Partisan UT Prof Hijacks “Banned Books Week”Written by Reid Ahlbeck | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In her Toledo Free Press guest column “Free Speech Battle Never Ends” – which accompanied the September 19, 2008 TFP cover story on the University of Toledo’s observance of the American Library Association’s “Banned Books Week” – UT Professor of Communications and campus BBW event coordinator, Paulette Kilmer, shamelessly politicized the American Library Association’s non-partisan First Amendment rights celebration by libeling Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin with false accusations of “Nazi” censorship.
Professor Kilmer’s false accusations (widely circulated by Palin’s political opponents) are contradicted by the September 8, 2008 Web article “Sliming Palin: False Internet Claims and Rumors Fly About McCain’s Running Mate – (Palin) Not a Book Burner” at www.factcheck.org – the website of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Annenberg Political Fact Check project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania – as well as by the September 2, 2008 TIME magazine article cited by Kilmer herself.
Fact Check says, “[Palin] did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla [Alaska] library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time.”
One such false Internet list of “books banned by Sarah Palin” claims to be taken “from the official minutes of the Wasilla Library Board.”
But Fact Check says, “In fact, the list is a simple cut-and-paste job, snatched (complete with typos and the occasional incorrect title) from the Florida Institute of Technology library Web page, which presents the list as ‘Books banned at one time or another in the United States’.”
Lou Dobbs CNN independently re-confirmed Fact-Check’s findings in a September 23, 2008 report.
The September 2 TIME article says “Palin [did not make conservative] social issues the cornerstone of her [Alaskan] governorship.”
The TIME article also cites Chas St. George, a prominent Wasilla citizen and former supporter of one of Palin’s political opponents as saying, “Wearing her faith quietly fits more with [Sarah’s] personality. In all the years I’ve known Sarah and her parents, we never talked about right-to-life or any of that. She doesn’t let those issues get in the way of getting things done for the community.”
None if this was enough to stop Professor Kilmer from dutifully parroting the liberal party line against Palin.
Kilmer says, “Apparently no books were removed. …[But Palin’s] decisions place her in the ranks of book banners, including U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin. He launched the witchhunt to expose communists in the 1950s that resulted in many innocent people losing their livelihood and in a few instances their lives. The Nazis burned books. Although Palin is not a fascist… her efforts … suggests (sic) some extreme far-right leanings. … [and attempts to] control people’s thoughts…”
Even if accepted at face value, Kilmer’s convoluted ramblings run into the brick wall of a howling logical fallacy, e.g., given that “no books were removed” and “Palin is not a fascist” — we can therefore conclude that Palin’s “decisions place her in the ranks of [McCarthyist book banners and Nazi book burners].”
Never mind that the pervasive liberal abuse of the term “Nazi” as a mindless blanket pejorative trivializes the all too real horrors of the Holocaust.
Following Professor Kilmer’s own bizarre “logic” we can safely surmise that, although Professor Kilmer is not a Bolshevik commissar, her guest column does place her in the ranks of Soviet secret police operatives and murderous tyrants like Joseph Stalin and NKVD (KGB) director Lavrenty Beria.
They launched systematic political witch hunts and purges using the ruthless tactics of a Soviet state-run media propaganda machine, a vast network of spies and informants and smear tactics like Professor Kilmer’s – to falsely label people as reactionary right-wing counter-revolutionaries and enemies of the State. This led to the forced confessions, “re-programming,” imprisonment, torture and murder of millions of innocent Russian citizens.
Professor Kilmer, Ph.D. blathers on:
“Politicians like Palin reflect an alarming swing toward conformity, bigotry and self-righteousness… the rigid thinkers among Palin’s supporters find channels on the Internet for suppressing public access to information. If the facts contradict pet notions, believers often refuse to accept the truth that reporters and other hard-working journalists [like Professor Kilmer] reveal. …The quest for justice… is the “American way” — a phrase I hesitate to use because frequently fanatics have invoked it to suggest a smug assumption of superiority based on false claims of patriotism. The battle for the First Amendment is never won.”
Indeed. Given that liberal Obama supporters dominate the Wild West of unchecked Internet rumor mongering and Kilmer’s own column is a perfect example of the true colors of fanatic, sophomoric, groupthink liberal bigotry – we need only replace the name Palin with Kilmer in the above paragraph to get a fair sense of the truth.
Kilmer blunders inexorably from false assumptions and allegations through false premises, non-sequiturs, ludicrous false labels and finally insupportable conclusions – all conveniently swaddled in truisms and calls for the unending righteous revolution against “Nazi” conservatives
According to Professor Kilmer’s UT website bio, she specializes in “journalistic history, ethics and reporting, advises the UT chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, serves as mentor of UT’s student-run newspaper, The Independent Collegian and is also active in the Association of Educators in Mass Communication and Journalism.”
Liberal media? What liberal media? Biased liberal college professors? What biased liberal college professors? See www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org for more on these issues.
Professor Kilmer’s poor judgment and irresponsible conduct in launching such an extreme, unfounded and libelous partisan attack against Sarah Palin in particular and conservatives in general (all deceptively cloaked in the First Amendment ideals of the ALA’s “Banned Books Week”) cannot possibly be seen as upholding even the most fundamental standards of the Society of Professional Journalists codes of ethics and protocols of journalistic responsibility.
Nor does Professor Kilmer’s column conform to the meanest standards of academic and intellectual integrity or the University of Toledo’s own stated values of “diversity, integrity and teamwork” – as outlined by UT President Lloyd Jacobs in his May 2, 2008 TFP guest column, shortly before then UT human resources associate vice president Crystal Dixon was fired (banned) for writing a conservative and “politically incorrect” TFP guest column.
On a personal note, I have myself been subjected to similar printed ad hominem attacks and name calling by “open-minded” and “tolerant” UT college professors behaving badly, namely UT Professor of Philosophy Benjamin Pryor and former UT Law Professor David Harris (see The Toledo Free Press archives).
It is most especially disheartening to witness such sophistry, bad faith, intellectual dishonesty and childish incivility coming from the ranks of those who have dedicated their lives to the high-minded pursuit of knowledge and the sacred trust of educating the young. Of all people, those who inhabit the hallowed precincts of the Academy should know better.
Reid Ahlbeck is a UT alum and recovering liberal (ten-plus years of political sobriety and counting) as well as an award-winning former editor, contributing editor, critic and columnist for various publications including Toledo City Paper, The Weekly, the arts and culture journal Dialogue and the Toledo Free Press. Among other things, Ahlbeck credits the reality check of several years working as a merchant mariner and long-distance big-rig truck driver for having helped him in his personal struggle to overcome the pernicious and highly addictive political influences of academic liberalism.