First, you need to get prepared by reading part one, after which you should strap in 'cuz this is going to take a while and it's a pretty weird ride. I plan on having a beer as I type this. Deal with it.
When last we left our intrepid, muckraking investigative reporter (uh, that would be me), he had politely asked the SAF if they could, perhaps, supply a wee bit more corroborating evidence for David Horowitz's recent March 15 article in which Dave seemed to be suggesting that he's just as concerned about anti-liberal bias as the opposite. (And I think we've already established that he's really pretty obsessed with the latter.)
Just to refresh your memory, this is what Dave wrote:
At Foothills College in California, a pro-life professor compared women who have abortions to the deranged mother Andrea Yates who drowned her six children. The professor then gave D’s and F’s to students who expressed opinions in favor of abortion. Abortion is a matter that is both profoundly controversial and also emotional, and involves the deepest and most personal values. It is also a matter of opinion. It is not the task of a professor to provide his students with politically correct opinions.
Now, there are two things I want you to notice about the above:
- Dave clearly refers to "students" plural, explicitly suggesting that there were multiple victims, and
- As I mentioned before, Dave is merely describing an alleged incident of anti-liberal bias; he's not actually suggesting that he got involved or did anything about it to the extent of taking up the student's cause or anything like that.
Now, it's in the spirit of that second point that I emailed Sara Dogan of the SAF, asking simply whether she could provide some additional corroboration that Dave's story actually happened. I mean, let's face it, these days, Dave's credibility is not something you'd want to use as collateral for anything. What I got back shortly thereafter from Dogan was a short note with a URL, and this is where things get sadly predictable.
Dogan's initial response, in its entirety:
Here is an article from the student who reported the case:
http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/archive/December2004/FoothillWiesnerArt121504.htm. We are helping both liberal and conservative students at Foothill to organize a chapter to combat such abuses.
And note how, not surprisingly, she really wants to get the point across that, no, the SAF doesn't play favourites. But if it doesn't, it has a funny way of showing it.
In the first place, as you can see, the corroborating URL is (you guessed it) to an article on the SAF's own web site here. Not to sound overly cynical but, when I ask someone to provide corroborating evidence for one of their claims, I don't take it particularly seriously when they use themselves for corroboration. It kind of defeats the purpose, if you know what I mean. But let's just follow the trail, shall we? Trust me, it gets better.
It turns out that that article, written by alleged anti-liberal bias victim and Foothill College student Michael Wiesner, is identical to this one at Horowitz's own Front Page Mag site, so we'll just focus on Dave's copy. After all, it is Dave whose credibility is on the line here. And as we start to peruse Wiesner's article, what do we find? Oh, dear.
The article has four links, whose very purpose seem a bit mysterious. The first is to this other Front Page Mag article which, as far as I can tell, has absolutely nothing to do with Wiesner's case. It appears to be an example of alleged anti-conservative bias at Foothill College, so what its value is in Wiesner's case is not at all clear. And the fact that it's a link to yet another Front Page Mag article doesn't really break us out of the incestuous cycle of Front Page and the SAF. Sadly, though, it gets stranger.
Wiesner's second link (back to the SAF -- ye gods, do these folks read anything outside of their own echo chamber?) is all about former anti-wingnut bias poster child Ahmad Al-Qloushi, at which point you're asking yourself, so what? What does Al-Qloushi have to do with this? Does Wiesner have a story or doesn't he? Get on with it.
Partway down the article, finally, we get to Wiesner's own experience. Naturally, you should read the entire thing, but note carefully the following excerpt:
My story describes the denial of student rights and opinions, grade manipulation and favoritism. It also describes the six-month long battle I fought with Foothill College, and the College's attempt to silence myself, my views, and my retelling of what happened in within a Foothill College classroom.
In the Winter of 2002 I took an Ethics course taught by Professor Dave Peterson. Throughout the course, Professor Peterson was not only biased in his presentation of ethics, but also indoctrinated us with his conservative agenda, and was purposefully offensive toward liberal views and beliefs.
Excuse me? In the winter of 2002? And he's finally getting around to writing about it in December of 2004? Any reason for that, Mike? Ah, here it is, a little earlier in the piece:
I am writing this article because it happened to me, and I have been intimidated into silence about my ordeal for three years.
Uh huh. Now, one can accuse young liberals of many things, but I'm sure that being shrinking violets isn't one of them. The thought of someone being just too frightened to write about this for three years really does stretch credulity to the breaking point. And as for the last two links in the article, which you might be praying supply even a smidgen more proof for any of this? No such luck. The first is a thoroughly puzzling pointer to an "About Us" page about the college Board of Trustees, while the final link is (wait for it ... wait for it ... here it comes) to (yes!) an essay about the Academic Bill of Rights back at the SAF. And, I'm sorry, but all of that was supposed to put my doubts to rest? I don't think so, which means that it's time to put on the ol' deerstalker hat and do some sleuthing of our own.
Stay tuned for part 3, in which the SAF makes it clear it likes Ahmad more than Michael.