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Fox News has a story detailing how a conservative student at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work was ridiculed, given failing grades, and denied his final project all because his views differed with theirs.

Student Says School Persecuted Him for Being Conservative

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A former student at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work is suing the school and several of his professors for discrimination, saying he was persecuted by the school’s “liberal political machine” for being a conservative.

William Felkner, 45, says the New England college and six professors wouldn’t approve his final project on welfare reform because he was on the “wrong” side of political issues and countered the school’s “progressive” liberal agenda.

Felkner said his problems with his professors began in his first semester, in the fall of 2004, when he objected in an e-mail to one of his professors that the school was showing and promoting Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” on campus. He said he objected because no opposing point of view was presented.

He said Professor James Ryczek wrote to him on Oct. 15, 2004, saying he was proud of his bias and questioning Felkner’s ability to “fit with the profession.”

“I think the biases and predilections I hold toward how I see the world and how it should be are why I am a social worker. In the words of a colleague, I revel in my biases,” he wrote.

Felkner’s complaint, filed two years ago, alleges that Ryczek discriminated against him for his conservative viewpoint and gave him bad grades because of it in several classes. It also alleges discrimination by other professors and administrators.

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Felkner said he received failing grades in Ryczek’s class for holding viewpoints opposed to the progressive direction of the class.

Felkner says he was also discriminated against by Professor Roberta Pearlmutter, who he says refused to allow him to participate in a group project lobbying for a conservative issue because the assignment was to lobby for a liberal issue. He alleges that Perlmutter spent a 50-minute class “assailing” his views and allowed students to openly ridicule his conservative positions, and that she reduced his grade because he was not “progressive.”

The Rhode Island College School of Social Work did not respond to a request for comment.

Felkner, a self-proclaimed free-market conservative, told FOXNews.com that during his final year, he wanted to do a project on “work first” welfare, which requires that recipients get jobs before they can get benefits. He said the school advocated an “education first” system, in which recipients get job training and don’t have to work for benefits.

“Basically it was a system that resulted in 2 percent of [Rhode Island’s] recipients being on welfare for over 10 years. It was just not working,” Felkner said. While at the college he had an internship with the governor’s office on public policy to work on welfare reform.

The social work organizing and policy degree program requires a student to complete a project that works for “progressive social change.” He was scheduled to complete his project in January, but he said the defendants’ actions kept him from finishing and graduating.

“There were two years worth of discrimination really, there’s no better way to put it, because I had different views than the school does,” Felkner said. “It’s kind of insane to think that someone studying how to help the poor can’t research welfare reform.”

Felkner also alleges in his complaint that the school’s treatment of him restricted his ability to express his opinions and that his bad grades damaged his professional reputation and would make it difficult for him to get a job as a social worker.

Kim Strom-Gottfried, professor of social work at U.N.C. Chapel Hill, said that faculty members should not impose their politics on students.

“My bottom line is I think clearly as faculty we have to appraise our students based on required competencies and demonstrations of that, whether critical thinking or whatever, but there shouldn’t be a belief litmus test for joining the profession or for an assignment,” Strom-Gottfried said.

“The questions I have in cases such as his — why would someone choose to affiliate with a profession that’s so at odds with his beliefs and his value-base? That’s always a question for me,” she said.

Bruce Thyer, professor of social work and former dean at the College of Social Work at Florida State University, has written about discrimination against conservatives and against evangelical Christians in social work. He said discrimination hurts the profession.

“I have seen students actively discouraged from perusing social work because of their politically conservative views. I’ve also seen it happen with students who have held strong religious views,” he said. “I think that the profession is a great and noble discipline and there are occasional episodes like this that cast a black eye, and it’s really unnecessary.”

Thyer said liberal and conservative social workers have the same goal — to help people — and that the school overstepped its bounds in Felkner’s case.

“I think it’s an overzealous faculty wishing to impose their own political views upon those of their students, and that’s unfortunate because there are many areas in which liberal and conservative thinkers within the discipline of social work have so much to agree upon,” he said. “Nobody’s advocating, certainly not Bill Felkner, that people not be helped.”

