In response to ‘Fired for reporting the truth’


On May 12, National Review published a piece written by former Vanguard Multimedia Editor Andy Ngo entitled “Fired for reporting the truth.” Ngo describes events surrounding the Vanguard’s decision to remove him from his position as editor after tweeting a video clip from an April 26 interfaith event at Portland State.

The Vanguard editorial team initially opted not to further report on or address this topic, as we transparently outlined the events and ethics guiding the decision regarding Ngo in our initial coverage. Now, as Ngo’s recent piece on the matter has placed the Vanguard under significant scrutiny resulting in unjust threats and false assumptions, it has become necessary to address this misrepresentation.

Below is the response from Vanguard Editor-in-Chief, Colleen Leary.

The Vanguard has never fired anyone for reporting the truth.

Ngo’s piece published by the National Review and subsequent coverage in College Fix and others are inaccurate. Despite recent missteps, Ngo has previously produced accurate, quality journalism that includes full context, accurate quotes and nuanced investigation. It’s unfortunate he’s chosen to portray these events in such a way. My hope remains that he utilizes the tools and foundations he possesses to return to the high quality journalistic work he is more than capable of producing.

The Vanguard has published well-constructed pieces from Ngo that responsibly and ethically take a critical look at human rights violations carried out in the name of religious law. We do not shy away from uncomfortable issues for the sake of political correctness, and Ngo is well aware of this. We do reject irresponsible and hasty oversimplifications of “truth.”

As evidenced by previous pieces published by the Vanguard, the subject matter of the video Ngo shared is not the cause for his dismissal. The further sharing of the tweets by Breitbart and other media outlets is also not grounds for dismissal, as this is common practice for media outlets and often out of the control of original reporters.

The problem was that he initially shared the quote as a stand alone clip that summarized the speaker’s point to say, “Apostates will be killed or banished in an Islamic State.” This seemed straightforward and simple enough, and, from an ethical standpoint, was a dangerous oversimplification that violated very clear ethics outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The speaker did not say the words used to caption the video when it was shared. Only later, after being prompted, did Ngo provide further clips showing follow-up dialogue that describe the history of Muslims and non-Muslims living peacefully throughout history with an emphasis on innocent lives.

There was no attempt to clarify directly with the speaker the intent of his words in the video, which were explanatory and in response to a question. Given the way the clip was shared without necessary context, this was interpreted, shared and touted as endorsement of murder or banishment of apostates, while no such endorsement existed at the interfaith event or later when the Vanguard spoke to the student panelist. The student speaker was criticized and threatened without the opportunity to clarify from his own perspective.

Ngo did, in fact, send me the initial tweet and video from his personal social media account four days before the meeting he describes. I understand why he could land on the assumption that I and others on the team only took issue with it once picked up by Breitbart. This is something he could have queried me about directly.

In reality, I did not watch the video he sent until it had already been more widely shared out of context. It is typical of Ngo to attend events of this nature and to share on social media. As he had been a member of our editorial staff for over a year and had engaged in several ongoing conversations regarding ethics, conduct on social media and more, I did not have cause for alarm about this particular clip. I engage in training and dialogue with my staff about how to effectively utilize their social media accounts. I trust the people on my team to make sound ethical judgments, and therefore do not police or micromanage their personal accounts. My direct oversight is focused on content published by the Vanguard specifically. Unfortunately, this video was something that should have caught my immediate attention.

I regret not reviewing it sooner, as perhaps then we might have somehow prevented this ethical misstep from being further shared with an audience that is more interested in perpetuating a particular narrative and inciting reactions than actually reporting truth.

Several quotes attributed to me in Ngo’s National Review piece are inaccurate. If they had been presented as paraphrases, perhaps this would be less problematic, but they are included as direct quotes. Maybe this is a poor choice made by the editorial staff, as Ngo’s editing and journalistic experience is solid enough that I’d expect him to avoid inaccurate quotes like these.

I’ll point out only two of the issues that arise from these misquotes:
To say that I referred to Ngo as predatory and reckless is a regrettable misinterpretation. His actions, in this specific incident, can be described as such. I did not and would not make such a statement about him or his overall person. I hope he understands that a lapse in judgment need not define his entire journalistic career or personhood.

The decision to remove Ngo from his position was not an attempt to rectify the reputation of the Vanguard—words I also did not use. My concern then was as it remains now: for the safety and well-being of a student whose words were publicized in an irresponsible manner by someone I am confident knows the implications of doing so.

I am disheartened by the continued lack of acknowledgement or concern for the careless oversimplification of the panelist’s comments and the potential danger in which he placed a student in his own community. A person’s religious identity or otherwise should never be a factor in whether or not we report full, ethical truths within the necessary context.

I am further disheartened by this recent misrepresentation of the events surrounding his exit from the Vanguard. He has made a choice to portray people he knows personally and has worked with at length as politically biased and afraid to address uncomfortable topics. Ngo is aware of the full truth that, for the second time in this case, he did not report.

Ngo has portrayed his removal from the Vanguard as a reaction to a single event, one he has not regarded as a mistake, but simply “reporting the truth.” The decision to remove him from his position was the result of ongoing breaches in trust and actions that were counterintuitive to the mission and editorial expectations at the Vanguard.

The Vanguard has never removed a team member from a position for making one mistake. When mistakes occur, they are addressed as learning opportunities. We engage in discussion of and training on ethics and responsible journalism. This is how the Vanguard approached issues leading up to the event in question. We will continue to allow mistakes and judgmental oversights to be opportunities to learn and grow, while upholding the standards of ethical journalism that guide the organization.

Ngo can draw from personal experience to confidently expect me and others at the Vanguard to continue to offer him the professionalism and respect we’ve extended him throughout and after his time working with the Vanguard. He was not and will not be treated unfairly.

The incident in question is disappointing for me as someone who worked closely with Ngo to instill ethical foundations of journalism, and as someone who continues to respect and support the well-balanced work he produced on a variety of complex and difficult topics while working with our publication. As a leader and colleague, I hope an experience like this will result in learning and growth, not serve to vindicate or validate a misleading narrative.


