Saturday, December 28, 2002

StarTribune Strikes Again 

The (Red)StarTribune has yet another article by Randy Furst on racism and anti-Semitism in St. Cloud. The news of the news story is some acts of vandalism concentrated against Somali immigrant businesses in the area, including setting a shed on fire and painting "Get out of St. Cloud N-----" on sidewalks. Vile stuff, newsworthy. The reporter goes into the local VFW and gets some people to say they fear speaking out about the Somalis for fear of their houses being burnt down. Way to go there, Randy -- find some people who've had some beer and get them to say something you print without attribution in the paper. Must be the new journalistic ethics there, eh?

But of course the StarTribune can't just report that story, but instead continues its jihad against the university by including the discussion of the anti-Semitism case. (I have a signpost for the story here -- click through the links to get caught up.) They dig up new quotes from Geoffrey Tabakin, a plaintiff in the case.

Geoffrey Tabakin, who teaches kindegarten education and courses in genocide studies and was involved in the suit, accused administrators of being "more interested in face-saving than substantive changes to address the problem. The problem is a hostile climate."
This after the university pretty much gave away the store in the settlement. Mandatory diversity training to include anti-Semitism training. A well-funded Jewish Studies center. A new appeals procedure for anyone turned down for promotion or tenure, and a hiring process even more byzantine than the old one (the manual for hiring a faculty member is over seventy pages.) A complete overhaul of the Affirmative Action office, that will likely be done without input of white faculty (save a few "allies"). These are, in Tabakin's world, "face-saving" changes.

He said that two weeks ago, after the settlement was announced, a faculty member put his arm around him and said words to the effect of, "Congratulations, you Jews certainly know how to get money from the institution."
What does "words to the effect" (I added the italics) mean here? Furst is reporting hearsay from Tabakin, and Tabakin is interpreting what he heard, and Furst reports this without question or rebuttal. This from a man that has a rather tenuous grasp of the meaning of "face-saving". I think we have a right to know what exactly was said and who said it. There's a grievance procedure, Geoffrey, and I think you're quite aware of it. But ...

Said Tabakin: "I took it as a kind of friendly hostility that is typical of Minnesota and St. Cloud. If I say anything, I can't take a joke, and if I say something, I'm obviously one of those crazies."
Obviously indeed.

Note that there is absolutely no mention of the College Republicans and the Israeli flag affair in Furst's article. Wasn't that at all relevant, if you're going to tie the Somali story to the anti-Semitism case?

No, not to Furst. He uses a pretty bad quote of Saigo ("I can't control everything that happens" on campus -- boy, Roy, I hope the Chancellor doesn't hear that!) and quotes Mike Landy, a Jewish member of the city council who lost the mayoral race by 231 votes who says local Jews do not have the perception of St. Cloud that the StarTribune has. (Based on my non-scientific sampling, a.k.a. "the Nichols method", I'd agree with Landy.) But in Furst's world, Landy lost the race because he lost the VFW vote.