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@issue: Are student-run newspapers biased? What is their role on campus?

Read Ana Mendoza’s response to this article here

Have you ever had the chance to read The student-tuition-funded Collegian supplementary insert titled La Voz De Aztlan? This newspaper insert is intended to be used as a cultural appreciation and or awareness supplement. However, recent issues have been filled with articles unrelated to the publication’s intended purpose. In an effort to celebrate “La Semana de La Raza” (week of the race) here on campus, I’d like to share a perspective with those curiously inclined to learn what’s really going on!”

To fully understand the nature of any article in La Voz, the reader must first understand a concept called Aztlan. Aztlan is a mythical place and/or idea that geographically represents the Southwest portion of the United States. Members of radical Latino hate groups believe Aztlan is stolen land from Mexico, and that it is their duty to eradicate Americans from the land. A group coincidentally on our campus known as MEChA is one such group. It is made up of misguided Latino-American students, illegal aliens and their sympathizers. The acronym MEChA translates, and literally means, The Aztlan Chicano Student Movement. Our current Associated Students, Inc. President Pedro Ramirez is an admitted MEChistA and/or MEChA member. By boasting about his Aztlan beliefs on his social networking site, Ramirez revealed how he truly feels about Americans.

La Voz de Aztlan literally translates to The Voice of Aztlan. It’s not an original name exactly. It was stolen, like their perceived land, from www.Aztlan.net, an online publication of the same name that originated in the 1990s.

The website was and is still operated by members of a defunct organization called The Nation Of Aztlan. It is important to note that the Anti-Defamation League has investigated and labeled this online publication and its organization as a hate group for publishing articles similar to those found in The Collegian’s “cultural supplement.”

Ana Mendoza is a Fresno State student, La Voz De Aztlan columnist and the lead reporter permitted by The Collegian to cover the Ramirez controversy during the fall.

I question the level of biased journalism produced by Mendoza during her tenure with The Collegian. Her alignment with the Brown Berets, another Aztlan-based hate group in support for Ramirez, is very well documented.

On March 9, 2010, Mendoza and the Brown Berets participated in a sit-in at the office of Dr. Paul Oliaro, vice president of student affairs.

On Dec. 1, 2010, Brown Beret Juan “Ralphy” Avitia interrupted an ASI meeting. Avitia cut in line, seized the microphone out of turn during the public comment session and shouted Aztlan hate speech against all Americans in general and against Charlie Waters, a judge advocate for the American Legion and well-respected Central Valley war veteran, specifically. Mendoza published biased articles describing this incident as “Chicano activists questioning history.”

On Nov. 19, 2010, I attended a DREAM Act rally to counter protest Ramirez’s presidency. After reading my positions loud to the media and providing the media, including Mendoza, a copy of my statements in writing, she still unapologetically and intentionally misquoted all my positions in her article published on Nov. 22, 2010.

After a two-hour long recorded meeting with Mendoza, she agreed to publish concerns I had over Ramirez’s presidency.

Instead, Mendoza’s Aztlan bais caused her to ignore the questions I posed regarding Pedro’s unlawful behavior and failed presidency. Her deceptive journalistic practices utilizing La Voz De Aztlan and The Collegian were reasons why I then decided to launch www.TheRealPedro.com, a website dedicated to uncovering the hidden truth behind the DREAM Act controversy at Frenso State.

Having investigated many controversial developments this past year, it is greatly disappointing to see Aztlan-inspired journalism allowed to manifest unopposed using our own student resources. There is no place on any university for hateful and racially-charged rhetoric such as the poem published in May 2, 2011, issue of La Voz de Aztlan by Luiz Sanchez titled “America.” For those who missed his belligerent attack, I’d like to remind Sanchez that as an American of Argentinian heritage, I do not agree with any of his claims, particularly that Americans are white savages, intolerant and stupid. There is no excuse for this kind of propaganda to be used as a weapon of deception and division against students of all colors. There is also no justification to wave a banner of “anti-oppression” preaching cultural diversity on the surface, while at the same time masking the true intent of a radicalized group of a misguided Latino supremacists. As an American I will not celebrate Aztlan awareness and Latino supremacy week. It has no place on our campus.

Neil O’Brien is a senior recreation major.

A verified e-mail address is required to post a comment.Views expressed in the comments section are not representative of The Collegian unless so specified. Comments must be approved by a moderator before they are published. Comments that are inflammatory, profane, libellous and/or posted under a false name may be removed at the discretion of The Collegian. Comments may be used in the print edition of the newspaper.

15 Responses to @issue: Are student-run newspapers biased? What is their role on campus?

  1. David says:

    Neil, we need Americans like in office. I’d vote for you!

  2. David says:

    Neil, we need Americans like in office. I’d vote for you!

  3. David says:

    Neil, we need Americans like in office. I’d vote for you!

  4. David says:

    Neil, we need Americans like in office. I’d vote for you!

