For most of the last ten years, I’ve been working on academic freedom issues. I’ve seen academic controversies covered by the broadcast news, cable news, talk radio, print, and the internet, but it has still felt like academic freedom was a “niche” issue – important to the chattering classes but not something that was reaching mainstream America one way or the other.
But today, for the first time, I heard a morning drive-time country music DJ talk about Columbia. He said something like (I’m going from memory here): “Can you believe that Columbia is giving this guy that’s trying to build the bomb and is killing our troops a platform like that? They say it’s free speech, but isn’t this the school that boos conservatives off the stage?” Then without further ado, he started the new Carrie Underwood song.
Ladies and gentlemen, if a DJ is delaying Carrie Underwood to vent about Columbia and expose their blatant double standards, then something might be going on in the heartland. It’s only one DJ in one town, but it’s a start.