While not a journalist, I can't help but wonder about something I noticed having to do with the NPR piece. In Anthony Brook's extensive and interesting NPR segment on the controversy at Columbia, he reports that the current controversy "has gone well beyond campus walls" and that Professor Dabashi "has stopped speaking publicly because of a rash of threatening phone calls..." He then plays one of these abhorrent calls, which goes like this:
Mr. Dabashi, I read about you in today's New York Post. You stinking terrorist Muslim pig. I hope the CIA is studying you so it can kick you out of this country back to some filthy Arab country where you belong, you terrorist bastard.
A few days ago though, I was reading through some old articles and came across this in a piece published in the Times Higher Education Supplement by Dabashi in 2003:
Late in June 2002, I came back to New York from a fortnight's trip to Japan to find my voicemail flooded with racist, obscene and threatening messages.
"Hey, Mr Dabashi," bellowed an angry voice, "I read about you in today's New York Post. You stinking, terrorist Muslim pig. I hope the CIA is studying you so we can kick you out of this country back to some filthy Arab country where you belong. You terrorist bastard."
So the message that Dabashi played for Brooks, and that NPR broadcast, while reprehensible, was from Summer 2002. It did not have anything to do with the current student campaign and certainly did not lead to him ending his public speaking--I've heard him myself since Summer 2002.
The main point is that we all condemn such hate messages. But I still have to ask what's going on here? Is this acceptable journalism? Shouldn't the report have pointed this out? Is this acceptable on Dabashi's part?