  5. David says:

    Neil, we need Americans like in office. I’d vote for you!

  6. Philosotroll says:

    This sort of thing drives me nuts. I think that there is a legitimate question as to whether or not student operated publications can be effective, and if a publication like La Voz can purport to be unbiased and genuinely critical.

    The problem is that Neil O’Brien isn’t actually concerned with that issue. He just wants to self-publicize and continue his absurd crusade to peg Pedro Ramirez and Ana Mendoza as racists.

    There are a wide swath of views on this issue, and a number of students who are more qualified to write about this issue than O’Brien. They have more interesting things to say. They want to raise issues that are genuine objects of concern.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed in the Collegian’s editorial staff for letting this guy waste more of our (the student body’s) time. It would be terrific if someone from the MCJ department had an objection based on the content of La Voz, or even the idea of ethnocentric publications, generally. That would be an article I would love to read.

  7. Philosotroll says:

    This sort of thing drives me nuts. I think that there is a legitimate question as to whether or not student operated publications can be effective, and if a publication like La Voz can purport to be unbiased and genuinely critical.

    The problem is that Neil O’Brien isn’t actually concerned with that issue. He just wants to self-publicize and continue his absurd crusade to peg Pedro Ramirez and Ana Mendoza as racists.

    There are a wide swath of views on this issue, and a number of students who are more qualified to write about this issue than O’Brien. They have more interesting things to say. They want to raise issues that are genuine objects of concern.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed in the Collegian’s editorial staff for letting this guy waste more of our (the student body’s) time. It would be terrific if someone from the MCJ department had an objection based on the content of La Voz, or even the idea of ethnocentric publications, generally. That would be an article I would love to read.

  8. Philosotroll says:

    This sort of thing drives me nuts. I think that there is a legitimate question as to whether or not student operated publications can be effective, and if a publication like La Voz can purport to be unbiased and genuinely critical.

    The problem is that Neil O’Brien isn’t actually concerned with that issue. He just wants to self-publicize and continue his absurd crusade to peg Pedro Ramirez and Ana Mendoza as racists.

    There are a wide swath of views on this issue, and a number of students who are more qualified to write about this issue than O’Brien. They have more interesting things to say. They want to raise issues that are genuine objects of concern.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed in the Collegian’s editorial staff for letting this guy waste more of our (the student body’s) time. It would be terrific if someone from the MCJ department had an objection based on the content of La Voz, or even the idea of ethnocentric publications, generally. That would be an article I would love to read.

  9. Philosotroll says:

    This sort of thing drives me nuts. I think that there is a legitimate question as to whether or not student operated publications can be effective, and if a publication like La Voz can purport to be unbiased and genuinely critical.

    The problem is that Neil O’Brien isn’t actually concerned with that issue. He just wants to self-publicize and continue his absurd crusade to peg Pedro Ramirez and Ana Mendoza as racists.

    There are a wide swath of views on this issue, and a number of students who are more qualified to write about this issue than O’Brien. They have more interesting things to say. They want to raise issues that are genuine objects of concern.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed in the Collegian’s editorial staff for letting this guy waste more of our (the student body’s) time. It would be terrific if someone from the MCJ department had an objection based on the content of La Voz, or even the idea of ethnocentric publications, generally. That would be an article I would love to read.

  10. Philosotroll says:

    This sort of thing drives me nuts. I think that there is a legitimate question as to whether or not student operated publications can be effective, and if a publication like La Voz can purport to be unbiased and genuinely critical.

    The problem is that Neil O’Brien isn’t actually concerned with that issue. He just wants to self-publicize and continue his absurd crusade to peg Pedro Ramirez and Ana Mendoza as racists.

    There are a wide swath of views on this issue, and a number of students who are more qualified to write about this issue than O’Brien. They have more interesting things to say. They want to raise issues that are genuine objects of concern.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed in the Collegian’s editorial staff for letting this guy waste more of our (the student body’s) time. It would be terrific if someone from the MCJ department had an objection based on the content of La Voz, or even the idea of ethnocentric publications, generally. That would be an article I would love to read.

  11. Andrew Nef says:

    When the words “anti-racist” and “anti-imperialist” appear in bold on the front page of La Voz de Aztlan, they define their hypocrisy. What they mean to say is they are anti-[white] racism and anti-[white]imperialists. The obviously race centered nature of every article within each addition doesn’t help.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @Phil This is just an opinion regarding a recent issue of ‘La Voz De Aztlan’, as well as other issues on campus, by an hispanic student, so I don’t quite understand your objection. If you are not interested in Neil O’Brien’s opinion, don’t read the article. The issues addressed by O’Brien are pertinent to the contemporary political climate. Replace ‘Americans’ with Mexicans or any other nationality or ethnic group in the poem in question, and then tell me whether or not it is appropriate.

