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.