The media have an obligation to present different opinions about controversial issues and allow its readers to come to their own conclusions.
The Daily Bruin’s mission statement requires the paper to “inform and enlighten members of our community, and provoke thoughtful responses, dialogue and action.”
Unfortunately, the Editor in Chief uses his authority to prevent the paper from printing viewpoints that differ from his.
Because he adamantly endorses animal research, he has forbidden his staff from running any article that challenges the usefulness of certain experiments conducted at UCLA.
This is not to say that the Daily Bruin has not printed a plethora of articles about testing on animals.
Following World Week for Animals in Labs 2003, when activists targeted UCLA primate researchers on campus and at their homes, the Bruin printed almost a dozen articles.
The majority of the articles uncritically defended animal research and claimed that the people who oppose animal research are overly sentimental. Ironically, these articles played on emotion and did not provided any scientific investigation of the experiments that were the subject of the animal rights protests. The animal research community itself could have written each piece.
Some articles claimed that activists vandalized the homes of researchers. An editorial by two vivisectors was printed insisting that animal rights activists are “terrorists.”
Arguing that animal rights activists are of the same caliber as the Al-Qaeda members who killed thousands of people not only diminishes the term terrorist, but also trivializes the victims of the Al-Qaeda attacks. However, the Bruin refused to print any response from animal rights advocates.
Frustrated with the lack of fair coverage, a UCLA student who had submitted numerous unprinted editorials explaining the animal rights perspective wrote the Viewpoint Editor and asked why her article had not been printed. The Viewpoint Editor told the writer that the piece had been selected for publication, but the Editor in Chief had prevented it from being printed. The writer called the Editor in Chief, who provided no reason why her article was rejected.
The student then sent polite letters to 85 staff members of the paper publicizing the censorship.
The Editor in Chief responded angrily by writing her: “because of your rude behavior, I am no longer considering your submission for publication so long as I remain editor.” His response to having his prejudice and abuse of power publicized was to blacklist her.
When she contacted the Primate Freedom Project at UCLA and several other organizations to encourage people to ask the paper for an opportunity to respond, the Editor in Chief threatened to contact UCLA administration and demand she be “disciplined” for “harassing” the paper.
The UCLA paper has done everything in its power to prevent the voice of opposition from being heard, the Vice Chancellor has sent a letter to every UCLA student, staff, and faculty member attempting to discredit animal rights activists, and animal researchers have responded with silence to letters renewing the invitation to debate.
In the face of such defensiveness and prohibition of dialogue, we can only come to the conclusion that the university has something it is desperately trying to hide. By promoting discussion, the animal rights community has become a true threat to the institution.