The Spectacle Blog

Chronicle Editors Pander to Academic Lynch Mob, Fire Naomi Schaefer Riley

By on 5.8.12 | 1:24PM

What happens when you speak the unfortunate truth about one of the greatest scams in academia? Ask Naomi Schaefer Riley, a veteran journalist and author who has been an editor at the Wall Street Journal, among many other accomplishments. For the past year, Riley has been a contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education's "Brainstorm" blog. It was a minor duty for which she was paid a "nominal amount" to blog twice a week, Riley told me in a brief phone interview this morning.

There hadn't been any complaints about Riley's contributions to Brainstorm until last week, when she wrote a post critical of university "black studies" programs, in response to a feature article the Chronicle had published on the subject. There had been "not much of a critical voice" in the Chronicle feature, Riley says, and she accurately described several doctoral dissertations by these putative scholars as "a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap." In reaction to Riley's criticism, liberals "flipped out" and "lost their ever-living minds," as Riley's friend Mollie Hemingway says.

Her editor at the Chronicle "asked me to respond to the criticisms," Riley told me. Evidently her response provoked even greater outrage and, Riley says, she got a call from an editor Monday informing her that her contributions to the Chronicle were "no longer welcome." In an editor's note, Liz McMillen informed readers of the Chronicle that Riley's contributions "did not conform to the journalistic standards and civil tone that you expect from us." Washington Free Beacon managing editor Sonny Bunch remarked on Twitter: "The liberal mob has spoken. The expiation has occurred. The new gods of diversity are satisfied. The sun will rise tomorrow."

What have we learned from this incident? "The ivory tower is an inflated bubble and they don't take criticism very well," Riley told me.

Expect to hear much more from Naomi Schaefer Riley in the near future. The academic "progressives" will not have the last word on this subject.

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