Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Republicans suppress "Free Speech," silence college instructors via national fake news media.

What the hell is wrong at the University of Wisconsin Madison? The administration has adopted a policy that takes aim at its own students on behalf of the carnival barker crowd of right wing speakers crying alligator tears over not being able to exercise their "right to be heard" on campus. I've always loved that right.

This speech suppression scheme based on the myth conservative have to remain silent and hide on college campuses. This imagined threat is so unfair. Never mind that college educators don't share in that freedom...more on that incredible hypocrisy later.

For Scott Walker, he just thinks it's wrong, so goodbye dissenting free speech:
Walker: "Whether it's against me or somebody else say, "I disagree," but disagreeing and even protesting is one thing ... But the minute you shut down a speaker, no matter whether they're liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between, I just think that's wrong." To me a university...anywhere free speech should be upheld...but disrupting and shutting down as we've seen here in Wisconsin, but elsewhere across the country, shutting down the ability for someone to actually be heard is not free speech."

The UW did nothing to censor or discourage right wing appearance on campus, but they are surrendering their students right to protest, to Republicans who have threatened to cut funding.

Republicans are demanding a conservative agenda on campus, at the same time they're denouncing the supposed liberal agenda on campus. So far, Republicans have boldly stacked the Board of Regents with Scott Walker picks (all but 2), influenced curriculum, require their guest speakers, and soon will have total control over hiring instructors.

I think this pretty much sums it up:
Regents President John Robert Behling told the board before Friday’s vote that adopting the policy ahead of the legislation shows “a responsiveness to what’s going on in the Capitol, which helps build relationships.”
Yup, it's that bad here. In fact, Republican Robin Vos' insecurity shows through when he packages the appearance of these bigots, racists, and authoritarians as good solid people who aren't wrong, just someone we would disagree with. Also, the arrogance of professors who think they're smarter than some ideologically drive partisan political hack spouting anecdotal "facts" to his drooling base:

Vos: "Civility begins by appreciating and understanding that the other point of view isn't wrong...it's just...you don't agree with. It's not evil, it's just perhaps somebody you need to inform." 

With the Regents adopting this cancerous right wing agenda, I tweeted this....

And the big monied special interests are at the heart of right wing speaker circuit:
Conservative foundations that for years have quietly given money to help student groups bring speakers to college campuses recently have been under scrutiny in the wake of speaker protests, suggesting the push for conservative views is from off-campus. The Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in recent years has given Young America's Foundation tens of thousands of dollars for such activities as increasing the number of conservative-leaning campus events it sponsors, including in Wisconsin."
Expect more of the following previous successful attempts to kill the UW:
Nass #1: …he expressed cutting funding of a UW-Madison center because its studies were "too far to the left."  

Nass #2: State Sen. Steve Nass blasted a UW-Madison economics professor ... calling the academic's report on right-to-work legislation "partisan, garbage research." "Attached is yet another example of wasted resources at the UW-Madison/UW Extension … Hiding behind academic freedom to issue partisan … I will certainly forward this email on to UW System President Ray Cross … as just one suggestion of a faculty member with time to teach more courses. Or maybe not!"

Nass #3: WRN: Republican Rep. Steve Nass has gotten the UW’s School for Workers to cancel an “Art in Protest” exhibit that had been scheduled for next month. “The problem with it is that it would be funded with taxpayer dollars and that’s through the Extension.”  Nass charges the exhibit would have provided a one-sided view of last year’s protests at the Capitol, with UW Extension taking the side of protesters. “I did indicate to Extension that … any problems that arise from that, or any misbehavior by the protesters – which I certainly would expect, it would probably be very despicable … and I will be watching.”
And finally, the whole reason I posted this story. This isn't about free speech at all, just the opposite. It's the right wing campaign to suppress free speech on campuses, by going after instructors, anonymously with the power of the entire right wing network of fake news:
Conservatives are the real campus thought police squashing academic freedom: The outrage machine geared up as it often does, with a minor conservative media outlet — in this case, the Daily Caller — chopping my tweets up into a misleading mishmash that transformed a nuanced diagnosis of white male frustration into an attack on white people in general. When the Daily Caller posted the article to Facebook, moreover, the intention was clearly to incite: “Absolutely unforgiveable” (sic) read the post, which by now has been shared nearly 2,000 times and commented upon more than 3,000 times.

