The co-chair of the ‘Cry Wolf” project, Professor Peter Dreier, E.P Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and Urban & Environmental Policy Program director at Occidental College, is a sort of email buddy of mine. If by “email buddy” I mean someone who once sent me a snide one-line missive with a link to an alternative weekly paper political cartoon depicting me in a negative light.
I’ll show you that email shortly but first background on why Professor Dreier is in my life:
In late September of 2009 two weeks into the beginning of the explosive James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles ACORN video scandal, an academic study critical of media coverage of ACORN came out from Peter Dreier and Christopher Martin, professor of journalism, University of Northern Iowa, Department of Communication Studies. The study, “Manipulating the Public Agenda: Why ACORN Was in the News, or,What the News Got Wrong,” was billed as “[a]n independent study by two prominent academics” that purported to have “found repetition of unverified allegations and distortions was the rule in national reporting of a purported ‘voter fraud’ scandal involving the community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) during the 2008 presidential campaign.”
When I first saw the study’s press release, I naively reached out to Professor Martin to offer him and Dreier a place at our new website Big Government to act as ongoing ombudsmen of our ACORN story. We were cognizant that a left-leaning media would likely come to ACORN’s defense, so why not provide a platform for two professors claiming the media had wronged ACORN in its previous coverage of the organization to show that we were doing everything in our power to play the story fair? Recall, we proactively offered unedited transcripts and audio of O’Keefe and Giles work to show that the edited videos did not take things out of context.
After conferring with his colleague, Professor Martin declined my offer:
Thanks for calling earlier today. Peter and I are going to decline your offer for a blog post on biggovernment.com. We’d rather have people see the entire study (which, for the record, was completed before the current ACORN story emerged, so it doesn’t address it directly).
We appreciate your interest in transparency, and you are welcome to carry a link to the whole report and share it with your readers.
You can download the 61-page report at http://www.uni.edu/martin/acornstudy.pdf
Christopher R. Martin, Ph.D.
Professor of Journalism and Communication Studies
340 Lang Hall
Department of Communication Studies
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0139
Not long after receiving Professor Martin’s email I understood why he and Dreier would hesitate to participate in a fair and open manner. The two took to Editor and Publisher to write a defense of ACORN. E&P, which bills itself as “the authoritative journal covering all aspects of the North American newspaper industry, including business, newsroom, advertising, circulation, marketing, technology, online and syndicates,” failed to point out that Professor Dreier is on the ACORN advisory committee, a point that Patrick Frey, also known as the blogger Patterico, pointed out.
The Dreier and Martin study was anything but “independent.” Not only was Dreier an ACORN advisor, he had co-authored a Los Angeles Times editorial with Bon Bon Hurd, an ACORN employee whom Big Government caught on tape admitting the organization is deeply political despite its non-profit status and that it intentionally got President Obama elected. Dreier and Hurd were also co-signatories on a LEFT-WING petition, Planning for a Livable City: An Open Letter to the next Director of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning.
Also, in the midst of the furious spin created by ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis, Prof. Dreier wrote an ACORN apologia in the LA Times regurgitating the same false talking points created by Bertha herself. The Times identified him only as “Professor of Politics at Occidental College,” and dutifully linked to his “study” on ACORN coverage. Later, with egg dripping from their old-media jowls, they were forced to correct Dreier’s propaganda but they still refuse to disclose that he has been on the ACORN advisory committee for years.
Either Dreier is the stupidest man in the world, trying to pass himself off as a dispassionate academic “independent,” or he cynically understands that his peers in higher education are like-minded ideologues, and that using the veneer of academic respectability to push the progressive cause was the point of Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions” in the first place.
When the “Cry Wolf” project was pitched to me in May by an independent journalist, I matter of factly stated the propaganda project reminded me of the conflict of interest I experienced with Professors Peter Dreier and Christopher Martin months back. The journalist laughed out lout and said that Dreier was the co-chair, along with two others, on this project.
Which brings me back to the email Dreier sent me a few months back. Months had passed since Dreier had been exposed as an academic hack and things were moving away from all-ACORN all-the-time.
On April 27 I receive the following email:
I thought you might recognize yourself in this cartoon…
Have a nice day!
My immediate response to the professor went unanswered:
The degree to which i will have a laugh at my expense (given I am a huge Tom Tomorrow fan; really, who isn’t?!) depends on your answer to the following question: Are you ribbing me in your official capacity on the ACORN Advisory Committee or as the co-author of an “independent” academic study defending ACORN? Get back to me.
I guess the moral of the hysterical Tom Tomorrow cartoon (old link has gone bad, but thanks, Peter for drawing it to my attention!) is that I am a conspiracy theorist — one who sees connections to an organized network of left-wing professors (artists, media types, et al) trying to manipulate academia to inculcate a generation of progressive agitators to shape media, artistic and cultural narratives.
Call me a cartoon, professor. Call me an ideologue. But don’t claim I cry wolf. We’ve caught you red-handed twice.