Censorship, Indoctrination And Intimidation Watch, Part I [Corrected]

Not my meme, but it fits!

Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley has been on what for him qualifies as a rampage lately, condemning efforts from the Left  to intimidate and punish anyone who isn’t in lockstep with its current agenda. Those nay-sayers are  racists and hate-mongers, you see.

Turley is always labeled a “liberal professor” by the conservative media, and once that would have been an accurate description. He, however, has remained true to his ideals while his party (he is, or was, a Democrat) and its allies moved sharply in the direction of leftist totalitarianism. Dissent on the Left or opposing the Left is no longer countenanced in most universities, in news organizations,  even in business and non-profit organizations. When Turley made legal mincemeat out of the Democratic argument for impeachment, students at American University tried to get him fired.

Turley believes in academic freedom to the extreme, as well as the First Amendment, of course, and he is properly alarmed to see professors (and others) facing institutional hostility or worse because of non-conforming views. I’ll discuss some of his recent targets in Part 2.

He  hasn’t covered this story so far.

A National Public Radio  affiliate in Tacoma, Washington fired its weatherman, Cliff Mass, for posting on his blog about the destruction two months of rioting and protests have inflicted on Seattle. Mass wrote in part,

His article added, with photos,

“Take a walk around downtown Seattle. You will be shocked by a shuttered, dystopian city and made angry by the inaction and ineptness of its political leadership. It is simply beyond words….Block after block of boarded up stores, restaurants, and other buildings. A city in lockdown and afraid….A boarded up central core of a major U.S. city was being left to the homeless, drug dealers, and security guards. Even the most notorious, crime-ridden corner of the city had no police. The streets of the city had become a fearful abandoned place.”

His comparison  to Kristallnacht  highlighted the similarities between the events:

“Violent individuals and groups have hidden within protest groups, attempting to destroy businesses both to deliver a political message of fear and to loot their contents. Dozens of police have been seriously injured by bottles and fireworks, or partially blinded by lasers. Even in my neighborhood, graffiti calling for the killing of police have been sprayed at a prominent location. No city can remain healthy if such anti-social activities are allowed to continue unchecked….There has also been efforts to intimidate our city’s political and civil leadership by taking rancorous protests to their homes, bringing fear to family and neighbors.”

The analogy to Nazi thugs terrorizing a community my be tough, but it is not invalid.

Ah, but  the Left’s social media mob takes umbrage at being compared to fascists even when they act like fascists. It accused Mass of anti-Semitism and “exaggerating” the  carnage from in riots. KNKX, following a familiar script, groveled, saying in a statement,

“At KNKX, we value high-quality, factual information in our news programming and we aim to present an array of voices that reflect our region. We turn to our regular commentators for their expertise and points-of-view when it comes to sports, food and the weather. But if a commentator, even on his own independent platform, delivers rhetoric that is offensive and inaccurate, we cannot support it. This is the case today with Cliff Mass. His post on his personal blog compares recent events in Seattle to Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom carried out by Nazi Germany, and draws distorted, offensive parallels between protesters and Nazi Brownshirts. We abhor the comparison and find it sensationalized and misleading — it does not reflect who we are and what we stand for at KNKX.”

Wait a minute. Comparing lawless destruction of property by politically motivated domestic terrorists to lawless destruction of property by politically motivated domestic terrorists is neither sensationalized nor misleading. Nor should such an analysis in any way harm the radio station, because it should not offend any audience that NPR should be seeking to please. This wasn’t a racist statement by Mass, or irresponsible ranting. There was certainly nothing anti-Semitic about his analysis.

Instead of dealing honestly and critically with an issue the meteorologist was both brave and responsible to raise, the station chose to fire him, simultaneously sending a warning to others who dare to call the riots and the city’s negligence and complicity in permitting them what they are.

