The Bradley Schaefer Affair, Part Three And A Twitter Brawl

The final installment of CampusReform.org‘s three-part expose’ of LSU astronomy professor Bradley Schaefer’s interactive Global Warming Lecture Experience made its way to the internet on Friday, with the highlight of the final episode being a series of dire predictions about the effects of global warming.

Schaefer, in the video, calls global warming “three times worse” than 9/11 – and suggests that India or Pakistan might use nuclear weapons against the United States as punishment for this country’s role in heating the planet.

The full video of Schaefer’s lecture is available for readers to decide for themselves whether the professor’s presentation was a balanced one. CampusReform.org’s record of Schaefer’s presentation is 39 minutes long and captures most of the hour-long class, with the discussion within the study groups omitted…

Full Video: LSU Astronomy Class from Campus Reform on Vimeo.

The posting of the CampusReform.org expose’ has caused LSU to dig in its heels in support of Schaefer. This afternoon a Twitter fight of sorts has broken out between the university and the advocacy group.

It began with a Twitter update from @nasorg, the Twitter account for the National Association of Scholars. The NAS posted an article on its website today on the university trade media response to CampusReform.org’s expose’ – namely, that Schaefer has been unfairly treated due to selective editing. NAS wasn’t impressed by that assessment…

Campus Reform has provided one of the clearest examples ever documented of liberal bias in academe. Defenders of the status quo saw its potential for serious damage and immediately set out to discredit it.
 
Both the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed published articles that essentially say: Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes? It’s not what it looks like. It was taken out of context. He yelled at liberal students too. The Chronicle article, “Video Seems to Catch Professor in a Liberal Rant, But There’s More to the Story,” paraphrases Schaeffer: “He was actually challenging all of his students, both liberal and conservative, he says, and not chastising any of them for their beliefs.”
 
Indeed, Professor Schaefer did mock the “Eliminate all engines” segment of the class as well. He said, “The other side – they’re just as bad also.” When students asked him where he would sit, he said he didn’t know but that “I would not sit on either of the two edges. I think those are insane.”
 
What Schaefer doesn’t realize is that he shouldn’t be jeering at students on either side of a debate he has staged with an invitation to take positions that he believes to be extreme. When he asks students to sit according to their beliefs, then ridicules them for doing so—no matter what their politics are, he is in the wrong. As a professor, his job is not to belittle both sides equally but to instruct impartially.
 
At the request of the Chronicle, Campus Reform published the full, unedited, 40-minute long video of the class. It doesn’t help Schaeffer’s case. Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle probably bet that most people would read their headlines, accept the notion that Campus Reform deviously and “selectively edited,” and not take the time to watch the longer version.
NAS’ tweet pushing the article read as follows…
Media Rush to Defend LSU “Blood Will Be on Your Hands” Prof: What do the higher ed media do when a professor is … http://bit.ly/cj2Du0 about 3 hours ago via twitterfeed
LSU then responded…
@nasorg @campusreform isn’t exonerated from not posting a complete video. The class ran 1 hr or 1.5 hrs. @campusreform is playing tricks. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to NASorg
CampusReform.org then entered into the fray…
[email protected]LSUNews Playing tricks? Where’s the cut in our video? about 2 hours ago via Seesmic Desktop
LSU’s response…
@campusreform What you’ve done is dishonest. The LSU class ran 1 hr or 1.5 hrs. http://ow.ly/3dQRI about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to campusreform
A return volley from LSU to both CampusReform and NAS…

@campusreform The class ran for an hour. Obviously, you lopped off video on the back end and possibly the front end Post all the video. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to campusreform

@nasorg The class ran for 55 minutes to an hour. @campusreform has not posted the entire video. they should post it. let the public decide. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to NASorg

@campusreform Post all the footage. Let everyone decide for themselves. Here’s LSU’s response: http://ow.ly/3dRco about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to campusreform

And a bit more…

@nasorg What @campusreform has done is wrong. They should post all the video at let everyone decide for themselves about what went down. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to NASorg

@campusreform You have the response. Now stop the dishonesty. Post all the footage. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to campusreform

@nasorg You can’t assume that. Look at what students are saying: http://ow.ly/3dRp1. @campusreform should post it all. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to NASorg

CampusReform’s response, in the form of a question…

@LSUNews A better question: does LSU defend and support the behavior in the 40 minutes of video that is posted? /cc @NASorg about 2 hours ago via Seesmic Desktop

And…

@LSUNews Let’s repeat: does LSU defend and support the behavior in the 40 minutes of video that is posted? about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

