Dear Editor,

My grievance is against last week’s cover story, “A Radical Debate” featuring the debate between AFI and MSU. While I thought the article was well written and was a refreshing exchange of dialogue between the two groups, the picture and caption that went along with the cover story of that week’s paper was what struck me as an obscene abuse of power on the side of the New U.

The story showed us a rare moment of progressive dialogue, and even though it may not have sorted out every kink there is in the issue, it was a step in the right direction, an angle I felt the article accurately captured. The photo, however, shows the speaker Malik Ali, who had nothing to do with those NPR hosted talks, show with a backdrop of Israeli, American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. Malik Ali certainly has a reputation on campus, and his speeches generally draw a great deal of flak – a connotation that I’m sure you, as the author, were aware of. By placing his photo as the main picture instead of a picture of the debate or of the students who were involved, you have unfairly and unnecessarily put that same connotation on these talks, which only serves to dampen its message of dialogue.

Furthermore, the tag below the picture outwardly labels the message as “Controversial” (which, while I may agree is controversial, is certainly putting a bias to it and further feeding Malik Ali’s connotations) and goes on to say he “supports terrorist organizations to liberate Palestine,” a phrase that further strives to associate Palestine with terrorism. I feel that, while these connections were unnecessary and biased and therefore entirely appropriate on an opinion page, not the front page, you worked to sully the progress that was potentially made by both MSU and AFI in opening dialogue, for which they should be commended. Instead you decided to change the tone and tinge the article against MSU rather unfairly.

Much Obliged,
Nima Beheshti