The University of Maryland -- my alma mater, for full disclosure -- has made national headlines this week with a pirate-themed porn flick originally scheduled for a full-length screening last Saturday at the campus theater. Under pressure from state legislators, campus officials backed down, yet a student group stepped in the gap, pledging to screen the film in a lecture hall yesterday evening.
Only 30 minutes of the feature-length "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" were screened last night by a group of students running for election in the school's student government, but it was coupled with a panel discussion on freedom of speech, featuring an ACLU representative and some campus college professors.
Covering the story, Tirza Austin of the student newspaper The Diamondback noted that even in the "fraction of the film" screened, "the segment was still explicit and included two different sets of threesomes - one with 'Devil Stick Willy' and two blondes in corsets."
But that wasn't enough for the Diamondback's editors, who included a link to video of the panel discussion AND film screening.
Former professor Ward Churchill, who infamously likened some 9-11 victims to Nazis in an essay written on September 12, 2001, won a civil trial on a technicality yesterday, winning $1 in damages for having been unjustly dismissed from his teaching position at the University of Colorado.
In a Friday New York Times story from Denver, Kirk Johnson and Katharine Seelye team up to cover the trial of Churchill, who was fired for plagiarism in his scholarly work as a consequence of scrutiny after public attention was focused on his essay calling the "technocratic corps" murdered in the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns" who had it coming.
The verdict by the panel of four women and two men -- none of whom wished to be interviewed by reporters, court officials said -- seemed unlikely to resolve the larger debate surrounding Mr. Churchill that was engendered by the case. Is Mr. Churchill, as his supporters contend, a torchbearer for the right to hold unpopular political views? Or is he unpatriotic or -- as his harshest critics contend -- an outright collaborator with the nation's enemies at a time of war?
The jury seemed at least partly undecided on what to think about the man at the center of the fight, whose essay made him a polarizing national figure.
The Times is far too kind. We can safely assume that someone who applauds the death of American citizens for the crime of being American citizens is by definition "unpatriotic." Churchill's statements were only "polarizing" in the sense that he and a few fellow left-wing extremists believed them, while the rest of the country was suitably disgusted.
It seems that deciding which college is best for gay students goes beyond the usual questions of affordable or not, private or public, close to home or far away, and Big Ten or Big East. It also involves finding out which colleges are considered most sensitive to LGBT concerns.
This week's "My Story" section in Newsweek focused on the plight of freelance journalist Julie Halpert's lesbian daughter as she narrowed down her college choices. Halpert also managed to imply that police officers and Marines are homophobes in her exploration of the topic.
Halpert used unfortunate incidents that LBGT high school students experienced as a way to illustrate the need for LGBT-tailored policies in colleges. She highlighted 25-year-old Jacob Weldon, "who became estranged from his parents during his senior year in high school after he told his father, a police officer and former Marine, that he was gay. (He's now reconciled with him.)" Halpert continued, "Growing up in a conservative town in Texas, he became accustomed to having "fag" scrawled across his windshield."
On Monday evening, CNN’s Roland Martin began his eight-week run as fill-in anchor for Campbell Brown on her Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull program, who took maternity leave with the upcoming arrival of her unborn baby. As the show began, he gave an “opening statement” of sorts as to how he hoped to anchor the program: “I’m not going to bother with the silly notion of who’s a liberal or a conservative on this show. I voted for Obama and also for George H.W. Bush -- Republicans and Democrats. On some issues, I might be called a liberal -- on others, a conservative. I judge people based on the issues, and refuse to be pigeonholed and wedded to the ridiculous notion of ideology. Our goal on this show is very simple, that is to speak truth to power, no matter the party or the person.”
Given this track record, it’s no surprise that the anchor did his best to obscure the issues concerning President Barack Obama’s upcoming commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame. He moderated a panel discussion with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and Father Jim Martin of America magazine, a Catholic publication which regularly dissents from Church teaching. He teamed up with the liberal Catholic priest to incorrectly give the impression that the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty rises to the same level as its opposition to abortion.
