Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cartoongate & the Daily Illini

Due to the Daily Illini's new, draconian anti-blogger policy, I'm not going to post all of my personal thoughts on how poorly Mary Cory is handling this situation on this blog or go into how unprofessional her letter to the Daily Illini Alumni was, but I do want to open a thread to encourage a discussion on the information about this process that has been made public.

I will say that I have requested that the private taskforce investigating Acton allow their identities to be made public. This will either confirm or refute the allegations that this taskforce is nothing more than a witch hunt looking for some pretense to fire people they simply do not like.


Blogger jack fulasofy said...

Would papers that publish the cartoons of Muhammad also publish cartoons that show the hypocrisy in Christian and Jewish cultures and risk offending their audience and advertisers? NO.
Check the taboo out at

7:23 PM  
Blogger Billy Joe Mills said...

Those papers certainly should allow that kind of speech when it can reasonably be argued to have some political, intellectual, artistic, or other merit to it. Papers are reluctant to print stuff that risks the loss of advertisers, however, that could be a precise reasoning for why major papers have no published these things. The same cannot be said for the DI which prints things that are offensive to everyone, such as the Matt Vroom cartoons that joked about the size of Jewish noses.

So, the mere fact that the DI published these anti-Jewish cartoons a few months ago seems to undercut your argument quite a bit.

12:53 AM  
Anonymous josh's dad said...

Well as usual you sheep make me want to puke. When are you all going to stand up and grow a pair? The DI should be a champion of free speech and a platform for scholarly debate. Guess what? The best political cartoons are offensive. That is how you make a point. You don't like it? Then I guess it hit a nerve, didn't it? Getting your lace panties in a politically correct knot over it is the real crime here.

And by the way, congrats, you bunch of PC cowgirls have made the big time.

Check out want Ann Coulter said about your situation in her latest column, Quoth the Goddess "The University of Illinois has suspended editors of the student newspaper, The Daily Illini, for republishing the cartoons — even though the kiss-ass editors ran a column accompanying the cartoons denouncing them as "bigoted and insensitive."

That was still not enough for Richard Herman, the chancellor of the university, who wrote a letter to the editor saying that he was "saddened" by the publication of the cartoons. You want sad? The University of Illinois' sports teams are known as the "Fighting Illini." Now they're going to have to change it to the "Surrendering Illini."

God she is great and as usual right on target!

3:43 AM  
Anonymous tc said...

They're already the Surrendering Illini, you check out the sports teams this year?

Seriously, Josh, by putting this on the blog, you're already violating the ban on talking about the inner workings of the DI. Just do it! Quit.

After reading Acton's thought and looking at his background, I have to say that I think his motives were pure. I would have skipped the editorial about how offensive they were to Muslims--everyone knows that already.

The issue here is whether or not Americans are bound by sharia law, which we are not, nor will be ever be, and more than we're bound by Christian or Jewish theology.

Europe does not have our history of free speech. This is why we needed to make a stand on this subject.


8:33 AM  
Anonymous Reed said...

The DI's been pathetic in virtually everything they've done this year. They hate free speech, they misquote me (the real crime), and their editorials suck. Only now, it's not just us in C-U that sees it is a terrible paper. Now everyone knows.

I'd say there's a great opportunity for a new entrant into the market.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous tc said...

Well, I'm a great believer in the marketplace. Does anyone really believe they give away the DI as a public service?

They used to charge for it, and people actually paid money for it. Of course, this was a while back when integrity and quality were more important.

I've got a question? Is the DI actually supported totally by advertising? If not, where does the money to run it come from? THAT'S where the real power lies, not with mere reporters or commentators.

BTW, here's an interesting take on "thought crime" by a Rabbi concerning the prosecution of a Holocaust denier in Austria:

As far as Ann goes, she's got her nose stuck so far up the present administration's rear end, she has to breathe through her mouth. Both of the main political parties are traitors to the premises on which this country was based. I cannot respect her or Michelle Malkin for that reason.

