Archive/File: orgs/american/codoh/university.response tampa-tribune Archive/File: holocaust/usa/codoh tampa.001 Last-Modified: 1994/09/07 Source: Holocaust Memorial Museum and Educational Center A Better Way to Publicize Hateful Denials of the Holocaust College newspaper editors all around the country have run up against on of the tougher calls they will have to make in their careers - when to say no to an advertisement. The advertisement in question is 20 paragraphs of pseudo-intellectual dreck arguing that the Holocaust Museum in Washington has failed to prove that the Nazis carried out genocide in gas chambers at their death camps. It calls for an "open debate" about the Holocaust and suggests that defenders of the historical truth of the Holocaust are guilty of censorship. "In a free society, all ideas are best illuminated in the light shed by open debate," wrote Bradley R. Smith, a Californian who has been submitting this advertisement to college newspapers around the country. The reality of German genocide in the Holocaust is no more a fit subject for debate than the fact of the deaths of 58,000 Americans in Vietnam. What happened has been documented with films, photographs and written records from the Nazis' own meticulous, detailed archives. Beyond that, there are thousands of eyewitness accounts from survivors of the death camps and testimony at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. We are at a critical point in the history of this atrocity, because those survivors are dying off, and eventually there will be no one alive who can speak the truth from firsthand experience. This opens the way for Nazi apologists to sow doubt, especially in the minds of young people, for whom World War II is as remote as the siege of Vicksburg. Along come Smith and his advertisement, appealing to the young and uninformed. College newspaper editors and advertising sales managers faced a difficult choice - print it and be chastised for spreading rubbish or refuse it and open themselves to the criticism of censorship. The University of Miami newspaper, the _Hurrican_, printed the advertisement, as did _The Central Florida Future_, an independent newspaper serving the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Julio Fernandez, business manager of the _Hurricane_, says that "a responsible newspaper lets the readers know the different points of view. Now they know there are people like Mr. Smith out there." Dave Bauer, editor-in-chief of _The Central Florida Future_, says he decided to print the advertisement because rejecting it would have been censorship. "It is not this paper's purpose to squelch ideads just because they are unpopular," he added. The ad has run in about 25 student newspapers on college campuses throughout the country and a comparable number have rejected it. The senior editor of the Brandeis University newspaper, the _Justice_, has published a defense of his newspaper's decision to print the ad in an article in the Masthead, a journal for editorial writers. Howard Jeruchimowitz, whose grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, says printing the advertisement was the right thing to do because it exposed Smith's abhorrent argument to the university, "a community that can maturely confront this issue and organize against it." He contends a newspaper "should not ignore this issue or pre-empt even a fool's argument," asserting Brandeis needed to be aware that this idea was being fomented across the country. The newspaper has taken heat for it, but, according to Jeruchimowitz, Smith should be the target because readers are better equipped to contend with anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism by knowing what people like Smith are saying. The University of South Florida _Oracle_ rejected the advertisement and also refused a request to print Smith's piece on its editorial opinion page. "We are under no obligation to run this kind of material and we have control over the editorial content," says Oracle managing editor Kevin Connolly, noting that the paper has a responsibility to print the truth and has to stand behind what it prints, whether that be an advertisement or a news story. With all due respect to the editors who printed the advertisement and are suffering for having done so, Connolly is right. A newspaper is under no obligation to give lunatics a forum to spread lies. If Smith wants to publish his views on the Holocaust, he is free to do so. He has the same freedom to speak and print his opinions as any other American. _The Oracle_, _The Tampa Tribune_ or any other newspaper is not obliged to put its presses at his disposal. At the same time, Brandeis' Jeruchimowitz has a point. Smith and others like him should not be ignored, but there is a better way to accomplish this goal. The proper way to alert people to the existence of trends like that represented by Smith is not by running their opinions as advertisements, but by writing about the phenominon as news. The newspaper should not become a liar's stenographer; it should present this information in a factual, historical context. That way the readers are informed without being insulted or propagandized. [This editorial from _The Tampa Tribune_ is reproduced here as an appropriate response to Bradley Smith and his ilk.]
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