(Get it, “whine” and cheese…never mind.)
So it looks like someone named Naomi Schaefer Riley is all in a snit over her firing from the Chronicle of Higher Education, because…well, as noted here…
…last week, on the Chronicle’s “Brainstorm” blog (where I was paid to be a regular contributor), I suggested that the dissertation topics of the graduate students mentioned were obscure at best and “a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap,” at worst.
For instance, the author of a dissertation on the history of black midwifery began her research, she told the Chronicle, because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature.” Another graduate student blamed the housing crisis in America on institutional racism. And a third argued that conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas and John McWhorter have “played one of the most-significant roles in the assault on the civil-rights legacy that benefited them.”
Scores of critics on the site complained that I had not read the dissertations in full before daring to write about them—an absurd standard for a 500-word blog post. A number of the dissertations aren’t even available. Which didn’t seem to stop the Chronicle reporter, though. And 6,500 academics signed a petition online demanding that I be fired.
(By the way, about the “Chronicle Reporter,” it should be noted that Schaefer Riley wrote her post in response to a story appearing previously in the CHE called “Black Studies: ‘Swaggering Into the Future,'” in which the reporter described how “young black-studies scholars . . . are less consumed than their predecessors with the need to validate the field or explain why they are pursuing doctorates in their discipline.” Of course, the reporter didn’t name names of critics of the “black studies” program, so Schaefer Riley, being a good little wingnut-ette, felt the urge to speak up right away, thus bringing all of this upon herself when all she had to do was keep her mouth shut.)
In response, I think the following should be noted from here…
Schaefer Riley admits that she hadn’t read these dissertations, but she had no compunctions about assailing the work of three grad students by name.
Note that academics read the Chronicle the way that New York media types read Gawker. Being called a disgrace to your discipline in the CHE is a crushing blow for a young scholar. I mean, consider the source, but still….
Schaefer Riley’s main self-defense is that she made the same arguments in a book she wrote before the Chronicle hired her.
She scoffs at the idea that she should have read these dissertations before attacking the students by name. Her disregard for the facts justifies the Chronicle’s decision to fire her all by itself.
Schaefer Riley is trying to paint herself as a victim of political correctness. She’s no such thing. The Chronicle fired her for impugning the reputations of scholars with no evidence. She proudly declared herself guilty as charged in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. QED.
The question is not why she got fired, but why the Chronicle picked her up in the first place.
I really have tried to avoid blogger hissy fits particularly in the world of academia, but as I read about all of this, all I could think of was the witch hunt against Melissa McEwan and Amanda Marcotte (orchestrated by the perpetually odious Bill Donahue of the Catholic League), two bloggers of my political stripe who went to work for John Edwards when he ran for president, which as noted here, led to Marcotte’s resignation before she had the opportunity to do anything whatsoever on behalf of the campaign. Where were all the cries from the wingnuts about “political correctness” then?
As Lindsay Beyerstein noted in her criticism of Schaefer Reilly, all of this dustup will no doubt win the latter a cushy gig at the Heritage Foundation anyway (or perhaps a job at Fix Noise, assuming that Schaefer Reilly has a bottle of peroxide handy and has no trouble squeezing into a form-fitting dress with a plunging neckline, and showing plenty of leg for Rupert, Roger and the boys also).