I prefer Pat Buchanan for his anti-neocon rhetoric. His downright antipathy to Israel colors almost everything he writes now (and discredits him, I'm afraid), but he's certainly not in any Big Government agent's pocket. Even when I disagree with him, I have to admit that he's got some talking points.

In any case, the future of commentary is not in the Press. The readership figures are plummeting so fast that several major publishing corportations have actually been indicted for faking their numbers to make them appear to be higher to stave off a shareholder revolt. The future of commentary is right here in the blogosphere.


10:00 AM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

If Acton is fired, I do plan to quit. He's on a paid suspension until the investigation ends, which should be sometime this week. I don't want to quit, and then find he's reinstated, and then wish I hadn't quit.

I'm not violating the DI blogging policy, I'm not discussing any internal information I received because of my relationship with the Daily Illini. The DI is not prohibiting discussions of content that is totally public, but instead making private information public.

One of the editors considers Annie C his personal hero, I hope he doesn't get all weepy when he sees that she thinks he's lame.

I was saddened by the ass kissing Michigan gave us. I'm pretty sure my dad was too, I could almost hear him swearing 45 miles away.

Regarding the Chancellor, he very publicly expressed his displeasure during the earlier incidents where the DI upset the Jewish community. Our Chancellor, who happens to be Jewish, would have looked horrible if he didnt speak up when the DI offended Muslims. His hands were tied, I think he basically had to right that letter. I thought the pornography reference was pretty lame.

Reed mentions that perhaps there should be a new entrant into the market. It strikes me that if the DI were affiliated with the University Acton would actually have a First Amendment claim here, but since the Illini Media Company is a private entity, there is no state action. Some other university papers manage to get things done w/ out intermeddling from the campus administration while still being affiliated w/ the university (UNC). If there was a university affiliation, perhaps the paper would be more true to its educational mission, a role Mary Cory seems to be failing at particularly egregiously at the moment.

The flip side is that our administration would almost certainly pressure them inappropriately. They really hate bad press.

When ISS had the audacity to publicly criticize Chancellor Herman's plan to move the Assembly Hall from Student Affairs to DIA, he called Ryan Ruzic and I in to what felt like the principles office and stressed the importance of communicating with him first. I do fear that if the University started a rival publication, there would probably be coercive efforts to silence any criticism of the administration. Still, those take place already. If there was a state action, editors might be in a better position to respond to coercion.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Vartanotron said...

If those comics were about the Assyrians, I'd be pissed

10:56 AM  
Blogger jack fulasofy said...

So, the mere fact that the DI published these anti-Jewish cartoons a few months ago seems to undercut your argument quite a bit.

----"quite a bit"?---maybe you dont understand the arguement billy, the publishing of purely anti-semtic stereotypes doesnt disprove that there is a constriction on our freedom of speech because as you say "Papers are reluctant to print stuff that risks the loss of advertisers"-nor does it undercut the main arguement which you ignored that there are serious contradictions between OUR religious ideals and OUR actions.......which we all like to ignore

4:59 PM  
Anonymous mr. big said...

Jack makes an excellent point. I wish Billy, Josh, and Josh's racist Dad would pay more attention to him.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Billy Joe Mills said...


It is hard for me to respond to your comments because I honestly cannot make any sense of them. They seems incoherent...sorry.

2:42 PM  
Blogger jack fulasofy said...

dont be sorry billy, assuming that your problem with comprehension is not dogmatically induced because of preconcieved political attitudes, let me try to explain my ideas by telling you how your ideas 'they seems' incoherent---then you can do the same with my ideas and maybe we can make a little progress...

