Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Clinton’s GU Speech Sparks Controversy

SPEECH REACTION Clinton’s GU Speech Sparks Controversy Interpretations of Message Vary By Arianne Aryanpur Hoya Staff Writer

The Georgetown University Lecture Fund has submitted an editorial letter to the Washington Times in response to its article covering former President Bill Clinton’s (SFS ’68) speech at Georgetown last Wednesday. The article “both misrepresented factual aspects of the events and misinterpreted Mr. Clinton’s remarks,” according to the Lecture Fund.

The Nov. 8 article, “Clinton Calls Terror a U.S. Debt to Past,” stated that the former president said America is “paying a price today” for slavery and for looking “the other way when a significant number of Native Americans were dispossessed and killed.” It focused on several statements by the former president that referred to America’s history of terrorism against slaves and Native Americans.

The Lecture Fund’s letter asserts that The Times article demonstrated a different focus compared to other nationally reputed news sources such as the Associated Press and CNN.

“I don’t think [Clinton’s] intention was to say that we’re paying a price for past terrorist acts today,” Andrew Koneschusky (MSB ’03), Lecture Fund vice president for external affairs said. Konechusky said he believed that by referring to slavery and other historical events, Clinton intended to place the events of Sept. 11 into an historical context of terrorism.

“The speech had a progression of: terrorism has a history, we have always gotten through it, we will pull through this and we can’t be paralyzed by fear,” Konechusky said.

The Times, a traditionally conservative paper, will publish the Lecture Fund’s editorial letter today.

George Washington University’s newspaper The Hatchet has also submitted an editorial letter to The Times criticizing what it saw to be the reporter’s personal bias and misinterpretation of the former president’s remarks.

Since last Wednesday, the intended message of Clinton’s speech has received media attention from several conservative news sources such as the FOX News network and the radio-show host Rush Limbaugh.

As a nonpartisan, student-run organization, “[the Lecture Fund] is not looking to take any sides in this,” Konechusky commented.

Konechusky appeared on FOX’s “The O’Reilly Factor” last Thursday to discuss what he saw to be the former president’s intended message with Bill O’Reilly and Times Assistant National Editor Jeffrey Kuhner. He also addressed the Lecture Fund and School of Foreign Service’s purpose for inviting Clinton to speak at the university.

Konechusky asserted that the Lecture Fund’s goal is to bring a diverse group of speakers to Georgetown and that Clinton was just another one of such speakers. The university’s intention was to provide students with an opportunity to hear the perspective of an individual with eight years of presidential experience, according to Konechusky. Clinton was not asked to speak about a specific topic, but he did choose to focus on terrorism and the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.

“Our only hope is that people will go to the Georgetown Web site, watch or read the speech in its entirety and make an informed decision by themselves without the bias of the Washington Times or any other publication,” Konechusky said.

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