March 13, 2001
Free speech dies in Berkeley
by Debra Saunders
March 13, 2001
Now you know what the UC in UC Berkeley stands for: University of
Censorship. Last week,
UC Berkeley's student-run paper, the Daily Californian, ran an ad, "Ten
Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Ideaand Racist Too," written by author
Leftist activists promptly protested the paper's decision to run the ad.
They stormed the paper with a list of demands, including that the paper
"hire a person to review the paper for offensive racial context," that it
run "two formal apologies" with photos of members of the paper's board and
staff, that it run photos of students opposed to the ad, and that it run 10
columns, each rebutting one of Horowitz's 10 points.
Then, like good little Brownshirts, the activists stole all the remaining
papers from their racks. It is a sorry commentary on how much students have
become used to the censorious acts of the student Left that the Daily Cal
didn't even report that activists stole copies of the paper in order to
keep other students from being exposed to opinions with which the activists
When asked why the theft didn't make the paper's story, editor Daniel
Hernandez replied, "There are a couple things in the story that we could
have added." (No kidding.)
Daily Cal editors should have told the activists that they would run an
opinion piece taking the content of Horowitz to taskbut not if the mob
stole the papers. In the piece, activists could challenge some of the ad's
more offensive statements, such as that welfare benefits constituted a
transfer payment to African Americans. (More whites than blacks are on
welfare.) Best to fight offensive speech, not by muzzling dissent, but with
But the Daily Cal ran a formal apology. Hernandez wrote a letter to readers
that noted that the ad contained "incorrect or blatantly inflammatory
content." He said the paper's staff should have vetted the ad. And added,
"I promise readers it will not happen again."
But the ad was not "blatantly inflammatory." Horowitz did not use the crude
bomb-throwing lingo the paper's liberal columnists find so handy. Nor was
the ad incorrect; it was a documented matter of opinion.
"This whole thing has brought a mirror to our faces," said a wary Hernandez.
The mirror shows something downright unjournalistic about the Daily Cal. As
Berkeley College Republicans Chairman Robb McFadden noted, "Unfortunately,
it seems like freedom of speech at Berkeley only applies to those who don't
stray from the liberal line of thought. I'll be the first to admit that I
do not agree with all of the things that Mr. Horowitz said in his
advertisement, but I cherish the fact that in America he has the right to
Yes, in America he has the right to say them. But not in UC Berkeley.
Quoth Horowitz, "Even in the McCarthy era, Communists could buy ad space in
a college newspaper."
This nasty episode makes one ache for the education student activists
clearly are missing. They know too little history. They don't appreciate
the First Amendment, or understand the ugly consequences that can occur
when people with power try to dictate what other people say and think. They
have a glorious window to the world of knowledge, yet they prefer to spend
their time telling other people what they can't write, or can't read.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Mar 13 2001 - 18:30:33 EST