Charlottesville Episcopalians join peaceful gatherings marking year after hate groups’ violence

Tensions still simmer in Southern university town

By David Paulsen
Posted Aug 10, 2018
Charlottesville Clergy Collective service

The Charlottesville Clergy Collective holds an interfaith service Aug. 9, 2018, at The Haven as part of a week of faith-based activities to mark one year since hate groups’ demonstrations ended in violence in this Virginia city. Photo: Charlottesville Clergy Collective

[Episcopal News Service] The three Episcopal congregations in Charlottesville, Virginia, are participating in a weeklong series of ecumenical and interreligious events to promote peace, faith and unity one year after a white supremacist demonstration turned violent, thrusting the city into a national debate over race and Confederate symbols.

Prayer gatherings have been scheduled twice each weekday this week by the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, of which the Episcopal churches are a part. The collective also organized an evening worship service Aug. 9 described as “a service of gratitude, repentance and hope.” And an afternoon “singout” on Aug. 12 is expected to draw hundreds.

“There was a somewhat unspoken consensus that we wanted – we being Charlottesville – we wanted to be in charge of what this weekend looks like,” the Rev. Cass Bailey, vicar of Trinity Episcopal Church, told Episcopal News Service this week. “There just was a sense that we wanted to project a positive image.”

That positive image is intended as a contrast to the events of Aug. 12, 2017, when one counterprotester died amid clashes with a large assembly of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen and other hate groups who had come to Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally in opposition to the city’s plans to remove two statues of Confederate generals.

A year later, the legal battle continues over the statues, which remain in place. The white supremacists appear to be focusing on a new rally in Washington, D.C., on the anniversary rather than returning to Charlottesville en masse, which has relieved some anxiety locally, Bailey said.

Cass Bailey

The Rev. Cass Bailey, shown speaking Aug. 9 at the interfaith service, is vicar of Trinity Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. “There just was a sense that we wanted to project a positive image,” he said earlier in the week. Photo: Charlottesville Clergy Collective

“Police are still gearing up for the worst-case scenario,” Bailey said. The city’s security measures this weekend will make it virtually impossible to hold worship services downtown, so Christ Episcopal Church decided to close for the weekend and will worship in the morning with Bailey’s congregation at Trinity and in the evening at St. Paul’s Memorial Church.

The Diocese of Virginia and its clergy and congregations, meanwhile, have expressed support for the churches in Charlottesville a year after many of them came to the city and joined with the faith community in standing against racism and hatred.

“I think that God has given an imperative to the church to hold firm in our resolve to stand in the public square in opposition to anything that is contrary to Jesus’ teaching that we must love one another – no exceptions,” Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnston said in a written statement. “We will therefore always stand up to hate-mongering, and we will continue to do all in our power to ensure that the world around us knows without question that the love of God is present to us and will always prevail over division and hatred.”

The events last year in Charlottesville turned this Southern university town into a flashpoint in the larger debate over the Confederacy and the Civil War’s ugly but enduring legacy of racism. Episcopal institutions, too, were swept up in that debate.

Washington National Cathedral altered its stained-glass windows to remove Confederate symbols. Sewanee: University of the South moved a Confederate general’s monument from a prominent byway in Sewanee, Tennessee, to a campus cemetery. An Episcopal church in Lexington, Virginia, that had been known as the R. E. Lee Memorial Church in honor of the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee changed its name to Grace Episcopal.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at Charlottesville statue of Lee

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry stands at the foot of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Sept. 7, 2017, with the Rev. Paul Walker, rector of the nearby Christ Episcopal Church. The statue had been wrapped in plastic while the city fights a legal challenge to the monument’s removal. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

When Presiding Bishop Michael Curry traveled to Charlottesville last September for a pastoral visit, most of his itinerary was filled with clergy meetings and an evening sermon promoting love over hate, though he also took a few minutes to reflect at the foot of the downtown statue of Lee, which at the time was wrapped in a black tarp.

The tarp is gone, and the statue is visible from the second-floor office window of the Rev. Paul Walker, rector of the historic Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Charlottesville. He returned just last week from a four-month sabbatical and was not involved in the decision by other church leaders to close this weekend, but he thinks it was the right call. Other downtown churches were making similar arrangements to worship elsewhere.

“The whole area will be on lockdown,” Walker said. “And there is a credible threat of violence downtown.”

