Subscribe via RSS Feed


[ 88 ] May 7, 2012 |

Looks like Naomi Schaefer Riley will have more time to spend on the wingnut welfare circuit, martyr division.

…Shorter Rod Dreher:  “how could Riley have been fired for her attack on Black Studies when she had examples?  Granted, she hadn’t actually even read the “abstracts” any of the “examples” in question, but…they’re still examples, and the fact that they were in Black Studies means that they must be ‘pseudoscholarship.’  This is not at all racist.”

Comments (88)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. MikeJake says:


  2. Good.

    Although I find the line “We now agree that Ms. Riley’s blog posting did not meet The Chronicle’s basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles” undeservedly passive-aggressive.

    Why not just say what they said later: we didn’t bother to read her piece and then tried to defend it because it got us lots of pageviews?

    BTW – what was the Twitter response?

  3. Aaron Baker says:

    Which of course is the downside of canning her. We’ll never hear the end of it now. Still, that posting was a disgrace, and CHE was right to show her the door.

    I asked this question before on another site: if CHE is looking for a smart conservative commenter, I’m sure such people exist–and could probably use the work; why in blazes did they pick Riley Schafer? It just doesn’t make much sense.

    • GeoX says:

      if CHE is looking for a smart conservative commenter, I’m sure such people exist

      [citation needed]

    • Bruce Baugh says:

      I hav to agree with GeoX on this one, Aaron. The ideology of the conservative movement isn’t compatible with integrity or scholarship, and the movement wouldn’t settle for any conservative thoroughly detached from itself, if such a person even cares to identify as conservative anymore.

      I’d like to be wrong about this, but I genuinely can’t think of any conservative commentator in America who maintains what I’d think of as basic honesty, let alone scholarly values, over time.

      • William Burns says:

        Daniel Larison.

      • Malaclypse says:

        Bruce Bartlett

        • Joey Maloney says:

          Larison and Bartlett are not-batshit-insane on economics. Bartlett I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by that was about anything else; Larison has some huge blind spots around his religion and social issues.

          What do either of them bring to the table on education issues?

          • Malaclypse says:

            What do either of them bring to the table on education issues?

            Don’t know, that’s not my field. I was just asked to name a smart honest conservative. Admittedly, there were not a lot to choose from.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            Does Diane Ravitch still consider herself to be a conservative?

            • CashandCable says:

              No, I’m pretty sure her defection is complete. Her positions on teacher’s unions and educational “reform” puts her well to the left of the Obama administration.

              • monboddo says:

                Rod Dreher

              • Aaron Baker says:

                Well, I didn’t say there were a lot of smart conservative commenters out there. In addition to Larison and Bartlett, Richard Posner comes to my mind–but again, not someone with a focus on education.

                • Uncle Kvetch says:

                  It’s too bad Douthat is otherwise engaged. I’m sure he could phone in a weekly blog post about how undergraduate education is being destroyed by contraceptive-popping strumpets leading virtuous young male scholars astray with their irresistibly chunky charms.

                • mpowell says:

                  That’s a great article by Posner. He highlights a lot of the problems I have with the modern economics profession. I guess he’s smarter than I gave him credit for.

    • Dana says:

      Why bother with research and learning when you can cherry-pick some universal “truths” like “lazy tenured professors,” and ride them onto the talking heads circuit?

      I remember reading her WaPo op-ed about her stupid book, “The Faculty Lounges,” and all I could think was “how many departments actually have a faculty lounge?” None at the three unis I’m most familiar with, unless you count the occasional shared room with a microwave and mini fridge.

  4. Aaron Baker says:

    And what was the great line about Dr. Laura: “she’s leaving to spend more time with the N-word.”

  5. Fraud Guy says:

    It would be nice if they took her down from their contributors list, too.

