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Liberals and the Liberal Centers That Fund Them

September 15, 2003|David Horowitz

The No. 1 book on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list is "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," written by comedian Al Franken. It's actually not a funny book -- unless you happen to be an exceptionally mean-spirited and ill-informed liberal who thinks all Republicans are racists and that President Clinton was a pro-military foreign-policy hawk who devoted more time to tracking down Osama bin Laden than he did to the Monica Lewinsky mess.

Yet there's no denying that the book is a huge success.

A prime reason for this is the publicity boost provided by a misguided (and aborted) lawsuit that Fox News filed against Franken in an attempt to stop his use of their logo, "Fair and Balanced," for his subtitle. (What could Fox have been thinking?) But there is another reason as well.

Although it pretends to be a funny book, the real purpose of this tome of nearly 400 pages is quite serious. It intends to be a campaign manual for the next presidential election, touching in its chapters every base of partisan dispute.

Who tanked the economy? Who created the mean-spirited political atmosphere? Who stole the 2000 election? Who is stronger on defense? Who has the support of a biased media? Who is more anti-terrorist?

Surprise, surprise: Its answers line up relentlessly (and tendentiously) in favor of the Democrats.

And the assertions in the book come backed with facts and figures and citations from so many sources it would take a team to produce them.

Which raises an interesting question. Where did a comedian like Al Franken get the time, research power and expertise to cover such a wide range of subject matters, almost all of which are out of his normal depth?

The answer, which Franken himself provides, is Harvard. It seems that the Kennedy School of Government there called him up and offered him a fellowship.

Harvard told him, "You can run a study group on a topic of your choosing," and, yes, the study group can be about how Republicans are racists and liars.

He had to write something, but he could use 14 students to provide him with his research and write as much of it as he cared to let them. All under the auspices of the university.

By disclosing these facts with the breathless candor of a kid who has stumbled into a toy store where the merchandise is free, Franken has exposed for all who care to look a national educational disgrace.

Although liberals like Franken regularly complain about the unfair advantage "big right-wing think tanks" provide to the Republican cause, Harvard and in fact the entire Ivy League constitute infinitely larger left-wing think tanks that serve the Democratic cause. (For comparison, Harvard's endowment, according to the latest figures, is $17.5 billion; the Heritage Foundation's is $63 million.)

Ann Coulter has written a parallel bestseller (under her own steam, however) that attacks liberals and Democrats like Al Franken. Can anyone imagine Harvard soliciting Coulter to write her book, "Treason," by providing her with 14 graduate students to research it?

I once looked at the faculty roster of Harvard's Kennedy School and of those whose affiliations I recognized, I was able to identify only five Republicans -- and one them was the political switcher David Gergen.

A just-released study conducted by my Center for the Study of Popular Culture looked at the faculty at 32 elite colleges and universities, checking the primary-election voter registration of professors in six major liberal arts departments. When party affiliation could be determined -- and it often couldn't -- Democrats outnumbered Republicans 10 to 1. Among California schools, at UC Berkeley we turned up 100 Democrats to eight Republicans; at Caltech, 22 to four; at UCLA, 137 to 11.

The center also looked at commencement speakers at the same 32 schools over a 10-year period and found that the choices were biased in favor of Democrats and liberals by a factor of 15 to 1. At 22 of those schools, not a single Republican or conservative speaker -- judging from his or her public political positions and comments -- had been invited to address a graduating class in a decade.

The administration and faculty of Harvard -- and of American universities generally -- don't seem to care about this kind of academic bias. "Diversity" is the big buzzword in the world of higher education these days, but "intellectual diversity" -- the diversity that really matters to a good education and a healthy democracy -- is not on the radar screens of the academic establishment at all.

Perhaps Franken will get Harvard to provide him with 14 graduate researchers to help him write his next book about that. But don't hold your breath.

David Horowitz is editor of frontpage

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