Virginia’s governor also has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville because of the potential for renewed unrest.

“I’m very grateful that all hands are on deck for the weekend because last year was horrible, deeply traumatic for our city,” Walker said.

Even a small group of white supremacists could set off a crisis, said the Rev. Will Peyton, rector of St. Paul’s Memorial Church, which overlooks the campus of the University of Virginia.

“I think there’s a strong sense, in terms of the city and state police … that law enforcement and government are going to be overprepared rather than underprepared,” Peyton said.

City officials were criticized last year for being unprepared for the “Unite the Right” rally, starting with the white supremacists’ torchlight march on the evening of Aug. 11 at the University of Virginia rotunda, while Episcopalians and other concerned citizens had gathered across the street at St. Paul’s for a prayer service. The next morning, members of St. Paul’s, Trinity Episcopal and Christ Episcopal joined an interfaith prayer service and then participated in their own march to Emancipation Park to rally against the supremacists’ event planned at the park, the site of the Lee statue.

Before the supremacists’ rally even started, the city deemed it an unlawful assembly and forbade it from proceeding as club-wielding and gun-toting white supremacists began clashing with counterprotesters, some of whom also carried weapons. The street clashes continued and even escalated, and the police force was later blamed for failing to keep the violence in check.

That afternoon, a crowd of counterprotesters was rammed by a car, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. A 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer from Ohio was charged with Heyer’s murder.

Since then, Charlottesville has seen a dramatic turnover in its leadership. The city attorney left, the city manager is leaving, and Charlottesville has a new mayor, Nikuyah Walker, the first black woman to hold that office. And after the former police chief stepped down in the face of a report critical of his department’s response on Aug. 12, Charlottesville hired a new police chief, RaShall Brackney.

That’s not to say that Charlottesville has solved all of its own problems, some of which stem from long-simmering racial divisions that were brought to the surface by last year’s violence.

“I would say that there’s still an extraordinary amount of tension and animosity in public life here,” Walker said. “I think that Charlottesville is really struggling to cope with what happened on Aug. 12 and the history of racism here. And we’re a city steeped in history, and all of that is at the fore now.”

Peyton, rector of St. Paul’s, described the community as suffering from a sort of collective post-traumatic stress disorder, still shell-shocked from the events of a year ago, and on the anniversary, the national spotlight has returned along with memories of the horror of that day.

At the same time, “the local issues are the same as they are in many, many American cities, issues of housing and wages and entrenched structural racism,” he said. “We’re no different than a lot of other places in those regards.”

As for the legal battle over the statues – which, at least nominally, was the catalyst for last year’s violence – most accept that “to a certain extent it’s out of our hands,” said Bailey, vicar of Trinity Episcopal.

But the work of racial reconciliation continues. Bailey’s church recently received a $11,000 grant from a local foundation to launch an African-American history project, featuring video interviews with older members of the community and workshops on the issue of historical trauma. The first event will be held this fall.

“In general, the community has acknowledged that there is a problem here in Charlottesville and the events of Aug. 12 were the erupting of underlying tensions,” Bailey said. “The work of the government and the work of the civic leader is to address those underlying tensions, and people have been trying in various ways to do that.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.


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Comments (46)

  1. Doug Collins says:

    So no comments on Antifa, you actually referred to them as “counter-protestors”, who showed up with clubs with the intention to cause chaos? Noi mention of the incivility that existed at the Red Hen, or any of the other blatant violence directed at people with opposing views?

    This is why the SJW’s that have taken over the leadership of this church are driving away life time members such as myself. I don’t see love or Jesus’ teachings here, I see an agenda that is purely political. What a shame.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      Last I checked, Antifa didn’t drive a car into a crowd of protestors and kill someone. It is a false narrative to claim that there are bad actors on many sides. Antifa does indeed go to far in certain circumstances, but you cannot equate them with Nazis.

      1. David A Salmon says:

        Matt – both the alt-right of KKK and neo—Nazis and the hard left of Antifa are the lunatic fringe of American politics. While Antifa has killed anyone (yet) their violence is well documented (including against the press). This includes a professor responsible for attacking 7 people (not Nazis btw) by hitting them on the head with a bike lock.

        All people should denounce both sides of the extreme lunatic fringe. Political violence is not acceptable in any form. You constantly talk about moral positions that everyone agrees with; well this is one – if you are making excuses for the violent left or right, you have no moral ground on which to stand.

