Chicago Journalist Cancels Appearance With Blistering Response to DePaul’s Student Editors and Faculty Advisor

Chicago Tribune journalist Eric Zorn is not going to speak at DePaul University after the student newspaper condemned him for “racism.” The students wrote that Zorn should not participate in a “Tough Times for Local Journalism” panel because he warned against making snap judgments on the controversial shooting of Adam Toledo by a Chicago police officer. Zorn however wrote (below) a blistering response to the school and its editors over the cancel campaign.

We previously discussed the case of Adam Toledo which was subject to multiple investigations with no criminal charges brought against the officer, who returned to service with the Chicago Police Department. Zorn is not the only person targeted for raising countervailing facts over the shooting, including a prosecutor was disciplined for noting that Toledo was armed before the shooting.

For his part, Zorn encouraged readers to wait to see the evidence, particularly the bodycam footage. That was unacceptable to some and led to Steven Thrasher, the Daniel H. Renberg Chair of social justice in reporting at Northwestern, to attack him for waiting to see the evidence as a journalist.

After Zorn wrote that we need to examine the evidence, including the videotape, he “was branded a racist and a monster whose own children should be killed so I’d know how it feels.” He specifically discusses the attacks from Professor Thrasher who tweeted that he was canceling his Tribune subscription because “there is no space in a newspaper for arguing for the murder of a child, and that it’s ‘never too early’ to think they are worthy of murder.”

When Zorn later wrote to Thrasher about the unfairness of his remarks and the calls from many that he should be fired for wanting to see the evidence, Thrasher responded: “Your words make the murder of children more likely, and I have no interest in you, your unethical nature, your cynical worldview, or in communicating with you.”

Then came the invitation to discuss the challenges for local media at DePaul. The students writing for the school paper followed the example of Thrasher in denouncing the invitation for a “racist” like Zorn due to his coverage of stories like the Toledo and Trayvon Martin shootings.

Sonal Soni and Nadia Hernandez wrote that “It is insensitive and intimidating to expect students of color to confront Zorn at the in-person event. This decision puts BIPOC students in an uncomfortable position as they may be apprehensive to approach the predominantly white panelists with their concerns.”

DePaul has a long history of yielding to such campaigns, often citing security concerns to cancel speakers.

In his column, Zorn responded to the students. He specifically responded to editors at The DePaulia, who said that he was “terrified of being ‘cancelled’… (and of) engaging in conversation.” He asked them to send him the questions that they were referencing. They declined to do so and simply said that The DePaulia staff has “taken this as a learning experience and are hoping to move on. Hope you can do the same.”  The faculty advisor went a little further and told Zorn that Soni and Hernandez “understand what they did wrong and are moving on,” adding “they are students and will learn from their experience.”

Zorn did not buy it:

Nice try.

In journalism you don’t get to defame someone as a racist and then, when called upon to defend that ugly accusation, simply say you’re moving on from a “learning experience.” You don’t get to do that any more than a hit-and-run motorist can drive blithely away from striking a pedestrian while noting that he’s had a “learning experience” about roadway safety. …

Sorry not to be moving on, as requested, but I’m not going to cede my reputation and good name to anyone who makes a public stink about what they think I wrote rather than what I actually wrote and who tries to deny me the opportunity to speak to a willing audience.

The fact is that these students already had their learning experience from academics like Thrasher and others in journalism. Writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers.

This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

Figures like Nikole Hannah-Jones have been celebrated for declaring that 
“all journalism is activism” and media outfits like National Public Radio now allow reporters to actively participate in protests.

In the end, the campaign succeeded. Other students will not be able to hear the views of Zorn and these students will not be “apprehensive” over the appearance of someone with opposing views. That could be what they have “learn[ed] from their experience.”

Here is his reply on Substack: Zorn Posting

41 thoughts on “Chicago Journalist Cancels Appearance With Blistering Response to DePaul’s Student Editors and Faculty Advisor”

  1. If, as Glasser says, he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality”…then journalists, by his definition, are at best simply opinion writers (like the millions found on social media) or, at worst, propaganda-ists. By the way, he was peddling this “journalists can’t be objective” BS in one of his classes at the U of Minn in the late 80s. At the time, I thought it a dangerous concept…and here we are.

