Choosing to fight battles that were never even issues to begin with has become a hallmark of the GOP and Fox News. Case in point: “Cancelling” Dr. Seuss. While his works are now rightfully being recognized for their racist undertones and are no longer being emphasized by some school districts, “The Cat in the Hat” can still be found on library bookshelves.
Kimberly Guilfoyle — news personality and one of the co-hosts of the “Five on Fox News Channel” — will speak on the necessity of balanced political discourseat Cornell on April 12. “We are very excited to host Ms. Guilfoyle at Cornell,” said Mark LaPointe ’16, chairman of Cornell Republicans. “Her talk on interpreting the news and political issues in an objective manner comes at a crucial time as we prepare for the presidential election in November.”
Guilfoyle is the co-host of Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” legal analyst on “The O’Reilly Factor,” and political analyst on “Hannity,” according to a press release from the Cornell Republicans. The club invited Guilfoyle to campus because she will offer a “fair and balanced” stance on both politics and specifically on Fox News’ 2016 presidential election coverage, according to Austin McLaughlin ’18, secretary of the Cornell Republicans. Guilfoyle’s keynote speech will address the manner in which the election has been portrayed in the news, emphasizing the need for a style that respects and values dissenting opinions.
By now, Cornell’s most recent Fox News incident is old news. Jesse Watters and his camera crew came, recorded some ambush interviews of students and cut and pasted a segment together to support their foregone conclusion: that Cornell as an institution is a hotbed of some sort of thought-crushing “liberal indoctrination.”
Many people will also remember Cornell’s last brush with right-wing pseudo-journalism, when an undercover “reporter” from Project Veritas (an organization with less journalistic credibility than Fox News) pulled off his own feat of ambush journalism to make it appear that Cornell would welcome a group which materially supported ISIS. And now Project Veritas has released yet another video, this time portraying Cornell as anti-Constitution. The video follows the same tactics used to obtain the ISIS video: a reporter poses as a student and puts a university employee in an awkward and unrealistic situation; a “gotcha” video is then recorded. Much has been made, especially in the wake of the Fox News incident, of the issues of journalism and what rights the press should have on campus: the journalistic practices were bad, the journalistic practices were bad but the university was wrong for trying to stop the interviews, the university was in the right for following their previously established policy on unannounced campus interviews, etc.
While reporters filmed a segment on Cornell faculty member’s political donations for Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor on Friday, University officials asked them to stop interviewing students on campus, a move that generated headlines across the country. The piece primarily mocked Cornell and its “liberal bias” through student interviews following a report conducted by The Sun that found 96 percent of faculty members who contributed to political campaigns in the past four years donated to liberal campaigns. Yet what stood out above all was Cornell officials’ decision to ask reporters to not interview students on campus. Despite the best intentions of administrators, we believe those in Day Hall only exacerbated Cornell’s embarrassment in Monday’s Fox News piece. Cornell’s “Best Practices for Media” guide, which was sent to Fox News, as well as The Sun upon request, dictates that journalists “are not permitted to interview, photograph or shoot video of individual students on the Cornell campus, without obtaining permission from the student and the University.” In regards to Fox News, Joel Malina, vice president for University Relations, argued in a statement that administrators sought to “protect student privacy” in their decision to enforce the media policy.