Smith Addresses the Editor of the "Daily Aztec" and His Academic Supervisors
Published: 2013-10-30

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Leonardo Castaneda, Editor
The Daily Aztec
San Diego State University
San Diego, California
Email [email protected]
Telephone (619) 594-4190

14 October 2013

Mr. Castaneda:

On 03 September 2013 I submitted an advertisement to the Daily Aztec to be run online as a banner ad. The text of the ad read: "A Cover-up at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum?" Those nine words only, which in turn were a link that took the interested reader to an article of that title here: http://tinyurl.com/lnyww7g. My payment for the ad was accepted by The Aztec.

On 07 September, when I could not find the ad that I had paid for, I got in contact with advertising—Aztec advertising had accepted the ad—and I was told that the editor of the Daily Aztec, Leonardo Castaneda, had decided that the ad would not run. Over the next few days I telephoned and emailed you several times to ask why you had decided to suppress the ad, but you did not reply. Why? I would very much like to know the story. I do journalism just like you. For journalists, the story matters.

I understand that you are between a rock and a hard place here. I am going to suppose that you have been taught by SDSU journalism faculty that no revisionist questions should ever be addressed objectively in the Daily Aztec, either editorially or via advertising. Just as such questions are never addressed in any SDSU classroom. I am going to suppose that you have been taught by SDSU journalism faculty that if you choose to go with the ideal of a free press with regard to the Jewish/German Holocaust story the Daily Aztec will be attacked by every imaginable entity both on and off campus, including the SDSU administration itself. I am going to suppose that you have been warned that your position as Editor in Chief will be put to risk, if not finished, as well as any professional career you might have in mind. I believe I understand your dilemma very well.

I am willing to be convinced that I am wrong about all this.

One irony here, an irony that is commonplace with campus newspapers across the nation, is that The Aztec claims to follow the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics which can be accessed at http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp. That Code of Ethics reads in part:

“Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues – To be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. – To tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.– Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others – Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”

It appears that you have been convinced to make the decision, I should think with the full backing and even insistence of your professors, to go against most everything promoted in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, especially with regard to an “open exchange of views.” And then of course there is Hillel and other groups on the SDSU campus who are trained to threaten you. Hillel, The Foundation for Jewish Life on Campus, in partnership with the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, has published a 10,000-word Manual instructing its members on how to make certain that any advertisement leading to revisionist material will never appear in any student newspaper on any campus in America. The Manual is titled: “Fighting Holocaust Denial in Campus Newspaper Advertisements.” Background on the Manual is here: http://tinyurl.com/ltvqhw8

You are probably aware—without having had to conduct a poll—that it is very unlikely that there is one professor at SDSU who would stand with you in public to argue that the history of WWII, all of it, should be open to questions and a free exchange of ideas. After all, the history of the Jewish-German Holocaust is made up of an immense collection of facts and stories. It would not be impossible that while many are true, some are not. Have you been taught that it would be “hateful” on your part if you were to appear to suggest that some of those “facts” and stories appear to be problematic? Remember Iraq? Remember …all the rest of it?

The way to separate the wheat from the chaff in the study of World War II history, as it is with every other historical question, is to—ask questions. That’s what reporters do. That’s what Aztec reporters are training to do, ostensibly. Or are they being encouraged to avoid questions, to suppress questions, to run from questions, to attack those who ask questions that others want to see suppressed? Does this make sense to you? Yes? No? I’m all ears.

I am going to copy this letter to some of your staff, to SDSU academics, and to some in the administration. What has happened here, in itself, is a small story, but it goes to the heart of a kind of political corruption that infests the University in America, that the professorial class is fully compliant with, an intellectual infestation that should be addressed. Are students to learn that there are questions to ask, that should be asked, about the Jewish-German Holocaust story, or are they to be silenced, as I suspect you were, by fragile, career-dependent academics who routinely put their own welfare above that of their students, before that of the ideal of intellectual freedom, before the ideal of the University itself?

In any event, good luck to you with your job, with your professors, and with whatever you do next.

Bradley Smith
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
POB 439016
San Ysidro, CA 92143
T: 209 682 5327
E: [email protected] 

PS: Occurs to me: – give me a call. We can talk about it. It can be confidential if you like. Or if you ever get down to Baja, we can have a beer. It’s on me.

And then (again) it occurs to me that you might like to take a look at a story I wrote about an afternoon a long time ago, when I was about your age. I was following the bulls (bullfighting) back then in Guerrero, Hidalgo and Jalisco and the story is about my first formal corrida. Took place in Xochimilco in 1955 when many of the streets were still dirt. It’s called “Laughing at the Dead. Not Laughing.” It’s here: http://tinyurl.com/l883fgt.

And then … no. That’s all.

–Bradley


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Smith Addresses the Editor of the "Daily Aztec" and His Academic Supervisors
Sources: Smith's Report, No. 200, November 2013, pp. 2-4.
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Published: 2013-10-30
First posted on CODOH: Feb. 12, 2014, 6 p.m.
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