Is It ‘Too Soon’ for ISIS Jokes?: Student Paper Pulls Satirical Post on ISIS Campus Invasion
The Daily Nexus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has retracted and apologized for a satirical blog post describing a faux campus invasion by the militant group ISIS. With its lack of a prominent satire label upfront, some readers apparently believed the student newspaper article may have been real.
Accessible now solely via Google Cache, the post appeared early Tuesday morning on the Daily Nexus edgy humor blog Nexustentialism. It recounts a “Jihadi assault” on a UCSB dorm, only identifying itself as “a fictitious, satirical column” in a brief disclaimer following the last sentence.
Prior to that declaration, the story reports that ISIS members are currently holding student hostages and are intent on “exerting their power and meeting their beheading quotas.”
As it shares at one point, “Since the residence hall’s seizure, ISIS patrols have enforced a strict version of Shariah Law, which includes a ban on mind-altering substances and fun. … First-year English major Susan Keller said the militants have taken their policies very seriously. ‘They smelled alcohol on my roommate’s breath, so they cut her head off. It was total bullshit because vodka doesn’t even smell,’ she said.”
Local police are subsequently described as being upset with ISIS, but not for the expected reason. Instead of concerns about students’ safety, officers worry the Shariah Law lockdown is causing less student craziness and thus providing fewer opportunities for law enforcement to arrest and punish them. As one officer confirms while discussing upcoming holiday festivities, “We are used to the drunken riots of Halloween weekend. But with the significant potential of sectarian violence and the unprecedented reality of a sober student body, it’s impossible to know if we’ll be able to give out enough tickets.”
A little more than 13 hours after the satire appeared online, the Daily Nexus crew pulled it and issued a simultaneous statement of contrition for its “lack of proper editorial review prior to being posted.”
As the main thrust of the statement reads, “The piece does not reflect the views of the Nexus editorial staff or of UCSB and steps are being taken to ensure that all future content of this nature goes through the appropriate editorial channels before being published. The Daily Nexus apologizes for this editorial oversight.”
In an email to iMediaEthics managing editor Sydney Smith, Daily Nexus EIC Carissa Quiambao said a few staffers did read the story and give the OK to post, but the copy editing team and opinion editors were not given the chance to weigh in.
According to Quiambao, “Some readers did think it was a real story. There have been many complaints about the article, but our decision to retract ultimately came down to lack of oversight and the necessity to allow articles like this to have its own, clearly delineated page to avoid confusion with our editorial content.”