Though The Recorder's editor-in-chief, Mark Rowan, called the article "a lapse of judgment ... that does not represent the newspaper," he characterized the rally as "laughable."This is called hitting bottom and then grabbing a shovel to dig yourself a deeper pit. First you approve a satire of all rape victims throughout history then during your apology you make fun of rape survivors and others who exercised their freedom of speech.
What next? Nevermind. I don't want to know.
Rowan told the University of Connecticut's The Daily Campus: "They're uneducated about freedom of speech and unorganized - they're not channeling their anger in an appropriate manner. We've had to call the police several times today."Yeah, they don't know that he has the legal right to put his foot in his mouth as many times as he wants or as many times as the owner/publisher will tolerate. It's interesting that this young man is passionate about a perceived threat to his freedom of speech, but he has no tolerance for the constitutional freedoms of those who found his decision to publish this piece offensive.
In his apology obtained by The Herald, Petroski writes:"Listen, I wrote the article. I (messed) up. It was a stupid thing to do and a stupid topic to even tread on, and I apologize to everyone I've hurt. I wasn't writing this to try and hurt people though. I was trying to point out that people don't give a damn about anything in a paper besides something they can rally around. It looks like I succeeded, especially with our front page. That doesn't excuse what I did. I should have used a much less touchy pseudo-subject to do this with. Like animal rights or something like that ..."Another one hits bottom and keeps digging. Rape isn't a pseudo-subject and people aren't reacting negatively because they are touchy. They are reacting negatively because those who diminish rape or use other people's suffering to support a punchline -- or a personal gripe -- create an environment that lets rapists feel they have lots of buddies who know they aren't doing anything serious or who will happily leave rapists to do whatever they want.
These students are failing the lesson of learning the power of words and the responsibility that goes with that power. There's a journalistic code of ethics for a reason.
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