--you accept my idea that there limitations on freedom of speech-"Papers are reluctant to print stuff that risks the loss of advertisers, however, that could be a precise reasoning for why major papers have no published these things". ---im assuming that the 'however' is just bad writing because your clauses dont disagree

but then you contradict yourself with your last statement--"mere fact that the DI published these anti-Jewish cartoons a few months ago seems to undercut your argument quite a bit"---there is a big difference between purely anti-semitic stereotypes which have no political statement beyond racial bigotry(and as far i know was printed because of lack of editorial oversight) and editors intentionally publishing poltical cartoons that that illustrate the hypocrisy of our poltical institions using religous rhetoric (Jesus is bush's favorite political philospher, rove is a genius at organizing turnout among churches) and the actions of our military-industrial (anybody that knows anything about our history knows these are the foundation of current economy, our current foriegn policy) ---the publication of the former racist cartoon, done without editorial approval, in no way 'undercuts' my argument (and yours) that there is an serious constriction on 'free speech' which illustrate the hypocrisy between our religious values and our government actions--does it 'make sense', billy?

7:52 PM  
Blogger jack fulasofy said...

also-- Josh, are you claiming that you are quiting if Acton gets fired because of your ideal of freedom of speech? really? while i am sure that will be how it is interpreted by most and you will surely get alot of praise for it, you might want to ask yourself if you would quit over censored speech that you disagreed with?(while not saying that you completely agree with the cartoons, i am making the assumption that they are in accordance with your conservative poltical thoughts (i.e. clash of civilization, etc) because of your writing and your dad's eloquence--WOW i didnt know anybody over 25 took ann coulter seriously

--if this asssumption of paternal influence on your ideas is incorrect and you think there is no clash of civlization, but mostly elites attempting to instigate an divide among the masses, post it and it will makes my worries idiotic, and i will apologize for questioning your integrity over the matter--


you might want to ask yourself how much your promise is based on our nation's ideal of free speech,and how much is because of your personal principles --which i dont mean to discount, personal principles would still be honorable motivation--but not as noble since they are not shared by all

---would you still quit if they dont publish these cartoon that express the same 'clash' between religious ideals and governmental actions in Christianity and Judaism?? it is a tough question that you probably wouldnt get much praise for if you answered on the side of free speech---certainly not from pops or the other sheep
brian bialeschki--

8:31 PM  
Blogger John C. A. Bambenek said...

Dick Herman might have spoken up for Muslims because of his ham-handed stunt over the I Hate Pam cartoon, but I doubt it. The DI has kicked Christians around all this year and previously, and no one, and I mean no one, flinched.

I think Herman spoke up because he (rightly) knew the controversy that was going to come and he wanted to express his displeasure the right way, as opposed to the wrong way which he did over Vroom.

The really question here is how Josh's dad has such a lefty son. :)

11:01 PM  
Anonymous josh's dad said...

mr big calls me a racist because I support free speech and think it is reasonable for everyone to view these cartoons and make their own decision about them. Typical liberal twerp. When you can't argue with logic revert to name calling. If that fails take your ball and go home.
ps call me a racist to my face and I will string you up by your toes and let the hogs eat your face off, you little prick.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous josh's dad said...

ON a more civil note, I blame Josh's wrong-headedness mostly on this wacko left wing fem-nazi that he dated for a while. She brainwashed him. Beautiful girl so quite understandable really. I actually liked her a lot. I am not too worried about Josh. I was a democrat back when I was in college and until I started making some real money. You guys just wait until you get that first big check and then you realize that you are paying about 50% in taxes. That realization is the big philosophy changer right there. I remember when I got my first big bonus check. I thought the payroll had made a mistake. That was the day I became a Republican. Then when Bill Clinton tried to take away the entire country’s Second Amendment rights with his so-called “assault weapons ban”, that locked it. I joined the NRA and never looked back. Now our meathead Gov. Blagovich is trying the same thing on the statewide level. Those of you who are not brain-dead Sheep might want to look into HB 2414 and see it that is really the direction you want your state to go in. If you enjoy being victims then just ride along (over the cliff that is).

2:11 AM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

Mr. Big - If I were you I wouldn't test my dad's Gangsta.