  1. This is the most garbage and sanctimonious article I’ve ever read in response to a managerial fuck-up. Your consistent attempts to portray yourself as magnanimous, and your repeated attacks on Ngo, both as a journalist and as a human being, are as unwarranted as they are disturbing. You have done absolutely nothing to alleviate concerns of political bias; if anything, you’ve reinforced them. What a terrible organization.

      • Double ditto. This editor has self-incriminated herself to be even a more egregious jerk than what her enemies in the press have made her out to be. She should be fired, and expelled from campus. I worked in my college paper, and this crap would be grounds for immediate termination.

    • This is a messed up reply to try to justify their bullShit, why don’t they just state that you can’t tell the truth about Islam?

    • We are treated daily by the likes of Ms. Leary to prime examples of the truth…Leftists are the real fascists. The Left can project their own shortcoming and ideologies onto other political groups all day long but as we used to say in the military, “Money talks; Bullshit walks.”….for the slower persons out there, actions speak louder than words. Strap on your Nike’s Ms. Leary
      I would encourage all of the so called and self-titled ‘Progressives’ out there to keep right on doing what they are doing. While these actions of censorship and intimidation may get applause in the isolated fish tank that you swim in, that outside and looking in are being shown the realities of your ‘Utopian’ ideals.

    • What a crock of BS. More PC cover up from our liberal “Saviors”. Take your “superior” attitude and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. You fired this guy b/c he colored outside the lines of your political bubble.

    • What disgusts me is that I’m forced to finance this organization with my student fees at PSU. I wish I could opt out of my payment to student fees going to a hard left student newspaper that purports to represent the student body at PSU. The Vanguard openly denigrates conservative stances and acts as if they don’t exist on campus. Ngo let the Muslim on the panel speak for himself, and speak for himself he did.

  2. Colleen,

    If the firing wasn’t for this incident, but a build up of other concerns, then I think you’d have Andy’s permission to air those. Otherwise, all we have to go on, is this one incident.

    Further, this incident and the defense of your decision is predicated on the Muslim speaker at the interfaith event being quoted “out of context”. He was not.

    Death-for-apostasy is a well known doctrine of orthodox Islam. Not all Islam, but the Islam of a significant segment of the world’s Muslim population. I should know. I was a devout Muslim for many years, raised in the west in a peaceful minority sect of Islam (the Ahmadiyya) who are persecuted for their reform-oriented positions by orthodox Muslims. Being an ex-Muslim now, I know this subject all too well.

    A common refrain by Muslims on the hot seat to shift a discussion from the killing of ex-Muslims, is to talk about peaceful co-existence with other faiths.

    This is a complete red-herring to the very fine point of whether someone who was once a Muslim will have their life spared once they no longer believe in Islam and reveal that fact.

    You have given zero evidence that the Muslim speaker at the interfaith panel articulated that ex-Muslims would *not* be killed/exiled in a land ruled by Qur’anic law, according to the Muslim speaker’s understanding of Islam.

    I will be publishing a more expanded commentary on the “missing context” claim regarding the interfaith event, shortly.

    • Excellent comment!
      I visited your webpage and you my friend, need to get in touch and work with the lady who runs an organization called “Act For America”.

    • Dear Reason on Faith,
      Excellent comment!
      I visited your webpage and you my friend, need to get in touch and work with the lady who runs an organization called “Act For America”.

  3. Shameful conduct by Colleen Leary.

    What the Muslim panelist said merely reflects the deeply intolerant and anti-liberal nature of his religious beliefs. Pew statistics on the attitude of Muslims towards apostates only confirm that such disturbing views on apostasy as the one held by the Muslim panelist are all too common.

    The fragment shared by Ngo highlights an incredibly pernicious aspect of Islam. It’s only natural to expect a backlash against the absolutely revolting response made by the Muslim panelist, which can only be interpreted as a confirmation that apostates under Islamic law should be put to death. Which is precisely what will happen in numerous Muslim societies throughout the world.

    The fact that the beliefs of the Muslim panelist are so incredibly disturbing and at odds with liberal Western values are precisely why it’s prudent that journalists like Ngo can do their job – namely, documenting reality.
    Doing so without having to fear being smeared and persecuted by individuals like Colleen Leary, who for some bizarre reason betray their progressive liberal values to protect the religious bigotry of Muslim fundamentalists by censoring journalists who accurately depict controversial aspects of Islam.


  4. You do not seem to recognize the impact of what you have done. Your university and its student paper are laughingstocks. You are defending a man who believes in ideologically motivated murder and said so publicly. You are painting him as a victim. You have admitted your organization is coercive in obsfucating true information from the public because it does not fit your desired narrative.

    In one fell swoop, you have confirmed what many people fear about both the press and the university system: that it has unashamedly rejected truth in favor of propaganda.

  5. What the speaker said in the clip is truthful. In countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, apostates are punished by death unless they repent and return to Islam. Blasphemers are also put to death in those countries as well as in Pakistan. Nothing is out of context. In fact, in virtually every Muslim-majority nation, non-Muslims are persecuted.
    You should fire yourselves for twisting things out of context.

  6. As a former student and a graduate of PSU, and one who has been the subject of Vanguard articles from my time in ASPSU, I am astonished and deeply saddened by this entire situation. From the above article it seems Vanguard is talking out both sides of its metaphorical mouth. The article gives me the clear impression that Mr. Ngo was fired from his position because in his personal life he shared a video clip and did not write an article about it clarifying the entirety of the discussion. Further, as a simple conversation with most students from Islamic nations wherein Sharia is either the law of the land or heavily influences the law of the land, there is a distinction between a person born to a religion other than Islam within those nations and to one born to Islam who wishes to covert to another faith–or no faith–or a person who starts preaching to Muslims within those nations. There are punishments under law and a few minutes on Wikipedia pages’ bibliographies will supply an avalanche of data from which to draw.
    It seems that the speaker in question was attempting to speak to that very situation and acknowledge the truth of it. Mr. Ngo’s tweet was a sharing of that and Vanguard comes across as attempting to restrict that knowledge.
    Vanguard could have shown more spine and even academic and journalistic integrity by asking Mr Ngo to prepare an article that thoroughly delved into the question (understood by me to be three fold: the position of non-Muslims in Muslim nations and what happens to Muslim-born people who wish to change to a different religion or wish to drop religion all together in accordance with law, especially Sharia), and examined both the historical and the contemporary reality of people in such situations.
    Instead Vanguard seems to have chosen the path of silencing and punishing.
    Truly a lost opportunity and another sad moment in this academic year.