Hate mail and death threats began to roll in. “I will beat your skull in till there is no tomorrow.” “Soon all you p‑‑‑‑‑s will get exactly what you deserve.” “Do the world a favor, and kill yourself … I’ll help you find death sooner than later.” One called me a “pig f‑‑‑er like Obama,” adding homophobic slurs for good measure. Many called me a “cuck” — a favorite racial and sexual insult of the alt-right — while others urged me to move to North Korea or Venezuela. One “love note from a WHITE American” wrongly identified me as a “greasy South American a‑‑hole.”

From there, the contagion was rapid, with Stephen Bannon’s Breitbart News and even Milo Yiannopoulos’s own website running their own cribbed copies of the same story. Then came FrontPage, the Blaze, the College Fix and the campus mercenaries at Turning Point. Soon, the manufactured story had hit the conspiratorial fringes of Infowars and online forums across the right: from “blue lives matter” to those preparing for the inevitable rapture.

Finally, the story crossed the mainstream-fringe barrier at its most permeable point: Fox News. Fox claimed that not only do I blame Trump for the Las Vegas massacre, but that I even somehow blame the victims. Threatening emails increased to a flood. An invitation to appear on Tucker Carlson’s show arrived in short order, only confirming the insular nature of the machine, which amplifies to a furious roar the same small group of voices. I declined.

I am by no means the first, and will not be the last target of this kind of smear campaign by conservatives aimed at academics. In every case, it is the same right-wing media outlets leading the charge, and campuses are increasingly the target. Universities and colleges have become the perfect target for such crusades: Purportedly hotbeds of multiculturalism, “safe spaces” and political correctness, campuses represent everything the resentful right is afraid of. At the same time that the right-wing media smears professors like myself, decrying our tenure and demanding our heads, they breathlessly chronicle the supposed intolerance of the left when confronted with provocative campus tours by Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, Charles Murray, Ann Coulter and others.

And things aren’t letting up. While noteworthy cases such as Saida Grundy and Zandria Robinson in 2015 gave a glimpse of what was to come, the months since Trump’s election have seen a generalized assault on anti-racist academics. In May, Tommy Curry at Texas A&M was targeted for a years-old podcast; Princeton’s Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor was forced to cancel public events after threats following a commencement speech; and Johnny Eric Williams at Trinity College was targeted and suspended reposting someone else’s words on Facebook. Increasingly, leftist professors are being targeted for “things they never really said.” As Princeton’s Eddie Glaude has put it, when the right is so easily triggered by anti-racism and feminism, they make it perfectly clear who the “real snowflakes” are.

Caught in this wave of right-wing threats and provocations, many universities are scrambling to keep up with the coordinated onslaught. In the best of cases, university administrations and departments have publicly condemned threats against faculty and made clear that they do not cave to intimidation campaigns. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has even responded to our cases with new guidelines urging universities to resist the targeted online harassment of their faculty.

In response to such illegal threats of violence, Drexel has chosen to place me on administrative leave. Earlier in the week, I asked my students to explain the relation between white masculinity and mass killings, and they offered in a few short minutes of class discussion far more insight than any mainstream media outlet has offered all week. But now, their own academic freedom has been curtailed by their university, and they are unable to even attend the classes they registered for.

By bowing to pressure from racist internet trolls, Drexel has sent the wrong signal: That you can control a university’s curriculum with anonymous threats of violence. Such cowardice notwithstanding, I am prepared to take all necessary legal action to protect my academic freedom, tenure rights and most importantly, the rights of my students to learn in a safe environment where threats don’t hold sway over intellectual debate. Alongside organizations like the Campus Antifascist Network, I will continue to challenge white supremacists in an effort to make Drexel and all universities safe space for an intellectual debate among equals.

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