“When we published Naomi Schaefer Riley’s blog posting on Brainstorm last week … several thousand of you spoke out in outrage and disappointment that The Chronicle had published an article that did not conform to the journalistic standards and civil tone that you expect from us,” Editor Liz McMillen wrote. “We now agree that Ms. Riley’s blog posting did not meet The Chronicle’s basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. As a result, we have asked Ms. Riley to leave the Brainstorm blog.”
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Commenters — many of whom are themselves academics — said she was being unfair to the young scholars and the field of black studies by not having read their work before dismissing it in a public forum. Riley responded that she had no interest in reading the dissertations, and that they were too narrowly focused to be widely read or have much academic value.
“Finally, since this is a blog about academia and not journalism, I’ll forgive the commenters for not understanding that it is not my job to read entire dissertations before I write a 500-word piece about them,” Riley wrote. “I read some academic publications … but there are not enough hours in the day or money in the world to get me to read a dissertation on historical black midwifery. In fact, I’d venture to say that fewer than 20 people in the whole world will read it.”
Riley, an affiliate scholar of conservative think tank Institute of American Values, was even more condescending and arrogant in responding to the criticism than she was in her original post.
Seriously, folks, there are legitimate debates about the problems that plague the black community from high incarceration rates to low graduation rates to high out-of-wedlock birth rates,” Riley wrote about the dissertations. “But it’s clear that they’re not happening in black-studies departments. If these young scholars are the future of the discipline, I think they can just as well leave their calendars at 1963 and let some legitimate scholars find solutions to the problems of blacks in America. Solutions that don’t begin and end with blame the white man.
Well, she can definitely blame “the white woman” for being out of a job — herself.