Former CUCR President Casts Even More Doubt On Ahmadinejad Invitation

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Update, 4 pm: Spec’s EIC and Managing Editor have posted a statement addressing the disconnect between the information in their story “CUCR plans to invite Ahmadinejad to campus” and the response from CUCR. They write, “Before we included that information, [CUCR] group leadership said that the documents were authentic, though the intention behind their statements is now unclear.” Read the full Spec statement here.¬†

In an email to Spec last night, former CUCR President Lauren Salz said she “would be extremely surprised” if the invitation CUCR allegedly sent to Ahmadinejad¬†turned out to be real, in response to their article, “CUCR plans to invite Ahmadinejad to campus.” This email echoes CUCR’s statement yesterday, which was also¬†in reponse to the same headline. Salz was concerned with the financial claims made by the supposed invitation from CUCR, writing that “we never promise money or speak about finances with potential speakers until they have expressed a willingness to come.” A screenshot of her email to the story’s reporter can be found below.

Salz confirmed with Bwog that the opinion she provided to Spec was misrepresented in Spec’s¬†follow-up article¬†published yesterday. Salz was cited as¬†falsely yielding support for Spec’s allegation that CUCR plans to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia. Spec initially stated that “Former CUCR President Lauren Salz, BC ’11, confirmed that the draft matched CUCR’s template for writing invitation letters.” Since the original publication of that article, mention of Salz has been removed. Spec has not yet published a correction or any acknowledgement of the update. ¬†Update: Earlier this afternoon, Spec posted the correction, “A previous version of this story erroneously included a quote from Lauren Salz, BC ’11. Spectator regrets the errors.”

The original article, in which Salz's statement is inaccurately referenced.

The article, following removal of Salz's name.

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  1. Bwog

    "Because lighting someone on fire isn't enough until you throw an extra gallon of gasoline on them."

    • Anonymous  

      Huh? The other CUCR letter had William Prasifka as the President. Also, what's the difference between the executive director position and the president? Lots of fancy titles!

      • I was also interested by the titles...

        ...but I did my own research. As the CU GOP website notes, the President oversees the board, whereas the Executive Director oversees the deputy program which appears to be a means of socializing new members and preparing them for positions on the e-board through some kind of buddy system. Seems a fair enough division of powers. ED is basically a VP.

  2. ughh  

    Anybody involved in this business can say anything they want about what did or didn't happen. Bwog talking to one person carries exactly as much weight as Spec talking to someone else. This thing is just gonna spin in circles with every party thinking they're the ones in the right.

    It's pretty clear this whole debacle was a stunt, I just wish I knew who was trolling who.

    also fuck this, let's go back to CUCR continuing to not matter. Intelligent conservatism, not to mention the rest of the political spectrum, wants nothing to do with them.

    • the difference  

      here we have Bwog and Spec actually talking to the same person for once...and while Bwog seems to give Lauren a fair shake (at least Bwog actually prints the text of her letter), Spec clearly skewed the facts.

      Bwog and Spec are both going to add an editorial spin to everything they print because of their competition. The difference is that Bwog is giving us the full texts to determine for ourselves.

      Where did we get the FULL Ahmadinejad letter? Bwog. Where did we get the FULL CUCR response? Bwog. Where did we get the FULL text of Lauren Salz's communication? Bwog.

      Meanwhile over at Spec we've got the same old selective quoting that's been getting them in trouble this whole fucking time.

    • The editor's note

      published on Spec at 4 p.m. basically doesn't pull any punches in saying that the editors/writer at Spec were lied to be CUCR. This is totally unsurprising. Maybe Spec should have been more skeptical, especially considering that CUCR is really only known for its bullshit publicity stunts. If I were Spec, I would be pissed as fuck at CUCR though. I don't know why they don't just out the people who verified the documents.

      Or is that against the rules? If someone tells you something off the record, but it turns out they were acting in bad faith and lying to you, are you still not allowed to disclose their identities?

      • Anonymous  

        Correct, they cannot just betray the anonymity of the sources, even if those sources turn out to be lying through their teeth.

        Spectator is doing the right thing by not disclosing those sources, even though it must be very tempting to do so.

  3. Anonymous

    now it's just getting petty

  4. ML  

    I used to write for Spec and, I hate to say it, but I'm totally delighted to see this happen to the new editor in chief, who manages to be notably objectionable and incompetent in a newsroom staffed by the objectionable and incompetent. Don't let the door hit you on your way out, gurl!