    “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. ” — Thomas Jefferson

    One could apply the above quotation to Neil O’Brien’s opinion in The Collegian, the student newspaper. O’Brien’s opinion does not villify any nationality, race or ethnicity, though others may disbelieve it or abhor it. Sanchez’s “poem” certainly degrades and villifies Americans, and I am convinced that I am not the only one who disbelieves and abhors it, and in fact the poem would likely qualify as “hate speech”.

    Perhaps it is time to discuss the role of student-funded publications on campus, as noted in the title of the editorial.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you misread the quote of our slave-holding father. Talk about a racist…”all men are created equal [[except africans] and women]”. As I recall Jefferson himself didn’t have any moral high ground. Especially in retro-spective. Claiming that Philosotroll’s post isn’t valid because it “vilifies” O’brien is a mistake. O’Brien has wasted my money being printed in a newspaper with audacious and egregious claims. His goal in writing op-eds is to get attention. Why else would he? He makes the claim of racism when the fact is that saying manifest destiny is a legitimate doctrine proves the most racist proposition of them all unless Neil agrees with eminent domain, which, I’m assuming as a conservative (which he has made abundantly clear), would make him ridiculous and an attention monger.

    • Philosotroll says:

      Firstly, I’ve never understood the “If you don’t agree with them, ignore them.” argument. The fact that the argument is being published means that I ought to read it, and to be aware of it. It doesn’t meant that I have to approve of the Collegian distributing it.

      Secondly, while I’m unfamiliar with the Jefferson quote, I don’t like the sentiment at all. In a University setting, our tuition goes towards funding programs that we don’t approve of all the time. Part of my tuition goes to fund the Middle East Studies program which, as a Jewish student, I have a number of strong objections to. Is it a tyranny? Should such a program be destroyed? No. This is a publicly funded University, and the diversity of opinions necessitates a diversity of biases both among student-run groups and in faculty-run programs.

      Thirdly, I don’t think that this article is about Sanchez’s poem at all. To say that a published piece which is mentioned in the closing paragraph of the article is the object of the criticism seems pretty nuts to me. If the issue is that it was a tasteless piece of writing, that’s totally fine. But that’s not what this op-ed is about. It is a small mention in a larger screed.

      Finally, my point is actually stronger than your final one, despite being in the same key: It is a legitimate question that should be asked, whether or not student-funded publications can purport to be unbiased. I take that question very seriously, and that is why I’d rather have someone argue the issue who isn’t constantly race-baiting. It undermines the significance of the issue, which moderate students (like myself) want to hear articulated in terms of more than just ad hominem attacks on writers and editors.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s weird that the title of this debate is nothing even remotely relevant to the content of both articles. Neither is about “objective journalism” or its role on college campuses and society at large.

    This seems to be, at bottom, a cultural war, similar to the struggle over power in culture as it pertains to different religious traditions and principles.

    O’Brien seems to distaste the anti-American beliefs and positions on behalf of the prez and others holding a position of influence of such. He may not like their aspirations to positions of power; but this is what lots of minorities are doing: taking on positions of power because they hate America generally — i.e., they are seeking change through politics and mass demonstrations. This change may not be tangible, but the public demonstrations gives these people a sense of power and recognition, thereby a feeling of acknowledgment in our culture.

    I think O’Brien pointing this out is perfectly reasonable, but perhaps it is more to do with the feelings of losing stake in the culture at large. Some feel imposed upon by this perpetual bombardment of anti-American rhetoric, while the minority feels imposed upon by a feeling of long-lived oppression. Similar battles are taking place between Christianity and Islam here in America, which is not so much about two sects holding incompatible beliefs, but rather a feeling of losing ground to being part of a dominant and identifiable culture that is respected, acknowledged, and tolerated. Christianity feels it is giving too much ground, while Islam feel it is not getting the recognition and respect it deserves.

    What does all this mean? I’m not really sure. I do know its a lot of wasted energy. Ramirez’s background and affiliations are fair game, I just don’t know how one can put so much energy into tearing him down, but perhaps it is because O’Brien’s perspective is not the feeling of the culture at Fresno State. No one seems to care that Ramirez is technically a felon and kind of a phony and a liar– and that bothers him and some others. Therefore, I think, O’Brien’s efforts are aimed at shifting the culture to a lesser tolerance of illegals who break the law and lie–aimed closer at his idea of justice or truth, just as the groups he speaks of feel they are bringing light to their grievances in an effort to move towards truth and justice.

    It is kind of eerie how the battle of illegal immigration and anti-American rhetoric mirrors power struggles in religion. Ultimately, though, it is the lucid citizens’ — and the press’ — responsibility to call out deluded ideas as they start to creep into the mainstream, whether it be the idea that America was stolen land (yes it was, and by its standard so is just about every other conquered land, including Mexico!) or that America is bound to hold one strict culture and religion that is immune to criticism or change.

    All cultural conflicts appear to be a war of ideas, even when, as in this case, the ideas have very little tangible effect.

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