Both MSNBC’s David Shuster and CNN’s Rick Sanchez pulled their scoop straight from Media Matters’ blog, and focused on Newt Gingrich’s Twitter comments criticizing President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, instead of the controversy over the speech itself. Shuster targeted the former Speaker of the House during the “Hypocrisy Watch” segment on Tuesday’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue program, saying that Gingrich was “already telling Notre Dame what to do,” even though he wasn’t Catholic yet and had gone through two divorces.
Almost a day later on Wednesday’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez devoted a whole segment to Gingrich’s Tweet, and also brought up the divorce issue: “Newt Gingrich couldn’t resist taking a shot at President Obama. He seems to infer that the president shouldn’t talk to a Catholic university because of quote, ‘values.’ Should Newt Gingrich, thrice married, go there? Really?”
Major media began shielding Barack Obama from criticism early in the presidential primaries. It's no surprise, then, when they continue to do so today. However, the media's collective, instinctive tone-deafness in regard to grassroots activities continues to stun and amaze.
NewsBusters has so far noted several grassroots efforts that have been ignored – despite similar left-leaning efforts getting fantastic coverage. For example, there was Noel Sheppard's initial entry on the Chicago Tea Parties, and the tiny amount of coverage they received. Then, there was Warner Todd Huston, noting the San Francisco Chronicle's preferential treatment of an anti-Wall Street protest. For the magnum opus, however, we turn to the entire mainstream media's blind eye – pointed squarely at the University of Notre Dame.
Maddow explained how this provision had been in the bill for over 40 years, then played a portion of DeMint's speech on her Feb. 6 MSNBC show.
"Student's can't meet together in their dorms, if that dorm has been repaired with this federal money and have a prayer group or a Bible study," DeMint said in the clip Maddow played. "[S]omeone is so hostile to religion that they're willing to stand in the schoolhouse door like the infamous George Wallace to deny people of faith from entering any campus building renovated by this bill. This cannot stand."
If you were to construct, from everything you know about the species, a stereotypical, liberal member of the MSM, Jennifer Siebens would be it. Recently, Ms. Siebens gave an interview to the student newspaper--the Oberlin Review--at her alma mater, Oberlin College. In it, she revealed her admiration for the radical movements of the '60's and current infatuation with President Barack Obama.
Yes, I know, a natural and common transition.
On her love of Oberlin College and the '60's era hippy love fest, Siebens had this to say:
"A San Pedro girl's undocumented status means no financial aid. Money is tight, classes are tough, and just getting to campus takes 2 1/2 hours," reads the subheader for Song's February 2 Column One story.
Yes, despite the national and state economies in recession and California in a major budget crunch, the L.A. Times has the chutzpah to lament the obstacles to a taxpayer-subsidized college education for an illegal immigrant.
It seems considering legal immigrants and American citizens the victims of the high social and governmental costs of illegal immigration just isn't in Song's liberal hymnal. Apparently Song's aim was to paint one Karina De La Cruz as a downtrodden Cinderella in need of a beneficent fairy godmother (emphasis mine):
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer could be going out of business. And the culprit is . . . capitalism. That's Pilgrim's Complaint. Tim Pilgrim, that is. The professor of journalism at Western Washington University was quoted today in the P-I's article about its own pending demise. The P-I's parent company, the Hearst Corp., has put the paper up for sale, and prospects aren't good for finding a buyer.
But not to fear. Prof. Pilgrim has a solution:
[Pilgrim] suggested that the P-I staff buy the paper and run it at a lesser profit than Hearst requires -- perhaps assisted by a wealthy patron such as Bill Gates or Paul Allen.
So, once again, students in the Colorado university system and their parents will be asked to pay more for tuition. The Rocky slips this university talking point into its report: "Low state funding has driven heavy tuition increases every year since the beginning of the decade."
