California Institute of Technology Won't Run CODOH Ad – Yet ran It

Published: 1998-09-30

Lexi Baugher, ad manager for The California Tech at California Institute of Technology, called to say The Tech would run the ad. On the 14th we discussed the layout of the ad by telephone and it was set to go on the 18th. I then received an e-mail message from their business manager:

Dear Mr. Bradley Smith,

Your request to run the ad "There is no liberty without free speech..." has been denied. We have had problems before with running your ad, and therefore will not run it again. If you do wish to run a different ad, however, we will consider it for a later date.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Koo
Advertising Manager, The Tech

The $250K ad is a new ad which The Tech has not run before. The Tech ran one of my ads before (a "similar" one, I suppose) and had "trouble," so they will not run another like it. So—those who made "trouble" over the previous ad have won at The Tech. These "problems" are created wherever open debate is suggested regarding the Jewish holocaust controversy—and I am not diminishing the fact that real problems are created, including but not limited to destruction of property, threats of physical violence against editors, threats of economic retaliation, and other forms of harassment. So, on the one hand I understand what Ms. Koo is up against. On the other, The Tech (I don't know if its editors were involved in the decision) caved in to the fear of a handful of petty totalitarians on her campus.

On the plus side, Ms. Koo assures me The Tech will consider running other CODOH ads. I'll have to find out which kind of CODOH ad The Tech might be interested in.

Update: The California Tech

On 20 September I reported here that I had arranged with The Tech's business manager, Lexi Baugher, to run "There In No Liberty Without..." and sent off a check. The next day I received an email message from Jennifer Koo, advertising manager, saying that the ad had been rejected because an earlier ad of mine had caused "problems" for the paper. I wrote off The Tech. A couple weeks later I received a tear sheet from the 18 September issue with my ad printed on the inside of the back cover. There was a note from The Tech's business manager, Lexi Baugher, saying in part: "If you would like to advertise in The Tech again in the future, don't hesitate to contact us."

What's the lesson here? First, its not over until its over. Second: this suggests how important a single voice can be on a newspaper staff. If one person on the staff will take responsibility for encouraging a free press, others will go along. Its when there are mixed views among staff, with no individual willing to take responsibility for making "trouble," that is, allowing controversy, that those special interests that argue against intellectual freedom will win the day.


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: California Institute of Technology Won't Run CODOH Ad – Yet ran It
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Published: 1998-09-30
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 28, 1998, 7 p.m.
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