A Response to a dreadfully dishonest plea for clemency for Melissa Click:
Here is proof that quasi-egalitarians will resort to deceit and intellectual dishonesty to promote there agenda:
Michael R Allen:
“Michael R. Allen is a lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and director of the Preservation Research Office”
Disguised as a plea to sensibility and perspective, Michael Allen’s editorial is nothing more than disingenuous and essentially propaganda to draw attention away from what was a window into the despicable tactics and fraudulent nature of quasi-egalitarians. A couple of them got exposed for the bullies that they are, and now some attempt more of the subterfuge to seek clemency. No leniency is due, and no quarter should be given. Enough is enough.
2 Shades of Black and White
On the right and left, University of Missouri communications professor Melissa Click remains a despised figure, over a week after her public shaming seemed to have run its course. In a speech at the university last week, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro enjoyed heady applause after stating “why Melissa Click is still employed at this University is absolutely beyond me.”
Why does one need to draw attention to political alignment here? Whether right, left or in between, the fact that Melissa Click knowingly and continually administered her law above that of equally empowered citizens remains. Whether Ben Shapiro was a conservative or not is irrelevant, unless you are saying that the applause rendered is largely due to the bias of the audience. Even so, you’ll need to provide some foundation as to why you feel this bias is unjust.
It is interesting that you focus on the public shaming “running its course”. It is the very nature of how attention subsides over time that quasi-egalitarians exploit. If they employ wrongful methods that often expose their equally ill-conceived ideas, it has been learned that laying low for some time will generally reduce the consequences and with that, corrective measures.
However, the patience of the wronged (as in we who advocate and propagate true egalitarianism) has worn thin and memory does not fade as easily. Melissa Click was neither alone in being the bully, nor has anything shown that her attitude has changed at all. She is apparently resolute in her conviction that she, and her cohorts, are “above the law”.
Rights are not exclusive of Wrongs
Beyond her rights as a professor – rights popularly asserted in defense of other harangued academic figures, from conservative Mike Adams to radical Cornell West – Click deserves to keep her job for exercising a rare concern for a First Amendment freedom that has become so neglected that scholars call it “the forgotten freedom”: the freedom of assembly.
What you are attempting to gloss over here is that it is not the violations of her rights as a professor that is the tort, but that of violating the rights of others. People “deserve” to be free of jail time of exercising all sorts of legal “rights”. Those very same people would merit incarceration if they deliberately committed wrongs in the process. Just what part of that are you pretending is so forgotten?
To suggest her exercise of a right to assembly means we should ignore the illicit things she did is an insult to people’s intelligence. If you are going to attempt some intellectual “sleight”, it needs to be a little more subtle than that.
Red, Meet Herring
Without the freedom to peaceably assemble, students at the University of Missouri may not have successfully toppled president Tim Wolfe. While Click’s unfortunate act of blustery heroism is regrettable, its impulse is nothing but laudable. The rights of aggrieved Americans to assemble in public space – not simply to create dramatic and media-ready protests but also to hold meetings where actionable goals are created – is fundamental.
While one laments about not having the “freedom to peaceably assemble”, one forgets to mention that this doesn’t appear to have been at issue (at least not for Melissa Click and her thugs).
Show people exactly where Melissa Click’s gang were being discouraged (much less coerced) from having a public assembly? Please, show us. I am not certain what incident you were viewing, but in the Youtube video everyone else on the planet has seen it was Melissa Click who was trying to bar people from a public space (and not the other way around).
Not only that, there was very little that was “peaceable” in her assembly. It is rare that locking arms and walking towards someone and then accusing them of “pushing” you is interpreted as “peaceable”. There is little “peaceable” about trying to shout people down or physically remove them from a public place for no reason other than “I say so”. It is shameful that you even try this kind of subterfuge.
When all else fails, Lie
When the National Football League decided to poll St. Louis Rams fans about team relocation, the league chose to hold an assembly at a public venue. The event was ticketed, with limited access to the press and general public alike. Marshals escorted out at least one group of people who chanted about the social justice implications of the new stadium’s public funding. I can’t find a shred of commentary from the press about the injustice of the exclusionary assembly on public space, or condemnations from reporters of the fact that any people were removed.
This is about as specious a bit of false reasoning as can be assembled. First of all, while the event was open to the public that does not translate to allowing people disrupting the event for their own agenda. The point of meting out tickets is to have some control over the size of the crowd (buildings do have occupancy constraints). To that end, the tickets were indeed available to the public, and not intended to be a method of excluding people based on affiliation. Since when are groups that deliberately disrupt an event (and don’t even try to claim that the media was trying to disrupt like a how you describe these protestors at the NFL forum) not marshalled out? With tickets, attendees are still subject to the rules and regulations of the event holder and venue. Without tickets, they are definitely trespassing. Please do not mistake an event that invites the public to be open to anarchy or invasion.
While generally open to hosting public events the Peabody Opera House is a privately owned venue. Attendance to any particular event is still a privilege and not a right. Even if it was owned by the people of the City of St. Louis, it is still subject to regulations. These regulations likely include guidelines around disruptive activity. Don’t pretend that a hosted event is a public thoroughfare (such as the common grounds on a campus). The press is hardly going to misleadingly report that those intentionally disturbing a hosted event are being unjustly ejected. To be so dishonest would seriously jeopardize their credibility.
If the people with the agenda to make it known that public funds could be spent on building a new Football stadium without referendum, they are welcome to rent the exact same space, complete with tickets and security, and hold a rally. To suggest that anyone can storm into an event and hijack it for their personal agenda is ridiculous.
