I recently thought about the zoo, thanks to a Daily Caller opinion piece by a young man about to graduate from my old grad school.
In the article, entitled "Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, fostering a culture of liberalism," the self-identified conservative Brian Schneider wrote about how Medill teaches its students a liberal media bias. His proof was that some professors were liberals.
Like I said, it made me think of the zoo.
It was Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo in 2004 and, as so many have done before, I walked into the reptile house. Surrounded by the various caimans, tuataras, iguanas and skinks, I, as has happened to so many, was forced to become a reptile.
My skin turned green and scaly, I went from endo- to ectothermic and, in that life-affirming and horrifying moment every boy remembers forever, laid my first batch of soft, mucousy eggs.
Then I left the reptile house, walking by the bird house, growing a beak and a gastric mill in the process. The monkey house came next, where I grew a tail and predilection for Paul Frank designs.
It is well-known, after all, that one cannot be around a large group of things for any period of time without becoming one of them, be they reptiles, birds, monkeys or liberals.
I am truly astounded Mr. Schneider was able to keep his conservative bent in an atmosphere where, if his experience was anything like mine, he was constantly drilled with bits of liberal propaganda like Flash animation and deserving an F if you spell a name wrong. Just half an hour ago, I and everyone on the alumni listserv was subjected to a political tirade by a current professor asking if the distinction between "farther" and "further" was becoming less relevant. Grammar is elitist!
Given this liberal indoctrination camp, it was sort of odd that none of Mr. Schneider's examples of liberal bias at Medill were actually from the classroom.
I mean, he talked about an e-mail chain where two professors commented on their admiration for the Daily Show calling out Sean Hannity for manipulating footage to make a rally appear larger than it was.
And he talked about the speakers brought in for the completely optional lectures. At the private university Mr. Schneider and I both chose to attend. I really hate to be the one to explain the free market to a conservative.
Mr. Schneider did mention some professors mocking Fox News' "fair and balanced" slogan. (Which, beyond all sarcasm, shows that Fox News has some pretty severe problems with balance if even defenders like Mr. Schneider equate an attack on Fox with an attack on conservatism.)
But Mr. Schneider didn't give even one example of teaching politics under the guise of journalism (although he did mention one professor terming him a "lone wolf" for being a conservative, a term I think sounds sort of cool). Must be an omission.
His major point seemed to be that 15 percent of the full-time Medill journalism faculty contributed to Democratic causes, where only one person contributed only to Republicans.
Unless I'm counting from a different list than Mr. Schneider (and that's not snark; I actually want to make sure we're talking on the same terms), Medill has 53 full-time journalism faculty members.
So 15 percent of that comes out to be eight people. Eight people who have at some point donated to Democrats. And, as Mr. Schneider points out, some of them, including the dean, have also contributed to Republicans.
Out of 53 people, eight contributed to Democratic campaigns at some point in their lives and one contributed solely to Republicans. Add that to having to associate with people who don't like Fox News and living through the horror of being called a "lone wolf." Mr. Schneider, I'm amazed you survived this commie Hogwarts.
I think the major criticism of Medill should be not that it's a liberal brainwashing academy, but that they would award a master's degree to someone who would try to pass off this mishmash of contradictory statements, hurt feelings and misleading statistics as an argument.
Are there liberals at Medill? Yes. Now show me any one of them abusing their positions to force-feed liberal bias. Otherwise, you've just exposed nine people for openly contributing to campaigns they cared about. What's next? Outing Elton John?
Mr. Schneider tried to manipulate figures by comparing percentages to numerals, was unable to find an example of professors teaching liberal dogma in the classroom and tried to defend something as "balanced" (not favoring a side) while identifying it as "conservative" (the name of the side they favored).
(And by the way, how is conservative Fox News, which has as many U.S. viewers as all other cable news networks combined and is part of a $30 billion multinational conglomerate called "News Corporation," somehow always overlooked when people talk about "the liberal media"? If we're looking at sheer market share, there's no media more mainstream than Fox. That always bugs me.)
Either way, Mr. Schneider, their liberal plot failed: You seem to have left Medill with the same opinions you had when you entered. You were able to be around people who thought differently than you do and yet did not become one of them.
You stayed Republican in a place where eight people contributed to at least one Democrat, compared to one person who contributed solely to Republicans. I and my soft, mucousy eggs salute you.