The Left Keeps Turning – Revisiting Evergreen Through FAIR

In this post, I am going to go back to the Evergreen State College controversy, described in detail in my post “When The Left Turns On Its Own.” FAIR, a left-wing media criticism site, recently covered this situation and I am interested in their take on the story.

The article begins with a discussion of issues of on campus free speech. According to the article, the news media is quick to anger about censorship of right-wing speakers but is silent or near silent about censorship of left-wing activists. He points out the preponderance of media coverage of Ann Coulter being prevented from speaking and the lack of coverage surrounding the perspective of the Evergreen State College student protesters. According to the author, campus free speech is treated differently “when you’re on the left.”

After this, the author gives some background to the Evergreen State College controversy. This account is different from that of the New York Times in that it clearly supports the student protesters over professor Weinstein. The author says that “marginalized communities suggested white students and faculty leave campus” for the annual Day of Absence, and then goes on to talk about how much “fun” the Day of Absence is for participants. The author places all blame for the heated atmosphere at Evergreen on those who didn’t agree with being told to leave:

Some in the Evergreen community, however, heard the call for the altered event as a demand – and their reaction made things worse.

The author clearly does not like Bret Weinstein, the biology professor who refused to leave on the Day of Absence. Weinstein did not appreciate being told to leave, and let the Evergreen community know his position. The article goes on to talk about how Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times all covered Weinstein’s side of events but never the student protesters. Personally, I can see why it would be hard to ask students for their position; usually a protest like this won’t have a central voice and will have many internally conflicting opinions. However, that does not mean that student protesters should not be given the chance to speak their mind.

Overall, I was not as impressed with this article as the one in the New York Times; for one thing, it is hypocritical. It talks about how no media outlet has talked to the student protesters, then still only focuses on Weinstein and not the students of Evergreen. The middle of FAIR’s article was somewhat suspect in that it draws a link between a white supremacist attack and the events on Evergreen’s campus (also suspect is the author’s insistence on repeatedly mentioning unrelated Palestinian activism while clearly pejorative of a Jewish man, but I won’t get into that). After my last post, I was intrigued to find out more about the students’ perspective, and I am still left in the dark. I am still only seeing mudslinging from one side of the argument to another with no input from students at Evergreen. This particular article seems to be highly critical of a singular figure, with criticism of the news media taking a backseat.

I am not impressed with this particular piece from FAIR. Hopefully, the next piece will be more illuminating.