Posted by Curt on 6 December, 2016 at 10:08 am. 1 comment.



In media land, Donald Trump is a reckless tweeter; Barack Obama’s outreach to GloZell and rapper Kendrick Lamar is just kicking back and having fun (Lamar’s latest album portrayed the corpse of a judge to the toasting merriment of rappers on the White House lawn). In media land, Donald Trump risked world peace by accepting a phone call from the democratically elected president of Taiwan; Barack Obama’s talks with dictators and thugs such as Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Raul Castro were long overdue. In media land, jawboning Carrier not to relocate a plant to Mexico is an existential threat to the free market; not so when Barack Obama tried to coerce Boeing to move to Washington State to produce union-made planes, or bullied a small non-union guitar company, or reordered the bankruptcy payouts of Chrysler and essentially took over the company.

In campus land, the election of 2008 was cause for ebullition; in 2016, elections by nature were traumatic as students were reduced to whining toddlers who needed cookies and milk.

(Note that campus post-election micro-parenting is not extended to departing students when they are hit with huge student-loan totals. Then they suddenly morph from helpless teenagers to full-fledged adults who must pay up what they borrowed to the colleges that did not educate them. Offering cookies and “caring” are a lot cheaper than not collecting overdue loans.) In campus land, federal laws should be rendered null and void — as in 1861 (over slavery) or 1961 (over racial integration of schools) — as colleges see fit; Donald Trump is a near fascist for wanting carry out the oath of his office by enforcing all federal statutes against states’-rights subversion.

The university and the media share two traits: Both industries have become arrogant and ignorant. We have created a climate, ethically and professionally, in which extremism has bred extremism, and bias is seen not as proof of journalistic and academic corruption, but of political purity. The recent election, and especially its aftermath, embarrassed journalists and academics alike — and should not be forgotten.

In the aftermath, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, as they insist that the popular vote alone should have mattered, that the Russians stole the election, that there was voting fraud, but only in the swing states Trump won, or that Democrats did not emphasize identity politics enough — anything other than the truth that a now municipal Democratic party is run by apartheid coastal elites and fueled by identity politics, and that journalists and professors cannot keep society’s trust.

Instead of introspective self-critique, the media have now gone postmodern, doubling down on their biases, under a new project of attacking supposed “neutrality” and “objectivity” themselves. From the strange suggestion by the New York Times’ James Rutenberg that journalists should feel no need to treat the exceptional Trump candidacy by “normal standards” to Christiane Amanpour’s recent screed that there can be no so such thing as neutral reporting over man-caused global warming, given “settled science” (the linguistic gymnastics by which “global warming” became “climate change” escapes her). (In 1980, Amanpour no doubt would have damned the few outliers who questioned the settled-science consensus on the cause of stomach ulcers or who doubted that we were really nearing “peak petroleum” production.)

If both the media and the campus are unconcerned by their obvious bias, or, indeed, brandish it proudly (recall that there were no campus lamentation centers after the presidential election in 2008 or 2012), then the public and president-elect Trump should show no reluctance in addressing their incompetence and conceit.

But how?

Higher education has a $1 trillion sword of Damocles hanging over its head in the form of aggregate student debt. The staggering sum drags down the economy, delaying marriage and child-bearing, discouraging young buyers’ home and car purchases, prolonging adolescence, and subsidizing mostly vacuous (and costly) “-studies” courses that manage to impart little knowledge but lots of superciliousness.

Any government reform should require federally subsidized colleges to reform their budgeting and keep costs well below the rate of inflation. Given colleges’ culpability for the debt, they should use their endowments and budgetary dollars to pitch in to help pay down the liability. Their prior budgets were not transparent. Annual tuition costs customarily outstripped inflation. Student borrowers were not fully apprised of the conditions and various interest rates of their Byzantine debt packages, and schools gave little if any information to inexperienced borrowers about their own likely ability after graduation to pay back such huge sums. Taxpayers who have chosen to forgo college should not be asked to subsidize the debacle created by their supposedly educated betters.

Colleges should have to follow the same rules as local car dealerships or home-mortgage lenders. Surely Elizabeth Warren can be enlisted to draw up the necessary consumer-rights bill for vulnerable students.

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