Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The World-Herald's Elitism of Idiocy

by Kyle Michaelis
Yet again taking its cues from right-wing talk radio rather than doing actual research, the Omaha World-Herald's editorial board today engaged in an ignorant and malicious assault on a group of law schools who formed the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights.

The World-Herald celebrates these schools' failed attempt (in Rumsfeld v. FAIR) to defend the integrity of their anti-discrimination policies against a ban on federal funding when, in protest of the biased and unreasonable "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" homosexuality standard, these schools have refused to allow U.S. military recruiters on campus.

While the World-Herald might be justified in agreeing with the Supreme Courts' decision as a matter of law and public policy, it proves just how unprincipled its editorial slant is by playing the old "liberal elite"-card to dismiss and defame the schools involved in this action.

In an editorial so inappropriately titled "A Defeat for the Elite", the OWH writes:
No one doubts that the First Amendment is a crucial part of the federal Constitution. Still, courts should reject attempts to apply the amendment inappropriately. The U.S. Supreme Court underscored that point last week in rejecting claims by elite law schools that the First Amendment gives them the right to deny access to military recruiters....

Law schools had sued to challenge the constitutionality of the so-called Solomon Amendment. That measure denies federal funding to any law school that prohibits visits by military recruiters.

To allow such recruiters on campus, the law schools argued, would signal to students that the law schools endorse the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy requiring removal of gay service personnel who acknowledge their sexuality. That claim was the core of the lawsuit - and was flatly rejected by the Supreme Court justices....

The argument over military recruiting is tied, of course, to deepseated cultural differences that separate left-leaning elite law schools from the American military....

Law schools at Harvard, Columbia, Yale and other top-level universities would do well to end their knee-jerk hostility to the military. As the court case shows, living in an ideological echo chamber is not serving these elite schools well.

What the World-Herald fails to admit in denouncing the law schools that have partaken in this principled, though unsuccessful, defense of minority rights is that they are by no means confined to the Ivy League. In fact, though many "elite" law schools were involved in this challenge in some capacity, neither Harvard, Columbia, or Yale were among the 24 that officially joined FAIR and openly announced their participation in this lawsuit.

Rather, FAIR was comprised of the faculties of DePaul, Stanford, Georgetown, Hofstra, and the University of Minnesota Law Schools, as well as the entire George Washington University Law School, New York University School of Law, and Vermont Law School.

Now, there are certainly some quality law schools in that bunch but the World-Herald's attempt to designate them as some sort of out-of-touch, liberal cabal of the privileged and powerful is so blatantly dishonest and misrepresentative that, well, you'd only expect it from a two-bit, one-note partisan shill like the Omaha World-Herald.

Still, even while INVALID, how sad it is to see a newspaper pathetically play a class of schools' prestige against them because it knows it can tap into the well-paved doubts and resentments of its readers. Here, the "ideological echo chamber" the World-Herald inhabits and sustains by its total disregard for the truth is again on full display, revealed as lies and deception at the tiniest bit of scrutiny.

If they were not so well-established, if they had not been feeding people's heads with similar mistruths for decades, such sloppiness would have brought the World-Herald's partisan agenda crashing down long ago. As is, we're waging a battle against years and years of unchallenged spin and message control.

While no one expects the World-Herald editorial board not to have a perspective, they at least have a responsibiltiy not to deceive and misinform in its advancement. It is this crime against the people of Nebraska for which they continue to prove themselves guilty. It is this crime against the people of Nebraska for which we must continue our work to hold them accountable.

The lies must end! The lies must end now! The people of Nebraska deserve fair and honest reporting from the state's most powerful media source...not more of this one-sided garbage lifted from this morning's latest Rush Limbaugh rant.


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