Mass removed the paragraph referencing Kristallnacht, explaining, “I have removed a section here that proved a source of distraction to some.  In the removed section, I referred to violence in the 1920s and 1930s in Europe and how many people, often out of fear, chose not to challenge terrible things happening. I suggest an analogy, in some aspects, on what is happening today in Seattle.” It’s a legitimate analogy. As local writer Ari Hoffman notes,

[M]any in Seattle’s Jewish community have become increasingly concerned about the safety in the city and around the country. During the riots in reaction to the death of George Floyd, Jewish businesses were targeted and destroyed. In New York, Jews have consistently been targeted for attacks by other minority groups. Two weeks ago in Seattle, a local Jewish owned business was targeted and rioters attempted to burn down the store….Seattle officials withdrawing the police and allowing armed militants to take control of six blocks of the city was concerning to the Seattle Jewish community as well as the community at large.

…Anti-Semitic graffiti has appeared alongside Black Lives Matter graffiti around the city and inside the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP). CHOP occupiers and BLM allied with local anti-Israel groups to stage an anti-Israel rally in the final days of the CHOP. Anti-Semitic candidates for local office have even been endorsed and hired by local socialist and Democrat groups.

Why isn’t a taxpayer-supported radio station examining these developments, rather than punishing a resident who calls attention to them? This is a First Amendment violation on its face. A privately owned station could fire a weatherman for having opinions it doesn’t like (or doesn’t have the guts to support), though it would be unethical. A government supported station may not.

If only the United States had an organization dedicated to protecting freedom of thought and expression against such abuses. We could call it “The Union For Liberty In Civil Discourse in America.” No, that’s a little clunky.

I’ll work on it.

Professor Turley’s examples are ahead in Part 2.

26 thoughts on “Censorship, Indoctrination And Intimidation Watch, Part I [Corrected]

  1. This wasn’t a racist statement by Mass or irresponsible ranting. There was certainly nothing Anti-Semitic about his analysis.

    In the name of learning from past mistakes, I’d like to see our preoccupation with dead specters like racism and antisemitism die away to match. It makes no more sense than behaving in an aghast manner in response to Toryism or Jacobinism. Less still because they’re clearly just vehicles (I’m imagining comatose Tom Sellick in a wheelchair) for the ongoing destruction of society. Perhaps we could start cancelling people for exhibiting those behaviors which truly make the modern state of being unbearable. If we made corporate employees (in the name of unanimous “private interests”) shy away from making anti-Christian slurs or employing standard-issue grievance narratives for fear of dying cold and alone in the streets, I think the world would become a better place very quickly. If a database of everyone calling for “cancellations” in the last few years exists, we could hunt the guilty parties across the globe like our well-remembered grandfathers did those Germans.

    We tolerated the intolerable, and now they won’t tolerate us. Who could’ve seen that coming? Scrap the project. Kick in some teeth.

  2. I’m in the middle of a book, “My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich” by Dietrich Von Hildebrand who left Nazi Germany pretty early on because he knew he would either be forced to compromise his Catholic beliefs or end up in a concentration camp.

    He addresses why no one resisted even in the early days. “The cause of this passivity was fear, which had taken hold of the leading elements, beginning with the burning of the Reichstag, and then with the abrogation of the constitutional state. Already in February the gruesome speeches of Hitler had had a crippling effect…like the gaze of a serpent on its victim. There is a moment when intimidation and paralysis set in to such a degree that one becomes passive in the face of something harmful, no longer actively resisting, even though the possibility of resistance still exists”.

    And the Kristallnacht incidents had come after several years of the German people becoming acclimated to totalitarian rule, keeping their eyes down, their noses clean and accepting the dogma that the Jews deserve whatever they got.

    The US has a long history of prizing individual liberty, something the Germans really didn’t have. But it only takes so much of this type of ideology infiiltrating our collective consciousnesses before people begin to accept it as true and become paralyzed with fear that they could be the next targets.

    I reject the notion that all comparisons to Nazi Germany and the persecution of the Jews is hyperbole and diminishes the impact of the Holocaust. If the shoe fits, wear it. Even though the German government played off Kristallnacht as being the result of spontaneous demonstrations by the German people that could hardly be predicted or controlled, the truth was that it was largely planned and carried out by Nazi organizations throughout Germany and little was done to stop it by the government.

    I give grudging acceptance to the idea that Seattle’s city government may not have planned the rioting, but they are certainly complicit in not stopping it.

