watching the Watchlist

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Peter Dreier analyzes the professor watchlist and gives it an F for accuracy:

It's easy to laugh at the error-riddled attacks on professors now being circulated on a new right-wing website, but such propaganda campaigns foreshadow more serious assaults on the First Amendment under a President Trump.

I'm one of the roughly 200 professors listed on the Professor Watchlist, which claims to "expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students." It was launched on November 21, two weeks after Donald Trump was elected president. It is sponsored by a right-wing group called Turning Point USA and run by a 22-year conservative named Charlie Kirk. [...] Fox News, the Daily Caller, and other parts of the right-wing echo chamber celebrate it as a useful tool for exposing the allegedly "liberal" atmosphere on college campuses.

If the Professor Watchlist were a research paper, I'd give it an F. Much of the information about me on the Watchlist is simply untrue.

"The Professor Watchlist," Dreier continues, "is a good example of our increasingly 'post-truth' culture, which is primarily the consequence of several decades of persistent right-wing propaganda:"

The Watchlist offers no evidence that I discriminate against conservative students, and that's because there isn't any. [...] At the beginning of each semester, I tell students up front that even though I'm a progressive, "I prefer smart conservatives to stupid liberals."

Like [the McCarthite pamphlet] Red Channels, the Professor Watchlist is riddled with lies and disinformation, but it could have the effect of chilling dissent and free speech if college and university faculty feel intimidated or threatened.

Dreier concludes:

Although it might be easy to dismiss the Professor Watchlist as the amateurish rantings of a few extreme conservatives, we cannot ignore its potential as a harbinger of efforts by Donald Trump and his ilk to suppress free speech and dissent, which, if successful, would undermine our democracy and make it possible for bullies and tyrants to rule, perhaps even with the unwitting consent of the governed.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on December 9, 2016 7:48 AM.

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