Would You Blow This Man?
Okay, I will give the New York Times some props first: they do great reporting in a lot of areas. But they need to fire their editor in charge of handies and happy endings for right-wing cranks who don’t deserve the time of day. Here's the lede of "Professors' Politics Draw Lawmakers Into the Fray":
While attending a Pennsylvania Republican Party picnic, Jennie Mae Brown bumped into her state representative and started venting.
Jennie Mae Brown told her Pennsylvania state representative, Gibson C. Armstrong, that she felt a physics professor's comments in the classroom about President Bush and Iraq were inappropriate.
"How could this happen?" Ms. Brown asked Representative Gibson C. Armstrong two summers ago, complaining about a physics professor at the York campus of Pennsylvania State University who she said routinely used class time to belittle President Bush and the war in Iraq. As an Air Force veteran, Ms. Brown said she felt the teacher's comments were inappropriate for the classroom.
First of all, what kind of self-important jackass complains to a state legislator about a professor? Instead of, say, the department head? I’m going to take a running wild stab at what the race and class of such a person might be.
Then the rest of the article deep-throats David Horowitz, giving him quotes like this one:
Mr. Horowitz said he was pushing for legislation only because schools across the country were ignoring their own academic freedom regulations and a founding principle of the American Association of University Professors, which says schools are better equipped to regulate themselves without government intervention.
"It became apparent to me that universities have a problem," he said in an interview. "And nothing was being done about it."
Oooh, how reasonable of him. It became apparent to him, probably in the course of his extensive research. Meanwhile, the opponents of this crack-brained bullshit are characterized thusly:
In a debate with Mr. Horowitz last summer, Russell Jacoby, a history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, portrayed Mr. Horowitz's approach as heavy-handed.
Heavy-handed? Here’s Jacoby's actual characterization of the matter in his own words, in the next sentence:
"It calls for committees or prosecutors to monitor the lectures and assignments of teachers," he said. "This is a sure-fire way to kill free inquiry and whatever abuses come with it."
In other words, he’s saying that Horowitz is calling for speech police. That’s a little more alarming than “heavy-handed.”
The rest of the short piece continues the same crap: minimizing the insanity of Horowitz’s crusade; minimizing the real threat to academic freedom that comes from state legislatures holding hearings on whether they should put into place, say, fines or the threat of firings; and all the while making absolutely no case that there is any systematic problem with political bias on American college campuses. Never once does it mention Horowitz’s truly mad project DiscoverTheNetwork.org, which shows us how all leftists and liberals are part of one giant conspiracy with ties to Al Qaeda. (Not joking. Go over there and browse awhile.)
This is one of those bullshit causes that’s been festering around the edge of our national discourse, just looking for a way into the light. Thanks New York Times.
Tags: David Horowitz, academic freedom, speech codes, academic freedom, academic bill of rights, Penn State