Archive for Thursday, September 19, 2013

KU journalism professor condemned by administrators for tweet about NRA

September 19, 2013


A Kansas University journalism professor has been condemned by school officials who describe as "repugnant" remarks that the professor posted on Twitter after the mass shootings in Washington, D.C., this week.

In the aftermath of the Navy Yard shootings in Washington on Monday, in which 13 people were killed, David W. Guth, an associate professor at the School of Journalism, tweeted: "The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you."

The tweet drew criticism from conservative groups. The website Campus Reform, an Arlington, Va., college news site affiliated with the conservative Leadership Institute, suggested that Guth's tweet "called for the death of NRA employees (sic) children." A national gun rights website,, said that Guth had been "calling for the deaths of tens of millions of innocent children."

Today, KU officials strongly condemned Guth, who previously has been censured by the university, saying his opinions don't reflect the university's views.

Ann Brill, dean of the journalism school, said in a statement: “While the First Amendment allows anyone to express an opinion, that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced with the rights of others… Guth’s views do not represent our school and we do not advocate violence directed against any group or individuals.”

Timothy Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU, called the comment "repugnant" and said in the same university statement, "Like all Americans, he has the right under the First Amendment to express his personal views and is protected in that regard. But it is truly disgraceful that these views were expressed in such a callous and uncaring way."

Guth, in an interview, said, "I did not advocate violence against anybody." He said he was, instead, trying to make gun advocates see shootings like the one at Navy Yard from the point of view of the victims and their families. "I was getting tired of hearing comments in the media and Twitter that, 'Gee, this wouldn't have happened if the office staff at the Navy Yard had been armed," he said.

As for the "May God damn you" comment, Guth said: "I think they are on the wrong side of the angels on this issue. I wasn't cursing them. I was stating that I would like to see God put judgment on them."

Guth, who was censured by the university in 2011 over an angry exchange with a colleague, said he was not surprised that Brill and Caboni condemned his comments publicly, though he regretted that they were drawn into the debate. And that is his only regret, he said.

"I'm the same guy I was yesterday and I'll be the same guy tomorrow," he said. "I think this is just the price of doing business in a democracy."


Armstrong 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's hope Guth doesn't have access to firearms.


heygary 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Professor of Journalism?

“Journalistic objectivity can refer to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and nonpartisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.” ... Nope!

Advocacy journalism? “Avoid slogans, ranting, and polemics. Instead, articulate complex issues clearly and carefully." ... Nope!

Tenured liberal wack-job bent on ensuring that all whom his class come away with the same views he embraces. … Probably!

Any wonder why nobody trusts the lame-stream media?


avarom 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Just the rights of Freedom of Speech, yes insensitive, but demonstrates his bad judgement. Disagree fine, move on.....Obviously a Hater, and maybe even a racist. Who knows.....he still has a right to express his morbid opinion. It's like watching TV, don't like the program....Change The Channel.


notajayhawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, at least we know why the mainstream media is the way it is, with professors like this teaching journalism.


MrSpudboy 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Gruth is not going to get fired, although he is a phoule.

Obamacare is not going away, and the healthcare system is not going to fail.

No one is going to take your guns.

The Commies are not at the gates.

The End of Times is not near.

The sky is not falling.


jadedfool 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Until we have a serious conversation about mental illness in this country, with the intent to find some resolution, we will continue to have tragedies such as Columbine, The Naval Yard, Virginia Tech, etc. No amount of "Gun Control" legislation will prevent an unbalanced individual from procuring a weapon and using it if that is their intent. I can not imagine that any of the individuals that were responsible for these and all the many other incidents of gun violence, and just plain violence in this country, are stable, well-adjusted, mentally balanced individuals.

There is a stigma in this country about getting help for mental illness and all too often people have a group-think mentality that someone else is responsible for the shooters actions. I.E. violent video games, Mommy didn't love him enough or loved him too much, abuse in childhood, etc. But no one has a calm, reasoned conversation about the possibility that there is mental illness at fault.

I play violent video games. I enjoy them. That doesn't make me want to go out and purchase semi-automatic weapons and recreate the video game environment for real.

While the intended message in the tweet is admirable, the delivery leaves a bit to be desired. Put yourself in another's shoes and you'll be less quick to judge. Unless of course you're mentally unhinged. :D


lawslady 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Canaries of freedom do not always sing songs we like. First Amendment rights must be protected as strongly as possible, no matter how much we might disagree with what is being said.