  6. M. Bouffant says:

    Here is a lovely ode to a martyr:

    Anyway, news comes tonight that Riley has been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness for her crime of pointing out how ridiculous a few black studies dissertations were. An editor announces they’ve fired her for her blog post.

    We can all sleep safely now. Or as a friend wrote, “The liberal mob has spoken. The expiation has occurred. The new gods of diversity are satisfied. The sun will rise tomorrow.”

    This does confirm for me that academia is far and away the least tolerant, least diverse, least interesting and most petty environment in which to work.

    And apparently it’s also not very good at preparing students and professors for even the slightest of criticisms. But those folks on Twitter that I mentioned up top? Well, they’re celebrating tonight.

  7. Joey Maloney says:

    Since Brainstorm was created five years ago, we have sought out bloggers representing a range of intellectual and political views, and we have allowed them broad freedom in topics and approach. As part of that freedom, Brainstorm writers were able to post independently; Ms. Riley’s post was not reviewed until after it was posted.

    I realize we have made mistakes. We will thoroughly review our editorial practices on Brainstorm and other blogs and strengthen our guidelines for bloggers.

    This is why you can’t have nice things.

  8. Gwen Dallas says:

    Is the CHE’s “mistakes were made” excuse really that encouraging?

    • Joey Maloney says:

      I realize we have made mistakes.

      It’s the editorial “we” but it’s not passive-voice-depersonalized.

    • JohnR says:

      I particularly like the fact that it was the lapse from a “civil tone” and “fairness” that caused so much “distress” to the readers, which concerns Ms. McMillen. There was some throwaway reference to “journalistic standards”, but as this is standard mush-mouthed gobbledy-gook any more, I think we can safely assume that it was the failure to be “even-handed” and “civil” that is the take-away message for the Editor here. Next time they publish somethng like this, great pains will be taken to add a phrase to indicate that both sides do it. Also, any future note in this fine publication will have to meet basic standards of “civility”. You know, same as Krauthammer, Will, Brooks etc.,etc.

  9. c u n d gulag says:


    I hope they fire the editor who made the decision to let this racist nitwit write whatever the f*ckall she wanted to write about, unedited.

    As an Editor, if you care about the reputation of your publication, you need to make sure that reputable people are making reputable arguments.

    You may want to edit for a variety of reasons – brevity being one of them. Insight, another. New ideas! (And racism ain’t new).
    And you should also want to edit all work submitted, to make sure they meet the standards of consistency and excellence that are the hallmarks of your publication – otherwise, you have NO standard of consistency and excellence at your publication.

    Leave “page-hits” to the bloggers.

    Fire the Editor, too.

  10. rea says:

    What did you expect from a journal that names itself after Che Guevara?

  11. Malaclypse says:

    This guy still has a job there.

    The most significant element in the controversy surrounding Naomi Riley’s blog posting is the disproportionate nature of the responses.

    Um, no. The most significant element was the sneering at black students, and black studies.

    • John Protevi says:

      We could do worse than Bauerlein as “a respectable, thoughtful, responsible …. conservative voice on academia.” That was really some half-hearted civility-trolling; my theory is that he was embarrassed too by NSR but as he couldn’t defend her directly, he could at least tut-tut those horrid people with their overly emotional language, etc.

      • Malaclypse says:

        The civility-trolling seems to be a pattern, though.

        • Steve LaBonne says:

          Tone trolling is just asshattery that dare not speak its name.

          • Malaclypse says:

            Especially when his first example of a “patently false” statement is “When people talk about repealing health care reform, they’re not just saying we should stop protecting women with preexisting conditions; they’re also saying we should kick about a million young women off their parent’s health care plans.”

            Also, a professor of English composition, who complains about how his students can’t write, should know the difference between parents’ and parent’s. Just saying.

            • rea says:

              A professor of English composition who complains that his students can’t write? What does he think he’s being paid to do, then?

              • Furious Jorge says:

                “Absolutely none of my customers can re-wire their own houses – none! I tell you what, these are depressing times to be an electrician.”

