Campus Free Speech

50 Student Activists—Including 'Current and Former Editors'—Protested Against The Harvard Crimson for Being Too Objective

Progressive activists want the newspaper to stop practicing balanced journalism.


Some students at Harvard University still have it out for The Harvard Crimson. On Friday, a group of 50 activists gathered at the newspaper's headquarters to protest its coverage of pro-immigration rallies, which the activists have deemed insufficiently sympathetic.

Notably, the Friday protest was organized by "current and former Crimson editors," according to The Harvard Crimson, which has thus far refused to give in to the most serious demand—that reporters cease requesting comment from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As The Crimson's top editor, Kristine Guillaume, has correctly and repeatedly explained, it is standard practice for journalists to seek comment from named subjects in articles.

Nevertheless, some of The Crimson's own staff members and alumni evidently think the paper should stop practicing objective journalism, and instead become some kind of mouthpiece for the activist left. Spearheading this effort is Danu Mudannayake, a design editor, who noted in a Medium post that protesters entered The Crimson building with signs that read "Undocumented Lives > 'Objective Journalism.'"

She also claimed that 33 current and active staff members of The Crimson signed an internal petition she circulated. The petition calls for "a formal apology, a review of the request for comment policy, and an open forum for students to share their concerns."

Mudannayake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Harvard's student government has voiced support for the protest, and the College Democrats have signed the activists' anti-Crimson petition.

I have been told that adult journalists are not supposed to criticize college-aged journalists, even when they really, really deserve it. Nevertheless, I would submit that ongoing activist efforts (internally and externally) to compel the student paper of the country's most elite university to forfeit its objectivity merit some amount of concern from professional journalists. After all, some of these activists may soon be joining our ranks.

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  1. idiots. sometimes my favorites page on siriusxm has *too many* good songs to choose just one.

    1. Bieber AND T-Swizzle? Hard to choose.

      1. what kind of moron loses the right to sing her own stupid songs?

        1. Surely so-called “objectivity” is far overrated; it can so easily become an excuse not only to eliminate alternative facts, but to misconstrue, for example, the nature of illegal “parody.” It certainly would not have helped our efforts in that regard here at NYU and, accordingly, it’s not something we encourage in our classrooms, per campus policy. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

  2. Well, they no longer require Latin, so no one know what veritas means.

    1. Isn’t that the racist guy that tried to smear Planned Parenthood?

  3. “Mudannayake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

    Ooh, burn!

    1. I say we boycott Reason until they stop soliciting comments from the regressive left. WHO’S WITH ME?

  4. Let me know when what we already know about college campuses changes in any meaningful way.

  5. Fifty students out of 6,000. Less than 1%. Just tell ’em to buzz off.

    1. Exactly. Robby gives this vocal minority of retards too much attention.

      1. Hmmm, I dunno. Have you seen the reaction to them? Particularly the reaction of plenty of professional reporters and journalists. I think it’s newsworthy.

        More to the point, nobody is telling them to buzz off.

    2. Send some thuggish Pinkertons after them. Just for yucks.

    3. Do you seriously think the Crimson is going to tell them to buzz off? Stay tuned…

  6. I have to agree with the activists here. If the Harvard Paper isn’t expecting the students who work for it to be complete leftist hacks, it isn’t preparing them for a career in journalism. The Harvard Crimson owes it to its student journalists to hold them to the same standard of leftist hackery that their future employers will hold them.

    1. I was gonna say the same thing. Biased news is all the media know how to do. What’s the point of training for non-existent jobs?

      1. The Crimson should teach them to code

    2. Yeah, but the talented hacks know you get a statement from the bad person and then selectively quote them to make them look even worse.

      1. Zeb, your problem is that “you…get a…bad person and …make them…even worse.”

    3. (applause)

  7. After all, some of these activists may soon be joining our ranks.

    How many “editors” does Reason need?

    1. who’s being replaced?

      1. Have you ever read the paper? I’ve happened along a handful of articles over the last few years and they have all been dishonest (and poorly written) Progressive bs. Even insinuating that the paper is vaguely objective or evenhanded is a major stretch. This is just lefty activists attacking lefty activists for not polishing their shittiness enough

        1. i can live w/that.

      2. The clingers. Duh.

    2. At least 23.

  8. Currently, they “need” 18. Staff page shows 18 editors:

    KMW; Gillespie*; Welch*; Bragg; Epstein; Slade; Computerman; Walker; Doherty; Root; Sullum; ENB; Shackford; Soave; Britschi; Riggs; Binion; Davis;

    *Still confused about what “at large” means exactly

    1. oops, that’s supposed to be a reply to Unicorn

    2. Midget psychic escapes prison. Headline reads “Small Medium at Large”

      1. Nutcase escapes the insane asylum, visits his girlfriend. “Nut bolts and screws” always makes for a fun joke at Home Depot.

