have been many folks who have been focused on bringing factual literature and information to that campus.

    Some years ago I attended a Palestinian Solidarity conference at Ohio State in Columbus
    There was a Rabbi who stood outside the Palestinian solidarity conference which was on campus with a loud speaker screaming “murderer, murderer” at everyone going into the conference. Around him stood a young group of Jewish students who attended Ohio State. I asked them to come in. That I would walk out with them if there were any anti Jewish remarks. If in any way the conference was not focused on Israel’s illegal policies and subsequent crimes. They refused and screamed. I asked them to come in again very politely. The rabid Rabbi picked up the megaphone and screamed right in my face “murderer, murderer” Had no idea that cameras were on us and when I turned around I said “I think I have just experienced just a tiny fraction of what Palestinians experience everyday via efforts to humiliate them.
    I turned around and asked the rabid Rabbi once again to come in and discuss the issues, share his perspective. He picked up the megaphone again and screamed “murderer, murderer” My dear friend Art Gish (lived with Palestinians in the winters for 15 years) was standing off to the side (he was one of the speakers at the conference) I walked over to him and he said “you did just experience a tiny fraction of what Palestinians experience every day”

    The rabid Rabbi and the Jewish students at Ohio State continued to scream “murderer, murderer ” to every person going into the conference.

    After the conference I was outside and engaged a group of young men who identified themselves as Jewish students in a conversation about the conference, about the conflict. Heard some of the say the most racist comments I have ever heard about the issue coming out of their mouths with no conscience what so ever. Calling Palestinians “vermin” saying they should be put on buses and shipped off of their lands. Yes and I heard them say “run into the sea” I have attended Palestinian marches in DC several times and attended this conference. Have never ever heard such hateful comments out of Palestinians or anyone else involved with seeking justice for the Palestinians

    Keep pushing

    • Citizen on January 30, 2012, 2:06 pm

      Kathleen, too bad there is no way to get to average Americans about your experience, inter alia. I’ve tried and tried, and even with a personal connection to who I was talking, emailing, writing to–it just falls on deaf ears. Yet otherwise, these people are the type you’d be happy to have as next door neighbors….

      • Kathleen on January 30, 2012, 4:00 pm

        Art Gish and I let many folks know about both of our experiences at the conference. Also shared on several national news outlets

    • mudder on January 30, 2012, 2:28 pm

      Sounds like Max needs to make a video called Feeling the Hate in Columbus.

    • mudder on January 30, 2012, 9:16 pm

      Kathleen, you have great stories. Keep ’em coming.

  4. tod on January 30, 2012, 1:27 pm

    I would expect a list of those people called terrorists, with some comments from more knowledgeable people. Maybe they are indeed terrorist? Point is, without more info this is just a meaningless discussion, based on hearsay and outrage. If I’d like that I’d already be a fanatical supporter of Israel. :)

    • patm on January 30, 2012, 4:38 pm

      Maybe they are indeed terrorist? Point is, without more info this is just a meaningless discussion, based on hearsay and outrage.

      Point is, Tod, that without more info the ad was meaningless, based on hearsay and outrage…and the lure of money.

  5. Eva Smagacz on January 30, 2012, 4:27 pm

    Send editor an e-mail:

    “Your ad in the Lantern – would you list Jews from Harward that ended up behind bars??? – if you would it’s free speech. If you would balk it means you are a racist.”

    Was too angry to correct my grammar.

    • atime forpeace on January 30, 2012, 6:57 pm

      Don’t expend too much energy disliking these fellows they do not deserve the attention they bring to themselves. They are either ignorant or bad.

      Ignorance or malice either one a shame.

  6. thetumta on January 30, 2012, 7:59 pm

    They really should have gotten someone like Newt to represent them in negotiations for the placement of the ad. I think they could have demanded somewhere North of $502,420 easily and gotten it. Someone competent needs to represent these kids on all the other Campuses where it is to appear. For a reasonable fee, I’m available.

  7. RoHa on January 30, 2012, 8:39 pm

    Still far too pricy. I’m not going to bash Muslims until I can do it for less than $50.

    • Avi_G. on January 31, 2012, 1:15 am

      Forget about getting a bargain deal at $50. There are actually many venues today where not only can one bash Moslems, but one can also incite to violence against them AND get paid for it.

  8. piotr on January 30, 2012, 11:48 pm

    RoHa: of course, one can bash Muslim on the cheap. Like the rabbi with a megaphone, one can combine hate and thrift. But in a way you get what you pay for.

    For example, if you pay Newt Gingrich a modest 5 million dollars, not only you will get your message spread throughout the media for several news cycles but you will get a separate interview personally!

    Given that a big campus like OSU has 40,000 students, I say that 500 dollars is a very good price.

  9. Denis on January 31, 2012, 7:36 pm

    @Eva: Your ad in the Lantern – would you list Jews from Harward that ended up behind bars??? – if you would it’s free speech. If you would balk it means you are a racist.

    This very nicely epitomizes the general ignorance here as to what “free speech” means. It doesn’t mean just that speech you agree with. It doesn’t mean just speech that is balanced. Free speech is not limited to speech that is liberal or supports Muslims or Palestinians. Basically, assuming the 11 people referred to in the ad are private actors, as long as the statements made in the ad are not intentionally false, they qualify as free speech.

    If that offends you, you are living in the wrong country. Either leave or work to get the First Amendment revoked.

    Why has no one here attacked the statements in the ad on the ground that they are lies? That is the only valid ground for complaint.

    The ad names 11 individuals and for each individual the ad asserts that 1) they were associated with MSA, and 2) they are or were associated with terrorists or terrorist groups. OK, those assertions are crystal clear and unambiguous. The question is: are they true? Can anyone here provide any evidence that these statements are not true?

    For example: if Anwar al-Awlaki is leader of external operations for Al-Qaeda and is also a former MSA president of Colorado State, as the ad states, then those are two valid assertions of fact. If they are true then they are not hate speech but, rather, they are free speech that is entitled to 1st Amendment protection. If they are facts, then these right-wing nuts have every right to bring them to the attention of whomever they want to.

    OTOH, if these assertions about Mr. al-Awlaki are false, then he should be filing a defamation action.

    I don’t like right-wing nuts like Horowitz and I don’t like most of what they have to say, but I prefer them to left-wing nuts and PC pedants who try to control the dialog by mis-characterizing free speech as hate speech. That just burns my butter. And I say that as a lawyer who has fought his share of defamation and SLAPP suit battles.

    BTW, I spent 5 years as an undergrad at Ohio State. It is not a university, it is a football school. The difference would only be apparent to one who had the misfortune to attend a football school thinking they had enrolled at a university. If this ad were to be run in the student paper of an academic institution, it would generate huge amounts of dialog and probably backfire in Horowitz’s face, which is precisely why, I presume, he chose a football school.

    • patm on February 1, 2012, 8:09 am

      “…mis-characterizing free speech as hate speech”

      What’s free about this speech, it cost $502.42?

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