Letter to the Editor in response to Opinion Editor Eleanor Fialk’s column “My way and the highway,” which published in the Nov. 14 issue of The Commonwealth Times.
On November 8, the most dangerous political candidate in American history was elected to the office of President. One week later, Steve Bannon — a known antisemite and the Minister of Truth for the alt-right — is now senior advisor to the most powerful person on the planet. Meanwhile, a man who wants to force shock therapy on gay children is the Vice President.
When the first post-election issue of The Commonwealth Times was released, I flipped immediately to the Opinion section hoping to find an editorial on any of these wannabe despots. Finding none, I then hoped for an intelligent postmortem on the election, or even any meaningful editorial response whatsoever to this national implosion.
I suppose I expected too much from The Commonwealth Times.
The centerpiece of November fourteenth’s Opinion section of the student newspaper was not about Trump, Bannon, or Pence. Nor was it about the election specifically. It was about who The Commonwealth Times apparently believes to be the true opponent of liberal democracy this week — Curt Autry.
After students shut down an interstate for several hours in protest of Trump’s election, Curt Autry posted on Facebook that this action showed “stupidity.” In response, The Commonwealth Times published a hit piece on Autry.
As Trump establishes himself as Caligula with an iPhone, the “liberal” opinion writers for The Commonwealth Times cannot help but to defend the true victims of Election 2016 — the hurt feelings of VCU students.
The article titled “My way and the highway: Response to NBC 12’s Curt Autry” — complete with illustration — is an eye-catching monument to the misplaced priorities of campus liberalism. The irony of the title should be lost on no one — Autry’s “my way or the highway” attitude is mirrored nowhere better than in the editorial pages of The Commonwealth Times.
As if to restrain itself from approaching an actual argument, the article continuously dissolves into a hit piece on the popular NBC 12 news anchor. The article accuses Autry of “unethical” behavior for sharing his opinion on social media.
The article continues: “Your entire career is based on neutrality and yet you still spew your own judgments all over social media.” I wonder if The Commonwealth Times monitors the social media accounts of all of their news writers. I suspect if they did, they would find a plethora of publicly shared opinions — but mostly, they would discover their own hypocrisy.
The Commonwealth Times even insists that if Autry is so easily offended, he must have a very weak stomach. The irony here is palpable.
The article then proceeds to claim that shutting down a major highway is protected under our first amendment right to protest. This shows a misunderstanding of free speech rivaled only by the average Trump zealot.
The article concludes by insisting that VCU students exhibited “maturity” when shutting down a highway, and that our generation “never ceases to advocate for open-minded and progressive ideology.”
I wonder what definition of “open-minded” is being used here. I doubt it’s a consistent one. I also wonder why this generation of supposedly ceaseless progressive advocates cannot actually be bothered to show up to vote at rates over 50 percent when it matters the most.
Seven months ago, The Commonwealth Times published it’s first staff editorial of this year. The subject of this editorial was to attack Hillary Clinton and imply that she is racist.
Unfortunately, this was a very popular opinion at that time on college campuses. Before the primaries began, half of millennials viewed Hillary Clinton favorably. After the primary — and after hit pieces like the one published by The Commonwealth Times — Hillary Clinton’s approval among millennials dropped by 20 points.
If The Commonwealth Times is so eager to hunt for opponents of liberalism; perhaps they should start at their own editorial office.