Buyer Beware: A Must Read

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Warning: The following is a free flowing conversation that will occasionally touch on mature subjects.

Just joking.  I wanted a headline that would catch your attention.  I couldn't think of anything witty.

Buyer Beware has taken CreComm by storm.  Although it's been an eye opening and engaging experience, I'm pretty happy that it's drawing to a conclusion.  With that said, I've had a lot of fun working with my teammates while tackling issues with special meaning to us.

Chuka, Lita, Palmer, Veronica, and myself wanted to push the envelope with our edition of Buyer Beware.  Topics like, Pepsi vs Diet Pepsi, or Uggs vs Emu's, weren't the types of topics we wanted to explore.  We wanted to explore an explosive issue.  We wanted to learn something that would remain with us for the rest of our lives.  Most importantly, we wanted to make a difference.

We came up with an idea about free speech.  Free speech is an unalienable right bestowed upon all human beings.  It's a valuable entity protected and enshrined within the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  But, is free speech all it claims to be?  More specifically, in its pure form, does free speech actually exist?

In an effort to narrow our topic, we decided to focus on free speech within campus media.  School journals and radio were our main points of focus.  We went into the project with a firm belief that censorship of free speech is initiated by those who control established forums of communication: Editors, professors, owners of newspapers, and individuals and groups of that ilk.

Through interviews, surveys, letters, and research, we found some startling results.

The hierarchy of campus publications encourage students to voice their opinions.  They also feel that many students aren't stepping up the proverbial plate to voice their thoughts, opinions, and concerns.

Are students censoring themselves?

For the most part, yes.  The editors we spoke with confessed that they don't receive a lot of opinion pieces.  More specifically, they feel that there is a lack of students coming forward with thoughts and opinions that run contrary to public sentiment.

Most students are looking to fit in and not stand out.  In fear of alienating themselves from a group, students are keeping thoughts and opinions to themselves.  What's more startling, is that many young students, especially between the ages of 18-22, could either care less about the issues facing humanity, or just aren't engaged enough to know anything about them.

Ironically, in an age where strides in technology are seemingly made everyday, our young people dwell in a life of fear and complacency.  The acceptance into peer group seems to be of primary importance to most young people.

Some other interesting nuggets of info through our research:

Bill Maher, former host of Politically Incorrect, was fired in May 2002 for comments he made about 9/11.  Here's what he said:

"We have been cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,00 miles away.  That's cowardly.  Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

After he made these comments, some major companies pulled their advertisements from the show.  Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush's press secretary at the time, in light of Maher's comments, was quoted as saying, "people have to watch what they say and what they do."

As part of our research, we did one more thing...


  1. Thanks for including the video - you can make it fit the column by adjusting the length and width in the html view (once at the beginning of the code and once at the end).

    Try height=200, width=300 and raise or lower the values, as required.


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