Thursday, December 12

Letters


Monday, April 29, 1996Clarify, please

Editor:

The Lebanese cultural society and the United Arab Students
appreciate the fact that the Daily Bruin staff believed our rally
to be important. However, we think that if a piece of information
is important enough to be on the front page, it is important enough
to be accurate ("Groups hold quiet rallies across campus," April
25).

Ironically, the information provided by the Daily Bruin
regarding our rally is not . You misled your readers by ignoring
the fact that our clubs, along with the Muslim Student Association,
helped organize this rally. This twisting of information, whether
intentional or not, is unacceptable.

We do not understand how a reporter for a reliable source of
information, such as the Daily Bruin, who cared enough to attend
our rally, could have made this mistake. The event was clearly
advertised on the same day, Wed., April 24, in the "What’s Brewin"
section.

The Daily Bruin reaches thousands of readers on a daily basis.
Many of these readers cannot attend every important event, and rely
on the Daily Bruin as a source of information. Therefore, it is
your obligation to provide current, unbiased and most
significantly, accurate information to the public.

Accordingly, we, the Lebanese Cultural Society and the United
Arab Students, strongly demand clarification of the facts stated in
your article as soon as possible. We believe that it is only
appropriate to place the clarification on the first page, where the
article was previously placed.

Lebanese Cultural Society

United Arab Students

Inciting division

Editor:

I charge the Daily Bruin for singlehandedly managing to further
divide and inflame fragile groups on campus that need no more
assistance in that department. In the front page cover story of
April 25, "Groups hold quiet rallies across campus," your
insensitive coverage of a sensitive issue has caused major
repercussions.

As one of the leading coordinators of the rally, I speak on
behalf of all when I say that we took great pains not to be
represented as any one group. We put on a human event, not a Muslim
event. The Bruin was specifically informed that this was not a
Muslim event; however, The Bruin chose to ignore that crucial piece
of information and continuously referred to rally organizers and
supporters throughout the article as members of the Muslim
community. People of all colors, races and religions were present,
and I am sure they share my horror at your misrepresentation of
them.

There is no excuse for selective and biased reporting. Your
public has a right to know … to know the truth. Many more people
read that article than attended the rally. We counted on you to
relay our story but instead you subscribed to the art of propaganda
rather than the ethics of fair reporting.

You have insulted the intelligence of your readers by
deliberately attempting to shape their views. Rather than
presenting facts and allowing your readers to judge, you created a
story where there was none. The events were wholly separate and
actually, coincidental. There was no incident anticipated to occur
as a result of tension between two separate events by Jewish and
Arab American students as The Bruin influenced us to believe.

However, The Bruin is now responsible for inciting more
divisiveness than ever before. As supposedly experienced reporters,
how was it possible to completely miss reporting the main message
of the rally?

In Brooke Olson and Patrick Marantal’s article, mourners of the
civilian bombings in Lebanon were accused of "dampening the spirits
of Jewish students who were celebrating the anniversary of Israel’s
founding."

Sorry to interrupt the party, but what about the spirits that
were dampened as brutal Israeli forces mercilessly raided innocent
victims in Lebanon? There is no criticism of that. We understood
who was celebrating and what was being celebrated at the Jewish
Student Union event, but do we know who was mourning and what was
being mourned at the rally?

Furthermore, and perhaps most appalling, four substantial quotes
are included by members of the Jewish Student Union in support of
the bombings, whereas no rally organizer or supporter was
interviewed. There was no mention of the universal messages of
justice, unity and peace issued by rally speakers other than from
the only Jewish speaker. Our voices were stifled in what seems like
an overt attempt to undermine our efforts to mourn innocent victims
and promote awareness. Perhaps we contradicted The Bruin’s wishes
of promoting ignorance.

Many students of different backgrounds came together for a
common cause; we hoped to rally support against oppression and
explore our possibilities for peace. I guess your reporters didn’t
see it that way. Instead, we were misrepresented and intentionally
eliminated from the discussions in your article. Perhaps you
thought it would make for a more interesting story with no
consideration of a reporter’s commitment to serve the public with
truth.

Your poor judgment and malicious reporting have directly
affected the morale of many concerned students who are diligently
working to make a difference. A few careless words from our
representative paper, that we trusted to be our voice, and the
reality of the event was buried in the shrouds of biased
reporting.

Maha Dakhil

Third-year

Sociology

Rally misinformation

Editor:

I am writing in reference to the April 25 cover story regarding
the rally for peace in Lebanon ("Groups hold quiet rallies across
campus"). Because I attended the rally, I feel that the authors
misinformed Daily Bruin readers by claiming that solely members of
the Muslim community gathered for the rally.

In truth, a group of concerned students from all religions and
races congregated in the hope that one day peace could prevail in
the Middle East. The first line of the article states a concern
about anticipated tension between members of Jewish and Muslim
communities; yet ironically, this article caused a great amount of
unrest and dispute among a variety of students.

Unfortunately, the authors failed to describe the good
intentions behind the rally and, in turn, they caused unfathomable
damage and undermined the heartfelt preparation involved in the
rally by making it appear to be a religious issue. In reality, all
human beings should be appalled at the deaths of innocent people,
no matter what religious beliefs they maintain.

My sincerest apologies are extended to the dedicated and
eloquent student speakers. They made a tremendous effort to reveal
that students do care about world issues and that we can make a
difference ­ especially when in the future, journalists relay
accurate and unbiased information to their readers.

C. ALEXANDER

Fourth-year

Microbiology

Front page bias

Editor:

I am extremely disappointed by the biased reporting of the Daily
Bruin in its April 25 front page story "Groups hold quiet rallies
across campus." Not only did The Bruin incorrectly report the facts
of the event, but it also revealed a significant bias in the
reporting.

The event was NOT officially sponsored by any Muslim
organization. In reality the event involved students from the
Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as those students
who do not identify with any organized religion. Speakers at the
rally included a Jewish Rabbi; representatives from the Muslim
Public Affairs Council and the American-Arab, Anti-Discrimination
Committee; a UCLA student and a statement issued by a Presbyterian
priest, read on his behalf.

If The Bruin was really interested in fulfilling its job as an
unbiased reporting service, I would expect they would have at least
attended the event in order to clearly understand its intentions.
If The Bruin had attended the event, it would have realized there
was no mention of Islam, Christianity or Judaism. Therefore, it is
confusing and misleading that the reporting categorized the event
as Muslim.

In addition, the blatant over-representation of Zionist
pro-Israeli views in your article is intolerable. One would expect
that for each of the four quotes by Jewish students supporting the
bombings by Israel, The Bruin would have included four quotes by
Arab students or other students who condemned the bombings.

In addition, one would expect a good reporter to have a speaker
elaborate on a vague quote that is accusatory and damaging. This
was not the case when rally speakers and supporters were accused by
Joe Levin of the Jewish Student Union of "bombard(ing) the campus
with propaganda and lies about the war in Israel." He blatantly
attacked the rally, charging statements to be lies without
specification or support. I find fault with the reporting staff of
The Bruin for disclosing Levin’s statement without requiring him to
provide sufficient proof.

Finally, I demand that The Bruin compensate for its error and
apologize for misrepresenting the rally as a Muslim event. I
specifically informed your reporter, as did the President of the
Muslim Student Association, that the rally was not organized by a
Muslim group. This can only lead me to believe that this was in
fact, an intentional act of misrepresentation.

Rania Missoumi

Third-year

Neuroscience

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