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New group forms: “J-School Deans Against a Free Press” 12/23/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Free press.

For those concerned about what universities are teaching our children these days, your fears seem well-justified. We might expect fringe groups like religious cults to do such things as borrow writings from established movements, draw-in unsuspecting followers, then cleverly distort their meaning until they bear no resemblance to the original scripture. But 8 deans* from leading journalism schools have done exactly that, distorting a Jefferson-inspired First Amendment that protects our freedom of expression from the power of government to an interpretation reminiscent of Karl Marx.

In a NY Times op-ed, these deans are calling upon the federal government to: 1) force journalists and their private sector media companies to produce local news with content that meets stringent, government-set standards, no matter what citizens want; and 2) prevent these government-news-lapdogs from being taken over by companies who have been more successful in meeting the needs of citizens in the marketplace.

Do these so-called scholars understand that when the founding fathers declared in the First Amendment that there must be no federal laws abridging “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” they were referring to freedom FROM GOVERNMENT control, the single most important premise behind our nation? Do they understand that the FCC — by artificially limiting the number of channels, requiring broadcasters to go through a political process for license renewals, and enforcing the now-lapsed “Fairness Doctrine” — is the party most responsible for our dull, monolithic, center-left, establishment-loving mainstream media that large majorities of Americans believe is biased and untrustworthy? Do they understand that the FCC was established under the now provably false premise that the number of channels available for broadcast in the electromagnetic spectrum was limited, and not infinite – and that these channels are no more of a “precious” resource that needs to be seized and allocated by government than the air that carries our freely spoken words from one person’s mouth to another’s ear?

If these intellectuals want to earn the respect of Americans rather than the contempt they now deserve, they should be manning the barricades to restore our First Amendment rights. This would require phasing out the unnecessary FCC and its insidious regulations, and permanently banning any government regulation of the Internet. A free people deserve nothing less.

* (Roderick P. Hart, dean of the University of Texas journalism school; Alex S. Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy; Thomas Kunkel, dean of the University of Maryland journalism school; Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia Journalism School; John Levine, dean of the Northwestern journalism school; Dean Mills, dean of the University of Missouri journalism school; David M. Rubin, dean of the Syracuse school of public communications; and Ernest Wilson, dean of the University of Southern California school of communication.) Hat tips: Jeff Jarvis, Dan Gillmor


1. Jake - 12/23/07

One has to wonder if this kind of thinking is going to do to academia what bias and digital distribution have done to the established media. It’s now perfectly possible to educate one’s self from home. Might future generations simply opt out of institutionalized education, rather than spend thousands of dollars to be exposed to this kind of silliness?

(As always, great post!)

2. Walter Abbott - 12/24/07

Wow. J-school deans advocating government License to Publish. There was a similar effort back when moveable type was invented by Gutenberg. Didn’t work, as I recall.

3. Right Angles » Blog Archive » More proof that J-Schools are a joke - 12/24/07

[…] Boriss tells these illustrious deans what they should be doing: If these intellectuals want to earn the respect of Americans rather than […]

4. Former Belgian - 1/13/08

Those of us with backgrounds and science and engineering are increasingly wondering whether liberal arts college or j’ism school constitute education, indoctrination, or educational malpractice.

When I see what “education” some parents are paying US$45K/year in tuition for I feel like weeping.

5. Former Belgian - 1/13/08

oops… “in science or engineering”

6. Steve Boriss - 1/13/08

Former Belgian, I think there are now enormous variations in liberal arts degrees, much more than when there was a consensus on the Great Works with which all cultured individuals were expected to be familiar. It’s now possible to get a liberal arts degree without having learned anything. In regards to j-schools, until there is an agreed-to body of knowledge that will prepare journalists for New Media success, I think it will be a poor educational investment.

7. Kazelejg - 5/29/08

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9. skissefus - 12/31/09

Excuse me for commenting OT … what Word Press theme do you use? Looks awesome!!

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