Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Bret Bug - This now becomes a University of California systemwide policy concern

(updated with additional new coverage)

this additional update 8/31
You could see this coming, a new piece from Stephens at NYT  
-but it has surprised and shocked and appalled many for how far the piece goes 
now many on twitter are linking to their views of Stephens hypocrisy listing out screenshot after screenshot of  content that is allegedly Stephens quotes from his pieces 
included in that is:

- a claim that Stephens made  reference to a whole culture of people and describing them as mosquitoes

-a claim that Stephens made reference to a former US senator and AG as a flea and flea bags etc

a claim that Stephens said  this statement:“I thought Christians were pagan and primitive because I grew up around Mexicans but then I met white Christians.” - Bret Stephens 

-including that last one here in full because University of California President Janet Napolitano , UCI Chancellor Gilman and Berkeley Law dean and former UC Irvine law dean Chemerinsky  chairs the UC Center where Stephens sits on the national board-
Bret Stephens serves on its national board https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/advisory-board/
and several University of California campuses are now seeking to call themselves "Hispanic Serving Institutions"
UC Irvine , is the sort of home campus for that national free speech center (it was a way for other UC campuses to discuss free  speech at UC Berkeley without including UC Berkeley researchers apparently) UCI sought designation as Hispanic serving and received it- 
can they hold on to that designation?
UCOP wants UC campuses to be designated as such:
UC San Diego wants it :

UC Berkeley seeks it:
and other places too:

its something they vie for:
and - well, you can't have it both ways- the hypocrisy would not just fall on Stephens -- or NYT, or NBC or MSNBC for churning out his content...

Also, it appears now with his new column that Stephens is accusing Karpf of something even more troubling and now Karpf is going to have to respond. So, once again academic freedom and free speech in all of it.

( but if Stephens really believed that was what Karpf was about why did Stephens apologize when he quit twitter? and why did he quit twitter?)


see this latest:
"After Bret Stephens complained about a professor’s tweet calling him a bedbug, GW invites him to campus
The school’s provost defended the professor’s right to free speech, and invited the New York Times columnist to campus to talk about civil discourse in the digital age."
..."Karpf said he appreciated the supportive response from Maltzman and hoped to join Stephens onstage for the talk.

Stephens didn’t respond to other questions Tuesday, but did say by email he had seen the provost’s invitation.

“I’ve accepted,” he wrote, “and we will find a date in the fall.”"
- he must be pleased as punch with that result...right?

Seems that the only way that an invitation to speak at GWU can be perceived as protecting academic freedom and free speech is if Karpf shares the stage with Stephens on this talk about civil discourse-- but it still does not resolve the issues and questions that arise over Stephens role as a national board member on the subject of free speech at University of California... 

It would be interesting to see what GWU folks think - 
Univeristy Diaries penned this post on the subject:
"Bret Stephens Writes to GWU’s Provost about Professor David Karpf"

it starts off :
"Wait, oh yes wait a minute Mister Malzman
Wait, wait Malzman

Mister Malzman look and see
What that professor has said about me
I been waiting a long long time
For your reply to this email of mine

There must be some word today
From a provost so far away…
Please Mister Malzman, look and see
If you can hit him with a penalty"

Please Mister Malzman

there's also this kind of take: "Bret Stephens and the Disease of the Male Mind
A columnist at the world’s most influential paper uses his power to threaten a critic’s paycheck."
other stuff...
-Mostly just an overall trend of feeling grossed out by the actions of a snowflake who then paints everyone else as a snowflake- a bret bug hypocrisy really...
--Can we just be really clear that Stephens did not just contact Karpf's boss - who likely is a dean or some such-- Stephens contacted the boss of the boss of the boss of Karpf...which comes across as an attempt to chill and intimidate free speech, academic freedom, imo.

Do not miss:
"I Called Bret Stephens a Bedbug. Then He Tried to Squelch My Freedom of Speech. What a Day.
This, after embarrassing himself on Twitter and on national television. "
..."The irony, of course, is that Bret Stephens regularly pens columns decrying the culture of “safe spaces” on college campuses. He once wrote a column titled “Free Speech and the Necessity of Discomfort.” (Discomfort for thee, but not for me, it would seem…)

As luck would have it, I have little to fear from Bret Stephens. I am a tenured academic, with the support of my university of administration and my disciplinary peers. I am also, like Stephens, a white guy. If either of us was a woman or person of color, we would endure far worse insults online every day. My life will go on and so will his. He will have a new nickname that he doesn’t care for; I will have some new Twitter followers who will soon learn that I am less funny than they had hoped....But here’s what still bothers me as this strange episode recedes from the news cycle: Bret Stephens seems to think that his social status should render him immune from criticism from people like me. I think that the rewards of his social status come with an understanding that lesser-known people will say mean things about him online.

