College paper editor defends explosive decision to ... print a photo of Charles Murray

I hate these little fascists so much. But as much as I hate them, they hate me, and you, more. I wouldn’t silence them or physically harm them, for instance, the way they shut down Murray and sent a faculty member to the hospital when he came to speak at Middlebury last year. Remember that? Even Middlebury’s administration admitted that the “protesters” at Murray’s lecture went too far. Dozens were given wrist slaps afterward.

“Eh, it’s just progressive campus garbage.” Right, but increasingly they’re bringing their garbage with them when they leave campus. You can knock Murray if you want for accepting an invite to visit knowing the reception he’d get at Middlebury instead of recognizing it as an — oh, let’s call it a “no-go zone,” for lack of a better term. But where does he go when the no-go zone expands and starts to visit him?

Good for the editor here, I guess, for insisting on carrying out his basic, basic journalistic duty not to suppress information just because it offends the sensibilities of his readers or places him in harm’s way. A lot of professional editors aren’t so brave when it comes to, say, Charlie Hebdo’s Mohammed cartoons. Although watching him bow and scrape to campus fascists in defending his decision, I wonder why he bothered in the first place. It’s arguably more humiliating to humor these imbeciles by conceding that publishing a photo of Murray is “controversial” than to let them intimidate you into not publishing at all.

I wish to explain the photograph on page A1 to the readers. I recognize that it may be especially jarring, particularly for students of color who feel that Charles Murray’s rhetoric poses a threat to their very humanity. I also recognize that Murray’s visit to campus last March is an open wound for a campus trying desperately to move forward from it…

This photograph is not meant to troll, or to cause pain, but to ask how that protest still lives with us today, one year later. For many, this image is burned in our collective memory. As much as we try to distance ourselves from that moment, we are made from it.

I recognize that running this photograph is a political act. Yet I see no way to comprehend this institution without seeing ourselves as part of American society, which is itself political.

“We cannot escape our history, We can only confront it,” he concludes solemnly, sounding like he’s just published a photo of a lynching. Murray’s reply on Twitter: “How about confronting that the woman in the photograph you can’t bring yourself to name suffered a concussion and a neck injury that she still lives with?” Right, but I think that act of violence helps explain the editor’s obsequious tone. He’s not just risking making his friends mad by publishing the photo of Murray, he’s risking pissing off people who’ve already proved they’re willing to get physical with a faculty member for crimes against wokeness. There’s some risk here to his physical safety in running the Murray photo, which is why the analogy to the Mohammed cartoons isn’t as far-fetched as it may at first seem. And that’s also why “fascists” isn’t too strong a word to describe the people he’s up against.

Exit quotation via Conor Friedersdorf, who’s right that the following is an important point that isn’t made often enough. Murray and his faculty accompaniment are in the greatest danger from campus mob rule but they’re not the main victims.