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Three takeaways from the Claudine Gay resignation

Take #1: The mainstream media is a bigger joke than ever.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press headlined “Harvard president’s resignation highlights new conservative weapon against colleges: plagiarism.”

Later that day it sort of backtracked, changing the headline to “Plagiarism charges downed Harvard’s president. A conservative attack helped to fan the outrage.”

It noted the original headline didn’t meet its “standards.”

But that wasn’t all. Regarding Chris Rufo posting “SCALPED” on X in response to Claudine Gay quitting, the AP described the comment as “invoking a gruesome practice taken up by white colonists who sought to eradicate Native Americans.”

Not only is the AP not aware that term is used by journalists “when their reporting leads to someone’s resignation or firing,” it hilariously later edited this statement too, adding “also used by some [Native American] tribes against their enemies.”

Does the AP have high school freshmen writing its articles?

Over at CNN, Matt Egan said this about Gay’s resignation: “We should note that Claudine Gay has not been accused of stealing anyone’s ideas in any of her writings. She has been accused of sort of more like copying other people’s writings without attribution. So it’s been more sloppy attribution than stealing anyone’s ideas.”

The New York Times’ Mara Gay invoked Rufo’s “scalped” remark (below) to whine that the Right is actively working to “slander” and “discredit” folks like the now-former Harvard president.

“This is really an attack on academic freedom … This is an attack on diversity,” she said. “This is an attack on multiculturalism … I don’t have to say that they’re racist, because you can hear and see the racism in the attacks.”

(Mara) Gay also said (with a straight face) that (Claudine) Gay and other progressive college heads “bring people from all over the world together … of diverse backgrounds … and that you actually have more scholarly rigor” (emphasis added).

Of course, no one “slandered” or “discredited” Claudine Gay. She did that all by herself. As for “academic freedom,” if Gay and others are supposed to have it in terms of what they want to see happen on their respective campuses, then folks who disagree (like Rufo) should have it too. It’s that simple.

But not simple enough for Washington Post “disinformation” guy Ben Collins. He wrote on Threads that Rufo is “a known ratfucker” who had “duped” the New York Times. 

Again, this guy handles disinformation for one of the country’s largest newspapers.

MORE: Journalism prof provides proof of the bubble in which media exist

Take #2: Standards only matter when the Left thinks they’re important. 

Remember that many on the left believe standards and professionalism are Eurocentric and racist. Hence, Claudine Gay’s “very slim body of academic work” doesn’t — or shouldn’t — mean much when it comes to attaining the Harvard presidency.

Recall what CNN’s Egan said — that Gay didn’t “steal” anyone’s writings, she just “copied” them without proper attribution.  Would you ever hear this defense regarding a regular student at Harvard … or anywhere else?

Does anyone think Egan, (Mara) Gay, and the AP would be splitting hairs the way they did if a white, male Harvard professor was forced to resign for, say, uttering the n-word in a pedagogical context?

What’s more, the American Association of University Professors’ Irene Mulvey echoed the NYT’s Gay — that the “right-wing political attack” on higher ed “feels like an existential threat to the academic freedom that has made American higher education the envy of the world.”

Mulvey added that “[college] presidents are supposed to protect faculty from interference so they can research unimpeded.”

It’s too bad no one “impeded” Gay’s research before it was published; maybe her plagiarism would have been caught a lot sooner. That is, if anyone actually cared … or was brave enough to report it. (Racism, after all.)

Take #3: Racism remains an overused excuse, but (thankfully) fewer people are buying it.

Is there an individual out there who still thinks folks like Ibram Kendi or Nikole Hannah-Jones will ever offer up an “analysis” of a situation other than racism?

The latter said Gay’s situation mirrors hers at the University of North Carolina and claimed “Black women will be made to pay. Our so-called allies too often lack any real courage.”

But if the 1619 Project overseer cared about accuracy, she would have written “Black women have been paid handsomely.”

Even with the plagiarism charges, Claudine Gay will be collecting almost $900,000 per year in salary. UNC had offered Hannah-Jones almost $200k per year despite having no academic background and the 1619 Project’s apocrypha.

Not to mention, the school had considered creating for her a new “Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.”

As for Kendi, who said Gay’s resignation was due to “racist mobs,” the guy and others, like Robin DiAngelo, have made a fortune off a theory which fails a basic scientific test. Thirty-five thousand dollars for a one-hour talk? Thirty-two and a half thousand for another?

Even before his popularity skyrocketed, Kendi was raking in the cash. Not too shabby for a gent who rips capitalism.

“Be made to pay,” indeed.

MORE: Former university professor warns about ‘racism racket’

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.