        1. Real-life news headline: “Defendant’s speech ends with long sentence.”

        2. Plot twist: his girlfriend is the midget. So “Nut Bolts And Screws Small Medium At Large.”

          1. Clap…clap…clap…

    3. ‘at large’ means in need of weight control

  9. Can’t wait ’til these student/assholes graduate and become Jorn-o-list/assholes at the alphabet networks and major fishwrapper manufacturers …

    1. I don’t know how many of them are pursuing a journalism career path and how many of them are just in it for the experience.

      The Harvard directory is not stalker-friendly, so I can’t find out the majors of the editors.

  10. semi OT: but has anyone else noticed it’s getting harder to find comment sections online that aren’t full of rabid progs? I’m talking comment sections to blogs, etc. that aren’t even political. I used to comment on a work-related one and I think I’m done with it because I got piled on for making a sarcastic comment about the “pesky first amendment” when someone thought a Christian boss should be thrown in jail for leaving tracts at an employee’s Jewish event.

    This is the second (apolitical, I thought) blog I will probably stop frequenting in a span of a few months for similar reasons. (first was because the writer was equating the activism of Hong Kong protesters with Greta Thunberg)

    I’ve actually been pretty tolerant of liberal bias for my entire adult life, but how do you tolerate “should we put all of the conservatives in camps NOW or should we torture them for a bit first?” Really, I just want some areas of the internet back where I can have a brief escape from all of these people for five seconds.

    1. and don’t get me started on Linkedin

      1. My LinkedIn feed includes lots of scientists and engineers, so some serious pushback on AGW, and only a few SJWs

    2. Glibertarians?

    3. I have noticed some of that. I also notice how the number of rabid prog accounts seems to vary with the newscycle. For example, before the 16 election and before the 18 midterms, they were everywhere. Then after the election the accounts seem to vanish into thin air.

      I used to think the claim that Soros and others paid people to troll comment sections was a paranoid fantasy. I now think that maybe they do. It seems every board is infested with them and they all put out the same talking points.

      1. I kinda doubt it. There are enough emotional leftists getting their talking points from MSNBC to shit all over comment sections without money from “Creepy Dude.”

        1. I agree. But the accounts appearing and vanishing during election season says it isn’t just crazy progs, since crazy progs are always there.

          1. Election season gets them all worked up.

            1. That’s “woked up”

          2. Same as the anti-war protestors who kept the Kennebunkport police busy while Bush was president and then *poof* disappeared once a D got elected. They are still around.

          3. I think it’s probably more just the kinds of idiots who sign up for political mailing lists and take the talking points to heart doing it for free. I wouldn’t doubt that there are people getting paid to do it too. But there is plenty of energy people are willing to expend for free on that stuff.
            Sounds exhausting to me. How pointless can something be? I think that the only thing that saves this place is that the comment volume is low enough that conversations can actually happen and (at least some) people are open to new ideas.

      2. How much do you have to pay people who are already “working” on their laptops at Starbucks all day?

      3. They’ve been paid for over a decade at this point, Google Code Blue.

        Also liberals are more likely to live at home and rage on the internet, see twitter. Liberals rarely have positives on their lives. Even their modern art is rage screaming at period blood art.

    4. No tolerance. Beat them down hard, really hard. In fact, we need McCarthyism back.

      Marxism must be cleansed from America if we are to survive as a constitutional republic.

    5. I think more comment sections (like this one) are filled with rabid anti-progs.

      As for the Crimson, certainly asking for comments from all sides is normally the thing to do. Unless doing so would put people in real, physical danger. If alerting ICE to an ongoing demonstration could have gotten the participants arrested and deported, then maybe holding off contacting them until the demonstration is over would make sense. And if publishing participants’ faces could have done likewise, then perhaps blurring those faces might make sense. (I saw it suggested somewhere that that could have been the case.) News media disguise faces and voices often to protect people. But those are about the ONLY situations in which seeking timely comments from all sides, and accurately documenting an event with photos, might not be the best courses of action.

      1. “And if publishing participants’ faces could have done likewise, then perhaps blurring those faces might make sense.”

        Seems that if you’re worried about being busted…going to a PUBLIC protest might be a bad idea. Who knows.

        “News media disguise faces and voices often to protect people.”

        For one-on-one interviews. Don’t see them doing it at PUBLIC events.

        I capitalize PUBLIC because it is key. You have zero expectation of privacy in public.