Stephens reached out to me in the mistaken belief that I would feel ashamed. He reached out believing my university would chastise me for provoking the ire of a writer at The New York Times. That’s an abuse of his social station. It cost me nothing, but it is an abuse of his power that would carry a real penalty for a younger or less privileged academic. The Times should expect more of its writers. Stephens should expect more of himself.

No one has freer speech than a public intellectual with a regular column in the paper of record. Stephens is free to say whatever he wants. With that freedom comes the discomfort that people will disagree with you. If Stephens is going to have this social power, he is going to have to learn to wield it more responsibly. "


This Professor Compared a Columnist to a Bedbug. Then the Columnist Contacted the Provost.

Recall that creation of  that UC systemwide first amendment free speech center/panel/ committee?

Bret Stephens serves on its national board
(Along with the general counsel for Twitter, ) ...
Now, today
Not just a twitter issue for some op ed colunnist:
"Bret Stephens Leaves Twitter After Lashing Out At User Who Called Him A Bedbug
The New York Times columnist emailed the boss of a professor who insulted him in a tweet, but claims he didn’t want to get him fired."

-read that article  in full which also gets into Title IX concerns ( views beliefs on prevalence of Title IX issues etc) and other racial cultural diversity concerns/ issues mentioned in that article as well.

there's also:
"NY Times Columnist to Twitter Critic: ... ‘Call Me a Bedbug to My Face’
Bret Stephens, who once compared mean tweets directed at him to the Reign of Terror, also said that calling him a bedbug “set a new standard” in discourse."
now see:
"University Stands Up For Prof After NYT Writer Reports ‘Bedbugs’ Tweet"

"A tweet about “bedbugs” won’t harm George Washington University professor Dave Karpf’s job, despite a New York Times columnist’s effort to let school officials know one of their professors wasn’t nice to him on Twitter.

Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist at the Times, claimed on Tuesday he wasn’t aiming to get Karpf in trouble when he copied the school’s provost on an email to Karpf, complaining about the professor’s “bedbugs” tweet about Stephens. During an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Stephens said he just wanted to make the school aware of how its employees were interacting “with the rest of the world.”

But the tweet — which linked to an article about an outbreak of bedbugs at the New York Times building and likened Stephens himself to “bedbugs” — falls under Karpf’s right to express his opinion as a professor, according to the university’s provost office."

"In an email that professor Dave Karpf shared with TPM Tuesday, the school’s Office of the Provost responded to Stephens’ complaints about being called a bedbug by pointing to the school’s commitment to academic freedom and inviting the columnist to come to the school to “speak about civil discourse in the digital age.”"

"“They said exactly what I’d hoped they’d say, which is ‘Karpf didn’t do anything wrong, he’s allowed to say what he said,'” Karpf told TPM by phone. He argued that Stephens’ rationale for including his boss on an email that called him out for the metaphorical tweet — which he likened to a simple “dad joke” — didn’t “pass the paragraph-level sniff test.”

“He said he wasn’t trying to get me in trouble, he just wanted my boss to know how I’m talking, which means he’s trying to get me in trouble.”

Stephens reached out to the professor and included the school’s general Provost Office email address onto the message on Monday evening, saying Karpf, the associate director of George Washington’s School of Media and Public Affairs, “set a new standard” for uncivilized Twitter discourse."..."“I don’t think (Stephens) knew I have tenure, and I gotta tell you if I didn’t have tenure this would’ve terrified me. His intention in writing an email that is tiled ‘From Brett Stephens, New York Times’ is to intimate me from making jokes about him on the internet because he thinks, apparently, that being at the New York Times should shield him from criticism,” he said."...

"A professor called Bret Stephens a ‘bedbug.’ The New York Times columnist complained to the professor’s boss."
"A professor labeled Bret Stephens a 'bedbug.' Here's what the NYT columnist did next.
"Analogizing people to insects is always wrong," Stephens later told MSNBC, explaining why he notified the professor's boss."
"David Karpf's tweet, which read, "The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens," initially gained little traction. But Stephens took notice, and escalated his complaint about the tweet to Karpf's boss at the university."..."Time to do what I long ago promised to do," the columnist wrote. "Twitter is a sewer. It brings out the worst in humanity. I sincerely apologize for any part I've played in making it worse, and to anyone I've ever hurt. Thanks to all of my followers, but I'm deactivating this account."...
--add in here what was noted above: Bret Stephens serves on its national board
*Along with the general counsel for Twitter, *   -note how he characterizes her place of employment--is that also dehumanizing to him ? Does the *any part* apology read as passive aggressive instead of sincerely contrite?