Tale of Two Seatings
Click’s video appearance is closer to one made by developer Paul J. McKee Jr. back in 2009, when he pleaded with a videographer to stop taping a meeting for residents of Old North St. Louis taking place in a public school. Some residents can be heard cajoling the videographer to stop filming as well, so that they can have an open exchange in the developer’s first appearance to their neighborhood group. What would have worked best for residents did not work the same for the citizen journalist.
The last time I checked, a public school is still not free for public occupancy at any and all times. There are rules and regulations around who can be present. If Paul J. McKee or agents in his authority have contracted a locale for a private meeting, then they are certainly within their rights to limit press coverage. I don’t recall the press having the “right” to film inside a public bathroom stall while I have it occupied (yes, there is an implied temporary contract of private and closed occupancy when in the facility is in use).
It is doubtful that you do not see the difference between “public space” and “private event legally sequestering a space on a public institution”. Your dishonesty is showing.
All the Fits that are News to Print
Of course, those of us who work in community development know that the reverse case can be more true. Often when an issue matters to a community, or when a public board meets, there is no media coverage at all. Or just a short report, without even naming how public officials voted, or what the matter at hand truly was. Had the students at Mizzou been organizing to protest something less publicized, no one may have shown up to receive the “muscle.”
Certainly the relative worth of a news is considered since both the attention span of the user and the real estate upon news is printed are very limiting factors. However it is really irrelevant to whether or not Melissa Click committed a tort. A tree falls in the forest regardless if anyone hears it.
If your plaint or coincidental observation on how the media is unlikely to cover events that are of little interest to the public, it is still of no point. If no one claims stolen cash, then can one say the crime has not transpired? The theme is that Melissa Click clearly intended to act as judge, jury and executioner on who can or cannot be in a given public space.
Victory Shall be “Mime”!
In all fairness, not covering an event is an exercise of freedom of the press and editorial discretion. That same discretion frames freedom of assembly, a Constitutional right that the Supreme Court has reiterated is conjoined to freedom of the press. Activists who gather in public have no duty to speak to journalists. In struggle, often victory depends on secrecy – or at least strategic information release.
Speaking of fairness, the press does have some onus to present the world at large without as little bias as possible. That doesn’t translate to reporting minute and mundane events simply because they transpired. It would be unreasonable to expect a national news service to be reporting the daily events at the corner of “Routine Road and Uninspiring Lane” because that is what you speciously suggesting. What was happening on the campus of Missouri U. was of interest and critical to exposing how some factions apply underhanded and illegal methods to promote their causes.
Again, show the audience exactly where Melissa Clicks charges where the press was in anyway attempting to prevent them from their constitutional right to assemble. If you are going to surreptitiously suggest it was happening, be honorable enough to show us where.
While you are at it, show us where journalists are implying that activists have a duty to speak to them. Your straw man arguments are typical of the liberal propagandist. You can’t really find a fault so you invent ones to bash.
The only thing that is a secret is the magical “logic” that justifies the prevalent childish behavior of social justice warriors. Then again, it probably isn’t a secret. It’s probably just plain old immaturity. You can lie to yourself all you want that those like Melissa Click are “strategically” hiding their justification. However, you are not fooling anyone that has any cognitive skills above that of a five year old.
Freedom to be free and Dumb
I hope that in journalists’ engagement with activists organizing – just as with NFL commissioners – they respect the other First Amendment freedoms. I also hope that when Melissa Click is next put up for excoriation, we admit that for-profit media outlets have a profit motive in the coverage of public affairs. The profit motive can compel an invasive approach that sometimes seems to manufacture news, or create narratives glorifying journalists by emphasizing (or provoking) impediments to coverage. Impediments to social movements achieving justice should bother us more than a reporter not being able to tweet photos from inside a circle of movement leaders.
Again, you make this disingenuous wish that journalists “respect” other First Amendment freedoms while ignoring how the videographer that Melissa Click bullied was in no way disrespecting someone else’s right to assembly. He neither created impediments to the students’ ability, nor did he attempt to do so. In fact, it was clearly Melissa Click who was seen to block a fellow citizen’s right to be in a public area, and when challenged, incited a mob to use physical force to impose her will. Just how do apologists like you think that you fool people with deflective arguments like this?
In order for the press to be invasive, it stands to reason that the space “invaded” has to rightfully belong to the incumbent (Melissa Click et al.) and that the perpetrator (the journalist) was actually trespassing in the eyes of the law. Since neither condition is true, you are inventing a scenario that did not exist. That is a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts created to form a falsely righteous opposing stance. It is a straw man argument by any other name.
That you see the broadcast of images and recordings of people executing their “social movement” as an impendent is telling. Just how is the raw honesty of photos and videos “impeding” the progress of something that is beneficial to society? You could argue that a social movement need not be beneficial to society, and, therefore necessarily needs to be hidden from the public. Bu that would be a good reason for the media to provide some transparency. You could argue that the methods employed by such “social movements” are illegal, unethical, or immoral. That too is good reason for the press to be the eyes and ears of the populace at large (just has it turned out to be).
Most importantly, it is ludicrous to think that several members of the press recording an event would be in any way impeding a “social movement” that was of value to society at large, and was conducted in a manner that respected the law and well-being of others. The truth was that this “social movement” was nothing more that the all too typical bullying by special interest groups whose members feel they are above the law. Those members included Melissa Click, Janna Basler and Richard Callahan. All were seen to be spurring the crowd of young and immature minds to carry out yet another self-righteous power trip.
Your intellectual dishonesty is as astounding as it is repugnant. Someone who so readily creates this type of propaganda is definitely not what should be representing academia. Shame on you.