Trinity College Professor Cleared After Alleged Racist Postings Against White People

We previously discussed the controversy surrounding Trinity College Professor Johnny Williams and his posts against white people, including an inflammatory reference to people considered bigots and how we should “Let Them. F**king Die.”  Williams teaches classes on race and racism and clearly wanted to get others to read this hateful screed..  As I am mentioned in the earlier post,  I do not believe that Williams should have been punished for his postings as a matter of free speech and academic freedom.  The College has now reached the same conclusion but the question remains whether the College will take a similar principled position for academics espousing such views about other races.

 

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo Dies In Chinese Custody

Today the world lost one of its most inspiring and courageous figures.  On Thursday,  Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Prize recipient and Chinese intellectual, has died at 61 of cancer.  The Chinese government defied the world in keeping Liu under custody as part of its authoritarian, one-party rule.  Liu kept the memory of the  Tiananmen Square massacre alive when the government has sought to wipe out any evidence that the protests even occurred.  He was a tireless defender for civil liberties in a country that rejects the most basic principles of human rights and civil liberties. He declined numerous opportunities to leave the country and live in freedom. He was the ultimate Chinese patriots and the Chinese government has reaffirmed that it remains a blood-soaked dictatorship.  Some day freedom will come to China and the Chinese people will learn of people like Liu who died for their liberty and their future.

 

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“These Are The Ones Hurting You?”: Putin and Trump Share An Anti-Media Moment In Hamburg

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_cropped225px-Vladimir_Putin_official_portraitDonald Trump and Vladimir Putin shared an anti-media moment in Hamburg when they faced journalists and Putin asked “These are the ones hurting you?” Trump responded “These are the ones. You’re right about that.”  While I have been very critical of what I see as distortive and biased coverage of the Trump Administration, I have also been critical of Trump’s attacks on the media.  This is an example where journalists have a legitimate right to recoil at the scene.  Trump was commiserating with a man who has decimated the free press in Russia where dozens of journalists have been killed. With Trump calling for reductions in the protections afforded to media and attacking the media, there is a heightened and understandable sensitivity to these type of scenes.

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CNN’s Probationary Order To Reddit Poster Raises Serious Journalistic Concern

200px-Cnn.svgBelow is my column in USA Today on the controversy surrounding CNN’s handling of the creator of the Trump wrestling video.  The episode shows the deepening tension between CNN and Trump.  CNN has increasingly positioned itself as part of the “resistance” while Trump has used CNN as embodiment of all that is wrong with the media.  While Trump has said that CNN has done itself serious damage in the controversy, polls show almost 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s performance as President.  While ratings have been up and more people trust CNN rather than Trump, CNN’s journalistic image has been damaged in the relentless anti-Trump rhetoric from both political and legal contributors.  Even under the recent poll, some 43 percent trust Trump more and CNN’s ratings continue to roller coaster. Ironically, CNN needs Trump and Trump needs CNN to continue their respective narratives. However, neither is a promising foundation for either a political or journalistic enterprise.  It is a case of mutually assured destruction.

Here is the column:

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Arizona Arrest Raises Free Speech Question Of Whether Mocking Scalise Shooting Constitutes Criminal Threat

1499374902036We often debate on how one should take a mug shot. Mark Prichard, 59, went with the “I’m really happy” approach.  His crime however was less joyful.  He was arrested after allegedly making threatening comments toward Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s staff that referenced the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.  There is an interesting First Amendment issue raised by some of the charges against Prichard.

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Court: “F**K White People” Not Hate Speech

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Saudi Government Suspends Columnist For Praising King With Words Reserved For God

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It must be challenging to be a columnist in an authoritarian Kingdom where you are expected to heap praise on the King while avoiding the line that divides utter  fawning and divine worship. It appears that Ramadan al-Anzi crossed that line and is now suspended for using praise reserved to the Almighty as opposed to the merely magnificent.

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