On Sept. 21, The Rocky Mountain Collegian of Colorado State University printed a four-word editorial in light of the University of Florida student who was Tasered during a Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., speech.
In a large font that encompassed the upper portion of the page, The Collegian said, “Taser this . . . F— Bush,” with the profanity spelled out in its entirety.
The byline for this editorial said, “This column represents the views of the Collegian’s editorial board.”
Publishing this sentiment was inappropriate and distasteful.
There have been grumblings questioning if Editor-In-Chief J. David McSwane should be fired for allowing such an editorial to run.
Clearly such a decision on his part creates questions about his competence as leader of the publication because it was offensive and done with no class.
Even if what was printed truly was the opinion of the entire editorial board, which McSwane has said it was actually a split vote, it could have been done with more tact in a less offensive manner. A well-written piece could have expressed similar sentiments without using shock value to get the point across.
So should McSwane be fired? Yes, but not because of the opinion. He should be removed because he failed as editor-in-chief to uphold the credibility and class of his publication.
There was absolutely nothing professional about the decision he made, and so he should be fired because he was irresponsible.
As a journalist, he showed no talent in allowing the use of a four-letter word to describe certain feelings. Anyone can say that word, but it takes true journalistic ability to craft a piece that expresses an opinion and evokes change without resorting to such idiotic methods.
McSwane used his power as leader of the publication to devote space to expressing a shocking message merely because he could.
As editor-in-chief, he should know his audience, and he should have known that the college community and the nation as a whole would not be accepting of the stance.
On The Collegian’s Web site, anyone can read the letters and opinions of the readers, and a majority of them are not in favor of what was printed.
Readers are outraged that their newspaper was alienated them in such a way.
An individual’s political stance should not dictate content in a credible news publication, but by running this editorial, The Collegian has made it quite clear where it and its employees stand politically.
This could destroy credibility and make the student-workers’ jobs of news gathering even more difficult than it already is because those four words may have alienated an entire group of potential sources.
McSwane messed up, and even though ideally everyone should get a second chance, this error is unforgivable.
He crossed a line, and he should be punished for his actions. Some of life’s best-learned lessons are the ones that permanently scar.