The Daily Northwestern, the student newspaper of Northwestern University, apologized to students for reporting on a speech made by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to a group of student Republicans. This act of contrition by the university media represents yet another direct assault on freedom of speech. It’s becoming more and more prevalent that opposing opinions to liberal perspectives are not tolerated on college campuses, places where freedom of speech has flourished historically.
Liberal activists were also unhappy with the manner in which The Daily covered the event. In fact they were apoplectic about Sessions expressing his opinions on campus at all, as his perspectives are not aligned with the protesters’ ideology. Many students were upset that they were contacted by The Daily reporters asking for comments on Session’s presentation after the fact, and that student photographers took pictures of dissenting students (a supposed invasion of their privacy).
The student newspaper has pronounced that it will no longer report on any events, or take photos of students if they, in some way, traumatize or threaten said students or specific groups at the school. In other words The Daily will only report on events and issues that are consistent with liberal, and radical, dogma. The students are to be protected from the opposition to these political and moral perspectives.
This affair is reminiscent of a recent student revolt that occurred at Berkeley just a short time ago. Activists reacted to a proposed speech by a conservative commentator. Property was destroyed and violence was encouraged to emphasize liberal ideology. This activity, protesting and repressing all opposing opinions, is becoming more commonplace every day. It seems as if liberals believe free speech should only be protected for left wing interests.
Four year college students live a charmed life in an ivory tower. It should be a time to experiment with new ideas and test the validity of all perspectives pertaining to the most controversial issues of the day. Why are colleges, professors, activists, and left-wing radicals demanding censorship of ideas? Why is free speech being denied to anyone on campus? Why would students resort to violence to inhibit the most basic right of an American? You would think that schools of higher learning would want to present all sides of important issues. But liberal activists don’t see it that way.
Northwestern is the home of the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. Why would professors in this department condone the censorship of anything? Are they really concerned about student feelings if a Fox commentator makes a speech about the virtues of Trump’s policies? What’s going to happen when students graduate and read about the horrors occurring in the world every day in the most prestigious newspapers? Will graduating students weep in response to genocide, terrorism, wars and the like?
Students should be taught to recognize that when the most hideous among us are silenced, the right of free speech is diminished for all Americans. You can’t have it both ways. Neither liberals nor conservatives own free speech. Students are cheating themselves by not listening to the other side of every difficult issue. You will never be an effective advocate if you don’t appreciate what the opposition is thinking about.