The college filed a motion for summary judgment this summer, but it was recently denied by the court. Felkner said the school is now seeking a settlement.

He said he would still like to receive his masters in social work, and he is still working on government policy on social welfare programs in Rhode Island through the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, which he founded after leaving the school.

“You can say what you want about the war on poverty and how it’s going, but I think that it hasn’t gone well and I think there are better alternatives, and I think it was a shame I wasn’t even allowed to research and pursue those interests,” Felkner said. “It’s indoctrination.”

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Fox News has been following Leno and Letterman’s biased “jokes” about the Republicans and how they make seven times more “jokes” about Republicans than any other political party.  Today they filed a story about last night’s performance.  It’s not like it should surprise anyone.

FOXNews.com
Friday, October 17, 2008

The tone of the questions from the kings of late night was just a tad different Thursday night when Joe Biden and John McCain made their respective appearances with Jay Leno and David Letterman.

It turns out the hosts of the “Late Show” and “The Tonight Show” have not been entirely balanced in the way they dole out their political put-downs and wisecracks. A tally kept by the Center for Media and Public Affairs showed they’ve skewered Republicans over Democrats by a margin of seven-to-one in recent weeks.

Thursday night’s must-see late night was no outlier.

See if you notice any familiar threads in the hosts’ questions:

Letterman to McCain:

“And for your part, when they go down the list, when they chronicle some of these things that are being hollered out from the crowd, regarding Barack Obama — ‘traitor, treason, terrorist’ — and so on and so forth — and worse, as a matter of fact … But, Senator, you yourself in previous campaigns have been the victim of some pretty nasty campaign abuse. So do you feel because of that or just because of your humanity you have a responsibility to lift your purpose here?”

“Now, I didn’t know that Sarah Palin was governor of Alaska. I never heard of her. I mean, I knew Alaska was a state, and I knew they must have a governor. But I’d never heard of her … And the question is, if she had been a man, would you also have selected him as a man?”

“And what is the process when it comes time to pick that position. How do you do that? Is it you and a committee? Is it just you going through your phonebook? I mean, honestly, I don’t … how do you select a vice president? You knew about her. But the rest of America, sadly, didn’t really know about her.”

“Here’s my point of view on this. And again, I really don’t know anything. … When this happened, I thought to myself, wow … you try to take the best care of your children that you can for their future. Present and future. And I kind of felt like that’s the responsibility to a huge extent of our administration. So the person, man or woman, who is in charge of that, has got to do the same. And I was just wondering if the thoughtfulness of that process included your selection of vice president.”

“If I were to run upstairs, wake you up in the middle of the night and say, “John, is Sarah Palin really the woman to lead us through the next four, eight years? Through the next 9/11 attack?”

“She’s the one, I think who says that Barack Obama pals around with terrorists. Has she in fact said that at rallies? … But did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?”

“Have people talked to you about taking (Palin) off the ticket? Did that ever happen? … Did people in the party ever mention that? Did you ever hear any discussion?”

Leno to Biden:

“Can I call you Joe? Is that okay?”

“Let me ask you, McCain has been here many times over the last 10 or 15 years, and you know him very well. I saw, last night, odd facial expressions I have never seen before. I’m not being a wise guy. I mean, it seemed different. Did he seem different to you? You’ve known him a long time.”

“This Joe the plumber guy, I don’t know … I think more people are afraid of plumbers than terrorists, actually. … But it seems awful convenient and all — I’m a little suspicious, but that’s me, you know, worried about taxes. Does it seem real?”

“Well, it must be more difficult — when you started back in the ’70s, they didn’t cover it like they do. It’s, like, every … It’s 24 hours a day. It’s every second. Every word you utter is on — how do you?”

“Well, you were also the star of the highest-rated TV show of the year, with you and your costar, Sarah Palin. Any more specials planned?”

“Did she wink at you?”

“So what’s your opinion of Sarah Palin? … Go ahead. Qualified?”

“Let me ask you — this is kind of a serious question. You’ve been in the Senate for 35 years. You’re a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Is vice president a step down power-wise?”

