Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chronicle edit shows poor judgment

Here are portions of today’s Chronicle editorial followed by my comments below the star line.

The Chronicle begins - - -

Tonight's talk featuring author David Horowitz gives a stage for an inflammatory demagogue.

It will mark an encore appearance for Horowitz, who came to Page Auditorium in March 2006 with a speech sponsored by Students for Academic Freedom amid general hoopla and audience antics from his opponents and supporters.

Inviting Horowitz as a speaker so soon after his SAF-sponsored appearance signals a preference on the part of Duke Conservative Union for inciting belligerent dispute rather than encouraging intelligent discourse.

The two are not always mutually exclusive, but in this case, there seems to be little reason to expect a second dose of Horowitz to provide anything more substantial than the rather unconstructive first.

This is largely because Horowitz's approach is an indiscriminate, scattershot attack on the left. …

He seeks to severely curtail faculty freedom in the classroom, and his overblown, hyperbolic criticisms of certain ideas as "dangerous" are haphazard at best. Moreover, he espouses political views that can only be described as bigoted-his proposal to combat so-called "Islamofascism" is for Muslims to do away with chunks of the Quran. Where are his calls for Jews and Christians to do the same for offensive portions of their holy books?

Finally, Horowitz's motivations for coming to Duke are questionable. He seems to be making an appearance expressly to incite anger among students. …

We are not calling for Horowitz to be censored, though we recognize that he does not share the same reluctance when it comes to stifling the voices of certain professors at Duke and elsewhere.

It is not that his presence is in any way a threat; it's just that the prospect of listening to him voice the same turgid, pointlessly inflammatory rhetoric is, frankly, unexciting.

[We] welcome Horowitz to Duke with open minds if not with open arms. Unlike the man himself, we trust students' ability to freely form opinions rather than be forced into them, despite the "dangerous" ideas that we allow to be expressed on our campus.

The entire Chronicle editorial is here.



I don’t doubt the students on The Chronicle’s editorial board believe they’re “welcome[ing] Horowitz to Duke with open minds[.]”

And I don’t doubt that it hasn’t occurred to them that one reason it would be interesting to hear Horowitz speak at Duke is for what he might say about the University’s response to the wildly improbable and self-contradicting lies Crystal Mangum told, and the great harms and many injustices that flowed from them.

Doesn't The Chronicle know that's all happened since Horowitz last spoke at Duke?

Why is it that so many Duke faculty either remained silent or embraced Mangum's lies?

Would something like that happen at any high-tuition university?

Why was there almost no faculty condemnation of those who rallied to CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUEAL MEASURE banners?

If Horowitz spoke about those questions and others relating to the terrible events which have involved Duke these past two years, I don’t doubt The Chronicle’s editorial board might find his remarks “turgid.”

If Horowitz discussed why he thinks The Chronicle has never editorially criticized those who waved the banners or remained silent when others did, the editorial board members might find what he said “pointlessly inflammatory rhetoric.”

But that’s no reason why others shouldn’t have a chance to listen to Horowitz.

Is there really a good reason for The Chronicle’s editorial this morning?

On the editorial’s thread I left the following comment expressing a very serious concern I have about the editorial. I hope some of you comment also. And please share your comments here.

To the Chronicle Editorial Board:

Your editorial shows remarkably poor judgment.

It's a serious risk for Horowitz to appear on many campuses.

Recently at Emory the university police and administrators told him in the midst of his talk to an audience which included many extremely hostile faculty and students that they could not guarantee his safety.

He was advised to leave the lectern and police escorted him off the campus.

Your editorial is inciteful.

At Duke we’ve seen CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners; “Vigilante” posters, and faculty thanking the crowds who rallied with the banners and posters “for not waiting.”

How did you ever convince yourselves Duke needed your editorial on the morning Horowitz is scheduled to speak?


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...


"despite the "dangerous" ideas that we allow to be expressed on our campus."

Its good to know that we have the enlightened editorial staff of the Chronicle letting the poor uneducated masses know what is "dangerous".

They should fit right in at the N&O.