Bambeneck - The real question is whether or not your wife will let you stay and play poker next time

Jack Fulasofy - I do not have "conservative political thoughts" at least not on most issues. Dad and I see the world pretty differently. Strangely, my grandfather is also a spirited progressive, this makes for some tense dinner table talk.

I'm a pretty rabid defender of free speech. The one thing I like about the ACLU is they always stand up for principles whether or not they are on the popular side of the issue, like the Nazis marching in Skokie. I supported the DI even more publicly when they ran the horowitz ad on reparations for slavery which I found even more disgusting than the Mohammad cartoons b/c the work was passed off as scholarship.

I want the DI to continue to view itself as having an obligation to run extreme content and ideas so they can be scrutinized rigorously in our academic community. I'm not taking that position b/c I like the cartoons, I too think the cartoons are horrible.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous tc said...

You know you've finally hit the big-time, Josh, when the day comes that you've got the Conservatives calling you a radical leftist and the Liberals and Commies calling you a Neanderthal Born-again Conservative.

Welcome to my world.

I'd be very hesitant to call someone a racist without knowing them, and knowing them well. One of the things that Josh's dad and I have in common is that we're both old enough to have known real live racists--people who wouldn't eat in a black restaurant because they figured that the owners would spit in the foods for the whites (as well as being unclean just by existing.) Others told me when women started working in the factory I was in in 1974 that it was wrong for women to work because they were taking jobs away from men--the first black people were hired there in 1968, six years before.

It was illegal in my home town in Northern Illinois for a black person to remain in the city limits after sundown until 1964.

Racists my rosy red ass.

Part of what I find pathetic about this society right now is that people are so frightened of words and pictures that might possibly offend someone that they are self-censoring themselves.

Josh didn't let me tell the story at lunch that I wanted to about "Political Correctness" so I'll do it here.

Once upon a time, I was at a Underground College Newspaper columnist conference in Baltimore. There was a paper on campus called the Walrus which competed against the DI when it was supporting the status quo of the University and all that goes with that.

Anyway, this was well over 35 years ago. We all partied pretty hard and I met a guy from one of the Ivies (I can tell you in person who it was, he's a VBN now in political commentary). Well, we were wasted so we were talking about what was going to happen "after the revolution".

We said, "well, it'll be just like in Russia--we'll take all these war-mongering Democrats like HHH and send 'em to camps where they'll stay until they're Politically Correct!"

The term is from Russia of the 1930s. To the best of my knowledge, it was not used in America before that.

Unfortunately, a couple of "Women's Libbers"--(call 'em feminists then, and you'd be deballed, feminists were their Grannies from the suffragette movement or that ancient Betty Friedan) heard the conversation and went home and wrote it up in their papers back home.

As late as the mid-70s, it was still seen as a joke among radicals and hippies.

It's still a joke. I'm sorry.


This is a true story, by all that I call Holy.

In any case, I don't hold much with this PC, racist-calling and diversity crap. It's all being used by people in an attempt to limit free thought and speech.

And I would *buy* some hogs to dangle you over if you called me a racist to my face.


3:06 PM  
Anonymous tc said...

Lest one or more of you doubt the veracity of the above, let me included this short note from the Online Etymology Dictionary under "politics"

"Politically correct first attested 1970; abbreviation P.C. is from 1986"

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.


3:15 PM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

Thats a hot story TC - I dont doubt you at all my friend.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous josh's dad said...

thanks TC. Maybe get the opportunity to buy you a beer one day.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous mr. big said...

Wait, wait, wait...

I call Josh's dad a racist and then he wants to hang me? Kind of like when a Danish paper published some non-sensical cartoons and people called for beheadings. I like how republicans are all for the asymmetrical response. By the way, I have already made a few fat paychecks. I will likely make even fatter ones. I'm still not a republican.

1:29 AM  
Anonymous tc said...

No, no no. You have the inalienable right to any *political* speech that you like. You can say anything you like about his politics THAT IS TRUE and debate him in the realm of ideas.

What he said was that if you used this slanderous term in person as you already have in print (libel), he would take appropriate action.

