Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fake News: Associated Press Publishes Falsehoods About Our Case

It just appeared on the Washington Times website (and many other places, doubtless): a story about our suit against Marquette University from the Associated Press.

As has happened before, the reporter (Ivan Moreno) appears to have accepted at face value claims made by Marquette, and pretty much blown off statements from our lawyer (Rick Esenberg) whom Moreno talked to, but apparently paid little attention to.

Doxing Claim

Moreno repeats the claim by Marquette that we “doxed” graduate instructor Cheryl Abbate. Readers of this blog will remember that Abbate told an undergraduate that expressing opposition to gay marriage would not be allowed, since it would be “homophobic” and might “offend” any gay students in the class. We put up a blog post about this. Moreno explains that “Doxing is the practice of publicizing someone’s personal identifying information online to subject them to harassment.”

Moreno claimed:
The post included the student-teacher’s name, a link to her personal website and her email address, and it led to a flood of hateful messages and threats against her.
Moreno quotes Esenberg stating that “all McAdams did was link to publicly available information.”

Had Moreno bothered to get the facts straight, he would have learned that we linked to no contact information at all. Rather, we linked to Abbate’s toxic feminist essay “Yes All Men… Contribute to the Prevalence of Rape,” published on her blog. If somebody dug around her blog, they could have found her e-mail address.

We did absolutely nothing to encourage people to send her any e-mails at all (much less abusive ones) unless merely exposing misconduct amounts to such.

The Washington Post, which published the same “doxing” claim in a column by Kathleen Parker, has now retracted it. From the Post:
Correction: An earlier version of this op-ed incorrectly reported that Marquette University professor John McAdams posted the contact information for a graduate student-teacher online. He posted a link to her personal blog.

Journalistic Norms

Any casual reader of the media will know that when journalists expose misconduct, they name the miscreant. This is certainly the case if a teacher says something racist to a class, or if a coach sexually molests athletes.

We can’t imagine Marquette would have gotten upset if we had exposed a white instructor who said something racist to a black student, or a male instructor who sexually harassed a female student.

Further, Marquette did nothing about the abuse of the undergraduate Abbate insulted and bullied. Indeed, in internal communications, they derided him.

It seems that abuses from politically correct leftists are not merely to be ignored by Marquette, but exposing them should be punished.

Abbate Received No Threats

Moreno repeats Marquette’s claim that Abbate received threats.
The post included the student-teacher’s name, a link to her personal website and her email address, and it led to a flood of hateful messages and threats against her. The threats were bad enough that the university posted a security officer outside of her classroom and she noticeably lost weight.
In fact, Abbate received no threats, as she admitted on her personal blog.

Why Abbate Left Marquette

Moreno, accepting Marquette’s claims, implies that Abbate had to leave Marquette because of our blog post.
The graduate student McAdams named in his blog eventually moved to another university, where she had to repeat three semesters and revise her PhD thesis.
He ignores the fact that Abbate left a Marquette program ranked barely in the top 100 nationally for one (at Colorado) ranked in the top 40.

Further, Marquette Associate Arts and Science Dean (a Philosophy faculty member intimately familiar with the situation) explained other relevant factors. In an e-mail to Dean Rick Holz, he explained:
Friday, December 5, 2014 5:11 PM

Rick,

It’s complicated, but the short version is Cheryl is planning to leave Marquette and go to a different Ph.D. Program, which has offered her significant financial aid and is reputationally superior to MU. She’s working on a letter to Nancy [Snow] about this, which she is also going to send to Jeanne.

We can talk more on Monday. But several programs reached out to her and offered her aid and [she] finds MU to be very uncomfortable and toxic. She walks around afraid for her safety and feels unsupported by the senior faculty of the department.

James
South gave more information in another e-mail to Holz:
Hi Rick,

If you have a few minutes, could we talk about this tomorrow? Cheryl is not just leaving because of McAdams, but because she did not feel comfortable in the department — for several reasons, not least because of how [Department Chair] Nancy [Snow] treated her, her research area, and her mentor, Susanne [Foster].
Moreno throws in a few other claims from Marquette, such as “McAdams had been advised previously, in 2011, not to mention a student’s name on his blog.” In fact, Provost John Pauly demanded we not blog about undergraduate students. We only blog about highly visible political activism among undergraduates, so Pauly’s demand was absurd, and we ignored it. We were never disciplined in any way by Pauly.

Conclusion

What we have here, from Moreno, is a fairly typical example of a journalist who accepts uncritically what Marquette says, and largely ignores facts inconsistent with Marquette’s version.

Any journalist who is familiar with contemporary higher education would know to be skeptical of what university bureaucrats say. Particularly when those bureaucrats are pandering to the forces of political correctness on their campus.

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4 Comments:

Blogger CS said...

In the age of fake news, fake sex, fake food, and as of last weekend, courtesy of Donald J. Trump, fake war, why is any of this surprising?

Obviously we have fake educational institutions that engage in PC brainwashing, and fake news media to cover up the educational fakery.

Why else would undistinguished academic administrators be paid so much if not to trash academics of integrity who obstruct PC indoctrination at the expense of education?

1:33 PM  
Blogger CS said...

By the way, John, have you thought of applying to Marquette for a position as a janitor. The Marquette administration would surely welcome a janitor of established integrity, and in that position you would emulate the heroic Emil Zatopek, the Czech five and ten thousand meters world champion and Olympic gold medalist, who as an anti-Soviet dissident, earned a living as a school janitor.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Someday, someone will write a history of MU which uncovers the element(s) leading to its change from a reasonably Catholic school to one which is a dreadfully boring UW-Whitewater with exorbitant tuition.

8:13 PM  
Blogger James Pawlak said...

Among the other biases at the Associated Press is their protection of those waging murderous Jihad as frequently noted by me to what one of my cousins calls "The Milwaukee Urinal".

9:49 PM  

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