    • I too am a graduate of Portland State (Maseeh College of Engineering; Electrical Engineer), and am unfortunately not surprised by either the initial firing, nor the meek attempt at damage control. The university that is Portland State, began to show a number of signs of newspeak and ‘rightthink’ in the shape of “Social Justice” tyranny back in 2002. In the recent years we have numerous recordings of students in action, and intentionally published documents by those within the university, who operate on an Anti-Western-Values narrative. PSU itself has become a “No Free Speech” zone, under the previously mentioned “Social Justice” banner.

      That Ngo was fired, was merely a sacrificial lamb before the Speech Code and rightthink body of the university. The above article that miserably fails to clearly establish a just criteria and operate on that. The writer of the article above wrote, “My concern then was as it remains now: for the safety and well-being of a student whose words were publicized in an irresponsible manner by someone I am confident knows the implications of doing so.” Yet the source material was accurate. The crime was not a generous application of cutting-room-floor techniques, but presenting a clear and honest admission by one person in a class of persons which are held as gold standards of virtue. The result, presented a contradiction: Death to those who are atheist (and other non-believers), but we’re also peaceful; two concepts which are mutually exclusive.

      The standards for College journalism itself have fallen so low, that the standard solution to this contradiction is to silence factual evidence which refutes a belief. Here is where one can find the core attempt at persuasion in this author’s article: “disheartened,” “hope,” etc. This is a massive rejection of objective standards (which SPJ CoE was violated? Blank out), and substituting feelings and emotion in their place where they do not belong.

      This serves as a fine standard of why all government funding should be pulled from Public Universities; there should be no compulsion to fund organizations which hate your existence.

  7. Brilliant. Just keep doubling down and handing over this country piecemeal to a gloating right. Illiberals like yourself are some of their most potent weapons in the culture wars.

    As a more specific point relating to this fiasco, I’d like to know what ‘misinterpret’ means with regards to the quotes attributed to you – because when people are simply misquoted they don’t use the word ‘misinterpret’, they use the word ‘misquote’. It sounds very much like the quotes he attributed to you are perfectly accurate, but you’d rather they were ‘interpreted’ in a generous way. Which, frankly, they won’t be.

    As for the claim that he put this student ‘at risk’ – that is not an accusation that should be thrown around without some very good evidence, and so far you’ve provided none. Nor did Ngo misrepresent this student. The headline about apostasy in an Islamic state is an exact summary of what he said in the video about Islamic laws on apostasy – if you’re going to continue denying this it is incumbent upon you to point out the part of that headline that misrepresented the student.

    This is all very depressing. One sign of the bad faith in which this whole shambolic affair has taken place is your complete refusal to concede that what you have done is simply illiberal, ie. that there are overwhelmingly good liberal and left-wing reasons for criticising your actions, and that the predictable co-option of this story by conservatives removes none of the stink from your behaviour.

    • Well said, I almost thought Colleen was a right wing operative. Her actions are certainly destructive to Progressive Values. Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom to force others to marry the way you marry, or freedom to murder people who believe differently. At one point, she lauds great praises Andy Ngo except for this misstep, then at another, she complains of a pattern of misconduct. I really don’t care what Colleen has to say any further. She is an enemy to atheism and the LGBT movement.

      It was very clear from this clip that the Muslim student was in fact having difficulty discussing a topic he didn’t want to identify with. His mentioning liberty to leave the country is ridiculously unpragmatic, but it does demonstrate a desire on the Muslim student’s part to espouse liberty. He’s coming to grips with something which creates cognitive incongruence. Colleen, she’s just shamelessly lying and engaging in thought control, silencing dissent, and doublespeak. Colleen, please resign, as your actions are far more deplorable than anything Ngo has been accused of by you.

  8. You, ma’am, are a disgrace to Edward r. Morrow and everything he stood for. If you had an ounce of honor or dignity you would resign Monday at 8 am.

    But you won’t because people like you don’t have the moral or ethical backbone to admit you are wrong, unlike those of us on the right.

      • But now you’re just getting into pure politics, Saul.
        Any fair-minded person can discuss this Kafka-meets-Dilbert firing without having to muck around in politics.
        “1984” should appeal to people of ALL parties, should it not?? Same idea.

      • Who says we were wrong. He is exactly who we thought he was and he is doing exactly what we want him to do. Drain the swamp (not quick enough but making progress) and making America great again (good progress).

      • You assume, sir…that Right Wingers think they were wrong about President Trump. I assure you they think no such thing…

      • Here lies the rub for the left.They ass-u-me too much.The 50 million that voted for Trump in a recent poll say’s 98% would vote for him again .It also revealed he would beat Hillary again.
        We are living in a world where the left believes they own the moral high ground. As they chant racist slurs and swear words and bring weapons to assault even murder. The level of discord from the left and the unwillingness to allow debate under the guise of hate speech when that is no the law of the land . If this standard was applied to the left we would have 3/4 of university student including professors in prison for hate speech.
        The hypocrisy today from a fragile yet violent left ideology is stunning.
        I would like to inform this editor that a lawsuit is now making it’s way thru the courts filed from the GOP group of students of the university of Berkley as we speak.
        I would suggest This reporter has a civil rights case himself.
        It’s an odd position the left has today. The liberal professors,and students have come to a 180 degree position.
        Today it is the intolerance,violence, and oppressors of free speech and violating the civil rights students is the credo of the liberal democrats. A twilight zone real life drama that makes racial ,sexual,gender identity groups to divide students and promotes hatred and segregation.I was reading that there are now places in universities today, that if you are a certain race. Signs reading “no whites allowed” are hanging in coffee shops on public university campus’s today.
        I’m sorry but the left has become what we fought against and no amount of virtue signaling can hide the racist,violent ,hate filled oppressive ideology that has spun wildly out of control.
        This editor needs to publicly apologize and step down or have a lawsuit filed civilly for slander of the students reputation and the university sued on constitutional grounds Administration and professors replaced in universities who have been discriminating and violating the civil right of student .
        You do not own moral high ground,quite the opposite .
        Sincerely, a father who had to advise his college age sons not to go to college because of the abuse and discrimination they would encounter because of their race and gender
        And yes, I’m furious about it.
        Todd holladay

  9. The Muslim speaker forgot he’s supposed to lie about his faith when speaking to non-Muslim as to not cast Islam in a negative light. Instead he spoke the truth known to all Muslims, a truth his own community likely “criticized and threatened” his family and him for.

