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Mob on the Quad

2:22 PM, May 8, 2012 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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I sincerely apologize for the distress these incidents have caused our readers and appreciate that so many of you have made your sentiments known to us.

Which is simply craven nonsense. If Naomi’s post was self-evidently egregious, she would have been fired immediately. Instead, on May 3, McMillen defended the post as being part of the blog’s intellectual ferment and encouraged readers to debate it. Which makes it obvious that the reason they gave Naomi the boot wasn’t because of anything she wrote, but rather the effect her writing had on their readers, who generally reacted as though they were suffering from a case of the vapors. One of her fellow Chronicle bloggers accused Naomi of committing “hate speech” and an online petition called for Naomi’s firing. In fact, McMillen admits as much, saying that Naomi’s post “distressed” readers and made them feel “betrayed.”

Now, the Chronicle of Higher Education can fire and hire whomever it pleases—for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all. That’s its business; that’s its prerogative. But the publication ought to at least have the sand to admit what it’s doing. They didn’t fire Naomi Schaefer Riley because of what she wrote. They fired her because their readers didn’t like it.

The great irony, of course, is that the whining and gnashing of teeth from the “Black Studies” crowd only reinforces Naomi’s point about the “discipline.” You’d never see chemists or physicists or mathematicians worked into a hysterical mob by a critical blog post. Because they study actual fields of knowledge—and don't simply tend the garden of their own feelings.

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