Of course, how the money's being spent escapes all attention. Good luck figuring out how much it takes to educate a 4-year student at CU; the university's allegedly been trying for years to figure that out, and still can't provide a number.
Only a professor, preferably a sociology professor, one with way too much time on his hands, could have come up with this one. His solution to the Detroit crisis that has the Big Three automakers on the brink of bye-bye? Unionize their foreign competitors manufacturing in the USA!
Now why didn't we think of that? Because we're not Jonathan Cutler, associate professor of sociology at Wesleyan University. His notion in a nutshell, contained in his Los Angeles Times column of today [emphasis added]:
[N]ot to tear down the historic and heroic gains won by prior generations of UAW workers. If there is hope long term -- for the unionized Big Three companies and for the UAW -- it rests in dealing with the unfinished business of the 1980s: unionizing the unorganized transplants.
The future of a media dominated by left-leaning professionals seems assured. At least, it is if my experience addressing an Ithaca College course today is any indication. Professor Wenmouth Williams, Jr. kindly invited me in to address two sections of his course on media and politics at Ithaca College's Park School of Communications.
Prof. Williams—who identified himself as a registered Dem—couldn't have been nicer or more gracious, and gave me absolute free rein. After I spent a few minutes at the beginning of each section discussing NewsBusters and related subjects and offering my general take on the MSM and the elections, the students and I spent the rest of the hour exchanging ideas and generally talking politics.
Yesterday, verbiage at the "Service" Section of Barack Obama's Change.gov site (specifically the URL "http://change.gov/agenda/service/") served as source material for yesterday's post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) entitled "Obama’s 'Service in College' Program at Change.gov Promises $40 an Hour."
The page was entitled "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan for Universal Voluntary Public Service." It contained "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan," whose major sections included "Enable All Americans to Serve to Meet the Nation's Challenges," "Integrate Service into Learning," and "Invest in the Nonprofit Sector."
The detail of the second section (saved here at web host yesterday for fair use and discussion purposes) included this requirement (red underlining is mine):
Talk about "change." The latest version of president-elect Barack Obama's ever-evolving ideas for "community service" promises to pass out quite a bit of it to America's college students.
The "America Serves" (link is to Google cache) and "Service" sections of Team Obama's Change.gov site have, uh, changed quite a bit over the past day or so after many, including Kerry Picket of Newsbusters, noted that the "service" proposals require youth conscription, i.e., a non-military draft.
As of 8 AM this morning, Team Obama's cleanup operation is nearly complete, with almost all coercive language purged.
But one item noted last night by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs remains in the "Service" section (a copy for future reference is here if/when the existing link changes), with a stunning quantitative modification:
Students that belong to a pro-life campus group called Cornell Coalition for Life (CCFL) spent weeks and hundreds of dollars organizing a pro-life display to be featured on the Cornell University Engineering Campus in Ithaca, New York. This was no guerilla campaign, either, because the CCFL applied for and received permission for its display. Yet, scarcely an hour had passed before an associate dean for the university summarily decided on her own to support the removal of the display by an administrative assistant despite that the display was approved by the college. This incident happened on October 22, yet the media has completely ignored this troubling story.
The CCFL had erected its "Elena Campaign" signs in the Engineering Quad to raise awareness among students of the earlier stages of fetal development, stages when many falsely imagine that a fetus is just a "lump of cells." As the CCFL says, its "Elena Campaign" is "a series of light-hearted educational signs with pictures and text detailing the biological development of an unborn child."
The CCFL reports that regardless of approval, the dean and her assistant removed the display.
The woman introducing Joe Biden to a Michigan crowd yesterday called Sarah Palin a "bucket of fluff." Biden then told the crowd that Barack Obama is too smart and too well-educated to live in a Republican neighborhood. Now that the Dems have put Obama's smarts and education on the table, will the MSM demand Obama finally release his Columbia transcript?
