Myths and conspiracy theories don’t last very long on the internet, but it looks like no one told the Obama administration.
The administration recently teamed up with College Humor, an online comedy site, to produce a video to push the White House’s favourite feminist panic: the so-called campus rape epidemic.
Entitled “What if Bears Killed One in Five People,” College Humor‘s video is a painfully unfunny attempt to push the myth that 1 in 5 college-age women in the U.S will be sexually assaulted before they leave college.
However, the propaganda attempt seems to have backfired. The site took the unprecedented step of disabling comments in anticipation of a viewer backlash, and their video is approaching 10,000 “dislikes” on YouTube.
Undaunted by the shuttered comments section, College Humor fans and members of the public are flooding comments sections under the site’s newer videos, debunking the administration’s false statistics and mocking College Humor for trying to stifle criticism.
There is much to criticise. The video contains every feminist cliche of the past five years, clumsily repackaged into “jokes.” There’s even a reference to “bears will be bears,” a cringeworthy rendition of “boys will be boys.”
(Campus feminists claim that western society brushes off incidents of rape with the excuse “boys will be boys. It doesn’t, of course, but feminists have grown accustomed to debating strawmen since they banned all their genuine critics.)
As for the now-infamous “1-in-5” statistic, I needn’t go into a point-by-point explanation of why it’s bogus. AEI resident scholar and former philosophy professor Christina Hoff Sommers did that months before the White House conducted their latest attempt to push the statistic.
The Obama Administration hasn’t exactly developed a reputation for honesty, but the myth of a campus rape epidemic is one of the most dangerous official lies of all.
The myth was officially endorsed in the Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague,” letter to Universities in 2011, which threatened to cut federal funding if they did not do more to tackle sexual assault.
The result was the establishment of kangaroo courts on campuses, in which untrained college professors “convict” predominantly male students using grossly inadequate standards of proof. This development, one of the worst abuses of due process in U.S history, has been condemned by legal experts from across the political spectrum and has led to a swathe of lawsuits from the college tribunals’ victims.
The administration’s fearmongering has even led to the rise of “affirmative consent” laws, which seek to redefine rape to criminalise previously-innocent sexual acts. These laws, some of which have already been approved by state legislatures, threaten to turn millions of harmless Americans into criminals overnight.
Encouraged by Obama’s White House, the panic shows no signs of stopping. Yet it’s all based on the most absurdly dodgy statistics. According to Bureau of Justice, the real rate of rape on college campuses isn’t anywhere near 1 in 5. It’s closer to 1 in 500.
Everyone who’s followed the panic is aware of this, so it’s no wonder that College Humor felt the need to disable comments on their propaganda-piece.
We’ve already covered the shutdown of comments sections across the internet. It’s invariably led by progressive outlets and championed by progressive columnists. And among progressives, it’s feminists who are most vocal about their hatred of the comments section: they’ve even put it on T-shirts.
Like all acts of censorship, it’s a sign of desperation, as well as intellectual bankruptcy. They know they’ve been discredited, so they do whatever they can to prevent their opponents – who have already won the argument – from reaching a public platform.
But the “no-platforming” tactics of campus activists don’t fly so well on the internet. The authoritarian left knows this, which is why radicals like Arthur Chu are trying their hardest to destroy the legal framework that underpins freedom of speech on the internet. But it won’t work. We are in the age of debunking, and despite the best efforts of authoritarians, the internet is where myths of all ideological stripes go to die.