  10. The Vanguard editors have shamefully fired their first decent reporter in many years, returning their paper to the kind of largely unread, mostly illiterate and juvenile garbage it has been known for. Ngo’s “crime”was to have accurately quoted a student. I have no doubt that Ngo will go on to bigger and better things, while the rest of the Vanguard staff will go on to the same level of professional mediocrity achieved by most of the paper’s other graduates.

  11. Ms. Leary, you said that “Despite recent missteps, Ngo has previously produced accurate, quality journalism that includes full context, accurate quotes and nuanced investigation.” In fact, you state this in two successive paragraphs. Yet later you state “The decision to remove him from his position was the result of ongoing breaches in trust and actions that were counterintuitive to the mission and editorial expectations at the Vanguard.”

    While confusing, these statements are still reconcilable, until you describe yourself as “someone who continues to respect and support the well-balanced work he produced”.

    This makes article in this form is confusing. Do you mean to say you only respect the well-balanced pieces (this seems borderline disingenuous), or that his corpus is balanced (which would indicate to me that he should not have been fired)?

    This all, of course, is arguing on your own terms. I should point out that your fundamental premise for the firing is incorrect: in no way was what the speaker said misrepresented.” The speaker stated unequivocally that under Sharia, infidels face either banishment or execution. He is simply stating fact: for example, in countries such as Saudi Arabia (a staunch (?) U.S. ally) the practice of other religions is banned, along with apostasy and blasphemy. True, he did not use the exact verbiage that Mr. Ngo’s tweet used, but it was extremely close. The tweet in question did not specify whether the speaker thought it was a good thing. Incorrect speculation on his opinion perhaps may become irresponsible, but that is not what Mr. Ngo did. He made no such character judgement.

    If you wish to discuss this more, we are always willing to hear fair and balanced arguments. You can contact us at [email protected]

    Philip Arola
    President of the Portland State College Republicans

    • A contradiction for sure. Well written reply. Hope to see you run for a public office someday if you pursue that. We could use more straight shooting and logical thinkers.

  12. What steaming pile. As someone who has dealt with lots of reporters at the local and national level, I’d bet the Vanguard couldn’t produce a single example of a story they ran that involved a quote from someone, where the person being quoted wouldn’t say that their quote was inaccurate, or more out of context than what Mr. Ngo said. It’s what reporters do.

  13. Ms. Leary:

    I have been a journalist for almost 3 decades and have reviewed the material that was tweeted by Mr. Ngo. At no point did his actions violate the code of ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists as published by SPJ.

    I plan to run a story on our news network tomorrow regarding your actions against Mr. Ngo and would like to offer you the opportunity publicly to respond via an interview. My email is jason at and the story will likely run before noon on Monday. I’m posting this in public so it can’t be said you weren’t being offered the chance to respond before we air our story.

    Also, I have reviewed the information on your resume that you made publicly available. If you have more experience than just working for a college publication, please pass along that info to me so I can have a better understanding of your background. Also, are you a member of the Society of Professional Journalists? This will help me better understand the basis of your claims for action against Mr. Ngo.

  14. By the way, incidents like these are exactly why liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims feel utterly betrayed by over-privileged liberals in the West.

    The idea that reportage on religious violence needs to toe the line of your coddling speech police is steeped in such self-righteous, first-world entitlement. Dissent from religion as a western liberal, and you’re a hero. Dissent from religion under threat of violence in the Islamic world, and a sanctimonious Colleen Leary will happily be complicit in silencing those who try to report on your plight and the violent religious attitudes that contribute to it.

    Because the culture of persecution you languish under should never be reported on, if the FEELINGS of some Western campus liberals are at stake.

  15. All this article does is bring more attention to the poor decision that was made as well as the absence of reason responsible for it. How many more rebuttals will have to be made before you can just come out as a responsible adult and apologize for your mistakes Colleen? You are slandering someone in way that can effect their career for no apparent reason and yet, you are expecting people to side with you. Your hasty decision to fire Mr. Ngo was wrong and all you are doing is bringing more and more attention to that and to your incompetency as a “journalist”. If you really had the best interest of the Vanguard or the PSU student body at heart, you would resign instead of continuing to try and justify your mistakes the way a child would. Mr. Ngo did nothing wrong and you are trying to paint him in an unfavorable light to cover yourself and yet you claim that you have journalistic integrity and are interested in the safety and well-being of others. Perhaps if you weren’t so blatantly contradicting of yourself, you wouldn’t be receiving quite so much backlash. Maybe if you had an ounce of integrity you would stop continuing to target someone who was completely innocent from the beginning. You’re sending a message out that you support mindlessly broadcasting lies for your own personal gain and then sit here and wonder why people are demanding your resignation. You’ve done this entirely to yourself, stop trying to demonize innocent people.

  16. You betrayed #RaifBadawi (in Saudi prison). You silenced reality.

    Andy Ngo is one of the few journalists who doesn’t kowtow to leftist conformity. But you at the PSU RedGuard had to silence him and try to send him to reeducation camp. He has, more than once, exposed the hollowness of the Antifa/SJW/RegressiveLeft movement. You couldn’t take it. And so you protect the most egregious religious bigotry. Gays/atheists/apostates are being killed and you’d rather the world not know.

    The left has gone so nuts that liberals are jumping ship.

  17. Colleen,
    You let your ideology cloud your judgement and it led to unnecessary censorship. As a liberal humanist, I am deeply disappointed in your decision. You and I are lucky we don’t live under Sharia law which subjugates the human rights of women and LGBTQ+ for hundreds​ of millions of people. Please reflect on your values and reconsider your action.