@LSUNews Does LSU stand with the dept chair who found the professor’s taped behavior “embarrassing”? http://bit.ly/fgUscM about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

@LSUNews Can you answer this question: does LSU defend and support the behavior in the 40 minutes of video that is posted? about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

@LSUNews Does LSU condemn the student who is complaining about the professor’s behavior to university HR and the dept chair? about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

The back and forth continues, as LSU responds…

@campusreform Post all the footage. Then we can continue this conversation. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to campusreform

@nasorg There’s nothing to exonerate Dr. Schaeffer for. The complete video shows that. It seems @campusreform doesn’t want to show that. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to NASorg

NAS weighed in…

@campusreform Academic freedom does not exonerate ranting @LSU prof http://bit.ly/cj2Du0 about 1 hour ago via web

Campus Reform responded that it has made available all the video it has…

[email protected]LSUNews All the footage of the professor’s lecture is right here: http://bit.ly/e3A1lZ about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop in reply to LSUNews

LSU’s response…

@campusreform Incorrect. The class lasted an hour. You’re misinformed. about 2 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to campusreform

Campus Reform’s response…

@LSUNews Where can this complete video be found? /cc @nasorg about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

@LSUNews What statements did the professor make that were not covered in the video? What could possibly exonate his actions? about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

@LSUNews The full lecture from the professor is posted. The remaining time was group discussion around students. about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

@LSUNews Your defense: 1) Concede that prof insulted & intimidated students. 2) Claim it’s okay b/c done to both sides. 3) Deflect to us. about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

To which LSU reponded…

@campusreform We didn’t record the class. But it was at least a hour long. I assume the source has all the footage. 34 minutes ago via HootSuite in reply to campusreform

And…

@campusreform It just occurred to me… Maybe the source didn’t tell you that the class in question ran at least a hour. Were you informed? 32 minutes ago via HootSuite

NAS then retweeted a post calling what LSU is doing “heavy damage control…”

matthewhurtt @LSUNews is doing heavy damage control today thanks to @CampusReform exposing a leftist professor: http://bit.ly/f50DyV 20 minutes ago via TweetDeck Retweeted by NASorg and 1 other

LSU’s response to that…

@matthewhurtt It’s not damage control. It’s showing the Twitterverse what @campusreform is. See LSU’s response: http://ow.ly/3dSbX about 1 hour ago via HootSuite in reply to matthewhurtt

NAS then peppered LSU with what are some pretty good questions…

@LSUNews Have you asked Prof. Schaeffer what happened during the rest of class? What did he say was omitted that would have exonerated him? 8 minutes ago via web

@LSUNews LSU stmnt: “It’s never right to misrepresent someone in order to advance a political agenda.” But that’s just what Schaeffer did. 11 minutes ago via web

@LSUNews It does look like the camera was turned off while the students discussed questions in small groups. So what? 16 minutes ago via web

Meanwhile, Campus Reform weighed in again…

@LSUNews Uh, right. We agree on that. The question remains: What statements did the professor make that were not covered in the video? about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

When no immediate response was forthcoming, the group popped this out…

And @LSUNews goes silent… Looks like the show’s over for now, folks. about 1 hour ago via Seesmic Desktop

If we’re to be permitted a bit of peanut-gallery punditry here, LSU is not coming off well. Schaefer’s presentation is, at best, a regurgitation of the same Climategate-discredited nonsense to be found at East Anglia University or Michael Mann’s classroom. At worst, he’s an obnoxious tyrant with a hard-left agenda he’d like to indoctrinate his underclassmen with.

You can defend Schaefer if you want by saying he’s equally obnoxious to the “ban all engines” crowd, and call that balance. But the fact is, by establishing seating arrangements according to political positions he himself frames – with the middle position being forced population control and banning sport-utility vehicles in the United States – the presentation is hopelessly skewed to begin with. Schaeffer does appear to spend a bit more time berating what looks like either a preponderance or a majority of the class than the eco-leftists on the other side of the room.

And what isn’t on that video might well make Schaeffer look more reasonable. But it hardly changes the fact that his core lecture on global warming is rife with politicized, wildly false and disproven junk science which was exploded a year ago with the release of the East Anglia e-mails. Nothing in LSU’s responses challenges that fact, which would indicate that LSU endorses the Michael Mann-Al Gore fraud the rest of the world is rapidly turning away from.

This is a real problem for the university at a time when the budget axe is falling. LSU can’t afford to be caught up in academic scandal at the same time they’re attempting to get the state legislature to gore other oxen or raise taxes for the university’s benefit.



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