At the last minute, officials at the State University of New York at New Paltz curtly canceled a planned campus debate between a notable left-wing media critic and a notable right-wing media critic because the right-wing media critic has right-wing views.
The last-minute cancellation of the debate between Jeff Cohen of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting and Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media occurred on March 30, the day it was scheduled, reports Campus Reform.
Had it occurred, the debate topic would have been presidential campaign media coverage. “How the Media Can Sway Votes and Win Elections” was the title.
Kincaid learned about the cancellation on the morning he was traveling to the taxpayer-funded SUNY New Paltz campus in small-town New York. He was on his way to catch a flight.
School officials had blasted out emails promoting the event as late as March 28.
Then, on the afternoon of March 30, SUNY New Paltz student activities director Mike Patterson declared that the debate would not occur.
“The intended purpose for our community would likely not be achieved,” Patterson explained, according to The New Paltz Oracle, the campus newspaper.
Emails obtained by the Oracle show that school officials aborted the debate because sociology professor Anne Roschelle complained about Kincaid’s political views. Specifically, she advised that the leftist, terrorism-inspiring Southern Poverty Law Center keeps an “Extremist File” concerning Kincaid.
Unidentified students and other professors also complained, Patterson said.
Roschelle, whose Facebook feature photo is a cat, said she did not want to censor Kincaid from speaking.
“Given that I believe in free speech, I am not advocating he be uninvited or that people disrupt his talk,” Roschelle told the Oracle. “What I am suggesting is that for people who do go to his talk to ask critical questions and make your alternative voices heard.”
Patterson said his SUNY New Paltz bureaucratic fiefdom called off the debate because “the whole conversation wasn’t going to be a debate but rather be a ‘we don’t like Kincaid’ conversation,” according to the student newspaper.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Extremist File” on Kincaid describes him as “an unrepentant propagandist for extremist right-wing causes who knows few boundaries in his attempts to smear liberal foes.” The file notes that Kincaid calls climate change “a scam perpetrated by the ‘religious left.’” He claims that President Barack Obama is “a socialist Muslim,” the file says. Kincaid also strongly denounces homosexuality and believes “Marxist elements have hijacked the Roman Catholic Church in order to facilitate a ‘foreign invasion of the U.S.’ by Latinos,” according to the “Extremist File.”
Certainly, Kincaid has some wacky ideas. In 2009, he waded deep into the waters of Obama birth conspiracies by publicizing a copy of his birth certificate, “in order to demonstrate what needs to be done to resolve the growing controversy over the alleged birth certificate of President Barack Obama.”
Additionally, Kincaid’s media watchdog group, Accuracy in Media, was at the forefront of attempts to demonstrate that foul play was involved in the death of Clinton White House deputy counsel Vince Foster.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is, of course, famous because a man named Floyd Lee Corkins used its “Hate Map” to find the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. and then tried to “kill as many people as possible” and “smother Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces” because he disagreed with the conservative organization about gay marriage.
The SUNY New Paltz contingent that caused the debate to be canceled does not seem to have complained about Cohen, the Ralph Nader-supporting media critic Kincaid would have debated.
For years, Cohen and his media watchdog group, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, have sought to chill freedom of the press across America by restoring the “Fairness Doctrine,” notes Discover the Networks, a website run by conservative activist David Horowitz.
The “Fairness Doctrine,” enacted in 1949 and eliminated in 1987, required commercial broadcast television networks to provide “equal time” for various viewpoints. It set “bounds on free speech” and limited “diversity of viewpoints that could be freely aired,” according to Discover the Networks.