AP's Hysterical Take on Harvard Ouster: 'Conservative Weapon Against Colleges: Plagiarism'

January 3rd, 2024 9:42 PM

The Associated Press story on the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay, by education reporters Collin Binkley and Moriah Balingit, was a hysterical woke whine from headline to text: “Plagiarism charges downed Harvard’s president. A conservative attack helped to fan the outrage.”

The story’s promotion on X was even more ludicrous: “Harvard president's resignation highlights new conservative weapon against colleges: plagiarism.” (Journalist-novelist Kat Rosenfeld mocked: “Hannibal Lecter's resignation from the APA highlights new conservative weapon against psychiatry: cannibalism”)

The actual text was no better.

Reviews by Harvard found multiple shortcomings in Gay’s academic citations, including several instances of “duplicative language.” While the university concluded the errors “were not considered intentional or reckless” and didn’t rise to misconduct, the allegations continued, with new ones as recently as Monday.

Many came not from her academic peers but her political foes, led by conservatives who sought to oust Gay and put her career under intense scrutiny in hopes of finding a fatal flaw. Her detractors charged that Gay -- who has a Ph.D. in government, was a professor at Harvard and Stanford and headed Harvard’s largest division before being promoted -- got the top job in large part because she is a Black woman.

The focus on Gay came amid backlash over her congressional testimony about antisemitism on campus.

Perhaps most bizarre was the AP’s mock horror at conservative activist Christopher Rufo use of the common metaphor “scalped,” capped by a bit of revisionist American history.

Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who helped orchestrate the effort against Gay, celebrated her departure as a win in his campaign against elite institutions of higher education. On X, formerly Twitter, he wrote “SCALPED,” as if Gay was a trophy of violence, invoking a gruesome practice taken up by white colonists who sought to eradicate Native Americans and also used by some tribes against their enemies.

The original was even more fatally woke, erasing the true origins of the “gruesome practice,” as noticed by Jeryl Bier on X. The previous version (shown below) ended on “Native Americans”:

….On X, formerly Twitter, he wrote “SCALPED,” as if Gay was a trophy of violence, invoking a gruesome practice taken up by white colonists who sought to eradicate Native Americans.

Does the AP truly think scalping was a “white colonist” practice used against Native Americans, not the other way around?

The AP released details of Gay’s resignation letter without noting that Gay shamefully posed as a victim of “personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.”

When it’s a liberal scandal, the media focuses less on the actual misdeed and more on the conservatives who dared to bring it to light.

In Gay’s case, many academics were troubled with how the plagiarism came to light: as part of a coordinated campaign to discredit Gay and force her from office, in part because of her involvement in efforts for racial justice on campus….

The campaign against Gay and other Ivy League presidents has become part of a broader right-wing effort to remake higher education, which has often been seen as a bastion of liberalism. Republican detractors have sought to gut funding for public universities, roll back tenure and banish initiatives that make colleges more welcoming to students of color, disabled students and the LGBTQ+ community. They also have aimed to limit how race and gender are discussed in classrooms.

Even when noting Gay’s undeniable plagiarism, the AP marred the allegations with the “conservative” label, as if the source of the allegation somehow altered the veracity of the facts uncovered.

The allegations against Gay initially came from conservative activists, some who stayed anonymous, who looked for the kinds of duplicated sentences undergraduate students are trained to avoid, even with citation....

The AP drew comfort from left-wing sources.

Without commenting on the merits of the allegations against Gay, President Irene Mulvey of the American Association of University Professors said she fears plagiarism investigations could be “weaponized” to pursue a political agenda.

The AP quoted Mulvey on the ongoing “right-wing political attack on higher education.”

In the upside-down world of academia, and its handmaidens in the press, opposing plagiarism is an attack on academic freedom.