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Anatomy of a Smear: Horowitz and the College of DuPage

By John K. Wilson

As part of David Horowitz’s crusade to bring the Academic Bill of Rights to the College of DuPage, Horowitz published a smear on his website, frontpagemag.com, in February, accusing the College of a severe left-wing bias in its speakers. According to Horowitz’s website, “Out of a total of 117 speakers, we found that 64 speakers or presentations (55% of the total) leaned to the left politically – often far to the left. 20 speakers or presentations (17%) were judged to have been neutral. In 33 cases (28% of the total), we were unable to identify the political leanings of the speaker or presentation. Not one of the 117 speakers or presentations at DuPage was found to represent conservative views or views to the right of center even though roughly half the nation holds such views.”

Horowitz’s website greatly exaggerated the number of leftist speakers on campus. Fully 10% of all the “left” speakers identified by Horowitz’s group over a span of five years came from panels at just two events, “Drop the Debt, Invest in People” and “Jerusalem Women Speak: 3 Women, 3 Faiths, One Shared Vision.” Also, Larry Jackson was counted twice as a leftist speaker because he is director of Mission and Spiritual Care at Advocate Bethany Hospital and worked with former convicts. And Horowitz’s website even condemns as leftist the “Differently Abled Dance Troupe,” although it’s hard to claim that dancers with disabilities are indoctrinating students.

Meanwhile, the claim that “not one” speaker from a conservative viewpoint could be identified is also false, as a quick search proved. Among the speakers listed on Horowitz’s website at the College of DuPage were Michael Miller, a corporate lawyer who is part of the Republican Jewish Coalition; Steve Matuszak, founder of the Chicago Comedy Company, which is dedicated to “clean comedy”; Jim Baier, the HR manager for UPS; Russell Maheras, a Public Affairs Officer for the Air Force who spoke about career opportunities in the military; Todd Zoellick, a George W. Bush appointee who served as a top official in the Department of Education; Michael Rowse, a Hong Kong government official who became a Chinese citizen to stay in the government in his role aiding business development; KumKum Dalal, CEO of a consulting firm for outsourcing work to India; J.L. Whitmer, a special agent for the FBI; Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart, who helped run the Bush Administration-controlled Afghan government; Michael M. Gunter, who was praised by the right-wing group Campus Watch listed Gunter as one of the 32 top academic experts on the Middle East; and retired general Roméo Dallaire.

Even if Horowitz’s website was accurate in listing all of the speakers, it is plain that they distorted their ideology by assigning the “left” label against almost everyone while refusing to say that a long parade of businessmen and military officials speaking on campus might represent a conservative viewpoint. No one is stopping conservatives from bringing speakers to the College of DuPage; but it is Horowitz’s goal with the Academic Bill of Rights to try to silence left-leaning speakers in the false name of balance.