 ..." Stephens, an MSNBC contributor, was then asked about the spat by network host Chris Jansing on the air Tuesday morning. Stephens said being compared to a bedbug was "dehumanizing" and "totally unacceptable.""
"Bret Stephens’s “bedbug” meltdown, explained
When tattling to someone’s manager goes wrong."

..."Free speech crusader Stephens — an anti-Trump conservative who has come under heavy criticism for his views about climate science and race, among other things — went to extreme lengths to make a stink over an obvious, harmless joke. "...
"What’s more, even after deactivating his account, Stephens still doesn’t seem to grasp why so many found the email he sent to be so distasteful in the first place.

During an appearance on MSNBC later Tuesday morning, the oft-criticized columnist claimed, implausibly, that he had “no intention whatsoever to get [the professor] in any kind of professional trouble” when he tattled to the man’s boss — as if there were any other reason for copying the provost in the first place — and compared the professor’s harmless joke to the rhetoric of “totalitarian regimes.”"..."“Cc’ing the Provost meant that he was trying to use his social status to get me in trouble. And that means it isn’t about civility at all; it’s about power,” Karpf wrote. “If he hadn’t cc’ed the Provost, I wouldn’t have felt it was worth sharing. If he hadn’t cc’ed the Provost, the entire Internet wouldn’t have felt it was such an outrage.”"...
"  Bret Stephens: The biggest threat facing our society today is the stifling of free speech on college campuses.

    Also Bret Stephens: I’m going to try and get a college professor fired for a joke he tweeted that didn’t get a single retweet.
    — Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) August 27, 2019 

    bret stephens would not survive 3 minutes of being a woman on twitter tbh
    — Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) August 27, 2019 "...

and then you can read  the section "Why anyone cares about Bret Stephens in the first place"

"The New York Times’s decision to hire Stephens was widely criticized when it was announced in the spring of 2017."
- if you wanna...

'Call me a bedbug to my face': New York Times columnist Bret Stephens responds to professor
--Now see the tie in to University of California where Mr. Stephens sits on this newly created University of California systemwide center/committee/panel- at the time of its creation it was touted as a panel that could be responsive to UC first amendment events, challenges... as a sort of arbitor of UC content, issues: https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/about/

Remember the coverage?:




"UC launches new free-speech center" 
it included:

The center will be funded through UC’s presidential endowment, a blend of unrestricted philanthropic gifts to the university system, and private funding.

Dianne Klein, a spokeswoman for UC, said Thursday that the university has not yet started private fundraising for the center.

-it touts itself as "The Center explores how the fundamental democratic principles of free speech and civic engagement must adapt to the challenges and opportunities of modern society. Through research, advocacy, debate and discussion, the Center helps ensure that the next generation of leaders is prepared to defend and advance these values."

-- but the construct of that effort was to many in the UC community anything but democratic...it appeared to have been created by fiat at UCOP with a couple of regents favorites thrown on to the board for good nepotistic measure...a national advisory board and then an academic advisory board and how they interact all pretty hazy-- and UC Berkeley appears to not have any faculty representation on that board ( but UC Berkeley Law dean Chemerinsky and UC irvine seem to have special ties to it...)

-- other UC funding for it also goes to a selection of 'fellows"  that that board picks for a fellowship program -and  the committee oversees that as well...

-that committee recently held an expensive DC based event that sought to tie itself to the 2020 US presidential election (which pols and former pols like Napolitano and pol op ed columnists no doubt would love to be associated with) and UC has given it significant funding for PR support- funding for recording of talks and photo ops etc and UC archive of it etc.., 



UC even created  a library of video of the event


see stuff like this that Stephens particpated in (it occurred in April 2019 and to date appears to have about 50 views-- but the event was pretty pricey for UC and there is other UC research that could benefit from such showcase funding)






--Are any of the  UC center members going to comment on the Stephens story? Or, stay silent-and should that just make clear the UC systemwide effort " In addition to the policy work conducted by members of its Fellowship Program, the Center hosts activities and events aimed at restoring trust in the value and importance of free speech."  --is hypocritical and mostly just a veneer for PC optics, and just expensive buttressing of the personal career aspirations of some on that board?

--Why should Stephens now be rewarded with opportunities of speaking engagements at universities as a result of the above - and when his own actions appear to be in conflict with what he claimed to represent and which led to his being selected for that University of California position? His actions seem at odds with the stated missions... thus apparently letting UC down,- so why should higher ed reward that by giving him speaking engagements?

Also point out here this recent item at NYT as well:
"Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House"

oh, and:

"No bedbugs at Doral"...


there is also:
Trump mocks New York Times' Bret Stephens for bedbug reaction

'Tough guy!': Trump mocks Bret Stephens over bedbug controversy

Trump Blames 'Lightweight' Bret Stephens for NY Times Bedbug -

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