SocraticGadfly: 'Journalism' vs 'mass communication,' the #FirstAmendment and #SJW world

November 11, 2015

'Journalism' vs 'mass communication,' the #FirstAmendment and #SJW world

I don't have a J-degree myself, let alone from a renowned J-school. But, I knew the basics, and a bit more, of the freedom of the press portion of the First Amendment when I got my first newspaper job. And, I grew in knowing its details, and my interpretation of it, since then.

That's why — despite my support of Mizzou students' right to protest, and even to not talk to the media — I find it appalling that a professor from Missouri's mass communications school tried to physically restrain an ESPN videographer. (And, asked for help from others in doing this.)

See also my new post about "Maoism on the Missouri."

That said, I do NOT find it surprising.

Update: And, apparently, neither has a board of curators at Mizzou, which on Feb. 25, 2016, fired her. She did apologize, yes, however her apology was about bad tactics first, and bad decisions second. And, it never mentioned the snarky, condescending approach a mass communications prof had about the First Amendment. Click the link for the embedded video, and you'll see that. Transcript of the relevant portion is on page 24 of this PDF.

So, even though the firing was a bit outside of normal channels, and under financial pressure from the Missouri Legislature, I still don't feel totally sorry for her. The social justice warrior movement, even if overstated, has become a problem within academia. And, it would be bad enough were a professor of biology at Mizzou helping feed the beast in an anti-First Amendment way; it's a lot worse for a communications prof to do that.

Given that she also claims to have been afraid of videographer Mark Schierbecker, even to the point of worrying he allegedly might have a gun, she's continued to double down on the indefensible. As for the small size of his camera? Smartphone cameras have exposed police brutality. Click appears to be trying to have it both ways.

M. Schierbecker (R) w. MO GOP gov candidate Peter Kinder
At the same time, while Schierbecker isn't a wingnut himself, he's at times associated with them, undermined his claims to objectivity by posing for pix with a GOP gubernatorial candidate, and more. True that he has occasionally Tweeted info from people of different points of view, but, OTOH, hanging out with the likes of quasi-reactionary troll "Sargon of Akkad" really brings his credibility into question to some degree. It certainly brings his common sense into question. That said, he's reportedly autistic; while not wanting to make excuses ...

Anyway, I Tweeted Schierbecker, with Kinder's account as well, about the photos. I'll see if he responds. I've spent enough time in the Internet weeds. Kinder looks like the stereotypical modern conservative Republican.

Update 2, March 19, 2016: He has not responded. Nonetheless, he is identified with an expressly conservative student journalism association, and a prof he cites favoring Click's dismissal has been called, in student ratings, "Mizzou's Rush Limbaugh." Therefore, I'll assume that he's willingly politicized himself, and won't allow alleged autism or other things as a defense against this. And, that's problematic itself, because defenses of the First Amendment should not be politicized.

2A: He has now responded, but didn't get that such a photo op, just before a primary election (remember, Missouri was part of "Second Tuesday" on March 15) could look like an endorsement. He then posted a link about another journalist arguably being unethical. I actually agree, but ... two wrongs don't make a right. A third person who jumped in the conversation on Twitter also didn't get that, claiming:

Not arguing that, either, Mr. Tock. But, apparently you either didn't read this blog post, or else, if you did, you too have problems with journalistic ethics.

I would never pose for a lifestyles-page shot with a gubernatorial candidate a month before a primary election.

Update 3, March 19, 2016: And now Click claims "my inexperience with public protests" made her act that way. Given that she's on tape as being at two different protests that we know of, that's approaching a lie right there. Second, even if true, that's not a defensible excuse. Third, per my first update, her apologies continue to be apologias in the old academic sense as much as apologies, apologizing for nothing more than bad tactics.

And her complaints about "shaming" seem pretty hypocritical; shaming is a two-edged sword, eh, SJWs?

That said, I, like the AAUP, do have questions about administrative due process in this issue. At the same time as that, I reject that she's being used as "a scapegoat," per her own claims.

Back to the original ...

First, per my header, and per the demise of journalism, "mass communications," and departments or schools thereof, are not the same as "journalism." They're often a training ground for public relations, or in today's day and age, various "social media" positions.

Speaking of social media, Melissa Click has not one but two but two Twitter accounts. (Why? Is your life really Twitter?) On the second, she repeatedly uses the old social justice warrior shibboleth "microaggression."

And, in the SJW world, microaggression always trumps the First Amendment.

Click demonstrates that in her own apology. Contra CNN, no, she doesn't appear to be an unlikely candidate for this. I bet she thought she could control the situation better. Micromanage microaggression?

Melissa Click: The academic face
of microagression judo?
But, that's not all. Retweeting a group Twitter account professing to represent protesting students, we have:
That was on Monday, before her apology. Does the apology cover that as well?

Also, on the first Twitter account, in her profile picture (at left) she looks like she's been out drinking with SJW queen Rebecca Watson.

It appears she started the second account after getting flamed too much on her first one.

