Columnist censored

In his farewell column in the Reno Gazette-Journal, columnist Ty Cobb—son of the newspaper’s longtime reporter and editor of the same name—memorialized Ronald Reagan and said good bye to his readers: “After five years of writing, this will be my final column. This was a difficult decision, but I have concluded it is time to move on.” He did not explain his decision further, nor did the newspaper editorially comment (or publicly thank him), but on the same day Carson City’s Nevada Appeal columnist Guy Farmer provided what he said were the details.

“The elder Cobb must be turning over in his grave, given the way his newspaper has treated his son,” Farmer wrote. He described a column Cobb wrote for the newspaper that described Islam as “some 200 million fanatics … committed to the struggle against us. Further, the disappointment is that the remaining 80 percent have been largely silent or acquiescent in the militarization of the Muslim religion—there simply is no organized opposition to the hijacking of the faith. There is no shortage of official religious documents summoning the faithful to wage a global jihad (struggle). While the Koran is largely silent on killing apostates, two other authoritative sources of Islamic law and practice … make it clear that jihad is the true calling for Muslims.”

These passages were removed from the column by the RG-J before publication.

It is not known whether the newspaper censored the piece because it defined Islam by its worst elements or for more pedestrian reasons such as space, but Farmer writes that, in contrast, the Appeal “gives its columnists free reign [sic]—and sufficient space—to express their opinions, even when they oppose the paper’s editorial line.”