My post yesterday drew a lot of interest, and a record number of visitors. So I thought I’d update you before I head out for a busy day — one that mercifully takes me away from this damn MacBook.
Dr. Pino stepped forward to clear the air. Read about it here in the Beacon Journal and in the Daily Kent Stater. Pino stated unequivocally that he does not support jihad. Reports say he does admit that his photo and his writings have appeared on the jihadist blog Global War.
“I’m not the issue,” Pino said. “The issue is free speech.”
I’m finding no follow-up story in the Plain Dealer, which tells me the editors 40 miles to our north didn’t see enough to merit more coverage of this mess. If I missed something, please send the link and I’ll update.
Global War has disappeared. When you click the link, it appears momentarily, then links quickly to a pro-U.S military site called DefendAmerica. The site offers no explanation, nor can I. But it’s curious as hell, don’tcha think?
After all, it was Pino’s writings on the Global War that supposedly triggered this firestorm. But Mike Adams, writing on conservative website townhall.com, alleged the blog belonged to Pino. Legions of bloggers who share Adams’ views echoed those allegations. Nowhere have I found evidence to support those claims. Pino insists he does not own the blog and no one has shown otherwise.
Back to free speech. Let’s put this in perspective. Kent State has a faculty member who makes the news for his controversial statements. Hmmm. Why is that news? In the academy, it’s part of life. It’s news in part because of the subject matter, and in part because the MSM are listening way too much to the bloggers and exercising way too little news judgment. That why the social media scare me a bit.
Pino’s writings criticized U.S. policy with both passion and emotion. That’s gonna raise eyebrows in the Midwest anytime, but especially in these times. I mean, there’s still a war on. But this strikes me as a classic case of an MSM feeding frenzy — something that’s becoming way, way too common.
I don’t see a clear and present danger here any more than I see black helicopters from my back porch. Let’s keep this in perspective, something many bloggers and most of the MSM seem to have lost.
I’m not a fan of tenure, as I think it zaps energy from both classroom and research. But without it, Pino might well be out on his ear today. Tenure protects free speech, and it assures due process. But most importantly, it protects us all from witch hunts like the one Adams launched yesterday.
The impact on Kent State? That’s anybody’s guess. I’ve been through enough crises as a PR practitioner to know that these things tend to pass. A good number of the right-wing blogs will press their own little jihad for a while, but I suspect most middle-of-the-road Ohioans will move on with their lives. But a handful of students will likely choose a different school next fall, and a few alumni may not send their checks this year.
As a final note, I’d encourage you to do a “Kent State + Pino” search on Google Blog Search or Technorati. What you see out there should scare the hell out of you. Extremism lives on both ends of the political spectrum. It’s the reason I treasure the label of “moderate.”