                • BigHank53 says:

                  A comparison to a shop teacher bitching about how many fingers he has to clean out the table saw would be more accurate.

        • DrDick says:

          Given that conservative ideologies are unsupportable by data, logic, or morality, what are “intelligent and thoughtful” (i.e., not batshit insane) conservatives left with other than civility trolling?

        • mark f says:

          Krugman has the correct response to civility trolls.

          • swearyanthony says:

            I do believe that youtube video should be the rickroll of responding to civility and tone trolls from now on. Even better, most of them are too self-centered to figure out what it might mean.

  12. Anderson says:

    Right move. Considering how many published idiots haven’t been fired, I won’t rag the Chronicle here. No need to demand abject surrender.

  13. Arthur says:


    We’ve silenced an opposition voice that was, according to the editor, and independent voice.

    We can’t have independent thoughts being published willy-nilly. They’ve got to be taken down. Must conform at all costs.

    Good job!

    • Malaclypse says:

      Exactly. I’m also stunned at the lack of Lysenkoism in Biology departments. The conformism is shocking. Teach the controversy, sheeple!

    • saucyturtles says:

      Yes! Isn’t scholarship all about opinion and feelings? Why violate a scholar’s first amendment rights by not letting her state her opinion that dissertations she hasn’t read are ridiculous? What happened to academic freedom? I’m just asking questions?

    • DrDick says:

      Yes, heaven forbid that we should impose actual standards, like you have to actually read the dissertations that you are belittling or that you have some basic knowledge of the subject matter, on conservatives. After all, that would leave them with nothing to say.

      • Furious Jorge says:

        Not only that – she apparently did not know what the word “literature” means in a scholarly context, as she was confused by the phrase “natural birth literature.”

        Someone like that – who doesn’t even know the basic terminology of the field – has no business writing about higher education.

    • Manta1976 says:

      Arthur, Schaefer Riley did not bother to read the abstract and introduction of the works she was criticizing: what kind of value do you think she was giving to CHE and CHE readers I don’t understand.

      Judging from this debacle, If I were to think evil, I would say that she was hired precisely to discredit opposition voices with her hackery (criticizing work without skimming it = hack) and stupidity (criticizing work on CHE without at least pretending to have skimmed it = stupid).

    • Scott S. says:

      Yes, it certainly is too bad that open and unapologetic racists have trouble getting jobs in non-racist publications. This is the greatest tragedy of American life.

    • Anonymous Coward says:

      Not sure if troll, or just very stupid…

      An “Independent Thinker” who admits she couldn’t be arsed to read the theses she presented as being worthless.

      Some “Thinker”. More like an “Independent-of-thinking Thinker”, ammirite?

    • swearyanthony says:

      I am not saying the Queen is a Space Lizard and leads the world’s largest cocaine smuggling ring. I am merely asking why we can’t have a civil conversation about this? Why must liberals always sneer at reasonable debate?

    • Halloween Jack says:

      For your next assignment, I’d like you to write 1000 words on the difference between “silenced” and “taken the paid soapbox away from.” Points awarded for style and substance; points deducted for dogwhistling and shibboleths.

  14. Dave says:

    I don’t know what everyone’s problem is. Sure, she was just race-baiting, but everyone here can agree that there should be fewer phd students.

    • firefall says:

      Well thank god someone finally said what we were all thinking

    • Dana says:

      No, there should be more (non-contingent) academic jobs.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        Though, to be brutally serious for a minute, assuming a more-or-less constant number of courses to be taught, more non-contingent academic jobs entails fewer PhD students (or, at the very least, a radically different funding mechanism for PhD students).

  15. actor212 says:

    I think McMillen was a little pissed about the whole incident.

  16. Aaron Baker says:

    Brian Leiter today on Schaefer Riley: Characteristically harsh, but probably not unfair.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

  • Switch to our mobile site