Thursday, January 21, 2016
Melissa Click's supporters:
The Chronicle of Higher Education sympathetically described what was “surely the worst day of [one University of Missouri journalism professor’s] professional life” — November 9, 2015, when hundreds of outraged viewers emailed her after a viral video showed her calling for “muscle” against a student reporter attempting to cover protests on campus.But the Chronicle’s summary of Professor Melissa Click’s emails is grossly misleading. It neglects to mention how condemnation of Click’s behavior was not only understandable but appropriate.It highlights some of the most extreme emails she received as though they were the norm; it describes as “an assortment of angry First Amendment enthusiasts” the scores of current students, alumni, professional journalists, and parents who criticized Click’s call for violence against a student; and it ignores the disturbing radicalism of her supporters.“Overall, I’m OK with actual violence, like actual political violence,” Rob Rasmussen, who unsuccessfully ran for the city council in Columbia, Mo. (the university’s home), last April, explained to National Review after we contacted him for clarification on his November e-mail of support for Click, in which he wrote that she was “100% in the right.”Rasmussen continued: “I’m OK — I’d be fine if we brought back the guillotine and cut off the Koch brothers’ heads. That would be OK with me. I think that would be OK.” He added that protesters occupying public spaces should have the right to shut out the media because “with Occupy Wall Street, a lot of us lefties learned that if you give open access to the media, some people with an agenda will try to find people in your camp who will say ridiculous things and make it look like your whole group [supports those stances].”The Chronicle makes no mention of one racist support email praising Click for “stopping that nasty Asian dude” — student reporter Timothy Tai — “from disrupting your event.” It also neglects to mention a supporter who called Click’s actions “a disservice to both you and to the University” — that is, “of course assuming here that there aren’t circumstances of which I’m [un]aware (e.g., the reporter is from a conservative student newspaper with a history of distortion that rivals Fox News.)”Click’s supporters “are falling all over themselves to somehow justify her actions,” Scheirbecker says. “Even the Communications Department has said that violence is never an acceptable form of communication — so hearing [of support for Click] from professors around the nation scares me, because I’ve maintained to this point that Melissa Click is a symptom of a much larger, more insidious problem at public universities — and that is, it’s OK to resort to physical violence to combat emotional micro-aggressions, which don’t hurt anybody.”The Chronicle also fails to mention how, in late December, 115 faculty members from the University of Missouri signed a letter to the administration in support of Click. These misguided professors call Click’s call for “muscle” a “regrettable mistake” and “call upon the University to defend her first amendment rights of protest and her freedom to act as a private citizen,” but they express no dismay at the violated First Amendment rights of student reporters.They also say that “we believe that Click has been wronged in the media by those who have attacked her personally and have called for her dismissal,” failing to mention how the controversy began when Click wronged the media.