Monday, March 1, 2010

Is It Acceptable to Censor Hate Groups?

THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON student newspaper accepted a web advertisement from an organization called the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH). The CODOH claims that the Holocaust never happened as portrayed in the media and history books.

Some people were outraged that the school paper would accept an ad (published for $75) from such a controversial group.

The editor of the paper defended the newspaper by writing, "The UW community has every ability to confront these lies and reject them on their face. To remove this advertisement would assume our community lacks the intellectual integrity to properly define this movement as an affront to objective truths."

Would you accept an advertisement (and payment) from a controversial group? Would not accepting the advertisement be the same as censoring?

12 comments:

Julian Galette said...

I don't think not accepting such an advertisement would be censorship, not accepting would be saying you're not willing to entertain bad ideas by misguided people (and honestly, this is just me trying to be nice about; they're stupid and so are their ideas)

It's funny because I was having a conversation with my friend about this exact issue - just because someone has an opinion doesn't mean it's valid. Some people are wrong.

Berryman, A said...

I do not feel as if not accepting the advertisment be censoring the advertisement because they are two different things. To me not accepting the ad could have a lot to do with the person and the company. If the person accepts the add than they will have to deal with the controvery that will come along with it, could give that person or the company a bad name.

Jess Lopez said...

I would not accept an ad from a hate group. I would not want my readers to think that I will accept money from such groups. I am not censoring the group, they can get their message out in any way they'd like, just not through my publication.

Joe Boland said...

I would not accept an ad from a hate group because it would cause people to believe that my publication is affiliated with the hate group. Not accepting the ad would not be censoring because there are other oulets that they may use.

Dan P. said...

The editor says that he allowed the ad to be posted partly because he feels that readers of the college newspaper will recognize the fallacy of Holocaust denial. I think it might have been more effective to engage the group in some kind of debate and publish that. This also would have probably been less controversial, depending on the quality of the arguments.
Regardless, I wouldn't have run an ad from such a group. They have the right to free speech, but there is no obligation on anyone else to publish them.

Brian Okum said...

Yeah it is a wrong opinion, almost everyone can agree on that, but the editor is dead on in his defense, that it's removal "would assume our community lacks the intellectual integrity to properly define this movement as an affront to objective truths."

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poli sci professor from the school...this link is basically a way for Anti-semites to gather assemble and spread lies. *(hate crimes?) Journalists are commmitted to truth, so why endorse ads that are blatant lies when even the publisher is saying the ad should be refuted, argued, protested? Doesn't make any sense.
Yeah, thats like publishing an ad from flat earth society...why? Should the klan run an ad in the NYT? I dont think so.

Jessie Fox said...

I would not accept this as an advertisement and payment. Some issues can be argued to a certain extent, but I think something like this is very inconsiderate and oblivious. I think there is a smaller group of people that don't believe in the Holocaust, so priting this story would not connect to many people, it would just make a lot of people angry. In this situation, not accepting the advertisement would not be the same as censoring. Of course I believe that everyone has an opinion, but in a case like this there is not enough validation. Some people go to the opposite end of an extreme and some of the things they come up with are just ridiclous. Just like Julian Galette said, "Just because someone has an opinion doesn't mean it's valid. Some people are wrong."

Well said Julian

Gillian Francella said...

I would not accept this group's money. I think that the CODOH is more than controversial because it makes false claims. I am sorry for anyone that disagrees with me but the Holocaust happened and I find it a disgrace that anyone would support those that do not believe in an international tragedy.
This is not censoring, it's editing.

I have never been so outraged by people until I saw them standing outside of the Holocaust Museum.

Nichole Fray said...

I would not have accepted this group's money, and I don't believe that would be censorship. Like someone mentioned above they can still get their message out without selling their ad to me. I personally do not tolerate people with opinions that are 100% not plausible so I definitely would not take their money. A hate group is set apart from a controversial one; its deeper than that.

Parissa Zecher said...

Firstly, I think that not accepting the advertisement WOULD be censoring because you are choosing to not publish this in your newspaper. I think that even though I absolutely do not agree with this groups take on a very serious event in history that not accepting the advertisement is almost keeping something from the public and I think that the public should know whats going on around them. They should be aware that there are groups out there like the CODOH and that instead of being upset that someone allowed it to be published in a newspaper they should take it as a good opportunity for debate, to bring up valid arguments. By publishing this, you are only providing information, not justifying it at all. I think that censoring things such as advertisements like this is not smart, it leaves people in the dark and they should be able to take an advertisement like this and form their own opinions.

Francisco Ovalle said...

i'm not familiarized with what the CODOH is, but i would definitely accept the money and post the advertisement, there's nothing wrong with a controversial group. we're millions of head everywhere, and each one has a different idea. they're just expressing theirs. "Controversial" or "Normal" for me, are over-rated. what IS normal? everyone's different. Go CODOH!!!