Last May, after a video of a commencement address I delivered at Hampshire College circulated on the internet, Fox News created a segment out of the 30 seconds or so in which I called President Trump a “racist, sexist megalomaniac.” The network ran the clip repeatedly over four days with the headline “Princeton professor goes on anti-Potus tirade.”
That a junior faculty member of Princeton was critical of Mr. Trump in a speech at a small liberal arts college should not be surprising. Nor was it newsworthy in any meaningful sense of the term. But it did incite Fox viewers.
Within hours, invective filled my inbox. I received emails that promised I would be lynched, shot and raped, and Princeton’s department of African-American studies, of which I am a member, was so flooded with hate that the locks on the doors had to be changed.
.. The clip fit perfectly into the Fox News narrative about the dangers of leftist radicalism on campuses. It also perfectly encapsulated the network’s hypocrisy about defending “free speech.”.. The American Civil Liberties Union and the PEN organization have gone out of their way to defend the rights of provocative speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter to speak on campuses, but have been virtually silent on cases involving leftist or progressive faculty members who face suspension for provocative comments. Lisa Durden, an adjunct professor at Essex County College in New Jersey, was fired after she appeared on the Fox News program “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to explain why black people might gather for an all-black celebration of Memorial Day.