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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Don't Report The Truth When It Comes To Islam


Reporter Fired

 For Posting 

Video of Muslim

 Speaker Saying

 Atheism is


by Death

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By Ian Miles Cheong|9:48 am, May 14, 2017
Portland State University’s campus newspaper, The
 Vanguard, has fired an editor following his coverage of
 an interfaith conference. The paper accused journalist 
Andy Ngo of endangering a student’s life after he tweeted 
out a video of the panel, which featured the Muslim 
student saying that apostasy and atheism must be
 punishable by death.
Andy Ngo
Writing for National Review, the former multimedia editor of the campus paper explained how he was fired for unofficially covering the event, which included speakers from Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian and atheist backgrounds.
The unnamed Muslim student speaker took a question from the audience, who asked him if the religion permitted killing atheists and apostates for their religious views. The panelist responded in the affirmative, stating that 
under “Quranic law,” being a non-believer is considered 
criminal in countries that impose it.
He added: “So in that case, you are given the liberty to
 leave the country. I am not going to sugarcoat it. So if 
you go to a different country…but in a Muslim country,
 a country based on Quranic law, disbelieving or being 
an infidel, is not allowed, so you will be given the choice.”
In other words, apostates and atheists can either choose
 to leave or suffer the consequences where such strict 
interpretations of the law are imposed.
Ngo posted an extended clip of the exchange shortly 
after, to provide full context for the discussion. Regardless, The Vanguard claims the 
video is being shared “widely out of context.”
Describing it as a “misunderstanding gone viral,”
 the campus paper repudiated Ngo for sharing the 
video and blamed his tweets for becoming a topic of 
discussion on “right-leaning media outlets.” Breitbart 
published coverage of the event with Ngo’s tweets 
several days before The Vanguard covered it, apparently 
as a response to the dust it kicked up.
The Vanguard says that the Muslim student “had a 
 he may have misspoke,” and that he was now “concerned
 for his safety and for how the misinterpretation and 
misrepresentation could affect his family and community.”
Benjamin Ramey, a secular humanist who represented 
the Freethinkers of PSU at the panel, disagrees with 
The Vanguard’s assessment.
“As one of the panelists present at this event I would like
 to say that this speech is not taken out of context,” 
Ramey said on Twitter.
PSU Assistant Professor of Philosophy Peter Boghossian 
weighed in on the conversation and said: ““The same 
people who want to punch ‘Nazis’ are completely silent 
when it comes to certain people advocating mass murder.”

In National Review, Ngo says that The Vanguard editor-in
-chief Colleen Leary called him into a meeting with
 managing editor Tim Sullivan, and newspaper advisor
 Reaz Mahmood. The team admonished him for sharing
 the unedited video clip on social media.
Despite never sharing the Muslim panelist’s name, he 
was fired for supposedly “endangering” the student’s life
 with a report that inconvenienced the student paper. Ngo 
My editor [Leary], whom I deeply respected at the time,

called me “predatory” and “reckless,” telling me I had put

the life and well-being of the Muslim student and his

family at risk. She said that my tweets implied the

student advocated the killing of atheists. Another

person [Mahmood] in the meeting said I should have

taken into account the plight of victimized groups in

the “current political climate.” The editor claimed I

had “violated the paper’s ethical standards” by

not “minimizing harm” toward the speaker.
The Vanguard’s coverage of the event and the 
ensuing fallout states that the paper is “committed to
 minimizing harm,” and abiding by the Society of 
Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, as if Ngo had
 personally violated them by sharing unedited footage 
of the panel exchange. It calls the event’s coverage on
 “markedly biased media outlets” a “type of dangerous
Ironically, The Vanguard’s efforts to censure Ngo to
 preserve a narrative is precisely everything the SPJ’s
 Code of Ethics is designed to safeguard against.
I asked Andy Ngo what he thought whether Mahmood 
intended for him to censor himself with the comment on 
taking the plight of victimized groups “in the current 
political climate” into account. Ngo says:
“As you know, those who work in media never use

the word ‘censor’ even if that is what they mean in

practice. The media adviser said I should have known

better than to share the video of the Muslim panelist

since I attended a mandatory training session on

social justice in the media.
At the training, we were taught to always consider

which groups of people are ‘privileged’ and which

are ‘oppressed’ in our work as leaders of student

media. Non-Christians were defined as targets of

I transgressed by treating the Muslim panelist the

same way I’ve treated others in my multimedia tweets.”
Given the outcome of Ngo’s coverage of the panel, I
 asked him what he thought of the enforcement of
 “acceptable narratives” in the media, and its effects
 on journalism.
“The perpetuation of ‘acceptable narratives’ in journalism
 weakens media as a whole,” Ngo says. “It is a media 
sickness that affects all political slants and biases. It gives
 too much power to the few decision-makers at the top to
 determine what truths people can or should know.”
“It’s no secret that the American public are highly
 distrustful of news media,” he added. “An unfortunate
 outcome is that many are turning to only social media
 instead, where disinformation runs rampant. It’s time we
 start valuing truth and accuracy over ideology and 
Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.