Student-run newspapers at universities aren’t known as bastions of anything but far-Leftism. It’s been like that for as long as I can remember. The brashest far-left among the student body run the newspapers, edging out fellow students with views that are just mildly to the right of the extreme Left. A cursory look at student newspapers reveals endemic bias and what essentially amounts to a single political point of view. What’s worse is that divergent views are treated as ideological hereticism that must be extirpated.
Student newspapers reflect the overall campus climate. There’s a lot of data showing that conservative, libertarian, and classical liberal students are afraid of speaking up, thanks to the dominant and utterly intolerant campus far-left. Their culture of bullying isn’t limited to the student body, as far-Left faculty are very much a part of it and have actively discriminated against and elbowed other faculty out of campus.
In the immediate aftermath of the murder of a Chinese-American professor by a Chinese graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there was a campus-wide lockdown as police swept through buildings to catch the perpetrator. From the looks of it, this was a targeted murder, not an attempted mass shooting, but the police can’t make that assumption when there’s an act of violence. They need to do their job methodically.
The lockdown and the report of shots fired scared a lot of students, which is understandable. But the resulting exploitation of an isolated incident to push for more gun control isn’t (archived links).
The front page of tomorrow's @dailytarheel –
I shed many tears while typing up these heart-wrenching text messages sent and received by UNC students yesterday. Our campus was on lockdown for more than three hours.
Beyond proud of this cover and the team behind it. pic.twitter.com/2gE51TrHZ8
— Caitlyn (she/her) (@caitlyn_yaede) August 30, 2023
Student “journalist” Ms. she/her appears to be a natural in stoking fear and harvesting emotions just like gun controllers do. I have a lot of contempt for what she did, but salute her amazing skills that remind me of a certain highly effective 20th-century propaganda minister.
The UNC Campus is a gun-free zone. As gun rights advocates have pointed out for a long time, it’s a Government-Approved Mass Shooting Zone. No lawful, peaceable student, faculty, or staff member is allowed to carry, and they dutifully obey the written laws and “gun-free zone” signs strewn around campus. Of course, that doesn’t stop a killer from bringing a weapon to campus and committing a murder.
These valid viewpoints from the pro-rights side are worthy of consideration and discussion. But the student newspapers never seem to entertain them, relegating them to the social media underground. Because these student journalists are the ones who will head to mainstream media outlets after college, and within decades become prominent voices shaping the country and culture, it’s important that they are reached out to.
If they are willing and able to learn, if they have an ounce of intellectual honesty and character, exposing them to knowledge will change them. That’s why I strongly believe that the Second Amendment community must conduct outreach in higher education institutions. If you are near a college campus, it will be helpful to learn about the institution and how you can perform outreach activities and get students to learn the basics of firearm safety and gun laws. Hopefully, the spark of knowledge will lead to good things thereon. (Shameless plug: I have written more about reaching out to law school, journalism, and media students in my book.)
The good news is that some journalism students are already seeking out this knowledge. The bad news is that these are few and far between, and not representative of the student body at large.
At the range doing some basic firearms training with interns from the National Journalism Center. We went over how guns work, how gun policy works, and then had them actually shoot some guns under instructor supervision. I think it was informative and hope to do more. pic.twitter.com/ydTHyhVuXG
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) June 10, 2022
It’s frustrating to see the lack of fairness and objectivity in the mainstream media. They may be pejoratively referred to as the “legacy media” but they still wield tremendous power. That power is dangerous and will destroy our freedoms unless we make active efforts to tame it. Reaching out to student journalists at universities is a constructive step towards that goal.