        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/05/29/a-man-clobbered-trump-supporters-with-a-bike-lock-the-internet-went-looking-for-him/

        1. Jordan Sakal says:

          Mr. Salmon,

          You provided one piece of evidence showing a violent “Antifa” and the best part is the accused in that situation had all charges dropped. There are likely more examples of violence, but as Mr. Ouellette says, it is far more one-sided than you make it appear.

          On that note, I do agree with you (as I am sure Mr. Ouellette does) that violent actions taken politically are never acceptable.

          1. David A Salmon says:

            Jordan – the person in question violently attacked seven people; charges were not dropped they were plea bargained down three years probation which is a travesty. You call that the best part?

            Yes, I gave just one example of the violence and brutal behavior of Antifa. You might want to conduct some research to see just how violent they behave. Like their counterparts on the lunatic right who fly the Nazi flag, symbol of a brutal regime, Antifa flies the flag of the Soviet Union, another brutal regime. Calling things one-sided is just another way of condoning actions. Both sides need to be condemned.

            https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mercurynews.com/2018/08/09/california-anti-trump-protester-gets-probation-for-assault/amp/

          2. Matt Ouellette says:

            I agree that Antifa is wrong in its tactics of political violence. But I think it is wrong to claim that they are morally equivalent to Nazis and fascists:
            https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/charlottesville-aftermath-1.4246438

          3. Jordan Sakal says:

            Mr. Salmon,

            I used the term best in a sarcastic tone, as there is no access to italics here I have no way of denoting sarcasm, I apologise for that. However, like Mr. Ouellette claims I think it’s wrong to claim that Antifa are equivalent to fascists.

          4. Doug Collins says:

            Just so I am 100% clear I was merely pointing out that A) a group of leftist fascist thugs such as Antifa were referred to as Counter protestors. B) I was making no moral equivalent I was merely pointing out that the beauty of this country is this simple. The idiot Nazi’s show up with their group of 100 and they chant and do their thing and no one shows up to report or counter protest, let them try to win people on their ideas, which we know full well they will not do. The next day the counter group shows up and explains why that group is all wrong and explains their position. No violence only ideas. Again my point was these idiots were largely unnoticed until Antifa shows up with clubs and knives to “stand up to fascists” and the news breathlessly reports it because let’s face it, they make money on a tragedy. Take away a counter-protest that was there for one purpose only, to violently oppose this group and provoke a confrontation and an idiot does not drive into a crowd, so yes I do think there is cause and effect.

            And lastly, yes Antifa is on par with other fascist groups when your sole purpose is to violently shut down people whose ideas you disagree with.

          5. Matt Ouellette says:

            Wait, you said you were not making a moral equivalence between Antifa and fascist groups, but in your second paragraph you morally equated the two. Which is it?

  2. Deacon Bernie Jones says:

    I’m glad to hear what the local Episcopal churches are doing in Charlottesville. Trinity Episcopal was the first Episcopal church I attended, and I was a member of St. Paul’s Memorial when I was received in 2002.

    1. Robbie Johnson says:

      The Southern Law & Poverty Center is itself a hate group!

      1. Jordan Sakal says:

        Robbie,

        What does the comment made by the Deacon have to do with the SPLC?

        1. Robbie Johnson says:

          Just thought I would throw it out there. The Southern Law & Poverty Center is viewed by many (mostly liberals) as the #1 authority as to whom as a hate group.

          1. Jordan Sakal says:

            Robbie,

            They are in fact a top authority on what is classified as a hate group especially given that they do in fact classify varying types of groups or organisations as hate groups on a regular basis. One could say that their experience with the subject makes them an expert in the matter.

          2. Robbie Johnson says:

            The SLPC is itself a hate group!
            It hates any organization or individual that takes a stand against the policies and views of the SLPC !

          3. Jordan Sakal says:

            Robbie,

            Got any proof of that?

          4. Robbie Johnson says:

            Proof that the SLC classifies those who disagree as haters or hate group:
            Focus on the Family and Jsmes Dodson
            American Family Association
            The Christian Broadcasting Network
            All anti Abortion Groups
            Liberty University
            Brighram Young University
            Any individual or organization that supports hetro marriage only
            The Sons of Confederate Veterans
            Hobby Lobby
            The Southern Baptist Convention
            Any individual or group that is against illegal immigration
            Any individual or group that voted for or supports President Trump.