  18. You and people like you are the reason people don’t trust the media and Trump saying “Fake News” gets traction instead of being laughed at. You SJW’s have gone so far don the deep end that people are seeing ACTUAL instances to not trust the media instead of the usual smears from the right-wing media. Indirectly, this anti-liberal mindset is what caused Trump to be elected.

    Take a good look in the mirror and see that you are defending brown Nazis while telling liberals to punch white Nazis. Shameful

  19. What you fail to understand ma’am is decades of peace between muslims and non-Muslims, does not soften the harsh reality of the belief that it’s okay to kill apostates. Also, apostates are a different category than just “non-Muslim”. “Non-Muslims” are the never-Muslims, not the apostates.

  20. Colleen – I have written an open letter to you with a focus on the “missing context” that you allege was part of the Muslim speaker’s full remarks.

    An excerpt:

    “Death-for-apostasy is a well established belief within orthodox Islam. There was an understandable moral outrage to the remarks made by the Muslim speaker at the interfaith event. That is not the fault of Andy Ngo. He was just the messenger.”

  21. Dearest Colleen,

    Should you write anymore responses on this matter, please give a 5 minute courtesy warning; I’ll be making popcorn. Orville Redenbacher with Movie Theater Butter, for the curious.

  22. Collen you speak with forked tongue. You attempt to justify the unjustifiable with deflection.

    I believe both the left and the right to their beliefs but you are trying to kill the messenger because you don’t like the message. So easy to see your bias. Did you not think you have lost all credibility with your journalistic waffling?

    Ngo will be better off without you.

    Please resign

  23. Colleen you say that Ngo transgressed the guidance in the Society of Professional Journalists.

    From your reply above, you say that your key aim is to protect people from harm, which is very laudable, and from the guidance – – “Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort”.

    So your call has been to protect the speakers need for protection against violent retribution, versus the protection from harm such as Mashal Khan – please google.

    Your call buddy.

  24. As a PSU graduate, I am appalled at the firing of Andy Ngo. All Ngo did was show a clip of a Muslim speaker talking about a common belief across Islam, I know this as an ex Muslim, that apostates are killed or exiled from their community. His firing speaks to the censorship that is runing rampant on PSU campus. If some one doesn’t tow the line far left, then must be silenced. You should be ashamed for your lack of journalistic integrity.

  25. Let’s take a moment to digest the sheer disingenueity behind Mr Ngo’s firing:

    A student of the Islamic faith, albeit nonchalantly, enlightens the audience at an interfaith discussion on one of the more colourful tenets of the Sharia – The Killing of Apostates in an Islamic State.

    A second student; a journalist for the college publication thought it incumbent upon him to not only report the statement made by the Muslim student, but also include the several other developments that took place subsiquent to the student’s statement.

    Who gets fired? The student journalist, Mr Ngo.
    Why? For featuring a video of the Muslim student speaking of the plight of infidels in Muslim majority countries, on his twitter handle, thereby putting the student’s life at risk. Also, the fact that Breitbart featured Mr Ngo’s tweets in their coverage of the matter didn’t really help bolster his case. His firing is a clear case of guilt by association.

    Just because your coverage of a certain matter is something that Breitbart would feature – for their own motives – doesn’t make your coverage any less credible.

    Analysing Ms Leary’s response, what this case comes down to is quite apparent: An individual can unabashedly pledge allegiance to a faith that practises gross injustices against humanity, on a public forum. But report on it at your own peril.

    As an aside, here’s something that might fascinate you: If this case were to transpire in my side of the world; let’s say Pakistan, the Muslim student would be lauded for his candor, and Mr Ngo, persecuted for his flagrant disrespect toward the great faith.

    The west today is no different. Behind the veneer of PC culture, Mr Ngo will not find himself persecuted for his actions in the west, but will certainly find himself dismissed for scrutinising the Islamic faith. And thanks for proving me right.

  26. You owe it to your readers to fully divulge the incidents that led to this decision. As your editorial notes, context is important, but you’ve failed to provide any to enlighten readers about why you made your decision. What were the other incidents that led to his dismissal? That’s an important part of this story that’s not being reported.

  27. wow…. the progressives and anarchists rant about fascists when it is people like this woman and others who are the fascists…. the progressives and anarchists promote watching the movie 1984 as a sign of what Trump and the conservatives are about when it they, who stifle speech and condemn anything that does not follow their snowflake, moronic thinking… PERFECT EXAMPLE of censorship in the name of collective group think idiocy.

  28. What a load of crap. The following context the speaker gave is that there are some places where Muslims and non-Muslims co-exist. Fine. But, what did the comments in the clip posted mean by implication then? He says under Quranic law, you have the choice to leave if you’re not a believer, meaning what, exactly, if you stay? Step down, Colleen. You’re a spineless coward.

  29. I’ve lived in a Muslim country twice in my life and personally know people who have been imprisoned for even attempting to renounce Islam. I’ve spoken with secret Christian converts whose lives are in jeopardy for their decision. Your firing of Mr. Ngo for reporting what the panelist said, which is exactly truthful, is shameful and not in the spirit of a country that respects a free press.

  30. So… in a nutshell, you just didn’t like it, so you fired him. That’s all the “nuance” I see here. Colleen got her liberal shorts in a twist and had to pull out the old fascist hammer to teach the conservative, right leaning, reporter a lesson. And these are the folks teaching the next generation about “ethics in reporting”.

  31. I’m not going to mince words. Colleen Leary should be immediately dismissed from her position and banned from working in journalism as a vocation and as an avocation unless she does the following…

    1. Reinstates Ngo in his position.
    2. Publicly apologizes to Ngo for creating a hostile, biased work environment based on personal beliefs.
    3. Publicly apologizes to the college for abusing her position and dragging the University’s reputation through the mud by association with her bad judgment.
    4. Resigns her current position and instead takes a job as a cub reporter until she learns the difference between journalism and political activism.
    5. Is forced to retake all of her journalism classes over again … because clearly she didn’t learn what real journalism is the first time around.