(Note: The second Twitter account is an apparent parody. It's now deleted, so no way of proving it's an actual parody,)

Understandable, and sad if any flaming went too far verbally, let alone leading to more than that. So, no, you men's rights types, your actions aren't welcome either. (Fortunately, one person has been arrested for nuttery; let's hope this is both a deterrent to future nuttery, and leads to arrests for already committed nuttery.)

But, as I mix personal and professsional observerations, back to Click.

On her new account, yesterday, we have:
I love a white professor talking about white privilege. And, someone who at that time, at least, didn't seem apologetic. (The quote is real, even if the account is a parody.)

But, it gets better. This is the subject of her Ph.D. dissertation. per her CV:
Communication, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Dissertation: It’s ‘a good thing’: The commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon.
Yeah, Martha Stewart let herself be passively commodified all the way to laughing all the way to the bank.

Click the CV link; that's only scratching the surface of the New New Left.

And, if the mainstream media, especially its inside the Beltway and inside the Mopac versions, has Peter Principle, then modern academia's got it in spades in the humanities. It's no wonder conservatives turn their gunsights on much of higher ed. And, it's no wonder that folks like Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt draw flies to their bullshit.

More below the fold, including describing why I am not a stereotypical conservative vis-a-vis higher ed, per that last line above.

(Note to Popehat followers coming here via Twitter: Lukianoff may be more nuanced at times than Haidt, but he's co-authored enough with him that, hey, you dance with them what brung you, you know? Despite the likes of Click, academia in general does not have an anti-conservative bias.

Good doorknobs, look at academia as Big Biz. And, the natural sciences aren't anti-conservative at all. They may be anti-Religious Right, but that's only because the Religious Right is anti-science. And if showing the facts of climate change is anti-conservative, if you're a climate change denialist, then you can have additional backs of the hand. The comment above stands.

Per what I said on Twitter, for Haidt at least, I strongly recommend reading philosopher Massimo Pigliucci. I also encourage libertarian-leaning folks to recognize that not all liberals, including not all of us social democrat types, are New New Left, Social Justice Warriors or similar. As Ken White said, his retweet didn't imply an endorsement of everything here; ditto on my linking to his piece on safe places as shields [good] vs swords [bad].

As for conservatives, beyond the fact that there's no systemic anti-conservative bias in the actual teaching and thinking of academia nearly as much as there is an anti-academia bias in the lack of critical thinking of many conservatives, the whole issue of corporatization of the American university is a serious issue. And, last I checked, the typical American big biz wasn't a bunch of raving New Left or New New Left types; it wasn't even McGovernite 1970s liberals. I have more from deBoer's piece in my Maoism on the Missouri piece.)

Anyway, back to the main thread.

I would turn my gunsights on a fair chunk of modern higher ed.. From a true non-SJW liberal position, it's overpriced, doesn't teach critical thinking, is part of a Big Business racket itself.

And, per the Atlantic, other liberal-minded people have similar worries.

And, thus, I reject the likes of a Jelani Cobb, with his claim that free speech is a diversion. Oh, sure, some conservatives are using it as such. Does that mean it is? No.

Cobb himself seems to be buying into the meme that Americans can only thing about One.Big.Thing.At.ATime.(TM) And in doing so, for a place like the New Yorker, arguably, he's dumbing down the discussion himself.

Anyway, actual journalists? I doubt you'll learn much about journalism in general, or the First Amendment in specific, from the likes of her.

To riff on Winston Churchill's bon mot about the Soviet Union, higher education is a derivatives market wrapped inside a Ponzi scheme inside a shell game.

As for the 1950 Coalition's demands of former Mizzou president Tim Wolfe, points 2 and 4 aren't too bad, though they could be nuanced more. Point 3? I don't know what was asked in 1969. Points 6-8 generally sound pretty good.

(Sidebar to all of the above: Supposedly, at at documentary about the original 1950 group, there was video of a journo slapping Click's arm:
Point 1? Sounds like an exercise in Maoist indoctrination.

And, now that I've found the actual 1969 demands, erm, no, I think I'll pass.

Beyond that, while I've written just about the Mizzou situation, to move from there to Yale, contra a Gawker piece, let's not forget that the First Amendment also includes freedom of assembly.

Again, for now, I cannot recommend enough this piece by Ken White (Popehat) supporting "safe places" as a shield from problems but opposing them as a sword used to further divide. Unfortunately, some SJW types don't get the difference. Even more unfortunately, others do, and want to use safe places as both.

Ken now has a follow-up about Mizzou more than Yale.

Sidebar: As I noted when Tweeting to Ken, I am a newspaper editor. Sadly, I've run across at least one writer, actually, a digital editor for a major newspaper, who thinks I "don't get it." Perhaps that itself is part of the problem with journalism.

Given that he works for a paper that has a paywall that's as leaky as Donald Trump's tax plan, it's no wonder, when he says it's a hyperalarmist worry about print media. Well, given that your paper looks digitally "smart" only by the soft bigotry of low comparisons with the Dallas Morning News, I wouldn't throw rocks from your glass house, were I you.

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