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Big Story Proof of successful messaging

Reported by Chrish - April 14, 2006

On the "Your Word" segment of The Big Story today 4/13/06 a writer to the program was Exhibit A for what happens when you get all your news from FOX, day after day. The fact that they actually read and showed the email only served to reinforce the faulty impression the woman had already gotten from FOX - a self-perpetuating cycle of ignorance.

There's a story out of UC Santa Cruz, where students interfered with military recruiters invited there by the school to take part in a job fair. Somehow, a FOX viewer got the wrong impression and was indignant enough at the university for supposedly disallowing the recruiters that she wrote to Gibson - to express herself, mind you.

Gibson said :

"About the military recruiters being 'chased' off the campus of UC Santa Cruz, Bev Van Ryn writes: "This college and others like it that treat our military in such a manner should be cut off of federal funding."

As stated before, the university allowed the recruiters and it was students who harrassed them. When the Supreme Court ruled in March 2006 that schools which receive federal funding must allow military recruiters, Chief Justice John Roberts. wrote "Students and faculty are free to associate to voice their disapproval of the military's message." That affirmed right was taken to lengths Tuesday that effectively shut down the recruiters' booth, but again, the university was not to blame.

Indeed, in an earlier segment, US Army Captain Will Griffin, one of the recruiters involved, explained what happened. (Gibson had already set the stage that in reaction to an un-welcome at a job fair last year the Army recruiting table was set up somewhat apart from the other presenters.) He said they were invited to the job fair by UCSC ( and later reiterated that the Army has a good working relationship with the school in this regard.) After about an hour of uninterrupted business Tuesday morning a young man received a phone call on his cell phone and cleared the other students gathered there. Minutes later a large crowd of students came over the hill, chanting and carrying signs, and effectively blocked access to the recruiters. After some minor harrassment and scuffles (some students took the brochures and posters and some security officers pursued them), the Captain decided in the interest of everyone's safety to leave the campus.

The Captain was calm, clear, and non-judgmental. He was incredibly diplomatic, effectively fielding Gibson's provocative questions: Did they just block the way or did you feel threatened? (In light of the Supreme Court ruling) Do you believe the students should have their federal loans revoked? Did you feel the students were blaming you and your colleagues for the war? Do you have any issues like these people wouldn't be able to express their views if you weren't there to protect them?

Now obviously the email was not in response to this segment, but in response to earlier coverage on FOX. Go back a day to The Big Story 4/12/06 and Gibson introduces a segment saying that things got real ugly when angry anti-war protesters heckled the recruiters and chased them away, throwing rocks at their van. One demonstrator was arrested!

Turning to Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, Gibson said we could expect this - UCSC is capital-L liberal, and Fund went beyond that, saying UCSC is the school you go to if you think Berkeley is too traditional. Har, har.

Fund's take on the incident: Because students had "completely disrupted" the job fair last year, and a lot of kids didn't get their career counseling, the Army was relegated to "second-class status" and segregated from the others, and even that didn't work - they were still chased off. Gibson sputtered that schools are required to allow military recruiters and UCSC gets $80 million, so what happens? Fund thinks the military should have a conversation with the school because these kids - he doesn't want to speak too broadly but some of them - are spoiled brats who have too much free time. UCSC should consider what would happen if they lost $80 million and had to raise tuitions - the kids might not like that. Comment: As a WSJ writer he should be intelligent enough to know that UCSC hasn't done anything to lose funding. He is suggesting the strict father style of management favored by FOX and the Bush administration, threatening punishment for "wayward" behavior.

The segment then turned to demonizing academia. Gibson asked if the UC system was going to take this seriously or just blow it off with, hey, we're the folks who brought you Berkeley, this is what you should expect, students are going to be anti-war, that's how it is? Fund finds it amazing that we have revamped large elements of our economy to become accomodating to the new competitive environment, yet higher education remains "bloated" and "inefficient", and he is amazed that taxpayers continue to pony up for one of the "least productive investments" of our society - for liberal arts graduates, not the professional skills, he amends.

Gibson asks a typically speculative and inflammatory question: do you think we're going to find some professor encouraging kids to go out and demonstrate? Fund would be surprised if professors weren't leading the demonstration!

So now we know to what rhetoric the email writer was responding. Too bad she had her ignorance reinforced by a public reading of her misguided comment. FOX producers deliberately chose that to read because it conveys the outrage against academia that FOX itself perpetuates.

I wonder if John Fund ever attends the theater or concerts or reads books or watches the Weather channel or the History channel? Is he aware that the military is in dire need of foreign language translators? These are but a few of the liberal arts "products" that he dismisses as poor investments.

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