“So where do you get the call? Is it like that prize-winning thing where the van pulls up with the big check?”

Related posts: Media Bias: Letterman, Leno Ridicule Republicans 7-1 Over Democrats

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As if the mainstream media bias wasn’t already obvious, Fox News has posted a story citing a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs that shows the late night talk shows making fun of Republicans seven times more than Democrats, 286-42.  The jokes were tallied for five weeks after John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate.  John McCain has had 106 jokes told about him and Sarah Palin has had 180, but, not surprisingly, Barack Obama has only had 26 jokes told about him and Joe Biden a mere 16.

By Jennifer Lawinski
FOXNews.com
Thursday, October 16, 2008

John McCain is slated to return to “Late Show With David Letterman” Thursday night, but should the onetime media favorite be preparing for an ambush?

A study shows the Kings of Late Night are not equal-opportunity destroyers this year when it comes to telling jokes about the candidates for president and vice president — they’re hammering Republicans a stunning seven times more often than they skewer Democrats.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs, a media analysis group, kept a tally of jokes told about the presidential contenders on the “Late Show” and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in the five weeks after McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate and vaulted the little-known Alaska governor into the national spotlight.

The total: Republicans, 286. Democrats, 42.

“Generally the Republicans get targeted much more often than Democrats, but this election is driving it off the charts,” said CMPA Executive Director Donald Rieck.

Letterman and Leno told 106 jokes about McCain and 180 about Palin in the 25 shows that aired between Aug. 29, when McCain chose her, and Oct. 2, the date of the vice presidential debate.

Click here to see photos of McCain in the late-nite hot seat.

Barack Obama, who may be Leno’s guest next week, was targeted only 26 times — barely once a night. His gaffe-prone running mate, Joe Biden, who is scheduled to appear on Leno Thursday night, was hit only 16 times, not even one-tenth the number of jokes told about Palin over the five-week period.

McCain’s date with Letterman Thursday comes weeks after he canceled a scheduled appearance in September that left the late-night comedian hopping mad.

The Republican candidate canceled his appearance so he could go to Washington to deal with the economic crisis. While recording his show, Letterman learned that McCain was still in New York, doing an interview on the CBS Evening News, and he spent much of his show skewering the Republican who stood him up.

Palin also has taken a big hit from the late-night comedians — and from Saturday Night Live, where Tina Fey’s parody of the vice presidential candidate has skyrocketed the show’s ratings. It is rumored that Palin will make an appearance on SNL on Oct. 25.

“Palin’s just a bonanza for these guys,” said Rieck. “You have a woman who shoots wolves from a helicopter; whether she’s a Democrat or Republican, that’s just a bonanza. Biden’s kind of boring compared to that, isn’t he?”

Obama is almost as boring to comedians as Biden, said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.

“He is kind of a comedian’s worst nightmare,” Thompson said. “He doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t fall down like Gerald Ford did. He’s not filled with scandal and isn’t a sexual player like Clinton was. He doesn’t misspell words like Dan Quayle did.

“The size of his ears is about all they have to work with.”

Tim Graham, director of media analysis for Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, said the comedians’ tendency to avoid mocking Obama comes from a fear of being called racist.

“There is a racial minefield that they’re trying to avoid,” Graham said. “I think they see Obama as a historic figure, and because he’s a historic figure it’s like making jokes about Martin Luther King.”

Palin, like President Bush, has been pegged as dumb by the comedians, Graham said.

“All of the prejudices that the liberal media elite have towards the hockey mom from Alaska are clearly coming through with these New York-based and LA-based comedians, probably as strong as or more strongly than they’re coming across in the news media,” he said.

Should Obama win the presidency, his get-out-of-jokes-free card from the late-night comedians will expire, said Thompson, leaving him just as vulnerable as McCain and Palin have been during the election.

“He is by no means a comedian’s dream-come-true the way Bill Clinton was,” he said. “But you can’t be in that office without delivering material people can work with.

“I am convinced that when comedians die and go to heaven, Bill Clinton is still president. When Monica Lewinsky came along, the jokes wrote themselves.”

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