    • Great comment, A.M. I would only change “this type of ideology infiltrating our collective consciousnesses” to “this sort of unalloyed propaganda dominating discourse.” These people are trying to control discourse by distorting facts. Anyway, great comment and thanks.

      • I agree with your choice of words. I struggled to come up with the right phrase and it just wasn’t working. Thanks for the better suggestion.

    • Great comment. I’ll have to look up the book. For a view of life inside Germany during the Nazi period, I recommend “I Will Bear Witness” by Victor Klemperer. He was a Jew and university professor living in Dresden.

      • I’d love to read Klemperer’s work but have never been able to find it. Most accounts of the early Nazi period will reference his memoirs. He, of course, was a distant cousin of famed Berlin orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer who himself was the father of “Hogan’s Heroes” actor Werner Klemperer.

        • Holy cow. Otto Klemperer’s son acted in Hogan’s Heroes? I assume he was the camp commander with the monocle? Talk about six degrees of separation….

        • If you check out Abe Books, there are about 150 copies listed, starting at around $5 US.

          There are apparently two volumes: 1933-41 and 1942-45.

          • Wow! Thank you very much. I had no idea that this option existed. They even have Mary Chesnut’s Civil War diary for a reasonable price (George Templeton Strong’s is still at a collector’s price, but you can’t have everything, right?) I appreciate this suggestion!

          • A lot of people have rediscovered books this year. 😀😎 Good for me and for other internet booksellers.

            We’ll see how long it lasts.

    • Oooh, von Hildebrand. I’ve been looking for an edition of The Devastated Vineyard, but it’s so hard to find in print.

    • It sounds like an interesting book. I may get it. Now that you have read through it would you still recommend it? I understand that Part 1 is the diary (or an account of a diary) and that Part 2 is a selection of his writings — his Christian/philosophical argument against National Socialism.

  3. He restored the removed section after being canceled. I guess he figured out if he was going to be called a racist, he might as well take the hit and express his opinion anyway.

    What mostly surprises me is that he’s definitely left-of-center (see his climate opinions). They’re eating themselves now that their opponents have either gone into “shut up” survival mode or stopped caring at all.

    Also, given last night’s knock-at-your-door protests in Mercer Island (essentially the second most affluent suburb in Seattle, where the tier below Bill Gates lives) the upcoming election season will turn out to be very interesting (in the Chinese curse sense).

  4. Fake Meme: That’s Minnehaha Liquors (RIP) in the background. A block from my old office.

    Mrs. Q can confirm. Paging Mrs. Q. Mrs. Q, where are you?


  5. I for one have had it with these self-righteous news organizations. They no longer report the news. Usually, slanted versions of the stories stuffed with the opinions of God only knows suffice as the fodder we receive as news. In my estimation, far worse than not reporting the news they NO LONGER SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST. I think we often forget that these “news outlets” and channels have to be licensed to churn out their propaganda. I think it is high past time we the general public start challenging these licenses as they come up for renewal. Imagine how quickly fair journalism would reappear if just one major channel lost its broadcast license, which would effectively put them out of business. The fact of the matter is we do not have to accept what qualifies as broadcast news today or the mentality that produces it. There is something we can do. We have just got to unite in great numbers and demand action and reform.

    • Sure . . . but then there’s that “Freedom of the Press” thing, and I kinda like it.

      I agree with your assessment of today’s news media, and I think you’ll find that many here–including Jack himself–also agree.

      I think you’ll also find that most of us realize that having the government take punitive action against anyone over the content of what they say/print/publish is a form of tyranny and a VERY BAD THING™.

      So yes, in order that I might continue to enjoy the protection of the freedoms enshrined in the highest law of the land, I’ll not be going around cutting that protection for others–including the Devil himself.


  6. For those interested, he has posted another column expanding on his firing and some of the history between him and that radio station.

    It is quite interesting, if not surprising. The comments on this post are also quite supportive.


    The weakness of something such as KNKX is that they depend on listener’s contributions. That means that people can get their attention by cancelling their contributions (which, I believe, for a lot of people are in the form of a monthly automatic donation). Tick off too many of your supporters and a public radio station can certainly go belly up.

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