The truth about the "campus free speech" crusade and its myths that won't die

tags: education, free speech, university, college campuses

Jim Sleeper is a lecturer in political science at Yale and the author of "Liberal Racism" (1997) and "The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York" (1990).

Let’s not let the controversy over the Mueller Report’s reception eclipse what President Donald Trump is doing to advance the long-running conservative crusade against liberal arts colleges, that helped to elect him in the first place. His recent executive order to deny federal funding to universities that his agents and allies deem unfriendly to “free speech” reinforces a false narrative, abetted by many in the media, that has already damaged not only higher education but also the American republic.

Journalists have been reinforcing that narrative, sometimes with good intentions. The latest instance is New York Times columnist Frank Bruni’s March 21 puff piece on the Yale sociologist Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika, a child psychologist and education specialist. Bruni recycles the Christakises’ and their ideological handlers' assiduously-cultivated, widely-accepted claim that in 2015 they were martyred on the altar of freedom of expression by, as Bruni put it, “taunts and insults from furious Yale students who swarmed [Nicholas] in a campus courtyard one day. ‘You should not sleep at night!’ one of them screeched, as he miraculously kept his cool, a mute punching bag. 'You are disgusting!’"

“Perhaps you saw the video,” Bruni adds, noting, “It became a viral sensation in the fall of 2015” and linking it to make sure you won’t miss it. Like the video itself, Bruni doesn’t report fake facts, but he confines his lens only to events that support a narrative roughly 75 percent false, or at the very least woefully incomplete.

Possibly with the best of intentions, Bruni swallows and regurgitates a lavishly-funded, brilliantly orchestrated, politically poisonous lie about college students and their deans that riveted millions of Americans during the run-up to the 2016 election.

Read entire article at Salon