Imagine being able to silence a journalistic outlet by whining. It would be quite a feat, wouldn’t it? Well, the social justice crowd at Northwestern University managed to do just that. It seems that attacks on free speech across college campuses aren’t enough; leftist students also see fit to target Americans’ right to a free press when it suits their agenda.
The university had invited former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to deliver a speech in an event organized by College Republicans. Predictably, far-left activists showed up to protest the event and try to shout down Sessions, who recently indicated that he plans to run for his former Senate seat in Alabama. So far, this is par for the course, right? A conservative speaker attempts to speak at a college campus and social justice warriors use their heckler’s veto to disrupt the event. There is, however, a factor that differentiates this story from others: The Daily Northwestern college newspaper came under fire for reporting on the event.
SJWs Cow Daily Northwestern
Reporters from the publication photographed the protests and interviewed participants. Although this would seem to be standard fare for journalists, leftist students lambasted the newspaper after the event for obtaining the phone numbers of students involved in the protest from the student directory to ask if they were open to being interviewed. The student activists also came after some of the reporters for publishing the names of protesters, as well as photographs of the demonstration.
Over the weekend, The Daily Northwestern published an editorial apologizing for its reportage. “One area of our reporting that harmed many students was our photo coverage of the event,” the paper stated. “Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive.” What followed was more rhetorical groveling, with the publication stating that it “could not be more sorry.” In essence, the paper prostrated itself before the social justice priesthood and expressed remorse at violating the precepts of the progressive religion.
This is not the only time a college newspaper has bent the knee to the social justice left. Appalachian State University’s newspaper was also pummeled into an apology after it published an op-ed criticizing the movement’s emphasis on discussing historical injustice. Student activists claimed the piece consisted of “thinly veiled white supremacist rhetoric.”
The Daily Northwestern’s apology elicited criticism from journalists on both the left and the right of politics, but most of the backlash against the student activists came from conservatives, who argued that the paper should not have given in to the progressive mob.
An Insidious Precedent?
Could this incident set a dangerous precedent for journalism? While several left-leaning reporters slammed the college newspaper for caving to the mob, there is no doubt that the corporate media stands more in solidarity with the student activists than with the College Republicans. It is also apparent that stories like this expose the tyrannical characteristics of the hard left, which are unattractive to the majority of Americans. Put simply, it is probably not the type of behavior the progressive media would like to showcase.
Will this kowtowing to touchy activists be the beginning of a new trend in which news outlets refuse to report on certain matters because it might “retraumatize” or hurt the feelings of those involved? It is not hard to imagine how some outlets might use this as a convenient excuse to suppress certain news stories. Those who understand how media bias works know the press doesn’t normally deceive the public by fabricating information; rather, it misleads by omitting information.
Read more from Jeff Charles.