The Incredulous Words

The New York Times got in a wee bit of hot water recently with a story on monitoring financial transactions that has been criticised by Bush and his Snow-mobile and defended by the Times’ editor with equal passion.

A twist that caught my eye, though (via the Poynter Institute) was the librarian in a Texas university (the University of the Incarnate Word, an otherwise normal-looking small southern Catholic college) who decided to pull the Times from his collection. Meet Mendell D. Morgan (Jr):

I have cancelled the J. E. and L. E. Mabee Library subscription to the print version of the New York Times effective today. For some years, many have observed a change in quality and shift in coverage in what was once “the national newspaper of record”. Recently they made a very deliberate decision to publish vital intelligence information on specific methods of SWIFT for tracing money transfers used to fund terrorist activities in many parts of the world.

He goes on, and concludes that “since no one elected the New York Times to determine national security policy, the only action I know to register protest for their irresponsible action (treason?) is to withdraw support of their operations by canceling our subscription as many others are doing.” (You can read a brief report and his original email in this article from the San Antonio Express-News). Inevitably, the story gained legs and they restored the subscription.

As good a time as any to remind the honourable Mr. Morgan and all others of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. Obviously this is very vague and leaves lots of doubt about the intent.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Library Bill of Rights.

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