CSU editor-in-chief keeps job

J. David McSwane, editor-in-chief of the Colorado State University Rocky Mountain Collegian, will not be fired as a result of the four-word editorial he ran Sept. 21.

The editorial said, “Taser this . . . f— Bush.”

CNN has just posted a story about McSwane keeping his job. Click here to read the full story.

Here’s my take:

Last week, I called for Colorado State University’s The Rocky Mountain Collegian Editor-In-Chief David McSwane to be fired, but on Friday the CSU Board of Student Communications decided to keep McSwane as leader of the newspaper.

He printed a Sept. 21 editorial that said, “Taser this: F— Bush.”

McSwane’s decision to run the editorial resulted in the lost of 18 advertisers and nearly $50,000.

Yet he still has his job.

At any other business, if someone caused the company to lose such a significant amount of revenue, that person would be fired so fast he or she wouldn’t even have time to collect personal effects from the desk.

McSwane said the whole incident was about highlighting the First Amendment, but I think that is an absolute farce.

I truly believe he ran it just to see if he could get away with it, and the CSU Board of Student Communications proved him right by not removing him from the position of editor-in-chief.

In fact, in a CNN.com report, one Board member, Elise Stephens, even alluded to McSwane not being fired as a result of First Amendment protection.

“I think our meeting went so long tonight because it is a First Amendment situation,” she said. “We had to consider every side of it.”

Fine, consider it from every side, but shouldn’t the fact that the editorial was completely distasteful and published in extremely poor judgment matter?

As leader of that publication, it is McSwane’s job to prevent obscene, irrelevant materials from getting printed, and he failed in a grand fashion when he let the editorial run.

He brought incredible amounts of embarrassment to the newspaper, he caused the paper to lose revenue, and I am sure it caused a bit of a stir in his newsroom because I highly doubt everyone on that staff thought it was OK to print that editorial.

He should have been fired instead of merely reprimanded.

I understand he wanted to exercise his First Amendment rights and comment on the current president, but he should have done all this in a more appropriate manner.

I love the First Amendment. In fact, I am strongly considering getting it tattooed on my back, but I also understand decency. I don’t think McSwane does.

As a fellow editor of a college paper, I can’t even imagine printing something like that, even if I truly believed it.

Using a profanity in a newspaper seems so idiotic to me. Why would someone do that?

Instead of cowering behind the First Amendment, why didn’t The Collegian’s editorial board write a well-researched piece that could have carried the same sentiment?

I don’t know, but if I ever do something like that, I can expect to be fired. In fact, even if I weren’t fired, I would quit because I would have embarrassed my newspaper and myself.

What McSwane did was wrong. He should no longer be editor-in-chief, and everyone involved in the decision to print that editorial should be questioned about his or her reasoning for backing it.

If I had been a member of that editorial board, I would have been screaming about how stupid it would be to print something like that, but I wasn’t.

Now, I can only observe the fallout and be embarrassed for McSwane and his poor taste as a journalist.

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About toddvogts 773 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at www.toddvogts.com and follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/toddvogts.