        “But those are about the ONLY situations in which seeking timely comments from all sides, and accurately documenting an event with photos, might not be the best courses of action.”

        Oh, I’m sure you’ll find other reasons to do hackery if you think about it.

    6. I think the commentariat swings pretty rightward if you recognize that most of the “leftists” are parody sockpuppets (some of them are parodies of sockpuppets, even). Like, to the degree that plenty of the actual libertarians around here get piled on for not being sufficiently worshipful to our glorious orange savior.

      That said, I’m baffled by the assertion that you thought the comments section on an explicitly politically affiliated news magazine would be somehow apolitical. I feel that reflects poorly on the reasonableness of your expectations.

  11. 33 active staff were part of it? How big was this newspaper, the school isn’t that big (6000 as Ray pointed out above). Is it essentially everyone except the chief editor and the one objective reporter who’s protesting?

  12. Moderately on-topic: Fight fiercely, Harvard

  13. “Undocumented Lives > ‘Objective Journalism.'”
    For fuck’s sake. Even if that’s true in some sense, how many lives have been lost because the Crimson published reactions from ICE? The absurdity of the rhetoric is just amazing.

    1. Raise the stakes – make it a life or death issue – next step is saying calling ICE is violence, thus justifying “defensive” violence.

      Of course, if I’m wrong what a relief that will be.

    2. They expect bullshit to be taken seriously if they just shout it loud enough.

    3. The absurdity of the rhetoric is the point. Its not about saving lives, its about power, and imposing their political will on the paper.

      1. That is what it is all about; claiming to be made to feel “unsafe,” “triggered,” etc is nothing but a thin cover for a tail desperately wanting to wag the dog. Thus far it has worked well enough, so they will keep using it [but not so much at Northwestern where it hasn’t]; the real problem are University and [mostly] administrative staff who are pushing this agenda and using the “children” to voice it for them. If we were to somehow get an honest survey of what many of them believe, I do not doubt that you’d see big support for Pravda and a State to match.

    4. “ protesters entered The Crimson building with signs that read “Undocumented Lives > ‘Objective Journalism.'””

      Oh, the irony!

  14. I can’t blame the spoiled little children, but where are the adults. How rotten (or cowardly) is the Harvard faculty and administration?

    1. The problem is that they are adults.

      1. Identify as adults.

    2. It’s cute that you think a luxury services purveyor with an incredible brand valuation would act on principle to dissatisfy it’s customers. Even Harvard MBAs learn not to do that.

  15. A paper that serves as a mouthpiece for student leftists is at least a change from papers that serve as mouthpieces for incumbent tax-consumers.

  16. After all, some of these activists may soon be joining our ranks.

    That’s the point isn’t it? One day they’re just kids and the next Jeffrey Goldberg is firing a non-leftist because they need ideological purity to pursue their activism.

  17. Call these activists what they are, bigots.

    Examples of bigotry in a Sentence
    “ a deeply ingrained bigotry prevented her from even considering the counterarguments”

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  19. “balanced journalism”

    Conservatives are a societal malignancy who will always perform as a body of enemy operatives.

    Just ask the thousands murdered by their vile evil murderous ideology:
    Trump’s EPA Knows Its New Coal Rule Could Kill 1,400 People Per Year

    There is no “balance” aka moral equivalency between evil and good.

    But I will agree that Progressives are a bunch of whiny pussies.

    1. So, in actuality, who has killed the most? Conservatives or leftists?

  20. Damn those ‘they do it too! ‘conservatives, eh Robby?

    The pampered, projecting and presumptuous progressive left – repeat after me – are the problem. And will always be the main source of the problem.

    Know why? Because they’re ILLIBERAL.

    1. There was no “to be sure” in this article. In fact, I haven’t seen one in a while. I think we’ve shamed the “to be sures” out of him.

      1. Just teasing him ‘to be sure’.

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    1. Well, if journalistic standards are going out the window, why not academic standards too?

  22. “Nevertheless, some of The Crimson’s own staff members and alumni evidently think the paper should stop practicing objective journalism, and instead become some kind of mouthpiece for the activist left.”

    What? They can’t read the Washington Post or New York Times?

  23. I have been lurking on Reason for months because I love the comments section.
    The comments are way better than the articles!

  24. The degeneration of the formerly prestigious Ivy League into racist leftard asylums is a market opportunity.

    If I were looking for a place to send a college-age child of mine, I’d seek out a school where snotty little shits get expelled.


  25. After all, some of these activists may soon be joining our ranks.

    Would that really dent the overall professionalism, or reputation, of today’s media? Really?

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