But, OK, fine. Biden's put it out there. We know about Biden's academic record. And John McCain's far-from-stellar academics at the Naval Academy are well documented. Sarah Palin apparently moved around quite a bit in college. But there's one person about whom there is a very large lacuna when it comes to his academic record: one Barack Obama. His campaign has refused to release his Columbia University undergraduate transcript, the one upon which he was admitted to Harvard Law. Now that Biden has put smarts on the table, will the MSM demand that Obama come clean on Columbia?
CNN anchor Rich Sanchez, as part of his continuing interviews of first-time young voters, featured a Georgia Tech student on Monday’s American Morning who made a liberal statement on race that was nearly identical to one made by George Stephanopoulos over a year ago. Ben Porter, who was identified on-screen as an Obama supporter, stated that "[t]he people that can't accept a black man in the White House aren't the people who will vote for a liberal anyway in general. This is an almost-identical statement to one made by Stephanopoulos on May 13, 2007 on ABC's This Week program: "I guess I think that anyone who's not going to vote for Barack Obama because he is black isn't going to vote for a Democrat anyway."
Democrats love their celebrities, and academia, well, they'll settle for celebrities' fathers. Cinncinatti.com's John Kiesewetter reports that Nick Clooney, George's dad, will be the "distinguished journalist in residence" at the American University in Washington D.C.
In my post on Tuesday, I wrote about Stanley Kurtz's efforts to access the Annenberg Challenge files housed at the University of Illinois-Chicago. These files documented an educational initiative started by Bill Ayers and chaired by Barack Obama.
At that point, only AP writer Pete Yost had written anything about the story. Additionally, U of I rep Bill Burton issued a press release. Since that time, there has been no movement from the university and coverage by the MSM has been minimal, though it is finally beginning to pick up. To wit, as reported in a blog post at the Chicago Tribune, Chicago mayor, Richard Daley, declined to intervene in the matter by pressing U of I to release the documents to Kurtz, saying,
People keep trying to align himself [sic] with Barack Obama. It's really unfortunate. They're friends. So what? People do make mistakes in the past. You move on. This is a new century, a new time. He reflects back and he’s been making a strong contribution to our community.
According to Daley, we should move on and accept that any past relationship between Obama and Ayers was entirely innocuous, on his (Daley's) say so. Right.
When will the University of Illinois (Chicago) release the Annenberg Challenge documents? This is the question Stanley Kurtz asked in his column yesterday at NRO. Since then, the call has been taken up by various conservative blogs and radio shows. Today, U of I News Bureau Director, Bill Burton, issued a press release.
The University Library supports the teaching, research, and service missions of the University by acquiring, organizing, preserving, and providing access to information. The Library is open to the public and dedicated to free inquiry. The University has not received ownership rights to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge collection. The university is aggressively pursuing an agreement with the donor, and as soon as an agreement is finalized, the collection will be made accessible to the public.
Ok, fair enough. But why the secrecy over the donor of the documents? And more importantly, can the university guarantee in the interim that nothing will be removed or altered?
You would think that someone working for the self-described "Essential Global News Network" known as the Associated Press as an Education Writer might go beyond using the Copy and Paste commands in reporting on national college entrance exam test scores.
From all appearances, you would be wrong.
AP Education Writer Justin Pope's report on the 2008 ACT exam results appears to contain nothing that isn't already in ACT, Inc.'s press release. For whatever reason, Pope missed a shocking set of results out of Michigan that should deeply worry anyone concerned about the future competency of our workforce.
If these allegations are true, the danger isn't their potential to gather secrets. Instead, it's their ability to quietly shape opinion and influence public policy on Cuba through powerful academic groups, frequent media statements and slanted analyses as they maneuver within elite academic-think tank circles--and even brief government agencies and the military.
