In schools and colleges across America, teachers and professors recall the "Free Speech Movement" of the hard left at Berkeley in the 1960s. But today's left often shreds that idea in its own intolerant behavior. At Michigan State University, British Nationalist Nick Griffin was shouted down from a speech on the danger of radical Islam. The Lansing State Journal reported: "Hurling obscenities and using chants to interrupt his address, rambunctious student organizations forced Griffin to abandon his speech and allow an informal question and answer session." This liberal quote is a classic:
"We have all come from different backgrounds," said Authra Khreis, 17, a pre-med student and a protester. "We should accept one another. I don't think he should be allowed to speak. You can use free speech until you hurt another person."
Another example is the hacking of our friend Jonah Goldberg. His forthcoming book "Liberal Fascism" was hacked at Amazon.com, reports Editor and Publisher. The working subtitle is "The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning." The hacker changed it to "The Totalitarian Temptation from When I Got My Advance Until I Finally Hand in the Manuscript in 2011." It was still carrying the joke subtitle when I just checked.)
I think Jonah would admit that's mildly humorous. His book has had several subtitles, and he didn't enjoy one that included Hillary Clinton. (Brent Bozell asked to the change the subtitle of our book Whitewash, and Crown Forum has delayed its release several times from its original date in September 2006, so book buyers should know it's a collaborative process with the publisher.) But the hacker is making Amazon look as bad as Goldberg does.
Finally, did you see the kerfuffle the John Edwards campaign created around a college student reporter? The Raleigh News and Observer reported they demanded that Carla Babb, a reporter for the college TV station at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, pull down her "Republican"-sounding report on their headquarters:
Babb, 23, interviewed an Edwards volunteer and a campus columnist about the campaign's headquarters in the upscale Southern Village shopping center in Chapel Hill.
She posted it on YouTube on Tuesday night. The next morning, Colleen Murray, a spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, called her.
"She said this sounds like it came straight from the Republican Party," Babb said. "She was like, 'This has to come down.' "
Babb referred Murray to her faculty adviser, C.A. Tuggle. Murray and Edwards' communications director, Chris Kofinis, then called Tuggle. He said they asked him not to air the story and to pull it from YouTube.
Tuggle said they threatened to cut off access to Edwards for UNC reporters and other student groups if he did not pull the piece. He declined to do so.
After another UNC professor blogged about the tussle, news spread across the Internet. The video was linked to by the popular online news site The Drudge Report, and reporters for The New York Times called Babb's home.
Tuggle said the Edwards campaign's actions backfired.
"My gosh, what are they thinking?" he said. "They're spending this much time and effort on a student newscast that has about 2,000 viewers? They're turning a molehill into a mountain."