            Basically any person or organization that does not bow or genuflect to the demands of the SPLC are classified as a hater or hate group by this ultra liberal conservative hating group!
            Meanwhile the secular national media continues to drink the poisonous kool aid of the SPLC with any question because if they do question, they too will be added to the SPLC hate list!

          5. Jordan Sakal says:

            Robbie,

            First let me say this, please get the name of the organisation correct before you begin discussing them. They are the Southern Poverty Law Center.

            Secondly, Focus on the Family and the AFA are anti-LGBTQ+ organisations which strongly advocate for the dehumanisation and frank murder of LGBTQ+ Americans, (Their leaders were Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer) they hold that we are sub-humans who do not deserve the right to life, let alone the right to marry, or to exist as citizens of this country. They are the very definition of a hate group.

            A woman’s right to bodily autonomy in this country is federally protected (at least for now) and as such anti-abortion groups who have done things like firebomb clinics or murder/attack/threaten doctors and nurses and other medical providers as well as those who violently protest and attack women who need these services are again, the very definition of a hate organisation.

            As for BYU and Liberty University, I have not seen anything on the SPLC Hate Map regarding them.

            On “Hetero marriage only” folks and those that support the current occupier of the White House. I have not seen it listed where those people or organisations are classed as hate groups by the SPLC excepting for when those groups fall into a category of hate (for example Anti-LGBTQ+ or Anti-Abortion etc)

            As for the SCV they have committed acts or espoused hate against other marginalised groups which as a result has them labelled as such (again, anti-black, anti-LGBTQ+ etc etc) it is not that these groups and organisations listed here are not “genuflecting” to the “left” as you put it, rather they are committing acts of hate and deserve to be recognised for it.

            The SBC is not listed as a hate group by the SPLC.

          6. Jordan Sakal says:

            Mr. Salmon,

            Thank you for so cleverly ignoring the main thrust of my argument that your source actually had little to do with the argument you were attempting to make. You claimed “liberal bias” when it doesn’t actually exist.

            Furthermore, Dan Rather (whom I have personally met, who is a delightful chap did not lose his job because he “published lies” as you so put it. Mr. Rather lost his job due to the failings of the producers and his support team around him who are to help him report the news. They gave him a story to report which he trusted had been verified and fact-checked and ran with it, trusting on its integrity as good journalism. As you have shown, it was later proven to be a story that was without merit and as a result reputations were sullied and credibility damaged (but not lost.) Dan Rather still is a journalist of high integrity and still reports the facts.

            The reality of news media is that the news media isn’t necessarily biased one way or another, rather people have stopped critically thinking and researching and learning for themselves.

            http://mitsloan.mit.edu/newsroom/articles/lazy-thinking-not-political-bias-drives-fake-news/

  3. David F Wayland says:

    This article features as it should the courageous stance of the three “downtown” Episcopal churches here in Charlottesville. What it ignores are the many faithful and concerned church members in surrounding Episcopal (and other) churches who have stood up and voiced their belief in and work for a peaceful, inclusive, and loving community here. Charlottesville was invaded last year by hundreds of racist and militant adversaries. The conflict came when local people stood in their way and were attacked. We certainly don’t want that to happen again.

  4. Dianne Aid says:

    I give thanks and send my prayers to your witness in Charlottesville and to others involved in the wwotrk of love and justice.

  5. David A Salmon says:

    Matt & Jordan – Antifa proudly displays the flag of the Soviet Union, a regime that murdered 30 million of their own people and was the ideological leader of a belief that resulted in the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century. That might not mean anything to you, but for many of us, that makes them as bad as the fascists.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I encourage you to re-read the article I posted. It addresses you precise argument and why it doesn’t work.

      1. David A salmon says:

        Matt – Nope, I choose to condemn all hate groups, you choose to split hairs to support a hate group. That is on your head and is a reflection of your morality

        1. Jordan Sakal says:

          Mr. Salmon,

          Mr. Ouellette is not splitting hairs to support a hate group. In fact the Southern Poverty Law Center which is by and large the arbiter of who is classified as a hate group does not list in any way shape or form “Antifa” as a hate group.

