November 11, 2015

This is upsetting a lot of people, not all of them conservatives:

A video that showed University of Missouri protesters restricting a student photographer’s access to a public area of campus on Monday ignited discussions about press freedom.

Tim Tai, a student photographer on freelance assignment for ESPN, was trying to take photos of a small tent city that protesters had created on a campus quad. Concerned Student 1950, an activist group that formed to push for increased awareness and action around racial issues on campus, did not want reporters near the encampment.

Protesters blocked Mr. Tai’s view and argued with him, eventually pushing him away. At one point, they chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go.”

“I am documenting this for a national news organization,” Mr. Tai told the protesters, adding that “the First Amendment protects your right to be here and mine.”

The protesters accused him of acting unethically and disregarding their requests for privacy.....

On Twitter, students who participated in the protest defended their decision to create a “safe space” without journalists....

A "'safe space' without journalists"? Sounds like Ben Carson's ideal version of a presidential debate -- you know, one that's not on TV, with moderators who barely have time to ask questions because nearly all the time is taken up by candidates giving opening and closing statements, and one in which the moderators know their place and give candidates near-total control over their self-presentation:

“Debates are supposed to be established to help the people know the candidates… what their philosophy is,” Mr. Carson told reporters before a morning appearance at Colorado Christian University. “What it’s turned into is a ‘gotcha’ opportunity to cast candidates in a negative light.

“That’s silly. That’s not really helpful.”

And then there's Ted Cruz, who has his version of a "safe space":

The Texas senator and presidential candidate suggested that moderators who have voted Republican should host future debates....

“How about instead of a bunch of attack journalists, we actually have real conservatives,” he added as the crowd cheered. “Could you imagine a debate moderated by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin?”

I have a problem with progressive kids not grasping the notion that reporters have First Amendment rights just the way protesters do. But I also have a problem with the notion that this level of hostility to people not known to be allies is an exclusively left-wing problem. On the right, the division of the world into known allies and Antichrists isn't part of protest politics -- it's part of mainstream politics. It's how death-before-compromise Republicans operate in Washington and in many state governments. It's how Bill O'Reilly interviews people. It's what conservatives mean when they say they want to "take our country back" -- they want to make America a "safe space" for conservatives. They don't even consider the rest of us to have a right to be part of government -- they took control of both houses of Congress, therefore all liberals, and even right-centrist Republicans, should stand down.

I don't like what's taking place in the video above. But in America, those protesters far from the only people who think they can banish non-allies from their "safe space." And the conservative counterparts of those protesters think their "safe space" should be the whole damn country.


Or to put it another way:

(Crossposted at No More Mister Nice Blog)

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