Andrea Hoag 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Just gave this a little more thought, and it occurs to me what a great teachable moment this is for a journalism professor. He can use this whole situation to train up the next generation of journalists to be perhaps a bit more social media savvy. He should get a pass on this, but it's true people need to be careful about what they write on social media. Looks like he went off, if you'll excuse me, a bit "half-cocked."


Andrea Hoag 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I support Professor Guth. Obviously he was adopting an overly didactic tone here, but the sentiment rings true for me. This ridiculous country can fix anything but our absurd gun-violence problem. If KU fires Guth, none of my children will attend this school. Some days I get so tired of living in a red state.


booklover2 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think that his remarks have been taken completely out of context. I think that he is saying that wait until it is the sons & daughters of NRA members who are victims of gun violence and then maybe there will be a different opinion on gun laws.


tomatogrower 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It's funny, many posters, including me, on this forum and others post anonymously, because we are afraid of the backlash either in our job or our business. So Guth, in a moment of anger, expresses his frustration using his real name, and guess what? He confirms why we must not openly express our opinions. So, we suffer under the delusion that these forums, Titter, Facebook, etc. allow us free speech, but it's not true, is it.


orhs1963 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Guth, who was censured by the university in 2011 over an angry exchange with a colleague, said he was not surprised that Brill and Caboni condemned his comments publicly, though he regretted that they were drawn into the debate. And that is his only regret, he said.

One would think that the "angry exchange" probably was very severe to draw a "university censured action"...protected by privacy rights; one has to wonder - was Guth required to complete an Anger Mangement course or was he simply sent to sit in the corner of his cubicle with a Dunce Hat for the day.

Have not read where the Navy Yard shooter was connected to the NRA, but there were confirmed reports that the shooter was an avid player of violent video games, and had mental issues of hearing voices.

One has to wonder if Guth "hear voices"...


irtnog2001 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hmmm, sounds like a good time for some strategic budget cutting!


Centerville 6 months, 3 weeks ago

His problem is that this leads people to see his blog - which is a sad little thing.


Matthew Herbert 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Imagine that...a tweet like that coming from someone who has been censured by the university previously. Good thing for him that he can hide behind tenure.


Liberty275 6 months, 3 weeks ago

How much hatred to do you have to feel to wish people's children would die as punishment for having different beliefs? I hope for his and the sake of his students that he speaks with a therapist and can mitigate his issues.


stevieboy 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Stay classy KU...He should be fired yesterday!


Mike Ford 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I doubt anyone else has such a guilty conscience that they show up at massacre scenes to subconsciously and publically worry about what should probably be done with the gun problem. For starters I've been a gun owner since 8 years of age and I'm 43. I lived at that time in SW Louisiana where people do hunt and fish for subsistence. I've helped collect antique weapons since 1985. I'm a Democrat and a gun snob. We go to gun shops and I have people there ask me about Dreyse, Mauser, and Gras early bolt action rifles. I have no use for people who do this whole chest thumping gun culture nonsense and who wear their assault weapons like a shirt pin at gun shows. I know about Valmets, Galils, FN-FALS, CEMTES, HKS, and the like. But I don't care for them. I honestly do not believe there is any way physically possible for all of the guns in this country to be confiscated due to the propensity of them so these people who buy up all the ammo and civilian semi auto versions of military rifles (ASSAULT WEAPONS) are just pawns of profiteers playing the fear and sometimes race card. The craziest story I ever heard was at a gun shop in Olathe where some old guy was claiming that the US Government was buying up all the ammo and storing the ammo at the closed Chilocco Indian School near Ark City, Kansas. I had to leave the store because I was going to belly laugh myself silly in front of this unstable person. It's telling that a comment like this professors had to be made but look at how detached and unhinged parts of this populace are. Stop making guns so freely available in a place like Virginia and tragedies like this and Virginia Tech are less likely to happen. People travel from other states to buy weapons in VA because of the easiness in doing so. That's the problem.


dougbe50 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I am not a member of the NRA but I think it is incredibly stupid to blame the gun violence of this country on them . They are no different than the Teamsters or any other group of individuals that have gotten together to lobby the lawmakers of this country . Millionaires do it , big business does it , why cant the 4 or 5 million people in the NRA do it . Washington DC has the strictest gun laws in the country , he had to go thru 2 armed guard stations with a shotgun ,which would not have been banned anyway . Just like world hunger and the homeless , people want to stop these horrible acts of violence against innocent people . Most gun violence is tied to gangs , drugs and mental illness and if some crazy wants to hurt people they will find a way to do it . Sometimes there is no easy answer and the conservatives and liberals fighting over every little thing means nothing ever gets done .


