Physicist “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” statement captures how science depends upon constant questioning and challenging of assumptions. Yet, what is healthy debate to some is criminal dissent to others. Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology at Baylor College of Medicine is calling for federal hate-crime protections to be extended to cover criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci and other scientists. The frequent MSNBC and CNN guest wants Congress to expand hate crimes to “scientists currently targeted by far-right extremism in the United States.” Continue reading “Baylor Professor Calls for Prosecution of Criticism of Fauci and Other Scientists as Hate Crime”
Do you have a right to leave your home to eat or recreate? Apparently not if you are a “non-vac.” NYU Professor Arthur Caplan and Yale Professor Sarah Hull have published an essay in MedPageToday declaring that unvaccinated people should be barred from public places from airplanes to movie theaters to restaurants. What is most striking is how the two academics (who teach bioethics) declare that appearing public is a privilege, not a right. They are not alone in such views. CNN’s Don Lemon recently called for barring unvaccinated people from offices and businesses, insisting “It has nothing to do with liberty. You don’t have the freedom and the liberty to put other people in jeopardy.” The essay comes as New York announces mandatory proof of vaccines will be required for public places.
We have been discussing the long saga over the University of North Carolina’s offering an academic chair to former New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones. Hannah-Jones is one of the most prominent proponents of advocacy journalism and her writings, including as part of the 1619 Project, are highly controversial. Ultimately, Hannah-Jones turned down the UNC offer in favor of Howard University. However, an email triggered a new controversy at UNC after it was disclosed that UNC Journalism and Media Dean Susan King wrote to ABC to expressly ask them to “protect” Hannah-Jones in its coverage. It is an ironic and concerning email. Many of us are critics of advocacy journalism and the growing rejection of objectivity. In this matter, King responded to criticism of Hannah-Jones over advocacy journalism by asking ABC Deputy Political Director Averi Harper to advocate for her in framing the coverage. Continue reading “Advocacy Journalism 101: UNC Dean Asked ABC To “Protect” Hannah-Jones in its Coverage”
Below is my column on academic work claiming that the Second Amendment is a relic of slavery. The reframing of the debate follows a familiar pattern in academia. Indeed, the same type of sweeping (and unchallenged) generalities was used recently to declare Olympic surfing a relic of American imperialism. The framing of such claims often precede any search for the facts. However, academics know that there is an eager and unquestioning audience for such publications. Conversely, those academics challenging such claims risk isolation and shunning in today’s intolerant environment. What is most striking about this latest claim is that it is directly and comprehensively contradicted by historical sources. Yet, there are relatively few academics who have publicly challenged the claims as media heralds the theory as a type of breakthrough publication. As discussed earlier, the theory is neither new nor well-founded.
Here is the column: Continue reading “The Second Amendment Is About Rifles Not Racism”
In February, we discussed investigation of St. Joseph’s University math professor Gregory Manco after he criticized reparations anonymously on social media. It was a direct and serious attack on free speech and ultimately the university concluded that Manco did not violate any school policy. However, in a chilling turn of events, the university has now refused to renew his contract. The message seems clear that, even if you are found to have protected speech, you are not protected as an academic for raising a dissenting voice . . . even anonymously. Continue reading “St. Joseph’s University Refuses To Renew Contract For Professor Who Prevailed In Free Speech Fight”
My column today discusses new claims that the Second Amendment was the product of slavery and how “racism seems to be the most common denominator of today’s political controversies.” The media relishes work that explain how common practices or traditions are really relics of repression. The Washington Post this week illustrates this trend with the outrage du jure. Many (including myself) have been thrilled in watching the new Olympic competitions of surfing, including Hawaii’s Carissa Moore who won gold. Moore used the victory to celebrate her state’s long and cherished history of surfing. However, The Washington Post did not let such moments to pass without a familiar reframing. It published Texas A&M professor Thomas Blake Earle who explained that we are enjoying a sport shaped by American imperialism. It is not virtual signaling but virtual shaming of others. So enjoy but remember to be ashamed.