Yes, there are two Americas. The one where John Edwards used to have a scholarship program that he intended to set up as an example for all of America to follow... and the one where he cancels that scholarship program. Is it because he isn't running for president any more? Since Edwards has other things to do now -- like hiding from the media in his mistresses' house and maybe getting a few $400 haircuts -- Edwards has pulled the plug on his pilot scholarship program in North Carolina. It was for the kids... now it isn't. As the media ignores Edwards' love child story, any takers if they will ignore this one, too?
In May of 2007, to great fanfare, Edwards rolled out his "College for Everyone" plan saying that this was a college plan for "any student wishing to work hard." At that time, the well coiffed, two-time presidential candidate said that he wanted "every young person" to go to college and touted his new program then beginning at Greene Central High School in Snow Hill, NC.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
We are certainly used to seeing the MSM causing trouble for conservatives and this one is no different at least on that level. But the interesting thing here is that the trouble a social conservative discovered was as a result of what she wrote in the MSM as opposed to what was written about her by the MSM. It seems that the opinion editorial written by Crystal Dixon for the Toledo Free Press got her fired by the University of Toledo because... well, you know how universities are all about free expression and speech, right? Unfortunately for Dixon, though, hers wasn't the proper, politically correct sort of speech that is officially approved of by the thugs at the University of Toledo.
You see, Crystal Dixon made the mistake of believing that this whole silly idea of "freedom of religion" also applied to our institutions of higher learning. She foolishly asserted in her Toledo Free Press op ed that as far as her religious beliefs are concerned, homosexuality is a choice made by the individual instead of some genetic predisposition, that someone chooses to engage in homosexual activities instead of assuming that being gay is forced upon one by "nature."
Of course, Dixon based her entire op ed on her Christian religious beliefs. It was no hate filled rant and was quite civil, even tempered, and to the point. But the gay mafia inside the University of Toledo must be awfully powerful. Or, at the very least, fear of them was enough to stifle -- no, execute -- Mrs. Dixon over what the president of UoT must imagine is her wretched religious extremism.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is a college professor with a long history of political activism and fearless liberalism.—AP, 5-11-08, profile of candidate for Minn. Dem primary nomination [emphasis added].
Fearless liberalism? Fearless? It's fearless for an American college professor to be a big-time liberal? Give me a fearless break!
Yet that's how the AP described the predictably left-wing politics of the man challenging Al Franken for the right to challenge Republican Norm Coleman for his seat in the US Senate. Among Nelson-Pallmeyer's positions:
There is a news report starting to make the rounds amongst the MSM on a study that claims to have discovered why conservatives tend to be happier than liberals and it is just the sort of bilge that the MSM loves to promulgate. We may see more of it over the next several days because, while it is titled "Conservatives Happier Than Liberals," it is basically saying that the reason conservatives are happier is because they just don't care about other people. This purported research claims to pinpoint the reason conservatives are happier and it is because they have theirs and they don't care if everyone else is poor and downtrodden. In contrast they claim liberals are less happy because they care more about people and are all heartbroken that people suffer "inequalities."
Yes, they are telling us that if you're a happy conservative, it's because you are a hateful, meanie. Thank you New York University.
College textbooks are overpriced and something should be done. Why, Congress should even step in! That is the message that The New York Times wants us to understand and I can't say it is, in and of itself, entirely the wrong message -- save the whole bit about Congress stepping in, of course. But, as is typical of The New York Times, their story is only a small part of the whole story. In their exuberance to shake a finger at book manufacturers and in their hurry to blame capitalism the Times missed the bigger story.
The Times reports that "College students and their families are rightly outraged about the bankrupting costs of textbooks that have nearly tripled since the 1980s." They also report that a bill is pending in Congress that would "require publishers to sell 'unbundled' versions of the books..." This, the Times feels, is the right move to solve the problem. Any first year economics student, however, knows there is far more to it than just slapping more regulations on book publishers.