For a Harvard student, you really did not communicate well in your
interview tonight. Maybe you were just nervous. One thing is certain,
you could use a lesson on manners. When you extend an invitation to a
speaker, you honor the invitation. Next time, don’t invite him.
Interestingly, when conservatives “un-invite” a guest it makes headline
news. Funny that you ended up on FOX. Hmmm.
At least she can disagree without being disagreeable. Still, it wasn’t just average folks that had hostile reactions. The nativist blog 24ahead, which I will not link to, called me a “fascist.” I put up my post explaining my position over at Blue Mass. Group, yesterday hoping for some local support. Instead, BMG editor Bob Neer compared me to a chimpanzee.
This, of course, was all after Jim Gilchrist called me an “anarchist radical”, and accused me of “threatening disruption and violence”, of “terrorizing the Harvard Undergraduate Legal Committee (HULC)” and of making “serious threats.” I also just saw that Jim Gilchrist went on Neil Cavuto’s show and called me a “scoundrel”, accused me of threatening to “create a riotous atmosphere” and said:
The kid is — obviously he’s stupid — and if anyone should be banned
and barred from Harvard University, it should be a student that stupid
and irresponsible, not someone like myself.Jim Gilchrist – Your World with Neil Cavuto (16 October 2009)
I’m sorry Mr. Gilchrist, I think understanding what it means to tell the truth is a prerequisite for admittance into Harvard. I will embed Gilchrist’s entire interview with Neil Cavuto, below:
Recently, Fox news is catching a lot of flack from the Obama administration for not being a real news organization. All one needs to do is compare Niel Cavuto’s interview with Jim Gilchrist and Juan Williams interview with me to know that’s the truth. I got just two minutes to make my case while Jim Gilchrist got five minutes to make his case. In addition letting Gilchrist spread falsehoods on his show, Cavuto also lobbed softball questions at Gilchrist like:
Did they know that you were a Purple Heart recipient, you’re a war hero? Do they know the injuries and near-death experience you had defending liberties of this country? I don’t want to sound cooky and all but you’re not some nut, you’re not some crazy, you’re — I know you’re a modest guy, but people who don’t know you — you’re a genuine hero.Neil Cavuto – Your World with Neil Cavuto (16 October 2009)
Needless to say, I’ve taken quite a beating over the past few days. I have to hand it to Jim Gilchrist. Gilchrist might be an extremist who is complicit in violence, but he is also a skilled propagandist. By propagating the complete falsehood that students like myself threatened him with violence, Gilchrist is obfuscating his complicity in violence through his relationship with Shawna Forde, another Minuteman leader.
I also have made missteps. I went on the O’Reilly Factor preparing to get hit with the free speech argument so I lead by rebutting that. In doing so, I’ve made this a conversation about free speech, instead of what this is really about, which is the extremist anti-migrant rhetoric which is directly responsible for increasing hate crimes against Latinos, and the death of people like 9-year-old Brisenia Flores. I’ve learned my lesson. Lead with you’re most important talking point. Television is not conducive to laying out rational arguments. As Erin Rosa said on my facebook profile “We gotta be prepared to tell our side in 30 seconds at most.”
Fortunately, all of the negativity and all of my missteps have been outweighed by the unbelievable support I’ve received not only from family and friends, but by the hundreds of pro-migrant supporters I’ve connected with over the years. Migrant advocacy organizations are pouring money into capturing “persuadables” online, which is important. However, I have long argued that the best investment to be made online is in strengthening pro-migrant online spaces, not in changing already established online spaces. This specific incident is the first time I’ve truly seen both the fruits of my labor and my argument proven right.
Anyone who follows my writing knows that I take journalistic standards very seriously, and I can honestly say that the support I’ve received online through facebook, twitter, email, and the comments here and on other blogs, easily beats all of the negativity I’ve received. For me, that sends a powerful message. I can’t compete with Fox News in their medium, but online, pro-migrant folks rule. It’s impossible for me to thank everyone who’s shown support without leaving people out so please accept this post as a token of my gratitude and a sign that the work we’re doing is working.