Far from drawing the public’s attention to our universities’ war on free speech, the media aid and abet it. To be sure, as Powers points out, the press is having trouble preserving its own freedom. Obama has minimized direct contact with political journalists. The Obama Justice Department has harassed, investigated, and prosecuted reporters; it secretly seized phone records and emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen and phone logs of Associated Press editors and reporters. And, according to a report by former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, the Obama administration launched a “war on leaks and other efforts to control information” that has constituted “the most aggressive” attack on press freedom since Watergate.
Nevertheless, most of the elite media—overwhelmingly left liberal—have largely neglected to cover the left’s crusade against free speech. Operating out of newsrooms, as Powers observes, in which “there is nobody to push back on their biases,” reporters seem unable to detect anything amiss on campuses, in the media, and in the political arena where, after all, the draconian regulation of speech is intended to serve avowedly left-wing causes.
An increasingly illiberal left, according to Powers, has found a ruthless ally in an increasingly illiberal feminism. To oppose abortion, or to suggest that owners of family businesses should not be required by law to subsidize their employees’ purchase of a narrow range of birth control options to which the owners object on religious grounds, or to insist that the accused in campus sexual assault cases be accorded fundamental due process rights is, illiberal feminists declare, to wage “war” on women and to advocate positions that have no place in polite conversation or public debate.