Collegiate Times Editor at Virginia Tech: Paper Does Not Support Anti-Muslim Advertisement

The Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech reached out to readers last night, explaining the paper does not support the content of a controversial advertisement published in its current summer print edition.

The so-called FLAME ad, created and distributed by the non-profit organization Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), is a wordy treatise pushing what many agree is an anti-Muslim agenda.  Among other “facts” and perspectives, it purports there is rampant anti-Semitism and holocaust denial within the Muslim-Arab community and chides the news media for failing to properly report upon the “outright ethnic cleansing” of Christians by Islamic radicals.

In an online letter, CT editor-in-chief Michelle Sutherland confirmed that while staffers don’t agree with the ad’s “underlying message of cultural hatred,” the paper needs the money.

Sutherland: “[T]he CT is totally dependent on advertising revenue.  We receive no financial support from the university.  It is not as simple as saying, ‘We do not support this message, and we will not collect your money.’  We exist solely because people pay us to get their message out– especially in these economic times. . . . We fully understand the abusive nature of these ads. However, refusing to publish them does not solve the larger problem of cultural prejudices that exist in our country.”

The FLAME ad has spurred controversy for a number of other student newspapers in recent semesters, including The Diamondback at the University of Maryland and The Badger Herald at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In an editorial last fall, Diamondback editors shared their rationale for running the ad: “[T]he advertising department reviewed FLAME’s submission and determined it contained a subjective opinion– as does a page 5 advertisement for University Club Apartments, which claims the complex offers ‘The perfect fit for your college lifestyle.'”

The ad has also apparently appeared at least once in a past CT issue– a fall 2011 letter to the editor denounces the false impressions it presents about Muslims.

A screenshot of a sample FLAME ad.

At present, at Virginia Tech, not all readers are buying the financial excuse.  As one commenter asked Sutherland beneath her note, “So you’re saying that you essentially whore out ad space to anyone who wants it?  Glad to know you’re that desperate.”  Another commenter: “So you essentially admit to taking ANY advertising money that comes your way – regardless of what it says or implies?  That’s a good way to go about things for sure.  Can we get a new school paper please?”

Related

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Quinnipiac Student Newspaper Told to Drop Housing Ads

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Holocaust Denial Ad in Harvard Crimson Causes Criticism

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