    Journalism as a profession is in a moment of existential crisis. It has lost its way. It is no longer interested in reporting facts. It is instead obsessed with pushing biased political narratives. The result of the profession having lost its direction is that people have entirely lost confidence in “news”. No one trusts them anymore. The partisanship of journalism has become naked. It used to be that accusations of journalistic bias were waved aside because the journalists claimed, “I don’t allow my personal opinions to influence how I do my job.” But people can see that this is no longer true. Journalists coming out of biased, partisan journalism schools become biased, partisan journalists … and they ABSOLUTELY allow their personal opinions to influence their work.

    Leary’s actions are the tiniest tip of a very huge and ugly iceberg. This sort of output-influencing bias can no longer be tolerated either in schools or in the journalistic profession at large. Persons who allow such biases to influence their decisions must be called out, shamed, and punished.

  32. Play “journalist” Colleen Leary has just about doomed any prospect she may have had for ever working in as a professional journalist, now that her name is now plastered over the www in the context of her egregious violation of the 1st amendment, journalistic ethics and common decency.

    The resume line, “Portland State Vanguard” has now become as useful as a reference to have worked for the “Daily Worker.

    Al Jazeera may give her a job, but I don’t think they hire women, due to Koranic dictates.

  33. Andy Ngo reported on the ugly truth that non-Muslims and apostates face daily…and he was punished by the timid, p.c. and willfully ignorant editors of the VANGUARD for doing so.

    But the good news is that the VANGUARD’s actions have brought a lot attention to this creepy application of shari’a.

    VANGUARD: thank you for raising awareness! Now, publicly apologize to Mr. Ngo.

  34. As a Progressive Liberal Feminist I am shocked and appalled by Leary’s dependence on double speak and while I have never heard of her before and will likely never hear of her again, I hope that she eschews a career in media as she appears to be more Vichy than Cronkite.

  35. I am not surprised by this. I attended PSU back in 1982. A Jewish friend of mine could not use the student union because she would be harassed by middle eastern students there and it was not safe for her. This did not seem to bother anyone as these students were a large source of revenue for the school. I mentioned this to a friend recently here in Utah who did not think it possible. The friend is a professor who lived in Iran years ago and she does not believe there are anti Jewish Iranians. You can’t make this stuff up. I have had a number of wonderful Persian friends over the years many of whom escaped to avoid this type of bigotry. The fact that there are many deeply spiritual and peaceful muslims does not negate the horrors that the young Muslim man was talking about and Ngo reported on. To claim that to expose bad things that happen in the Islamic world is anti-Muslim is like saying that slavery in the United States was horrific and wrong is to be anti-American. We need to stand up for humanity everywhere. “Liberalism” lost me completely over this type of double standard in shining a light on injustice.

  36. Colleen Leary complains about inaccuracy, but her own writing contains plenty of truth-stretching and rationalizations. Specifically:

    1. “In reality, I did not watch the video he sent until it had already been more widely shared …”
    *** Then that’s on you, Colleen. Come on, cowgirl up and take responsibility for a situation you could have prevented.

    2. “There was no attempt to clarify directly with the speaker the intent of his words in the video, which were explanatory and in response to a question.”
    *** So what? Ngo presented the speaker’s words verbatim, without any deceptive editing. Who cares whether the speaker was responding to a question, participating in a panel discussion or giving a speech afterward? He said it. If you had a problem with the context, you could have clarified it in the Vanguard.

    3. “… (P)erhaps then we might have somehow prevented this ethical misstep from being further shared with an audience that is more interested in perpetuating a particular narrative and inciting reactions than actually reporting truth.”
    *** Aha, there’s the real reason for Ngo’s firing: Colleen feels she’s been disloyal to the progressive cause by allowing the release of a recording that provided fodder for conservatives. It’s anybody’s guess why a supposedly liberal-minded young woman like her would go to bat for a religion that subjugates women and executes gays.

    4. “… the potential danger in which he placed a student in his own community.”
    *** For what, Colleen — telling the truth about Islam? You’ve provided no evidence that the speaker faces any kind of real danger … and frankly, if he does, it’s his issue. If a KKK member made racist statements on campus, would you work this hard to keep his actual words from getting out?

    5. “Now, as Ngo’s recent piece on the matter has placed the Vanguard under significant scrutiny …”
    *** No, Colleen — YOUR decision to fire him has placed the Vanguard under significant scrutiny. If you hadn’t fired him, there would be no national story.

    6. “The Vanguard has never fired anyone for reporting the truth.”
    *** Until now.

  37. A shameful, cowardly response. I hope that Colleen is not considering taking her journalistic career any further than student politics… this country doesn’t need any more people in the press so willing to compromise on the truth in the service of their ideology.

  38. You can hide your head in the sand all you want, but people are killed every day for renouncing their Muslim faith. If atheists were put to death in this country, would you then sit up and take notice? It’s easy to ignore a problem that is half a world away. Women all around the world are beaten, imprisoned in their own homes, forbidden by law to drive. Somehow this has no effect on you. Only the possibility that someone who is recorded saying the truth, that apostates can be put to death, might somehow be injured by all this. If only you cared so much for the women and downtrodden who are victims all around the world as you do to maintain your own “liberal” opinions at any cost

  39. “Ngo has previously produced accurate, quality journalism that includes full context, accurate quotes and nuanced investigation.”

    “The decision to remove him from his position was the result of ongoing breaches in trust and actions that were counterintuitive to the mission and editorial expectations at the Vanguard.”

    Colleen needs to explain this contradiction. If she stands by both of these statements, she’s either incoherent or dishonest.

  40. In the years that I have followed college newspapers, watching them slid further and further intolerant, it pleases me to see former and current PSU students and faculty defend Mr. Ngo. As an American who is white, fiscally conservative but socially liberal, I find the actions of Ms. Leary to be nothing more than typical. Are we really surprised? It is bad enough that conservative to these types, even those who defend gay marriages, would still be deemed apostates to their belief systems. None of us can be in the middle or middle left of right in this country. We must be only be far left or we will be fired, beat, shouted down, burned, stabbed, lied too, lied about, shamed or any other harmful acts those like Ms. Leary can foist upon us. Anything to force us to toe their line. I say let us this play out. Let this behavior run its likely course. It might be interesting to see how it ends for these gnomes. If anything it will be good entertainment to watch how badly the left defiles themselves before they shrivel under the weight of their own repugnance.

