By John Kass
April 15, 2022
The University of Chicago sits on a mountain of money, more than $11 billion.
With so much cash, you’d think U of C could pick up a few fainting couches for the national corporate media elite. They’re still suffering from an attack of “the vapors” after a recent conference on “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy.”
The corporate media elite, gatekeepers of information and the high priests of public discourse, are the true disinformation specialists. They’ve given up reporting news that doesn’t fit their politics.
It takes great hubris for disinformation specialists to appear at a conference on disinformation, to lecture others about the dangers of disinformation. But it does prove two things:
They have no sense of irony.
And they are liars.
Yet thanks to the brave young libertarian and conservative U of C student staff members of The Chicago Thinker, the elite media gatekeepers had an embarrassing public meltdown. And a bad case of the vapors as well.
The student staff of The Chicago Thinker did not shout down the panelists. There was no violence, screaming, no ugly vulgar theater as we see all too often from the left at university campuses when they hold their festivals of hate and prohibit free speech in what was the public square.
All that the Chicago Thinker staff did at the conference was respectfully ask the media regime questions they just couldn’t answer.
Questions about disinformation.
And questions about that Hunter Biden laptop story that the New York Post broke before the 2020 election, the story that corrupt corporate media either helped suppress or ignored while calling themselves journalists.
Anne Applebaum of The Atlantic thinks the Hunter Biden laptop story isn’t all that interesting. She was asked about this by Daniel Schmidt of The Chicago Thinker:
“In 2020, you wrote, “those who live outside the Fox News bubble do not of course need to learn any of the stuff about Hunter Biden,’ referring to his laptop, of course. A poll later found that if voters knew about the content of the laptop, 16 percent of Joe Biden voters would have acted differently.”
“Now, of course, we know a few weeks ago The New York Times confirmed that the [laptop] content is real,” Schmidt continued. “Do you think the media acted inappropriately when they instantly dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation? And what can we learn from that in ensuring that what we label as disinformation is truly disinformation and not reality?”
Applebaum brushed Schmidt’s question aside.
“My problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop is, I think, [it’s] totally irrelevant. I mean it’s not whether it’s disinformation — I don’t think Hunter Biden’s business relationships have anything to do with who should be president of the United States. So, I don’t find it to be interesting.”
Not relevant when 16 percent of voters say they would have voted differently in a close election?
Anne, you reveal yourself.
The elite journalists at the conference were peeved, dismissing the students, one reportedly blocked them on social media, insisting students were the ones engaging in disinformation.
You can read it all in the link I’m including here: “The Chicago Thinker Staged a Media Regime Takedown This Week–Here’s How We Did It”
“What we did last week was enormously inconvenient to the media regime,” Chicago Thinker publisher and co-founder Audrey Unverferth told me on Thursday. She’s from Ohio, and focusing on Russian and East European studies.
“We frightened them,” she said. “The team posed tough respectful questions and they had a complete meltdown. They were so unable to respond to us, they want to pretend the conference never happened. Because they couldn’t answer the questions we posed, or they didn’t want to. They called it a disinformation conference. But those on stage were the biggest disinformation practitioners in the country.
“And we exposed them for the liars they are.”
They appeared with conservative media personalities Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson. The Chicago Thinker became national news.
But locally, Chicago media didn’t pay much attention. Oh, there were stories about former President Barack Obama warning America about disinformation, which to him means information he can’t stand, information that vexes his politics.
The great Obama, building his massive Temple of Adoration and Fealty in nearby Jackson Park, was greeted by his former mouthpiece David Axelrod, who runs the Institute of Politics at the U of C where the disinformation conference was held.
If you listen to The Chicago Way podcast—the episode featuring Evita Duffy, co-founder of the Thinker– you’ll hear about the days when I was Axelrod’s copy boy at “the paper.”
Naturally, the dire partisan warnings from Obama made local news. But there were few if any local stories on the media meltdown and the Chicago Thinker. At least, I couldn’t find them. You’d think local media might be interested about local students taking down a bunch of posing elites by asking simple questions.
Don’t bother asking why it was ignored. You already know why.
Media in this town was embarrassed for Axelrod and for the corporate media elite. So they ignored it.
“Last I looked (locally) there was something of a media blackout,” said Unverferth. “It is interesting. Clearly the questions my colleagues posed went viral, and rightly so. But last I looked, at least locally, it seemed there was a media blackout.”
Universities and news organizations have gone hard to the left. Dissent is unwelcome, considered terrorism. Free thinkers have been kicked to the margins of society. And information that threatens the ruling elite—meaning information that they can’t squash themselves through corporate media–is controlled, censored, squeezed by Big Tech.
The other day, free speech absolutist Elon Musk sent Twitter employees into hysterics for wanting to buy the company and allow free speech to all. Twitter workers are of the left. They can’t allow free speech. It threatens them. And now hard questions are being asked by the young.
America once had a Great Awakening. I don’t want to get too excited about all this, but might we be witnessing the beginning of a Great Unravelling?
“It’s something our entire team has been talking about,” said Chicago Thinker co-founder and managing editor Evita Duffy on the Chicago Way podcast.
How did the Chicago Thinker begin?
A couple years ago, at an Institute of Politics event, Duffy dared suggest that socialism, not the pandemic, was the true danger to the American republic. History supports her view. But for that she was hounded, isolated, verbally attacked. There was a death threat. She responded with a column in the campus newspaper, The Chicago Maroon.
Duffy and Unverferth wanted to fight back positively, by giving students who had different views a place to express themselves.
And The Thinker was born.
“It was a group of Conservative and libertarian students who were sick of feeling marginalized on campus by professors and students,” Duffy said. “Even David Axelrod of the Institute of Politics wasn’t offering an alternate perspective, so leftist students felt really emboldened to bully conservative students, because they weren’t used to hearing dissenting views.
“And so, the Chicago Thinker was meant to promote tolerance, by actively showcasing conservative ideals in our pages.”
A few professors at the U of C support them, but not enough. Professors without tenure rightly fear that they’ll be brought to Room 101.
At news organizations, at universities, the conservative mind threatens the left. It is a dangerous mind, and it must be captured, sanded down, cleansed and disinfected or it will continue challenging the status quo.
They call such thinking “disinformation” now.
Once we called it freedom.
For years now, students and professors who dare think for themselves have been put under great pressure at universities where the hard left is dominant, meaning most if not every university in the country.
Journalists who dare think for themselves are also pressured by left leaning corporate media newsrooms that have gone woke and hunt for heretics. I know this to be true.
Many years ago, that debilitating pressure came only from the right and our liberal teachers and editorialists rightly told us how dangerous that was for the republic. They were correct. Yes, it was dangerous.
The liberals have been devoured by the hard left. There are no liberals now. And teachers and media elites protect us from information that bothers them.
Words are scrubbed of meaning, newspeak becomes our common language, the Orwellian nightmare becomes flesh. Capitulation becomes virtue. Free thinking is a contagion.
“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise,” said C.S. Lewis many years ago. “We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
Lewis’ words apply to us, today. Every age brings a few brave young people willing to risk themselves and challenge the regime. But every age brings a stronger regime.
And this isn’t just any regime. This regime seeks to control thought. The ravenous leviathan stretches its meaty arms across Big Government, Big Corporate, Big Media, and Big Tech.
The students at The Chicago Thinker are challenging this regime right now.
They are quite brave.
And they give us hope.
(Copyright 2022 John Kass)