The Graphic – Staff editorial: Taser this … Colorado State University

This editorial from Pepperdine shows good, clear writing, unlike the four-word CSU editorial that has been in the news recently. It emphasizes the fact that the editorial does not simply contain a vulgar charge aimed at the president, but that…

When students at Colorado State University in Front Collins opened the Sept. 24 issue of the Rocky Mountain Collegian, their student newspaper, an oversized and attention-grabbing headline shouted at them:

“Taser this … F*** BUSH.”

In the space where a 600-word editorial should be, this ambiguous (and asterisk-less) phrase was printed instead. It was recklessly displayed with no accompanying story, no explanation of the editorial board’s intentions and no rationale for the gratuitous display of profanity.

The editor’s statements about wanting to support free speech would hold more weight if some of those arguments had been included in the 596-word lacuna.

I haven’t looked into the charter for the CSU student paper, but if someone does have the authority to fire the editor, then he or she should seriously consider it. I would seriously question the journalistic integrity of an editor who not only passes off a four-word bumper sticker as an editorial, but who also manages to make it look like the editorial is somehow blaming Bush for the tasering incident. (If Bush were somehow exercising his diabolical influence on that security officer, wouldn’t he have gotten the guy to taser Kerry?)  So this is either a Michael Moore-style implication that two different facts are related just because they are true (a kid got tasered and lots of people hate Bush), or the author does not have the basic compositional skills necessary to notice the seriousness of such a logical fallacy.

More likely, those responsible for the editorial were just, well, irresponsible.

Those were an expensive four words, in terms of advertising money lost, credibility damage to the paper, and to the editor’s future career plans.