Friday, June 30, 2006

Again, Not Censorship. Editorial Judgment.

When the Dean of Library Services at the University of the Incarnate Word cancelled the library’s subscription to the NY Times, in protest of the scandal sheet’s decision to reveal the details of secret government financial tracking of terrorists to al-Qaeda, a staff librarian predictably started sniffing “censorship.” The San Antonio Express-News reports:

Staff member Jennifer Romo said she and her coworkers were shocked when they received Morgan's email.

"The censorship is just unspeakable," Romo said.

Again, the NY Times has no right to demand a subscription from UIW. It may very well be an excellent facility, but I’m sure the UIW cannot subscribe to every major American newspaper. Editorial decisions have to be made. If the dean feels the Times recklessness now tips the scale in favor of the Washington Times for example, that would be a reasonable editorial judgment he is paid to make. Throwing around charges of censorship in such a case, cheapens the term. Real censorship is happening Cuba, where Castro throws librarians in jail for daring to shelve material critical of his regime. Nat Hentoff has taken the American Library Association to task for not denouncing this true outrage. Librarians should know better.