          Second off, for allegedly being a “Christian” you seem to think yourself morally superior enough to cast stones when it is not deserved.

          1. David A Salmon says:

            Jordan – The Southern Poverty Law Group is not the arbitrator of anything; they are a political group that routinely tags hate group status on anyone whose politics they disagree with.

            You and Matt cast your morally superior stones on here on a daily basis. Matt routinely argues that his viewpoints are the only moral positions to take; defending a violent hate group like Antifa is just an example of the danger of self righteousness. It is also an perfect example of progressive Christian thinking where a person will bend basic morality (defending a violent political group) to support a political position.

            Finally, are you his big brother? You always rush in to defend him anytime anyone dares to disagree with his position. He is a grown man and should be able to defend himself.

          2. Matt Ouellette says:

            I never defended Antifa, David. I already said I disagree with their violent tactics. What I have done is point out how it is disingenuous to equate Antifa to neo-Nazis and fascist groups. To paraphrase from the CBC article I posted above (which I still recommend you read in full), Antifa was not founded as a hate group to promote communism and leftist ideology, but to combat the spread of fascism. While there are some hateful fringe members who fly the hammer and sickle, they are not essential members and the group could easily exist without them. Nazism, however, is founded on the belief that others are genetically inferior, and thus hate is essential to its existence. Those two things are not morally equal, as one group is fighting against a hateful ideology and one is fighting for the spread of hateful ideology. That is not an endorsement of Antifa, which is still immoral for engaging in acts of violence, but it is a statement that Antifa is the lesser of two evils when compared to Nazis and fascist groups.

            Also, what is the point in calling someone out for agreeing with my positions? I see conservative posters come to the defense of each other all the time in these comment sections. Is it only acceptable when conservatives do it? Do you think you could focus on the arguments made instead of making ad hominem attacks against posters?

  6. Terry Francis says:

    Matt, the bottom line is you condemn (and rightfully so) those on the right who espouse hate and intolerance but pretty much give a slap on the wrist to those on the left whose hatred is just as reprehenable. You may not defend Antifa but you are nowhere near as enthusiastic in your condemnations regarding them.Such a group shouldn’t have to commit murder (ie driving a truck into a crowd) in order to get equal condemnation on your part. Equating Antifa to neo-nazis is not disingenuous in the least. Hate is hate. The fact that you merely “disagree” with their tactics says it all. Antifa may not have started out as a hate group but it certainly is now. You absolutely ARE splitting hairs in regards to these groups. And I agree with Mr Salmon’s opinion about the SPLC. That organization is a joke.(Unless you are leftward-leaning like they are). Your refusal Matt, and others like you to put hatemongers of the left on the same moral plane as hatemongers of the right is one of the reasons this country is so divided.

    1. Jordan Sakal says:

      Mr. Francis,

      Thank you for at least condemning hate groups on the right. You also say though that groups like Antifa are equally as reprehensible. I do not disagree with you that they are reprehensible. However, like you say we (on the Left) do not carry our condemnations as far as you do and for that we should be shamed/pilloried for that stance. That’s your belief of the facts, just like we have our beliefs as well. Despite our best efforts to be conciliatory I do not think we will come to an agreement on that point of view (and that’s okay, we can agree to disagree)

      It was my point about the SPLC that you’re also questioning here. You call that organisation a joke without any evidence, and they do good work when they compile their “Hate Map” lists. It demonstrates what groups are active which spread messages of hate, whether that hate is Anti-Gay, Anti-Black, Anti-Christian, Anti-Semitic, so on and so forth, the SPLC does good work in showing us a reference of where hate is active in our American consciousness.

    2. Matt Ouellette says:

      I am not giving Antifa a pass for its violence and attacks on citizens. It should be condemned by Christians of all stripes as a violent vigilante group. However, I still do not think we should equate them with Nazis. Surely you don’t think the primary goal of Antifa (combatting fascism) is equal to the primary goal of fascist groups (promoting the hateful, Satanic ideology of fascism), right? So while I do think Antifa is a dangerous group that Christians should not associate with, I don’t think it’s a hate group. It’s not actively promoting a hateful ideology, but is instead fighting that ideology using immoral tactics.

