Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center on Feb. 19, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Olivier Douliery/Tribune News Service)

Collegian takes heat for Trump editorial


On Monday, The Collegian published an editorial about Donald Trump that garnered much attention.

The piece, in no uncertain terms, compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. The article was labeled as an editorial, which is an opinion piece — not a news story.

It is important to stress that The Collegian, a student-run publication, isn’t subject to prior review. No faculty or staff members read the article before it was published — as it should be. It does not represent the views of Fresno State.

Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro undoubtedly hasn’t had a fun couple of days. But he stood behind The Collegian via the First Amendment. He might not agree with or respect what we said, but at least he respects our right to say it.

Remember, the First Amendment ensures everyone’s right to freedom of speech — and that includes you.

Fresno State released another statement regarding our editorial on Tuesday.

“The Collegian is a student-financed, student-run publication that serves Fresno State students but does not represent the views of the University,” the statement said. “The newspaper is a learning laboratory for students who aspire to media careers. It provides them the opportunity to learn about the role of the free press and practice at writing a wide range of material — including news stories, features and editorials.”

The article was riddled with hyperbole. This was intentional.

Although the words were inflammatory, we fully understand that not every person who supports Trump is a murderer, or any for that matter.

But there are extremists out there who will take Trump’s sentiment to a level higher than even he wants. Trump, though, is capitalizing on the racial tension for votes.

We’re not referring to Joe Trump supporter; we’re talking about radicals. Radicals have already firebombed mosques and openly talked about murdering Syrian refugees, labeling them as terrorists.

Our critics ask for proof that Trump will incite violence, but they know it’s unprovable. And Hitler didn’t execute his plans in a day — it was done gradually and people might not have seen what was happening at the time.

Donald Trump wouldn’t back down, and neither will we.

He has said that he could “shoot somebody” and he wouldn’t lose voters. This is not OK.

The Collegian isn’t the trendsetter on this topic. Other outlets have made the same commentary on Trump that we have.

Just this week, the Washington Post ran an editorial written by a Harvard professor that made the comparison to Trump’s rise to power to that of Hitler’s, calling him a “demagogic opportunist [that] can exploit a divided country.”

Eva Schloss, the stepsister of Anne Frank, made the comparison in January as well.

“If Donald Trump become(s) the next president of the U.S., it would be a complete disaster,” Schloss told Newsweek. “I think he is acting like another Hitler by inciting racism.”

We are not belittling the atrocities of the past — as some critics have suggested — we want to stop preventable ones from happening in the here and now.

This is in no way a new tactic in reference to making unflattering comparisons to presidential candidates. In 2008, it was commonplace to hear Barack Obama called a Muslim terrorist from Kenya. That year also saw the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party compare Obama to Osama bin Laden.

What is Trump’s leading concern? Shutting down the border to multiple minority groups. He has spread his agenda through a running commentary that is filled with fear tactics and a not so subtle Islamophobia akin to the same anti-Semitism put forth by Adolf Hitler.

However, the media frenzy over this editorial seems to dismiss the fact that an editorial is an opinion piece. The traffic caused our site to go down more than once.

Yes, it’s on the front page, and that was done for a reason.

Students are disengaged. Had we run this on the inside of our issue, so many people would never have read what we find to be a pertinent and necessary discussion on the current political climate that exists in our nation.

It is in our opinion that a forum needs to be created in order to engage local readers about what we believe is a very real threat to the American way of life.

We successfully opened that forum campuswide, and it was done at the expense of knowingly opening ourselves up for criticism.

If you can’t criticize a man who is running to be the most powerful man on earth, then you can’t criticize anyone.

Our message hasn’t hurt Trump; he won Nevada on Tuesday night. Trump can take our criticism, and we can take yours.

Students all over campus are engaging in politics in a way they never have before, and those are the people we care about. The community at large has begun speaking about the pliability of a president who has made such poor linguistic choices that he has warranted the comparison to Adolf Hitler.

Our article not only created discussion in classrooms that had never discussed politics before, but it also unintentionally reached as far as the East Coast.

We have spoken with several media outlets about the opinion piece, our website has repeatedly crashed from the sudden influx of traffic that our college newspaper website wasn’t designed to handle, and members of our media team have been harassed both on social media and in person.

We will endure the barrage. This is a college. It’s a learning experience for us all.

We stand once again and ask that you do your part and keep talking about the reality of this election.

The Collegian welcomes verbal criticism and always solicits comments via letters to the editor — of which we run both positive and negative.