Much Ado About Nothing

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Guest Writer Matt Monks, Delaware 105.9 Talk Show Host

Sunday, a day of rest. Ah to sleep, rest and relax. Sometimes, not so much. Like Sunday last for example.
There I was, enjoying my cup of coffee, a few personal things I had to take care of online. Then, I noticed a headline, a top of the fold headline. It was titled “Notre Dame Graduates walk out on Pence as he touts free speech”.

When I first saw this on Yahoo News I thought to myself, here’s another example of the political nonsense happening on campuses around the country. Then, I began scouring websites. Lo and behold, across all of the major news sites, this was the lead story; “Notre Dame Graduates walk out on Pence as he touts free speech”.
I decided to dig a little bit and see what all the fuss is about. I mean, every news site would not put this on the top of the fold if this was not a substantial story with legs, would they?

The University of Notre Dame celebrated its 172nd Commencement Ceremony Sunday, with an audience of approximately 24,000 family, friends, faculty and graduates. All 2,081 degrees were conferred.

In his introduction of Vice President Mike Pence, Father Jenkins (big boss at ND) recognized the reality of “a fractured nation, with deep divisions and raw political feelings,” in the midst of difficult times. “We must speak the truth we know and challenge the injustice we see,” he said. “But we must also listen to those who disagree, care for the bonds that join us together and find ways to build a society where all can flourish – even the people who don’t look like us, think like us, or vote with us.”

Then came time for Vice President Pence to speak. Approximately 100 graduates left the ceremony in protest during the vice president’s speech. Wait a minute, say what? 100 graduates walked out? That’s it?
Now, if you do the math, you see that all of the screaming and yelling by the “mainstream media” about the “Notre Dame Graduates walk out on Pence as he touts free speech” is simply a load of hooey. Reuters News used the term “dozens of students” walked out of ND’s commencement exercise to protest a speech by our VP.

Dozens? 100? Already we have a divide in reporting the facts. You seriously can’t find a reporter that can count anywhere from dozens to 100? Let’s say 100 walked out, the high end of any number I’ve seen published anywhere. That equates to less than 5% of the graduates walking out of the ceremony in protest. Let me say that again for the cheap seats; less than 5%! That means more than 95% did not walk out.

So, for less than 5% of the graduates, the overwhelming minority, the “news” that was being blasted all over every major web news site I reviewed (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC, etc.), top of the fold no less, was “Notre Dame Graduates walk out on Pence as he touts free speech”.

And what did the VP say that would make people walk out? In his speech at the Indiana school, Pence addressed the controversy of what constitutes free speech on campus. “I would submit that the increasing intolerance and suppression of the time-honored tradition of free expression on our campuses jeopardizes the liberties of every American. This should not, and must not be met with silence,” Pence said, in an apparent reference to efforts to bar him from speaking. “Far too many campuses across America have been characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness all of which amounts to nothing less than the suppression of the freedom of speech,”

Oh the horror. The sheer horror. No wonder the graduates , less than 5%, walked out. How could they be expected to idly sit and listen to this nonsense? Let’s recap. Free speech is a good thing. Jeopardizing the liberty of free speech is a bad thing. How dare the VP.

My point? Journalism is headed south for the winter and does not appear to be coming back anytime soon. If you want to know the truth about something anymore, you are going to have to dig a little bit yourself, lest ye be led around by the nose by those who purport to provide unbiased reporting. Journalism may not be dead, but it is certainly in a serious coma. My hope is it makes a full and speedy recovery soon.

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