The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Yellow journalism

Earlier today I solicited input from Dr Hendel and from the Tea-Party, excuse me "Turning Point USA". It being Easter, I can see why it might take a day or two for TPUSA to get back to me. In the meantime the good professor has responded...

Thanks for your note. I have no animus against economic or social conservatives, just against those who wish to suppress academic inquiry. By the way, the student's report about my comments do not accurately convey my remarks in class. It is yellow journalism, written a year after the event, when he attempted to evangelize my students in class.

On most of this, I am letting Dr Hendel have the last word; I have laid out the evidence, and it is left to you, dear readers, to decide. To one point, though, my eyes are drawn: to the allegation of yellow journalism, including misleading reportage.

The only journalism done here (besides mine today) was done in the College Fix thirteen months ago. I had tacitly assumed that the Fix was in, so to speak; just as Dr Hendel alleges. However it now occurs to me that this case still needs to be made. In particular TPUSA didn't ferret out the #fakenews. I have asked TPUSA to revisit a case, so - if they read here, and if they care about their reputation as campus watchdogs - TPUSA will return to what the College Fix did last year.

I detect two sins against journalism from the College Fix in their article.

Most egregiously, I read no comment from the defence; I do not even read a "no comment" - hell, I don't even see the professor's name directly, although it's hinted twice through links. If I, dissident-right nobody, can find time to email some stranger in Berkeley, then so can the College Fix. And it is slimy to write an article that maligns a man's integrity, in this case as a teacher, without facing him directly or saying his name. That is Jon Scalzi, Gamma tier bullshit.

Also the College Fix needs to learn how scholarship and teaching are done in other contexts. On the former, there are plenty of scholars (that is, not me) who could discuss the pros and cons of the Documentary Hypothesis: against Mosaic authorship, and against other theories. I've not been looking at this field much for 15 years or so, so I don't know who's still alive and alert, but a troll through Hendel's postings with a view to the footnotes should come up with some handy names. As far as teaching goes, maybe talk to a veteran teacher in an unrelated field on how they deal with classroom critics.

Since the College Fix didn't do any of that, their article is transparently one-sided, to the point it doesn't make their case. And now the whole integrity-kick they've been on has booted them in the backside, with the Biblical-archaeology community now divided, once more, from the Christian Right, and the Tea-Party looking like over-excitable paranoiacs, again. And College Fix will now have trouble the next time they get a Hot Story On Campus Oppression. Because, frankly, nobody likes to respond to dishonest hacks.

So yeah: "yellow journalism" fits the College Fix of 2016, and might even be too kind. They've tightened up their standards this year, but not yet enough to annotate what they'd written last year.

UPDATE 4/26/2017 - TPUSA wrote back yesterday, asking for more detail; I tried to provide it. They also informed me of my errors here in calling College Fix, "Campus" or "Daily" Fix. I've, er, fixed those. But as of now, Dr Hendel is still on the watchlist.

posted by Zimri on 17:29 | link | 0 comments

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