  5. Anonymous  

    believing a borderline-parody fake email... taking quotes of context... (not to mention then going one step further and actually printing the opposite of what was actually said, today)... refusing to admit that they just *might* have got it wrong...

    have i missed anything?

    what a colossal fuck up.

  6. > 2012 > learning to use brackets

    I, too, would have be extremely surprised.

  7. Anonymous

    Spec is so fuckin shady

  8. Anonymous  

    i hope bwog realizes that this kind of petty vitriol undermines its credibility as a news source, too

    • >vitriol  

      It's not a real Bwog shitstorm until someone drops the v-bomb.

    • i smell a spec office comment

      it might demonstrate them to be petty, but it doesnt cut their credibility (the root of which is credo, credere, to believe). because what they are saying is demonstrably fact. nice is another thing.

      • original poster  

        first, no, i'm a diehard bwog fan. the only spec article i've read this semester is the controversial one in question, which i learned about from bwog.

        you're right, of course: it's not a matter of being nice. rather, i meant to say that petty swipes like this present bwog as transparently interested in reporting things only because they make its rival news source look bad. this makes bwog look less mature on the whole, and, more importantly, more interested in power fights than in, well, providing good news. The point of course is not that because a post is petty, it is less likely to be believed. News outlets should also be credible in the sense that their readers can believe they are just interested in providing news, not in driving a self-serving point home over and over to their readers with the help of credible facts. (i'm glad you're taking latin, but i'm not sure how that's related.)

    • Anonymous  

      lol... i wish more news sources were "petty" if that meant calling out blatantly incorrect facts. spec aint the only one with license to "report" (if we can even call it that now...) the news, as much as i'm sure they'd like to think that

  9. Anonymous  

    Bwog: 1
    Spec: 0

  10. Anonymous  

    seriously, at this point i don't even care any more. bwog, congratulations if you were right. maybe you were. whoop dee doo.

    but as a member of the general public who DOESN'T find these petty inter-publication rivalries exhilarating, for the love of god, WHO GIVES A SHIT ANYMORE! do we really need screenshots?! the CUCR/ahmedinejad thing is moot, because you guys have turned it into this stupid petty story about your own personal snobbish hate of the campus newspaper. the real headline you guys wish you could've run has nothing to do with CUCR. it's literally "WE DIDN'T DO A MISTAKE THAT SPEC DID." and i'm no longer interested.

    as far as i'm concerned, you look just as fucking stupid. calm your fucking egos.

  11. Anonymous  

    actually i find it really entertaining.

    also, it's sort of everyone's business to care because we should demand accurate/responsible reporting.

  12. Why is this news?  

    What does this even have to do with Puppy Cops????

  13. Jeez...  

    ...Bwog, you might have been "right" in this situation, but you sure as hell made yourself look like a bunch of petty bitches. The tone of all these posts makes it clear that your primary focus was never to get the most factual story (though that may be the case), but to humiliate everyone involved in this ordeal at Spec to death. If they were wrong, then they have committed a mistake stemming from a lack of foresight and thorough investigation, a mistake that was not necessarily committed maliciously or with harmful intentions, though it is obviously still a seriously mistake nonetheless. However, there is also no question that you have leaped at this opportunity to trash Spec as much as possible. I feel sorry for everyone involved (the Spec writer/editor, CUCR, you guys for feeling the need to perpetuate a malicious rivalry past the point of necessity). Do you know how terrible the Spec writer must feel right now? If she was wrong, then YES she fucked up, but there is no need to kick someone when they are already down. I'm not involved with either Spec or Bwog, and I am a little disappointed in both right now. Right now, I am questioning the journalistic integrity of Spec (with regards to this specific article), and I am questioning the personal character of the people at Bwog who insist on framing these posts to embarrass the Speccies as much as possible. Don't just say "Omgggg, we are just trying to report the facts and get the truth out there! Omgggg we're not trying to purposefully humiliate anyone!!! " Yeah right...your true intention is clear.

  14. Anonymous

    "Dewey Defeats Truman" was a famously incorrect banner headline on the front page of the first edition of the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1948. The headline is a cautionary tale for journalists about the dangers of being first to break a story without being certain of its accuracy. It is also a caution about allowing editorial preference to cloud judgment; the Tribune had been strongly against Truman throughout the campaign. The Chicago Trib lived to make many more newspapers and so will the Columbia Spectator. Enough Said !!!

