More McCarthyism at the Daily Princetonian

February 17, 2021 2 min read

The Daily Princetonian launched another lengthy McCarthyist attack on a Princeton professor on February 11, exactly one week after its original attack article on him, by publishing prominently an insipid, as well as cruel, personal attack framed as an opinion piece by Princeton senior Braden Flax, under a grossly misleading headline. Meanwhile, the newspaper has not even acknowledged a February 7 letter to the editor from a former long-term Princeton senior lecturer that criticized the February 4 article as “attempted character assassination.”

The Daily Princetonian’s February 4 attack on Professor Joshua Katz resulted from an unprecedented, seven-month investigation of his personal life. The attack followed an editorial in which the newspaper denounced the professor and complained the Princeton Administration had not taken take action against him for an article he had written that was clearly protected by Princeton’s established free speech policy. Katz’s letter had criticized parts of a letter sent by over 300 Princeton faculty and staff making allegations of racism at Princeton and containing numerous demands on the Administration. In an editorial on February 6, Princetonians for Free Speech accused the Daily Princetonian of blatant McCarthyism for undertaking an unprecedented investigation of a professor at the same time it was calling on the Administration to take action against him for expressing views the newspaper strongly disagrees with. Our editorial pointed out that this effort by the newspaper is designed to send a message to faculty and students that if you dare express views the newspaper disagrees with you are in danger of being personally attacked.

The Flax opinion piece, while saying that the “claims have not been definitively confirmed,” then proceeds to rehash and exaggerate the charges in the February 4 article and throw in some nasty name-calling and amateur psychology as well. It also carries on the original article’s practice of attack by innuendo. We doubt very seriously the Daily Princetonian would have printed an opinion piece on any professor of whose views it approved that contained such name calling and personal attacks.

The Flax attack also continues the original hit piece’s attack on freedom of speech by suggesting that a professor who dares to disagree forcefully with the type of campus orthodoxy endorsed by the Daily Princetonian should not have been allowed to “ascend to a position of prominence and influence” at the university.

While the Daily Princetonian continues its attacks, it has still not answered the key question we posed in our previous Princetonians for Free Speech editorial: Show us where in the history of the newspaper you have undertaken such a lengthy investigation into the personal life of a professor whose views were acceptable to you. If you cannot do that, then it is proof positive that the investigation and the on-going attacks are politically motivated and corrupt.

Another question: What does the Daily Princetonian’s Board of Trustees think of the transformation of the paper by its current leadership into an ideologically driven vehicle to squash free speech and academic freedom?

By Edward L. Yingling, ’70, Secretary/Treasurer and Stuart Taylor, Jr. ’70, President,

Princetonians for Free Speech

Leave a comment

Also in Princeton Free Speech News & Commentary

Guest Essay in PAW: We’re Calling on Princeton to Do More to Fight Antisemitism on Campus

November 30, 2023 1 min read

Jacob Katz '23, Leon Skornicki '06
Princeton Alumni Weekly

Excerpt: As PAW has compellingly demonstrated in recent articles, Hamas’ barbarous attacks on Israeli citizens hit close to home for many Princetonians. But the attacks’ aftermath has reached us all. Skyrocketing antisemitism has reverberated around the globe, and sure enough, it made its way through Fitz Randolph Gate. Following two student-led pro-Intifada rallies, concerned students reached out to alumni about unchecked antisemitism on campus.

As alumni, we want current students to guide campus discourse. We had our turn, and now it is theirs. But as Princeton occupies a prominent place in both our personal identities and our national conversation, we have reason to make our voices heard when something is awry. And when exasperated students turn to us and other alumni for help, something is awry.
Read More
Can the Coming Crisis Revitalize our Republic? Thoughts on “Struggles of an Optimist,” a talk by Mitch Daniels ‘71

November 27, 2023 3 min read

By Khoa Sands ‘26

The idea of decline has always held a certain allure to historians and politicians alike. The high prophet of this declinism was Oswald Spengler, whose 1918 book The Decline of the West has become a motivating treatise for the American New Right. For these modern-day doomsayers, the United States is predestined to ruin, beset by internal crises of spiritedness and domestic politics as well as external threats of rising challengers to the US-led world order. These concerns are not unfounded – a revanchist China will be the largest geopolitical crisis of the twenty-first century and any casual observer of American politics can attest to the sorry state of domestic politics in America today.

Read More
On institutional neutrality and double-standards

November 21, 2023 1 min read

Matthew Wilson, Daily Princetonian

 Excerpt: As I write this essay, the despicable poison of Jew-hatred has taken a firm hold at so many college campuses, Princeton included. Here at Princeton, activists proudly chant “Intifada” and demand the complete eradication of the world’s only Jewish state; elsewhere, from CornellHarvard, and the University of Pennsylvania to Ohio State and Cooper Union, frightening (and sometimes violent and illegal) exhibitions of anti-Jewish attitudes abound.

For the most part, university responses to these shameful displays have been tepid and restrained. these same universities, despite being so reticent to speak out now, have a prolonged public history of weighing in on a wide array of hotly contested and politically controversial topics. At Princeton, for instance, recent years have seen official statements issued deploring Supreme Court rulings on abortion and affirmative actioncondemning a jury verdict, and attacking a professor for his political views. On Hamas’s terrorist attacks? No official statements.

Read More