The cartoons are political satire and therefore protected speech.

Statements as personal, inflammatory, and untrue as the one you made about Josh's dad would be cause for a duel in 1800.

You know, it's sort of a shame we abolished the Code Duello. "An armed society is a polite society."
Non-gamma males don't usually put up with that sort of crap for very long.

BTW, Josh, I have to take a few moments here and publicly upbraid you and your posse for tormenting Trojanowski like you've been doing. It's what my sainted late grandmother would call, "not nice."

Remember when you get to Washington that sometimes it's not a good idea to screw with people just because you can because you may need them someday.


9:48 AM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

TC - Trojanowski is plenty mean to us already, but I'll try to keep the tone a little more civil. You make a good point, as usual.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous josh's dad said...

Mr. Big, You don't get it at all. First of all, I did not say I would hang you. Hanging is typically done around the neck and is what we would and should be doing to criminals if we had any balls as a society. I said I would hang you by your toes. If you are this anatomically challenged understanding the difference between your neck and your toes then out of sympathy I will refrain from speculating as to what other body parts you are confused by (examples such as head and butt; asshole and elbow, etc. would be too cruel)

Moving on, I am glad that you have made big paychecks. You know, there is no rule against paying extra taxes. If you enjoy giving your hard earned monies to the government so that they can slop the trough of the worthless eaters in our society, then by all means please do so. Pay extra! It will do your liberal heart good.

Finally the big point is that you scream racist when I support publishing cartoons that Arab/Muslim people find offensive. Where you miss the mark is that the label of racist implies that one feels a certain group of people are inferior because of the color of their skin, their religion, or possibly their place of origin. I don’t believe in judging people this way, and I get really pissed when someone suggests that I do. My personal code is to judge people by their actions, period. I don’t care what color or religion someone is, who they share their bed with, or how they feel about intelligent design. I do have tremendous prejudice against people who, for example, cheer in the streets when the World Trade Centers fall, people who strap explosives to children and train them to kill themselves and as many others as they can, or people who degrade and treat their women like chattel. I don’t like people who kill school bus loads of kids in the name of god, or people who blow up sidewalk cafes and kill pregnant women and old folks and then call themselves brave warriors.

I have often told Josh, that if someone wants to fight, the world is full of guys who can’t wait to fight. If you feel like fighting, go fight. Plenty of guys will be glad to give you all the fighting you want. But terrorism doesn’t do that. It is the cowardly act of a coward. I have extreme prejudice for those who behave in this fashion. And yes, rioting, burning down buildings, demanding blood retribution because you don’t like a freakin cartoon, is terrorism. It is the behavior of mob rule, of the sub human, and I would be just fine with sending a guided missile right into the thick of them, and good riddance.

My point was I think it is a journalist’s obligation to let everyone have the opportunity to see these things (cartoons) and judge for themselves if the reaction to them was civilized and just or if it was terrorism.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous tc said...

Nope, JD, I owe *you* a beer.

That was eloquent.


8:10 AM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

Will you two paranoid anti-gubment wackos stop holding hands, you're a step away from writing poetry together. llaaaameee

most recent news is they've extended the suspension an additional week.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous tc said...

About 15 years ago, I was running a research project for the DoE. This was just before the first Gulf War.

There was a guy working with me who had done two tours in 'Nam (as a matter of fact, he ended up teaching the young troopers stationed in Saudi how to do NBC protection in that war.)

Anyway, there was this young troublemaker there who figured to stir up some action, so he said to the two of us when we were standing next to each other, "So, Doug, you know that Tom here was a draft dodger?"

Doug sorta looked over at him and said, "Nope, but we still have a lot more in common with each other than we'll ever have with you, punk!"

We got to watch the world change into what it is nowadays rather than being born into it. It gives one an interesting.....perspective....on the way things are.


8:28 AM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

I just submitted my resignation. I'll most likely post it on the blog in the future

3:13 PM  

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