    3. David A Salmon says:

      Mr. Francis – “Hate is Hate”; that is all that needs to be said. We are both saying that the lunatics on both the fringe of right and left wing politics should be condemned without excuse or moral hair splitting. Like their counterparts on the right, they hide their faces behind masks, commit acts of violence against anyone who stands in their way and do everything to shut down opinions of anyone who disagrees. Both sides are gutless moral cowards who use violence (like the Brownshirts) to get their way. Anyone who thinks that Antifa is not interested in spreading their own twisted viewpoint does not know much about history and despite what anyone says, openly embraces their communist roots. Hate is hate.. that is all that need to be said. Both sides should be completely condemned without without reservation.

  7. Bill Louis says:

    Terry, Dave and Doug, give it up. You are never going to convince Jordan and Matt to see the other side of things. The will vehemently defend their position and you will waste the better part of your day researching and answering their questions and they still will not budge off their positions. Even if you do make a good point they will argue the morality of their point. Eventually, all of us that see reality and believe in conservative values will move on from TEC and those that love TEC’s support for liberal positions will be left to financially support the bloated EC hierarchy or it will crumble under its own weight.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      It’s not like the conservatives on this site have been willing to budge from their positions either. To claim that only those that believe in conservative values see reality or are willing to entertain the ideas of the other side is disingenuous, especially considering that in America, many conservatives are quick to label mainstream sources and institutions that disagree with their positions (the press, universities, scientists, etc.) as biased against them.

  8. Doug Desper says:

    I work in Charlottesville less than 5 minutes’ walk from the park which was the center of all the controversy and violence. People who live here go about their day being friendly and sit in the park in the shadow of trees and statues and give their attention to civility, work, and leisure. What citizens here hate are all the camera-ready activists who get in each others’ spaces and then complain. There is no shortage of activists who appear at an instant to stir the pot. Antifa thugs assaulted journalists and the police this past weekend. Like some other activists they want to deny thought unless it conforms to their thought. That’s the big struggle in this city. There are people who want the 1st Amendment for themselves but then want to drown out and go toe to toe with those who oppose their view. For freedom of speech to work we must allow hate to be heard on the street equally to peace, but with neither side using violence or trying to shut down the other. Antifa was the pot-stirrer again, in Charlottesville and they are violent. They want to drown out others. They are facists.

    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/timothymeads/2018/08/12/antifa-thugs-attack-nbc-reporter-in-charlottesville-n2509140

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I would argue that the fascist groups who wanted to march in support of hateful ideologies were the real pot-stirrers. If they had decided to stay home, they would not have provoked violent vigilante groups like Antifa.

  9. Terry Francis says:

    Matt are you referring to those mainstream “unbiased” universities whose students shout down, curse at, and physically threaten conservatives who are invited to speak on campus? The same universities whose students raise hell if, God forbid, a conservative is invited to speak at their graduation? The same universities whose students demand the termination of professors who aren’t afraid to voice conservative viewpoints and who challenge left-wing dogma? And you’re right Matt how silly of me to think that the press is biased against conservatives. How could I possibly think that mainstream papers like the New York Times, and the Washington Post, (among many others) could be anything but fair to conservatives in their stories and editorials? Not to mention mainstream magazines such as Rolling Stone, Mother Jones and The Nation who ALWAYS go out of their way to show both sides of an issue. And let’s not forget CNN and MSNBC, those mainstream bastions of fair and non-biased television journalism. Thank you Matt for making me see the light!

    1. Jordan Sakal says:

      Mr. Francis,

      Mr. Ouellette did not claim in his post that universities, the press, etc. were not unbiased. Rather he was stating that the right tends to lash out at those institutions as biased because they do not conform to the worldview held by those conservatives.

      Also, as a former journalist, I can say that you are wrong in one respect to newspapers. Editorial sections are exactly that editorials which means that they are a space for the editorial board or individuals to write into the paper and express their views on issues. Gasp! That’s what an editorial is!

      Additionally, You mention CNN/MSNBC, Mother Jones and other organisations and you claim that these organisations are inherently biased. What you fail to realise is that you on the right are so inculcated with media that only gives you half of the story that you feel like any other media institution that gives you both sides of the story is inherently pushing the other side and thus is wrong.

      I will admit though that I will likely not be able to convince you of this, but I thought it would be worth the attempt.

      1. Doug Collins says:

        Your assumption about why conservatives think it is biased is completely false. Conservatives think it is biased because it has been proven time and again to be biased. I am not going to sit here and list the ways but when press coverage of a President is 97% negative that is bias, plain and simple.