  41. As an former East German camp survivor (STASI) I cannot believe what’s happen here in Portland, OR. I left 2006 Germany for crime Moslems and Gypsys, high aggressive folks, destroying the social state apartments, robbing elderlies and rape women.

    2007, when I found a job here, Portland was so nice. No I have to bear left fascists and an army of homeless. Donald Trump is the legal elected president. Ngo’s firering is the same like in East Germany 60’+70′ when you lost all privileges for watching West-German-TV. PDX turns to a pee-stinking red cesspool.

  42. This has to be the worst, pathetic excuse for an “explanation” that I have ever read.
    The comments section is a burning damnation of you, your excuses, your censorship of a fellow journalist, your pathetic attempt at silencing him and your even more pathetic attempt at smearing him.
    The only thing you have done is reinforce what millions of people in this nation and millions around the world are finally realizing…that “progressives” are not about diversity and inclusion…you loathe diversity of the mind and you are exclusionary to those who don’t march to your tune.
    You’re not a journalist Colleen…you’re a propagandist…a commissar.

    If you’re so much more enlightened than the rest of us please respond below and tell us what the speaker really meant. Please put it into “context” for us so that we may understand that what he said is not what he really said.
    In Saudi Arabia apostasy is punishable by death…please explain to us the “context” of what the House of Saud really means.

    Your arrogance and ignorance, which is in full view in your “explanation” has only put future employers on notice about you.
    Good luck with the journalism gig…this is going to follow you around for a very, very long time.
    Many people will make sure of it.

  43. From Ms. Leary’s own page and in her own words…

    Leadership Philosophy

    As a leader, I am a strong proponent of instilling trust and autonomy into the teams I manage. I lead by compiling teams of talented, independent and creative people who commit themselves to excellence. I prioritize collaboration and accountability. I’ve found the best way to foster a productive creative environment is to facilitate accountability and indepedence within a team.
    The people I lead are encouraged to take responsibility for their work and seek input when needed.
    I strive to be balanced and well-informed, so when my team seeks counsel, I am equipped to provide sound and constructive feedback.

    Unless you produce FACTS I don’t like. If you do you’re FIRED!

    • Colleen says: “The people I lead are encouraged to take responsibility for their work …”

      The key phrase being “the people I lead” — not Colleen herself, who scapegoats underlings to preserve her own gig.

  44. This article is basically a far-fetched attempt to complexify a cristal clear situation. Sad truth is no one buys it Coleen. Now that the Streisand Effect cannot be stopped, the far right thrives on this hot potato because of your white savior complex. Muslims are individuals accountable for their words and actions as much as anybody else, stop treating them like children. Liberal muslims and ex-muslims are the one being silenced by this type of things and let me tell you, they are tired of it, tired of the far right monopolizing the topic because press and medias keeps betraying their voices. Admit your error and use that mistake as an opportunity to learn and grow. This has been embarrasing enough

  45. Time for a massive civil rights lawsuit against the school, and perhaps a nice personal lawsuit for dearest Colleen, that she can make payments on for-the-rest-of-her-miserable-life.

  46. Ngo would be a fool and a coward not to file a civil rights, wrongful termination and defamtion lawsuit aginast the editor, paper and school.

    Voters should demand the State AG investigate.

  47. Colleen Leary,

    I am utterly appalled that a media instructor is this terrible at optics.

    Your reporter reported, then you fired him after his work made the news, and you have now had two separate articles in which you bash this reporter.

    Are you an actual adult? Do you understand the concept of the Streisand Effect?

    Please allow me a moment to elaborate: If you are in a tough situation, such as a Muslim student saying something like “Koran law allows for non-believers to be dealt with” then you should go:

    Yes, this is an unfortunate misuse of apostate laws. Here’s how Western Muslims handle it, here’s historical growth and context, here’s the case for greater understanding and tolerance.

    Instead, you shoot the messenger. The little guy. The earnest reporter doing his job. See, in America, we root for the little guy. Woodward and Bernstein are heroes. You, as editor in chief, are the BAD GUY!

    I realize that you probably aren’t used to dealing with people who both disagree with you AND might actually have a point, but, as it happens there can actually be more ways to accomplish a goal then just your way.

    As far as stating you were misquoted, I cannot stress enough how terrible an idea that is. Memory makes fools of us all. And last, but certainly not least, who do you honestly think we’re going to believe? The guy who was ambushed by several people in a meeting, or the editor in chief who can’t even support her own argument.

    • The odd part is that Ngo didn’t even act within his job as a reporter.

      He was at the event privately, and tweeted the video on his private Twitter account.

  48. Colleen Leary should be fired for gross incompetence on several grounds. Her inability to understand the most fundamental tenet of her once noble profession being the most notable. The repeated incidences of left-wing intolerance and censorship can no longer be discounted as a wing-nut here and there. There has clearly been a fundamental shift in the orthodoxy of the left, and free speech is no longer a valued. I now stand against them.

  49. “It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.”

    A. Hitler

    Yes, Ms. Leary, you’re in the same league… You should resign and refrain from digging the hole any deeper for the Vanguard.

  50. He should honestly sue PSU and whoever else he can that was involved in firing him. It’s obvious to every non-SJW that he was fired from the paper because he didn’t toe the party line. Disgraceful that a state university would do this and then defend their actions.

  51. In a better era, tyrants like these pukes at the Vanguard were hung by a rope and then left dangling in the center of town for a fortnight as a civics lesson to other tyrannical wanna-be street-light ornaments. Good times. I hope these prog-nazi’s keep pushing until what was old is new again. I’d bring the grand-critters out in the Sunday best for the festivities.

  52. Because of journalistas like Colleen, journalists are no longer respected. Her attempt to censor (PSU is a government organization) the truth will stain her and the Vanguard’s reputation forever. Worse, she made the video and her attempts to suppress it a major news story, further harming the student interfaith panel members. She created the coverup and drew more attention to crazy stuff going on at PSU. If she had just practiced journalism and allowed one student journalist’s opinion to be aired and then allowed another one with a different interpretation to counter it, this would not be the travesty and violation of the First Amendment. She made PSU and the Vanguard a banana republic, where the powerful fire journalists who dare to stray from the propaganda peddling of the powerful elites.

