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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Chalk One Up for the Bad Guys at Illinois

This is vile and cowardly. Shame on The University of Illinois.

In today's Post-Dispatch.

Daily Illini suspends editors over cartoon By ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Feb. 14 2006 URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, ILL.Two high-ranking editors of the
student newspaper at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign were suspended
Tuesday after they decided on their own to run some of the controversial
cartoons that have sparked protests and outrage from Muslims around the
world.Acton Gorton, the editor in chief of the Daily Illini, and Chuck
Prochaska, the opinions editor, said they stand behind their decision to print
cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that were originally published by a Danish
newspaper."I think it's unfortunate because what we did for our readership was
something that most newspapers were scared to do," said Prochaska, 20, a junior
from a suburb of Chicago. "I think Acton and I made a brave decision to publish
the cartoons."Many newspapers, including the Post-Dispatch, have not reprinted
the cartoons. Since the Daily Illini published the cartoons Thursday, the paper
has received criticism from readers, Muslim groups and Chancellor Richard
Herman, who wrote a letter to the editor.The editors have been suspended with
pay for about two weeks, pending an investigation by a task force of senior
members of the newspaper.Mary Cory, the newspaper's publisher, who has received a steady stream of complaints from student staff members, said that it appears
that the two editors "intentionally stifled any opportunity for discussion and
went ahead with printing it on their own." While the editor in chief has the
final say on content, she said it is also the editor's obligation to engage
other editors and staff members in "rigorous discussion and debate of sensitive
content."The Daily Illini is owned and operated by the Illini Media Company, a
nonprofit organization that is independent of the university. On Monday, the
newspaper's editorial board apologized to the Muslim community and its readers
for Gorton and Prochaska's actions. The editorial said that the two editors did
not consult the editorial board, the editorial adviser or the publisher of the
paper in their decision, which it characterized as the "the callous bravado of a
renegade editor in chief.""We want to make it clear that while we do not
necessarily disagree with the decision to print these cartoons, we disagree with
how they were run," the editorial said.Gorton and Prochaska are also on the
editorial board and wrote a dissenting editorial saying that outlets like the
New York Times and Washington Post have been "irresponsible" in not publishing
the cartoons. They said they will not apologize or resign.Gorton, 25, a senior
from Carbondale, Ill., said the piece ran as his opinion and not that of the
newspaper. He also claimed that other members of the editorial board saw the
page before it went to press and didn't say anything.By printing the cartoon, he
said, he had hoped that "readers could look at the cartoons and see if it
justified the amount of violence that they see on the television."Most members
of the newspaper staff have been angry with him, he said, telling him he didn't
take their safety into account.Prochaska added that the majority of the 300-plus
e-mails sent to the opinions page have been supportive of the decision to print
the cartoons.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Comments (2)
The Squire said...

The Daily Illini is independent of the University. The Illini Media company suspended them from their jobs - they weren't suspended from the school.

Monterey John said...

Gee, I feel so much better... let freedom ring! (Please note tone of heavy sarcasm.)