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  • Big Government Exposes Sinister Plot To Encourage Critical Thinking In The Classroom

    Blog ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Only a couple of weeks after professional fabulist Andrew Breitbart kicked off his campaign to "go after the teachers," things are getting silly.

    Today, Kyle Olson -- head of something called the Education Action Group Foundation -- published a video on Big Government which he claimed exposed a group of socialist school teachers plotting how best to "subtly fill [young minds] with Marxist and radical ideas."

    Here's one of the "radicals" in the video laying out their spooky brainwaishing plot:

    But I do think that wherever you possibly can, part of it is actually just allowing for room for critical thought in the classroom and allowing for students to think for themselves, talk about issues wherever possible, to bring in history and you know, radicals from the past and fight for that kind of thing. And I think there is space to do that.

    So in Olson's view, "allowing for room for critical thought in the classroom" and "allowing for students to think for themselves" is indoctrination.

    Breitbart and his followers can claim that his anti-teacher campaign is all about battling indoctrination, but really it's about the opposite. No wonder Olson finds "allowing for room for critical thought" to be such a malevolent concept. Critical thought demands hearing out opposing views, and opposing views are one thing Big Government would apparently prefer to keep out of American classrooms.

    So who's pro-indoctrinating children again? The socialist who's for "allowing for students to think for themselves [and] to talk about issues," or the conservative who seems to think being a socialist is an automatic disqualification for teaching any subject?

  • New Breitbart "Investigation" Reveals Hollowness Of His Views On Education

    Blog ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Andrew Breitbart loves to complain about political censorship on college campuses, but Big Government's latest deceptively edited "investigation" proves just how thin his commitment to on-campus free speech really is.

    Here's Breitbart on page 122 in his book Righteous Indignation:

    In other words, if you disagreed with [philosopher Herbert] Marcuse, you should be forcefully shut up, according to Marcuse. This made political debate very convenient for him and his allies. This totalitarianism is now standard practice on college campuses, in the media, and in Hollywood--the very places that the Frankfurt school sought to control.

    But far-left college students -- even Communists -- are surely just as entitled to their political views and freedom of speech as their conservative classmates. That's why it's a little odd to see someone on Breitbart's Big Government complain that a college professor didn't do a good enough job making students with opinions Breitbart deems unacceptable shut up.

    Yet that's the charge leveled in a Big Government post against Professor Judy Ancel, one of the targets of Breitbart's attempt to "go after the teachers." One of Ancel's crimes, according to Big Government, is that she "repeatedly failed to criticize statements made by Giljum or by students endorsing violence."

    Yes, some college students have extreme views. But the classroom is supposed to be a safe place to air those views and have a reasoned, informative debate about them. If Professor Ancel started publicly embarrassing students just because she disagreed with them, that would be tantamount to shutting down the sort of open classroom debate Breitbart claims to be fighting for.

    Maybe Breitbart means to say that it's up to the teacher to define the acceptable parameters of debate. But isn't that the "totalitarianism" for which he blames Marcuse? How is that not what he calls "cult brainwashing?"

    For all of Breitbart's sanctimonious posturing, this latest smear is nothing less than an attempt to enforce on-campus censorship. And while his cronies can call student privacy a "red herring" all they want, it doesn't change the fact that Professor Ancel is right when she says that publicly releasing the words and faces of students who thought they were speaking confidentially will "have an enormously chilling effect on freedom of thought and expression." The fact that Big Government responded to her concerns with yet more dishonest attacks just goes to show that their objective was never "freedom of thought and expression" in the first place. It's just another excuse to smear people with whom they disagree.

  • Newest Breitbart yawner -- some college professors dabble in politics

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    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.

  • Cunningham compared Cincinnati Zoo to Bull Connor for pulling out of planned partnership with Creation Museum

    ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    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."

  • David Horowitz debunks David Horowitz: a Media Matters analysis of The Professors

    ››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER & ROB SAVILLO

    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.

  • Horowitz falsely claimed he doesn't attack professors' "political speech" outside the "classroom"

    ››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

    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.

  • Left meets right: On Fox News Watch, Neal Gabler and Cal Thomas concur on trumped-up nature of Colorado teacher story

    ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

    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.

  • Horowitz: "There are 50,000 professors ... [who] identify with the terrorists"

    ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    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.