The AP story on Claudine Gay illustrates everything that’s wrong with liberal media

(Daily Caller News Foundation) – When the news hit that Harvard President Claudine Gay would step down, the Liberal reaction came swift and severe. The corporate media would have you believe…

(Daily Caller News Foundation) – When the news hit that Harvard President Claudine Gay would step down, the Liberal reaction came swift and severe. The corporate media would have you believe Gay’s defenestration was not just a story of a fraudulent academic receiving professional comeuppance, but the end of academic freedom, any semblance of tolerance and decency and perhaps even the Republic itself. Nowhere is the Liberal mix of delusion and malice more evident than in The Associated Press’ (AP) coverage of the story Wednesday morning.

“Harvard president’s resignation highlights new conservative weapon against colleges: plagiarism,” ran the original AP headline before being updated to merely describe a marginally less-specific “conservative attack.” Backlash came quickly against the original headline, which still remains up on Twitter. It received no less than three community notes: plagiarism is a “breach” of Harvard’s rules and Gay resigned for breaching those rules. Therefore, a simple “application of the rules around plagiarism” cannot be a “weapon” as the AP contends.

Of course, the community notes are correct. But The AP wastes over a thousand words trying to convince you otherwise — all under the guise of objective journalism. While they will cautiously admit plagiarism is bad per se, they primarily frame the story around identity and an imagined power dynamic. There’s two glaring issues in all of this: the implication of personal racism itself, and the idea Gay succeeded on merit and therefore can only be criticized as a function of animus. Both are not only wrong, but viciously disingenuous.

The piece leads off conceding plagiarism is one of the “most serious” accusations in academia, but quickly pivots to a Newspeak term that supposedly better describes Gay’s actions: “duplicative language.” Rest assured, Harvard’s internal investigation determined her actions were not “intentional or reckless.” The AP is preparing you to believe any external assessment that follows is at minimum an overreaction. 

It goes on to clarify many accusations came not from her “academic peers” but her “political foes — not the respectable professionals who would hold her accountable if she deserved it, but her enemies determined to find a fatal flaw.

The illegitimacy of the accusations then lies in the motivation of her detractors. Since she had such an illustrious career at Harvard and Stanford as The AP notes, the accusations can only be driven by resentment over the faulty notion she “got the top job in large part because she is a Black woman.” Anyone who criticizes her stands against “efforts for racial justice on campus” and just can’t stand to see a black woman rise to power.

Three paragraphs are dedicated to attacking Christopher Rufo — one of the conservative activists involved in uncovering Gay’s plagiarism — to highlight the supposed racism embedded in the accusation. The AP zeros in on his use of the word “SCALPED” to describe the victory after Gay’s announcement. It ignores that “collecting scalps” is a common euphemism and instead pretends this is his fantasy over a “trophy of violence” comparable to “white colonists” seeking to “eradicate Native Americans.”

The piece then moves on to survey the “many academics” who were “troubled with how the plagiarism came to light:” as part of the effort to “remake higher education, which has often been seen as a bastion of liberalism.” This is meant to cast doubt on the notion academia is aggressively and uniformly left-wing; it’s merely “been seen” that way by some subjective observers. This allows The AP to hit her detractors as the aggressors: they wrongly perceive the neutral efforts to “make colleges more welcoming to students of color, disabled students and the LGBTQ+ community,” as a maliciously ideological project. Their ulterior motive in framing higher education as an ideological cesspool is to “limit how race and gender are discussed in classrooms.” They’re dumb, or bigoted, or both.

The academics The AP pegs for comment hammer this point home. Walter Kimbrough, former president of Dillard University, spoke of his mother’s experience in academia as a black woman in the 1950s. “[Y]ou always have to be twice, three times as good,” he said, if you want to avoid being labeled a “DEI hire” and attacked by people who “want to disqualify you.” It’s very possible his mother did have to operate with this mindset in the 1950s, before affirmative action. Gay, who is two generations removed and rose Harvard’s top spot by publishing only 17 papers in 30 years, can make no such claims.

Another former interim college president, John Pelissero went on to equivocate between forms of plagiarism, putting “intentionality” at the center of the debate. However, intent shouldn’t (and has never) mattered in plagiarism. The burden falls on students to diligently assure they do not use “duplicative” language. “Describe ___ in your own words,” is an English teacher’s most common refrain. The nation’s top academic should know better, and if she doesn’t, she’s unfit to even teach a 4th grade class.

Finally, President Irene Mulvey of the American Association of University Professors gave The AP the headline they were looking for: plagiarism will now be “weaponized” to pursue a political agenda putting the entire culture of “academic freedom” at risk. 

Of course, this is nothing but propaganda on behalf of the ruling class ideology Gay represents. Gay is a figurehead for the fundamentally authoritarian, illiberal and culturally Marxist movement she championed on campus. The same ideas that justify discrimination against Asians in Harvard’s admissions also minimize the vicious antisemitism Gay refused to condemn on campus. The latter finally crossed the line and her critics used her own mistakes — that she should have known better than to make — against her.

The piece isn’t just about absolving Gay, but aims to rescue the entire victim-oppressor narrative all of America’s elite institutions have bought into. It wants to reinforce the idea minorities still live under the boot of a dominant traditionalist culture in America — the opposition to which is the thin moral thread progressives still use to justify their right to rule. The AP wants you to think Gay — despite all the status, power and wealth that comes with leading the world’s most prestigious university — will forever remain a victim of the powerful forces that hate her very existence.

There’s nothing Americans love more than rooting for an underdog. That’s why every power center in America is determined to convince you that’s exactly what they are.