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.
Take, for example, the American Action Forum. This newly-created think tank seeks to "promote" and "deploy" conservative ideas. Its president was previously John McCain's chief economic advisor, and its board includes GOP super-funder (and notorious Nixon Jew-counter) Fred Malek, former Sen. Norm Coleman, and four former members of President Bush's cabinet as well as his brother Jeb.
Also, its list of "experts" includes six university professors:
- Donald Bruce, Douglas and Brenda Horne Professor of Business in the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and the Department of Economics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
- Patrick Garry, a professor of law at The University of South Dakota School of Law.
- Joseph Kennedy, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.
- Harvey Rosen, John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy at Princeton University.
- Mark Perry, professor of economics in the School of Management at the University of Michigan-Flint.
- Ed Zschau, Visiting Lecturer with rank of Professor at Princeton University in the department of Electrical Engineering.
Something tells me that this organization -- and its university professors -- will be spending a lot of time claiming that progressives are wrong about stuff. University professors using their free time to push a political agenda! Can someone help Breitbart to his fainting-couch?
Check out the expert rosters of other right-wing think tanks, like the Hudson Institute or American Enterprise Institute. Yup, more conservative university professors writing conservative things for conservative organizations. Scandal!
And if Breitbart is scandalized by professors who engage in political advocacy and get paid for it by third-party organizations, just wait till he hears about the Mercatus Center at George Mason University or the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. These are effectively right-wing think tanks that are actually affiliated with and housed on major universities, and are largely staffed by those universities' professors.
Yup, that's dozens of university professors explicitly conducting research on how right-wing "market-oriented" and "free enterprise" ideas are correct, and progressive ideas are wrong -- and getting paid for it by those universities themselves!
Sounds kind of like "Pay-to-Play Academic Propaganda," doesn't it?