What better example for how the left-wing media views the free speech rights of campus conservatives than their ignoring of President Donald Trump’s executive order protecting those rights.
Newsbusters reported Friday evening that the major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, and NBC — ignored Trump’s executive order in favor of covering New Zealand’s recent “assault weapon” ban. Naturally, Fox News was the only outlet to cover the story in detail, placing it early in the broadcast of “Special Report.”
“At a ceremony in the East Room this afternoon, President Trump took a step he hopes will ensure all voices are heard on college campuses across the nation,” Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts reported. “In an executive order, the President directed his cabinet agencies to tie federal grants for education and research to more aggressive enforcement of the First Amendment.”
“The move follows incidents at several colleges and universities where conservatives have been targeted, including UC Berkeley were a student, Aidan Williams, was punched in the face for supporting the President and conservative policies,” he added.
The executive order signed by Trump directed the federal government to ensure colleges and universities are upholding the First Amendment while receiving federal funding.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a press release praising the executive order, even if the organization did seem skeptical of how the order could accomplish its goals.
“FIRE knows from years of experience that censorship silences students and faculty from across the ideological and political spectrum. Any principled and effective defense of freedom of expression must protect student and faculty expressive rights without regard to viewpoint. To secure the benefits of the ‘marketplace of ideas’ for campus communities and for our nation as a whole, all students and faculty must be free to peacefully speak their minds,” the organization wrote.
Not one mention of this by the big three broadcast networks, even though cameras and press were present at Trump’s signing. When signing the executive order, Trump chastised colleges and universities for restricting certain students’ First Amendment rights “under the guise of speech codes, and safe spaces, and trigger warnings," which he said, the universities use “to restrict free thought, impose total conformity, and shut down the voices of great young Americans.”
I’ve been covering this issue for years, and I wish an executive order wasn’t necessary to ensure campuses follow the U.S. Constitution. I have seen what happens to conservative students (and fringe left-wing students, occasionally) when colleges employ unwritten policies that restrict anyone who isn’t ideologically left-leaning from exercising their free speech rights.
For example, colleges such as Grand Valley State University have created “bias response teams” that allow students, faculty, and staff to tattle on each other for saying or doing offensive things. There are almost no limits on what can be reported, as GVSU allowed students who felt “belittled” or “disrespected” to report the incident and receive special treatment. At the University of Montana Western, “mean” speech was banned, but the college removed the word from its policy following a media backlash.
The free speech codes Trump referred to seem to only apply to conservative students (and, in rare cases, communist students). At Kellogg Community College, conservative activists were forced to follow onerous rules that prevented them from recruiting members to a right-leaning club, Young Americans for Liberty. As their speech was being restricted, liberal students were allowed to avoid the alleged rules at the same time.