  2. There is no question in my mind that MEDIA (and Google algorithms), along with the Biden administration and Democrats, will continue to stoke calls of “racism” until they make whites/Caucasians the minority in America. Biden actually toted this idea in claiming that IMMIGRATION was a tool to use to achieve a minority-white population-Look it up if you don’t believe me.

    1. (I realize that Google does not create journalism–I just meant that its algorithms promote journalism and sources that create such claims of racism.)

  3. Black people who hate white people are racist.
    Duh? BLM, KGB. Bee eye Nicki eye, bye you old bees.

  4. Another example of academic cancel culture.

    “A Renowned Composer Showed His Class ‘Othello’ Featuring Laurence Olivier. Students Led A Revolt And Now He’s Accused Of Racism.”

    It used to be that segregation was bad now it is required in some universities.

    I look forward to the day that blackface will no longer be bad but something all of us are required to do for the whole of Black History Month. Everybody MUST be Rachael Dolezal for that special month.

    The country is visibly going bonkers.

    1. The opposition to racism is prosecuted by racists engaging in racism.

      Freely derived of the freedoms of speech, thought and opinion, opinions on race are insidiously conflated with violence – violence which is against the law for all people.

      Claims of racism are false, disingenuous and moot.

      Those expounding on racism must be ignored and are known to be frauds.

      The sole and actual aspiration of those claiming racism is to acquire the resources of other people, being historically incapable of creating wealth.

      The intelligent and capable Israelite slaves, infused with acumen and gumption, were out of Egypt before the ink was dry on their release papers.

      Actual Americans are boundless fools.

      “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

      – Thomas Tusser

  5. We are seeing a rise of a Red Army. A dutiful mob of young people who never learned how to reason, only how to amplify propaganda. A mob is like a point and shoot weapon.

    Stray from the party line in North Korea, and your neighbors and classmates will turn you in to the government. The Red Army of China burned their family’s genealogy records, and destroyed anything they felt was traditional, even much of their country’s art. The Khmer Rouge killed anyone who asked questions. Heck, they killed people with glasses as the learned class were enemies of their revolution.

    There is no fairness. You can be pilloried just for asking to wait for an investigation.

    I was branded a racist by people I knew when I urged people to wait for an investigation into various shootings. A group I belonged to said I should die when I refused to pledge my support to BLM, citing its well documented anti-semitism anti-cop, and racist rhetoric. People who made the quite obvious statement that everyone’s lives matter just the same were publicly branded racist.

    People lose their jobs when they try to reason with the Left. They lose friends, relatives, and sometimes are in physical danger.

    If you think boys shouldn’t be castrated since they’re way too young to understand the permanent implications, and because most will grow out of gender dysphoria, you’re branded a public enemy. If you remark that it’s unfair for biological men to compete against biological women in women’s sports, you’re an enemy.

    If you raise your children to not care about skin color any more than they do about hair color, the teachers at their school might band together to get you fired.

    Stop this totalitarian insanity.

    1. Ironically, that is precisely what the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution and Bill of Rights does – stop authoritarian dictatorship. The unconstitutional Dept. of Education, for example, must not exist, much less compel the teaching of irrelevant subjects, spread propaganda, indoctrinate, dictate social behavior, etc.

      Article 1, Section 8, provides Congress the power to tax ONLY for “…general Welfare…,” omitting and, thereby, excluding any power to tax for individual or specific welfare, redistribution of wealth or charity. The same article provides Congress the power to regulate ONLY money, the “flow” of commerce and land and naval Forces. Additionally, the 5th Amendment right to private property is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute, allowing Congress no power to claim or exercise dominion over private property, the sole exception being the full taking of property under the principle of eminent domain.

      Government exists, under the Constitution and Bill of Rights, to provide maximal freedom to individuals while it is severely limited and restricted to merely facilitating that maximal freedom of individuals through the provision of security and infrastructure.

      The entire communistic American welfare state is unconstitutional including, but not limited to, matriculation affirmative action, grade-inflation affirmative action, employment affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, minimum wage, rent control, social services, forced busing, public housing, utility subsidies, WIC, SNAP, TANF, HAMP, HARP, TARP, HHS, HUD, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

  6. More humor. California now requires that Tampons be available in boy’s bathrooms.

    Boys being boys, I suspect some of them are going to find some way to have fun with those. Off the top of my head I could see buying some PVC pipe and using the Tampons for blowgun ammo. There are other fun ideas. I was an inventive child.

    The boy’s bathroom may need restocking more often than the girl’s.

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