Give Andrew Breitbart credit for trying. Since his promotion of James O'Keefe's thoroughly boring Census videos went nowhere, he's dusted himself off and is now running with a new scandal -- one that he thinks is exciting enough to deserve the dreaded "-gate" suffix. Unfortunately for Breitbart, his new story is even more of a snore than his old one.
In short, Breitbart seems to have discovered that liberal college professors occasionally engage in liberal political activism. His website has apparently uncovered a Request for Proposals circulated by several liberal academics calling on like-minded historians and social scientists to document instances in which conservatives have "captured the rhetorical high ground" by making dire claims about the possible impact of progressive policies which did not come to pass after those policies were implemented.
According to the document posted on Breitbart's site, participants will be paid $1,000 for each brief that meets certain standards; the organizers hope that the impact of their project will be to "construct a counter narrative that demonstrates the falsity or exaggeration" of such conservative claims in order to undermine them.
Such a project certainly seems worthwhile -- for example, we've documented that over 75 years and with respect to at least 16 different proposals, conservatives have falsely claimed that progressive health-care reform efforts constituted "socialized medicine."
To Breitbart, however, this is "Academia-gate," a "Call for Pay-to-Play Academic Propaganda."
Oh dear. I certainly hope all of the college professors in Breitbart's conservative movement aren't offended.
Radio host Bill Cunningham compared the Cincinnati Zoo to Eugene "Bull" Connor, the Birmingham Public Safety commissioner infamous for using dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s. Cunningham made the remark while criticizing the zoo's decision to pull out of a promotional partnership with the Creation Museum, which seeks to "affirm the truth of the biblical record of the real origin and history of the world and mankind" and reportedly contains a display featuring "a triceratops with a saddle on its back."
Right-wing activist David Horowitz has attacked Media Matters for America for noting -- contrary to Horowitz's denial on the April 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes -- that his recent book contains numerous instances in which he cited the purported extracurricular activities of the professors he criticized in the book. Horowitz has conceded that there is a "sliver of truth in the Media Matters statement" that documented his inconsistencies, but he downplayed this, claiming that "my book is a series of profiles of 101 professors" that includes "general perspectives, [that] may or may not be expressed outside the classroom." However, a detailed Media Matters study of the book shows that Horowitz's suggestion that his book does not rely heavily on professors' activities and speech outside of the classroom is false.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, confronted by co-host Alan Colmes regarding a recent Media Matters item that documented false statements he made during his previous appearance on the show, right-wing activist David Horowitz attacked Media Matters as "a smear site." Horowitz later added, "[M]y agendas have been so distorted by smear sites like Media Matters and by the left."
Right-wing activist David Horowitz falsely claimed that although he has criticized what university professors teach in the classroom, he has refrained from criticizing "professors' political speech" outside the universities at which they teach. Horowitz added that he makes "a very clear distinction between what's done in the classroom" and "what professors say as citizens." In fact, in his most recent book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, Horowitz criticizes numerous professors for their political views and participation in political events outside the classroom.
On Fox News Watch, two Fox News commentators -- liberal media critic and author Neal Gabler, and conservative syndicated columnist Cal Thomas -- agreed that the controversy over a Colorado high school teacher's remarks about President Bush resulted from the exploitation of the incident by a high school student and the conservative media.
On MSNBC's Scarborough Country, right-wing activist David Horowitz claimed that "[t]here are 50,000 professors" who are "anti-American" and "identify with the terrorists." There are just over 400,000 tenured and tenure-track full-time university professors in the United States. If Horowitz's numbers are accurate, that means approximately one out of every eight tenured or tenure-track college and university professors is a terrorist sympathizer.
The Los Angeles Times printed an op-ed by David Horowitz regarding academic freedom on college campuses despite his history of false statements and unsupported allegations on this very topic. The op-ed marked the 29th time Horowitz has been published in the Times, according to a Nexis search.
On both The Radio Factor and The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed a Texas school district "told students they couldn't wear red and green because they were Christmas colors." The school district has since released an official statement refuting O'Reilly's false contention.