We have been discussing the investigations and terminations facing teachers over their expressing unpopular viewpoints on social media. Schools on both the high school and college levels are engaging in more monitoring of social media by students and teachers. The latest such case was reported in the Daily Herald involves Palatine High School’s Jeanne Hedgepeth who criticized the rioting after the death of George Floyd and referring to the violence as a “civil war.” She was fired by
Township High School District 211 and is now suing the school district. The case raises some of the same issues as the recent firing of a teacher in Loudon county — a case on appeal after he was reinstated by a court.
A few months ago, we discussed the ruling against the University of Iowa in Bus. Leaders in Christ v. Univ. of Iowa, 991 F.3d 969 (8th Cir. 2021) where the court held that we held that the law was clearly established that the University could not engage in viewpoint discrimination involving a Christian club. In a July 16 decision, the Eighth Circuit affirmed that the University of Iowa administrators violated the First Amendment rights of a second group, the InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship. While the group allowed anyone to join, it required its leaders to adhere to core Christian values. It is another major victory for religious rights and their counsel the nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. It is also a serious rebuke of the University which defiantly continued to discriminate at not just great cost to these students but the university as a whole.
We have been discussing the academic saga over the offer of an academic chair by the University of North Carolina to controversial New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones. UNC rescinded the offer but then re-extended the offer without tenure. Hannah-Jones accepted but then changed her mind and demanded tenure. UNC then gave her tenure and she changed her mind to take a chair at Howard University. The opposition to Hannah-Jones was based on the historical errors in her 1619 Project and criticism over biased journalism. Now Hannah-Jones is removing any doubt about her view of journalism. She has declared that “all journalism is activism.” Continue reading “Hannah-Jones: “All Journalism Is Activism””
As many on this blog know, I am a huge advocate for animal rights and environmental protections. Indeed, I was recently thrilled to go to the Gulf Shores to watch sharks. However, I am afraid that I do not see the value of the call for researchers out of the University of Sydney to get people to stop calling human-shark biting incidents “attacks.” The University of Sydney’s Christopher Pepin-Neff has called for dropping the “A-word” in favor of shark “interactions” or “negative encounter.” It is not likely to take hold: I do not see people running down a beach screaming “shark negative encounter, shark negative encounter.” To paraphrase the movie “Jaws,” we are going to need a bigger [dictionary.]” Continue reading “When Sharks “Interact”: Professors Call for Ending the Use of the “A-Word””
As many on this blog are aware, I have long been an advocate of public education and we feel deeply fortunate to have sent all four of our kids to public schools in Alexandria and McLean in Fairfax County. I still have one child in the Fairfax system. I was therefore shocked like many Fairfax parents to see the videotape of Michelle Leete, Vice President of Training at the Virginia PTA, Vice President of Communications for the Fairfax County PTA and First Vice President of the Fairfax County NAACP as she lashed out against those who oppose critical race theory and identity divisional lessons in school. What was even more unnerving is the applause from other parents to her “let them die” declaration. Continue reading ““Let Them Die”: Fairfax PTA and NAACP Officer Under Fire For Attack On Parents Who Oppose CRT [Updated]”
We have previously discussed the continued failing of the public schools in preparing African American students for college or the workforce. I have specifically discussed the horrific figures coming out of Baltimore despite being one of the top districts in terms of per capita spending. Recent data now offers another chilling statistic: 41 percent of students in the Baltimore system have a 1.0 (D) GPA or less. Continue reading “Baltimore Public School Data Shows 41% of Students Have a 1.0 GPA or Less”
We have been discussing the rapid decline of American journalism. As news organizations adopt echo and advocacy journalism as models, the public has lost faith in the media as a source of information. This is coming at a time when journalism professors are arguing for the abandonment of objectivity as the touchstone of the journalism. The result is the death of American journalism as reporters frame the news to reaffirm their own views or that of insular groups. That decline is reflected in chilling detail in a new Gallup poll.