  15. So now we care more about  

    the CUCR instead of the police investigation on the MSA? Stay classy columbia, stay classy

  16. Anonymous  

    Who honestly gives a shit anymore? So Spec may or may not have fucked up. Big Deal. It happens, and it would have only have happened in this case if some fucktard had decided to feed bs information to a reporter who (and I know this because I am her friend) is hard-working, thorough and determined. She obviously feels shit about all of this, and this is in no way helped by Bwog's OMG I'M JUST TRYING TO REPORT THE REAL NEWS (p.s. fuck spec) attitude to the whole thing. All that's left to see is who has more Unwarranted self importance, Bwog - who seem determined to prove to everyone how THEY are true journalists of Columbia - or CUCR - who have such an inferiority martyrdom complex it's pathetic - OMG WE'RE REPUBLICANS AT COLUMBIA STOP H8TIN' ON US BLAH BLAH BLAH.

    TL;DR - No one gives a shit, so shut up with your pathetic ivy-league campus drama-making

  17. Anonymous  


  18. ...  

    the only thing that is interesting about all this is the fact that the spectator people are so steadfast in their resolve to not admit they got played.

    when a-jad was in town last time, i seem to remember cucr being among the loudest complainers. moreover, it's just not an ideological fit. i mean, seriously? college republicans? inviting a-jad? offshore funds in dubai? what the fuck are these people smoking? put to the smell test, it's like the second floor men's restroom in butler at 2am...

    the kids at spectator fucked up, real hard. not only did they move on something that wasn't credible, they moved on something that didn't even make sense. now they refuse to back down and apologize. that's the real story. how long will it go on? how will they squirm? will they ever apologize? and if not, what does that say about them?

    i mean, jesus. i've always been annoyed by the whole "woe is us, we are the poor persecuted college republicans" schtick... but for fuck sake... with shit like this, they might have a point...

  19. ...  

    I'm actually hoping that BWOG gets burned on this and next week Spec turns out to have gotten a real tip (miracles do happen). Then we'll come full circle and everyone can get a little mud thrown in their face.

  20. Anonymous  

    it is still relevant, because if Spec doesn't back down and it is proven that their sources were not credible or didn't exist, they can get sued for defamation. I have no ties to CUCR btw so I have no idea what they are planning to do about this.

  21. Anonymous

    Things to consider:

    -The letter was obviously fake, and it reads like satire illustrating the dangers of integrating religion and government.

    -It's so obviously fake that no half-decent journalist would report it as a credible source without some extra, compelling reason.

    -Spec now claims that the documents were provided and verified by "current top leadership" in CUCR.

    -Spec wouldn't put its collective ass on the line by lying about the validity of the sources in order to save the reputation of a single reporter who fucked up.

    -CUCR loves publicity stunts, and SIPA's a-jad invitation was national news.

    -The story of the forever-misunderstood conservative group (CUCR) being bullied and misrepresented by the liberal media (Spec) reads like a right-wing fairy tale.

    My conclusion: CUCR source provided documents to Spec in confidence. Since the invitation was never addressed in meetings or even seriously considered, CUCR can truthfully deny accusations. The anti-spec rage machine (read: Bwog and company) does its damage quickly. By the time Spec gets the story straight, most readers lose interest. Meanwhile, CUCR sources claim they provided the documents "as a joke."

  22. Twitch

    In order for that story to be true (that CUCR basically played Spec into orchestrating a fantasy anti-republican inquisition) CUCR would have had to assume that Spec would take it seriously. There's no way that's true.

    Who would assume that Spec wouldn't be able to read satire? Who would hinge a strategy on a highly unlikely error?

    • Anonymous  

      You're right. CUCR wouldn't just slide the letter under Spec's door, but I wasn't suggesting they did. Satirical though it may be, the letter was published. If you agree that Spec would probably have called its authenticity into question, it follows that they must have had some extra reason for running it. What better reason than direct verification from CUCR representatives? As that Spec statement said (yes, it might be untrue, but I already explained why I buy it), the letter was deemed authentic by "current top leaders" at Spec. The reporter who broke the story waited two weeks before publishing the piece, so the whole a-jad invitation plan was probably substantiated (or so Spec reasonably thought).

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