While some fatuous members of the Left insist liberal indoctrination in higher education is merely a Republican conspiracy to flood the Ivory Towers with conservative thinkers, this is, in fact, a profound aberration from the truth. While some institutions create convoluted mission statements devoted to promoting “social justice” or “diversity awareness” to explain perceived liberal bias in their classrooms, some colleges openly promote far-Left ideologies with unmistakable hubris.
With just a quick review of many course catalogues, one quickly realizes that diversity of thought is not a top priority of some of our nation’s finest schools. Indeed, the conservative group Young America’s Foundation does an admirable job of compiling some of the more outrageous and ridiculous left-leaning courses being taught at some of America’s “finest” schools (a Duke University course, for example, calls the American Dream nothing more than a myth).
But what about outside the classrooms, in lectures or film series? Surely academic departments and offices of Student Life will offer a wide array of events that touch upon a variety of political ideologies, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Never shy about unabashedly promoting far-left causes, Occidental College in Los Angeles (full disclosure) has put together a shocking list of not-so-fair-and-balanced films that is required viewing for some politics students. According to one student, those who are enrolled in progressive professor Peter Dreier’s "Politics 101" course must attend a liberal film series, while those in professor Caroline Heldman’s course are not required to attend.
By many accounts, and in my own experience, Dreier is considered a far-left, “progressive” academic while Heldman is described as being fair to all sides of a political debate. According to one student, “[Heldman] makes people play devil's advocate if there aren't enough on the conservative side of a debate.” Could this be why Heldman doesn’t require attendance in the film series?
A close look at the film choices, and you may suspect why the progressive Dreier is bent on students attending, while the fair Heldman is hesitant.
One of the first films in the series is Never Say Die, an ABC News special by Peter Jennings on how “tobacco companies continue to prosper despite the damage cigarettes do and despite the increased pressure the companies are under from lawsuits and proposed government regulation.” Doesn’t sound like the fairest journalism, does it? A National Review article says it best:
At the beginning of the show, Jennings explains why: Cigarettes are "the only product that you can buy virtually anywhere which, when used as directed, kills more than 400,000 Americans a year." At the end of the show, he observes that the death toll from smoking is equivalent to "three jumbo jets full of passengers" crashing "every single day . . . 365 days of the year."
Both lines are standard bits of anti-smoking rhetoric, so familiar that they have become the stuff of satire. Yet Jennings presents them as if they were startling news.
No film is shown to counter this piece.
Remarkably, hack documentarian Robert Greenwald’s Outfoxed is on the list. Outfoxed aims to uncover what it feels is an unfair and unbalanced Fox News channel – a channel that aims to push a Republican agenda. Ironically, it’s the documentary that lacks a fair and balanced approach. According to the Guardian Unlimited, the documentary “makes no pretence at fair play itself, giving the [Fox News] channel no right of reply and indulging in some suspect editing to make its points.”
Perhaps taking a cue from Greenwald, the Occidental Politics Department does not sponsor any films focusing on the perceived bias of any other network. Instead, under the guise of teaching about politics and the media, they offer a one-sided, far left documentary that targets a perceived conservative network. While web sites like News Busters expose liberal media bias daily, the Occidental College politics department seems to believe none exist.
Occidental apparently believes Greenwald is a god amongst men, and despite the many criticisms of Greenwald’s bias and questionable editing, they just can’t get enough of him. Indeed, three of his films appear in the series – all unchallenged.
Now, what’s a campus film series that doesn’t demonize large corporations! Don’t fret: Occidental screens two documentaries to tackle the subject, one of which is the recent The Corporation. According to one reviewer, the documentary proves “over, over, over and over again that corporations are out to get you, and that you need to be afraid. You need to lock your back door at night and keep a gun under your pillow.” Of course, this politics department is probably against guns.
Of the 20 films in the Politics department’s sponsored series, not a single film challenges the far left agenda; not a single film offers a conservative perspective on any issues; and not a single film focuses on a conservative movement, activist or politician.
Indeed, this film series isn’t about challenging students or teaching them new concepts. Its main focus is to indoctrinate our students and push out graduates who hate America and want to fix the “problems” that their far leftist professor Dreier identifies.
And there is a clear connection between Dreier’s politics and those of the films being shown. The progressive professor has published a number of articles in left-leaning magazines, newspapers, and websites, including The Nation, AlterNet, L.A. Weekly and Common Dream on topics nearly identical to the films being shown to his politics students.
The case of Occidental and their slanted politics film series is not a rare occurrence, but the norm. From campus to campus, we see professors indoctrinating their students with their personal political beliefs inside and outside the classroom.
At the University of California at Los Angeles, students were required to attend a lecture at an ideological “teach-in.” According to conservative social-critic David Horowitz in the San Francisco Chronicle, leftist professor Joel Beinin held his lecture at an anti-Iraq War “teach-in” that Beinin admits was "definitely an act of solidarity with the teach-in."
Of course, this can greatly affect our national security. If the students are being cranked out of college with the notion that our efforts in the war on terrorism are wrong, our future leaders will not have the support they need to protect our country from the evils of this world. It will be much more difficult for our leaders to rally the support they need to deal with the problems North Korea and Iran, for example, will pose in the future because our citizenry will have been indoctrinated with the notions that all war is wrong or that our leadership should never consider war as an option.
At the University of California at Berkeley, the Institute of International Studies hosted a one-sided lecture titled “Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration: A Case for Impeachment.” No, they didn’t have a debate on the merits of the issue, but instead posited a “case study” meant to indoctrinate the audience. This lecture was held as a “benefit for KPFA Radio,” a far-left Berkeley station that – surprise, surprise – sponsors programming in favor of impeaching President Bush.
It’s even difficult to look up the bias events online without running into some liberal political statement being made by the school’s administration. Making their support (or lack thereof) for Columbus Day known, the Office of Student Life at the University of Oregon (UOR) links to an article on their website to an editorial in the campus paper. In the article, titled Get Rid of Kolumbus Day, the student columnist writes “By celebrating on this day, you are celebrating the ongoing genocide on the native people of this continent and around the world.” (emphasis added) By posting this article on the UOR’s Student Life page, the department is clearly making a political statement. And all I was trying to do was a get a listing of some campus-wide events.
The goal of UOR here seems to be to tell its students how awful America is. The misguided columnist even points out there is “ongoing genocide” in this country. Tell the same lie over and over again, and our own people will have disdain for our country and will be a force that can make our country unstable.
It is clear that inside the classroom, liberal bias exists. While some refuse to admit there is any bias, others sarcastically claim it is because intelligent academics always lean Left. Regardless of the claim, students should expect a diversity of lectures or film series to choose from that will honestly portray multiple sides of an argument. Only then can they be better prepared for the real world, once they collect their diplomas.