Greg DiVilbiss 6 months, 4 weeks ago

The offense is not the opinion but in the manner it was expressed...."Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters".

Clearly he believes the NRA has undue influence and is at fault for the number of gun violence incidents that occur. That opinion is a valid part of the debate.

I am not an NRA member but guess what, with as big an organization the NRA is, their sons and daughters were probably in the Navel Yard. This part of the statement in my opinion sounds an awful lot like, a wish to harm someone or that someone is harmed.

That is offensive. Should he be fired? No, Should he be more careful the way he is expressing his opinion in public? Yes


kansas_native1969 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Opinions are protected by the same piece of paper as the right to bear arms... Many people in history have been punished by what they believe in.


LJ Whirled 6 months, 4 weeks ago

What a shallow thinker. Usually one must go to a bowling alley to encounter such intellect.


Hoots 6 months, 4 weeks ago

This guy's going to Tweet himself out of a job someday. Maybe not today but someday. People get themselves in more trouble by Tweeting stupid comments without thinking through it. It's one thing to say something but once you put it in writing it stays with you for the long run. Freedom of speech doesn't come without cost. You are free to say whatever you want but you may also have to deal with the ramifications of what you say. I'm free to poke myself in the eye with a rusty nail yet I refrain from that activity.


kansas_native1969 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Seems that some who champion the second amendment forget about the first...


fiddleback 6 months, 4 weeks ago

An aside to Ben -- I think the headline's a little off in terms of its direct object; you don't want to suggest that Guth is headed to gallows. Wouldn't it be better to say "KU journalism professor's tweet about NRA condemned by administrators?"

I can't believe that a guy whose research and areas of expertise supposedly include "crisis communication, political communication, and public relations history" would write this sub-Youtube comment level of hateful garbage. How is this supposed to advance the public discourse? No surprise that Caboni is trying to get out in front of the outrage by acknowledging it as "disgraceful." Just wait until the legislature is back in session...


catherine99 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Insane that he is chastised for posting an opinion shared by the majority of Americans


Mike Ford 6 months, 4 weeks ago

pro gun people can gather at massacre sites like Aurora and the Navy Yard and have no clue how offensive what they're doing is. I'm a three decade gun owner and collector who has no use for the NRA or it's political or chest thumping bravado. If you're pro gun and offended by this professor's comment have you ever considered how offensive your tactics to people like me? Guess what.....there's another side to this issue and you probably won't like it.


Paver 6 months, 4 weeks ago

While I don't think the guy should be fired, I wonder what the reaction would be if instead of the NRA a staff member had referenced a minority or protected group? I know politics has always been ugly at times but in the electronic age, these impulsive comments can spin out of control rapidly and the repercussions can be brutal and any intended nuance/sarcasm, lost.


Carol Bowen 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Freedom of speech certainly has changed over the years. Firstly, this is a personnel matter. Why am I reading this guy's name in the news? Secondly, anyone in education should be cautious about expressing bias. Students should not be exposed to bias and the university should not be tainted by this type of activity. The same rules apply in public and private employment. As adults, we have responsibility for a certain amount of decorum. We have freedom of speech, but it should be used wisely. Technology does not always bring out the best in us.


EarthaKitt 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Let me guess, bluefirebird. You defend the "right to bear arms" (which is misinterpreted and misguided at best), but you'll condemn the guy who uses his words. Did you learn nothing in kindergarten? Picking and choosing from the constitution is just as gross as picking and choosing from the bible.


chicago95 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Guth's language was ill-chosen, but on what basis does his employer get to chime in? The Campus Reform link actually offers pertinent information that the LJW story missed:

“Faculty have their own social media accounts and use those to express personal opinions, but those opinions do not represent the university,” spokesman Jack Martin wrote in an email statement to Campus Reform on Wednesday.

While Guth’s Twitter account is personal, his biography includes a link that directs to the school’s website.

KU's involvement seems to be justified only to the extent of their responsibility to clarify university policy when questioned by Campus Reform and others.


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