Journalism: How I Learned to Hate the First Amendment
Hardly a word in our lexicon can be more laden with images and
rhetoric, and meaning. From the
ill-used housewife who is ‘a slave to her stove’, to the real life
slaves in our own history, bondage is an uncommonly bad result of human
ingenuity—how can I get someone else to do my dirty work, preferably for
The slaves in this
country were liberated 137 years ago but the revolution is not complete and
Martin Luther King’s dream is unrealized.
We are getting there, but certainly not fast enough for most of us.
The question recently became, is slavery really still the issue?
Some seem to want to make it so by demanding reparations for Blacks
As an adjunct to the
reparations issue, another significant ugliness resurfaced in the
Mr. Horowitz took a look
at slave reparations, the payment to American Blacks for the sins against
some of their forebears, and thought they were such a bad idea that he
created a document titled Ten Reasons
Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks-and Racist Too. Then he
had the temerity to try to place this document in college newspapers.
He met with marginal success on the placement issue, only 32 of 73
college papers accepted the ad, but the 41 refusals spoke volumes and
Horowitz came away with a home run, irrespective of what one thinks of his
views. The wheel was reinvented
and 19th century slavery in a 21st century setting,
that is, whether those who are not responsible for what happened owe
anything to people who were never involved and whether all children are
fiscally responsible for the abominations of some children’s great, great,
great-grandfathers, is only a small part of the issue.
The sad part is that some folks, or to put it more directly, some
academicians don’t want Horowitz’s ideas to see the light of day.
He wants notoriety, surely, but he also wants discussion.
In essence that is what David Horowitz is about.
But discussion, at least about this idea, is not what college
administrators, faculty advisors and sometimes student editors who are
trained under them want.
Sound like the stone
age? Think about this: the
student newspapers at a majority of the colleges refused the ads simply
because they were controversial and, more to the point, politically
incorrect, at least from the point of view where Blacks are seen only as
The Brown students,
bless their hearts, said the theft was a ‘political act’ entitled to as
much protection as the ads, but, of course, the ads received no protection
as a result of their larceny. Their
political defense holds water only if you don’t know the difference
between free speech and a free ride, and when school administrators did
nothing to the thieves, thereby not only condoning the act, but encouraging
it, the message board became inflamed. Firebrand
rhetoric meets the bludgeon of suppression and no one wins.
Or don’t they?
Horowitz contends he has
to be aggressive to make his point, his opposite numbers claim a similar
obligation. The pen has always
been mightier than the sword, and it is no less so here.
The $20,000 Horowitz wanted to invest in the ads to get the
discussion moving was met with $20,000,000 in free publicity, and sympathy
for his views because of sympathy for his plight was widespread.
Mob sponsored censorship shoots itself in the foot yet again.
In journalism, not just
the writing and reporting, but the responsibility part as well, students
have to go through the learning curve. J-school
newspapers are where Constitutional fundamentals are supposed to come first,
in this instance on campuses across the country they came last.
Academia admittedly leans left, but this time it fell out the window
and landed on its head. Having
made the news instead of reporting it they did themselves and their students
a disservice and made Horowitz, as the press has so many times, look
sympathetic as a political figure and brilliant as a business person.
Free speech isn’t just
a phrase, and it isn’t just part of our foundation, it is our essence.
When academia tramples on it, it isn’t just bad form, it is
spitting on who we are. In this
case the administrators, faculty advisors and student editors who turned the
ads down reached into the bottom of their tool boxes and pulled out
arrogance. So often academics
decry the transgressions of one or another sector of
Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for
Blacks—and Racist Too can be
found at www.frontpagemag.com/horowitznotepad.
This article first appeared in Conservative Battleline.