        You can ignore it if you like but hat just exposes your own biases.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          I would say instead that the president brings that criticism upon himself. That’s not a sign of bias. Ignoring the president’s faults and treating him with kid gloves, like Fox News does the vast majority of the time, is a sign of bias.

        2. Jordan Sakal says:

          Mr. Collins,

          It is not an assumption I make lightly, as an individual who has published a research study in a communications journal on the topic of social media and media’s influence on political awareness I consider myself a bit of an expert on the matter.

          What I can attest to is the following based off the research. People on the whole tend to seek out media coverage that will confirm the narratives that they consider “correct.” They exist in a world of confirmation bias. (Additionally, research showed that Fox News was the least trusted and most biased news source on the political spectrum. But that doesn’t fit your narrative does it?)

  10. Matt Ouellette says:

    Your claims that universities are inherently hostile against conservatives are mostly supported by isolated anecdotes. The data, however, does not support a pattern of bias:
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/12/17100496/political-correctness-data
    Also, the mainstream press is not biased against conservatives. While some of the sources you gave as examples are left-leaning (MSNBC, The Nation, Mother Jones), the Washington Post, CNN, and other mainstream sources do their best to remain neutral and include a diversity of opinions in their editorials. Just because the mainstream press doesn’t treat conservatives with kiddie gloves like Fox News doesn’t mean it is hostile to conservatives. That is a right-wing myth.

    1. David A Salmon says:

      Matt – you are not just wrong about liberal bias in the media, but laughably wrong. Even the Washington Post recognizes the bias as does article after article and study afrter study. Please do a minimum of research. You will see where the myth really resides.
      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/01/27/dear-mainstream-media-why-so-liberal/

      1. Jordan Sakal says:

        Mr. Salmon,

        First, I direct you to the comment I made to Mr. Collins. It is not that “the media” has “liberal bias” the fact is that conservatives are so attuned to their media diets that it creates an echo chamber of facts that they hold to be self-evident. When conservatives are presented with both sides of a story (or any information which challenges their preconceived notions) it leads them to both figurative and literal streaks of violence.

        Please see: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2018/08/15/editorial/Kt0NFFonrxqBI6NqqennvL/story.html
        And: https://wtop.com/national/2018/07/more-republicans-in-the-news-thats-not-media-bias/
        And: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/why-a-free-press-matters/567676/

      2. Jordan Sakal says:

        Mr. Salmon,

        I direct you to the comments I made toward Mr. Collins above. The fact of the matter is that the media is not “liberally biased” it is that conservatives are so used to having a single stream of media information that once they step outside that cone of silence and experience a world outside of that influence (for example, with students going to university and being exposed to new ideals and beliefs) individuals react negatively because this new information challenges and changes their world views.

        Furthermore, the news article you posted does little to actually reinforce your position. The article even says “there is no conspiracy to push the media to the left” even if most journalists identify as liberals.

        Perhaps reading these and doing a “minimum” of your own research would help:

        https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2018/08/15/editorial/Kt0NFFonrxqBI6NqqennvL/story.html

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/why-a-free-press-matters/567676/

        https://wtop.com/national/2018/07/more-republicans-in-the-news-thats-not-media-bias/

        1. David A Salmon says:

          Jordan – so in response to the question of liberal bias in the media, you post one article that discusses the amount of coverage for which party is in power and states itself that it has nothing to do with bias, an opinion piece on freedom of the press which says nothing of bias and another article on freedom of the press (which does not discuss bias) written by self disgraced, hyper liberal Dan Rather who lost his job for publishing lies. It is like you didn’t grasp the concept of bias at all. You then talk about exposure to differing opinions that applies every bit to liberals as it does to conservatives.

          Bill Louis is correct. There is no purpose engaging either of you, everything is based on opinions (with posts that are opinions and not facts) and feelings. Good luck to both of you.

          1. Matt Ouellette says:

            Perhaps this source, which directly addresses claims of media bias, will be more suitable to you. It lays out clear arguments against the claim that the media has a liberal bias (yes, it is an opinion piece, but hopefully you are willing to overlook that and consider the arguments):
            https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article170317567.html
            Again, arguing that we are simply basing our arguments off of emotion is disingenuous. We have provided sources to back up our opinions as well. You just don’t seem to agree with them.

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