Yesterday I got dismissed from a student discussion group. It was a Facebook discussion group for current and former students in anthropology at SIUE, where I currently attend. I took the course last spring, and occasionally browsed the page and commented.
Last week, someone posted the following picture with the comment. "I couldn't agree more."
I read on to see some of the student comments, and as I have seen in so many other forums, a correlation was drawn between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party.
At this point, the professor chimed in with "Great student debate! I am truly enjoying watching you all think critically about the social criticisms going on in the world today."
I took the opportunity to point out a few of the fundamental differences between Occupy and the Tea Party - namely the fact that Occupy has a complicit mainstream media, the endorsement of many politicians and a stunning arrest record - while the Tea Party boasts none of those things.
The professor responded with allegations of "misinformation presented by the Tea Party" and "discriminatory signage."
My response? I demanded examples of the "misinformation', as in my personal experience, Tea Party activists generally understand the Constitution and the way government is supposed to work better than the politicians who are supposed to be representing them.
As it turned out, she didn't have many examples of the misinformation. (The only specific things she mentioned were the "birther" issue and the rumor that Obama was a Muslim.) What she did have was a handful of links to articles that backed up her position. First up, a hit piece from the Washington post that was propaganda and race-baiting wrapped up nicely and labeled objective journalism. Next was a link to a CBS story which she prefaced by saying "I hate to use CBS because they are so conservatively biased." And finally, a story about Sheriff Joe Arpaio from the Huffington Post referencing "birthers." (That last included no warning concerning possible bias.)
I called her out on tossing a hit piece like it was fact. I cited a study on Media Bias that not only identified CBS as left of center, but specifically labeled some CBS affiliates as "far left" even in comparison to NBC. I then pointed out two very important things: First, the "birther" rumor was started during the 2008 primary by a friend of the Hillary Clinton campaign in order to hopefully disqualify Obama before he could even win the nomination. And second, more than one nationwide poll has concluded within the last two years that nearly one-fifth of all Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim.
Within hours I was kicked out of the discussion group and blocked from the page. No challenge. No rebuttal. No "great student debate." Just the simple split-second (cowardly) push of a button to remove my name from a list.