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The Tribune Editorial Page is Easily "Discouraged" By: Bill Murphy
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, May 08, 2001


Chicago Tribune | May 8, 2001

WHAT REALLY HAS happened at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the wake of the David Horowitz ad in the Daily Illini? First, the editor-in-chief (Andrew Savikas on his last day, not his successor, Kat Schwartz) decided to run the ad. It stirred debate. Some of that debate took place in the letters pages of the Daily Illini. The debate did not center on freedom of the press but on the judgment shown by a free press.

Some argued that because a newspaper is free to accept or decline ads, the DI should have made a different decision. Others argued that the DI had performed a service by giving the ideas in the ad some visibility and exposing them to debate. The university said that it supported a free student press and, therefore, refused to pass judgment on the Daily Illini's decision.

Some of those who disagreed with the decision to run the ad held a rally and marched to the DI offices. That same day on the Quadrangle there were demonstrations for and against Israel, as well as the conclusion of a 22-hour protest against Chief Illiniwek, all sharing space with religious preachers and Frisbee enthusiasts.

All in all, it was a typical lively spring day on the Urbana-Champaign campus. First-Amendment advocates like the Tribune, and all those who value vigorous debate about serious issues and ideas, should not be "discouraged." Perhaps they should spend a little more time on campus. Freedom of the press, speech, religion, assembly and petition for redress of grievances are all very much alive at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We see them in action every day.


Copyright 2001 Chicago Tribune Company


Bill Murphy writes for the Chicago Tribune.


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