Share this article

print logo

A tempest over black studies and blogging erupts at the Chronicle of Higher Education

Naomi Schaefer Riley has been kicked out of her blogging position at the Chronicle of Higher Education, after thousands of outraged readers protested, in an online petition and on Twitter, her April 30 post.

In the group blog known as Brainstorm, the author and former Wall Street Journal reporter blasted the work of some young African-American scholars which had been featured in the periodical, calling it "liberal hackery."  She went on to suggest that black studies departments be shuttered. 

Depending on your politics and point of view, you can see this dust-up as largely about:

1) blatant racism
2) political correctness run amok
3) the hazards of unedited blogging, especially when combined with lazy reporting
4) censorship
5) the power of social media mobs

Here's the blog that caused so much trouble, with such statements as: “What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap." 

Also interesting: The Wall Street Journal's chronology of events; a summary from that includes an interview with Riley; and New York University professor Jay Rosen's discussion  on his Facebook page.

Finally, here's the Chronicle's note of apology to readers, dated Monday, announcing that Riley had been canned. 

From blog post to firing: one week. If nothing else, this proves that Internet time is ever-faster and ever more relentless.