    Andy Ngo is now a folk hero for being suppressed and oppressed. The Vanguard is now Pravda. Colleen is not brave – she is the heavy handed tool of the powerful majority group think.

  53. For the record, the organizer of the interfaith panel lead an honest and open discussion. He should be given respect for moderating and discussing issues that effect international travelers. One thinks of the young student being held in prison in North Korea because he tore down a small poster as a joke. If he had known about the strict rules, he would be free now. Sharing his knowledge about how to deal with the rules of countries under totalitarian regimes is a credit to the interfaith panel moderator.

  54. From a professorial viewpoint, I certainly encourage the Vanguard editor to stick around for graduate school as she is not yet ready for Prime Time in a professional managerial career in journalism. When I read this piece and explored the background to it all, my initial reaction was…(Face Palm).
    It is clearly apparent to even the casual observer that the editor allowed her own political bias to color her actions. That is most unfortunate as it only served to make the editor and the Vanguard look foolish. Now, the honorable thing for her to do is to step aside as the Vanguard editor.

  55. Hope this rag receives no public funding for their anti American propaganda crusade. Free speech is under assault in Portland

  56. “Vanguard” is an appropriate name. Clearly they consider themselves as leaders in the leftist totalitarian political movement. Suggest it be renamed the Reporter, all restrainers of truth fired and a new group of honest aspiring journalists be given a chance.


    Currently accepting applications for: Multimedia Editor (to replace the unjustly fired Andy Ngo.)
    Currently NOT accepting applications for: Managing Editor (to replace the incompetent and fascistic Colleen Leary.)

    Allahu akbar.

  58. What a load of garbage! Newspapers used to vanguards of free speech. Apparently “The Vanguard” does not stand for free speech at all!

  59. Colleen Leary is dissembling.

    Apostacy IS punishable by death in many countries. It is quite literally the law in Saudi Arabia, for example.

    Colleen Leary is an example of why so many people are on auto-disbelieve about whatever the “mainstream” press says. Journalistic ethics today simply means to parrot the leftist party line and attack anyone who has the temerity to dissent.

  60. I don’t know if you are aware of it but this whole sordid story has now gone international. I’m currently in London, UK, and I’m seeing it appearing in articles from all over Europe as a blatant example of the manipulation of the press by the very people who should be safeguarding its free speech principles. It is astounding to me and my colleagues that not only was Mr Ngo sacked in the first place but that the subsequent attempts at character assassination by the Vanguard editor has not resulted in her immediate removal from her position of authority.
    In a country that has its freedoms written into the very fabric of its society it is deeply disturbing to see the US allowing such censorship, and gives more credence than is due to your current President’s view that the liberal press are purveyors of ‘fake news’.

  61. Colleen Leary,

    Authoritarians are long winded with excuses too. Authoritarians ALSO wish to suppress objective reality.

    You are reason #4,638,837 why voting in President Donald Trump is absolutely necessary.

  62. It saddens me that people like Colleen Leary are allowed to warp the mind of young people today. She is a woman who hates the truth. You could clearly have published an article trying to attack Ngo on the merits, but instead you insinuate with half truths and outright lies. You are a disgrace to everything that is journalism. Here’s hoping this event goes on every background check you ever get a potential employer, because you lady, really are a Fascist.

  63. From over here in the UK, I’m disappointed at the actions of Ms Leary. I’ve looked, listened and read the quotes and the context, and it’s plain that the Muslim student expressed the mainstream Muslim view that in a Muslim theocracy, apostasy is to be punished with execution. This is hardly a new or shocking revelation, as it has been standard practice for a very long time. For you, Ms Leary, in your own defence to conflate apostasy – a religious offence of grave nature to many Muslims – with the ability of Muslims to co-exist with other religious people, is devious and unprofessional in this context. If you re-read what you wrote, it’s clear to see.

    To go on to describe Ngo as ‘predatory and reckless’ compounds your failure as an editor. If you had any decency or any understanding of what you have done, you would resign your position in shame.

  64. What’s interesting is Colleen Leary would be nothing but a stay-at-home baby factory if she lived under the system she’s trying to defend.

  65. Horrific. Even with the greater context the comments are still frightening. More shame set upon higher education.

  66. Shameful behaviour on your part Coleen.

    Hopefully Andy’s apparent objectivity will further his career in journalism, whilst your deficit will ensure you never progress past the mediocrity of a campus newspaper.

  67. Colleen Leary. Say the name—and remember to associate that name (and the dimwit behind it) as the hypocritical, deeply authoritarian, and wildly biased bigot she is. Oh, I’m sorry. I said “she.” Was that trans-phobic of me?

    Antifa = Anti-first amendment = Colleen Leary.

  68. It looks and smells like another case of PC gone wrong. Someone decided to organize yet another interfaith meeting to demonstrate how peaceful religions of the world are and guess what – it didn’t end in happy kumbaya. The dogma of inherent goodness of religion was questioned, so messenger’s head has to roll. Major religions have a history of killing infidels and some still do it today:…/13-countries…/355961/
    Vanguard denies this fact by calling it a “careless oversimplification of the panelist’s comments” and adding a lame “Muslims and non-Muslims living peacefully throughout history” excuse.

  69. Colleen Leary… if you have ANY shred of journalistic integrity, or ANY sense of human decency, morality or introspective reflection… you will FIRE YOURSELF as quickly and expeditiously as possible.

  70. As a former student of PSU who voluntarily decided to withdraw from the college due to passive aggressive behavior and outright harassment by students and staff for my personal views (constitutionalist, libertarian.) I am heartened to see so many have woken up to the bias, hard left narrative that permeates this campus and “newspaper.” The real fascists are these neo-libs who couldn’t be anything farther from a real “liberal” like myself and many others commenting here. Keep speaking up, your voices are being heard.

  71. PSU must be wondering if it’s enrollment will suffer like the other recently exposed wacko universities. Graduates from there just became suspect and should be compensated with partial refunds.


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