Friday, June 30, 2006

Censorship at UIW

The dean of library services at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) here in San Antonio has canceled the school’s subscription to the New York Times.
He did so “to protest articles exposing a secret government program that monitors international financial transactions in the hunt for terrorists.”

"Since no one elected the New York Times to determine national security policy, the only action I know to register protest for their irresponsible action (treason?) is to withdraw support of their operations by canceling our subscription as many others are doing," Mendell D. Morgan Jr. wrote Wednesday in an e-mail to library staffers. "If enough do, perhaps they will get the point."

This is nuts. It’s the kind of thing I would expect from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, not a liberal arts school here in the Alamo City. Oops, sorry, apparently it is now a conservative arts school. After hearing all the partisan ranting from rightwing bloggers and the phony outrage from Bush and Cheney over this story, I’m more convinced than ever that the Bush administration had something to do with getting it disseminated in the first place. I think it was clearly in their interest to let the public know about the anti-terrorism activities the administration has undertaken, especially during an election year when they are suffering in the polls. And then turning around and criticizing the media is a great way for them to fire up their base of supporters. This has all the earmarks of a Karl Rove political operation and it has apparently worked like a charm.

No word yet on whether Mr. Morgan has also canceled the school’s subscription to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, since all those papers ran the same story on the same day. I’m also curious to see if he will cancel the school’s subscription to the local Express-News since they subscribe to the New York Times news service and frequently reprint stories from the Times.

I was glad to read further down in the article that library staffers and some students at UIW were outraged by Mr. Morgan’s act of censorship. I also found it interesting that Mr. Morgan was conveniently unavailable for comment after pulling his little stunt because he was “on vacation.” Hmmm. A wingnut and a coward. How typical. I guess he figures students at UIW can get all their news from Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh just like he does.

Somehow I get the feeling that UIW will soon be looking for a new dean of library services.

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