Authored By Kara Zupkus
September 09, 2020
The Badger-Herald, an independent student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, rejected a conservative columnist’s op-ed arguing against defunding the police, claiming “it is too much of a hot take right now” and that it “would cause a lot of backlash.”
Editors at the Badger-Herald denied Tripp Grebe’s op-ed on the basis of its content, noting that the Editorial Board recently had recently published a piece endorsing BLM and endorsing candidates who want to defund the police.
“While your article was well-written, it is too much of a hot take right now and upper management is worried about alienating incoming freshman students from the Herald,” Opinions Editor Samiha Bhushan said in an email. “Additionally, we just published an editorial board supporting BLM and another article publicly endorsing two candidates who want to defund the police. As a result, your article would cause a lot of backlash that we cannot afford right now.”
Bhushan said that in order for the op-ed to be published, Grebe must be open to “re-editing it and perhaps qualifying your stance,” while Editor-in-Chief Harrison Freuck claimed the piece was not properly sourced.
When YAF reached out to UW-Madison for comment, the university’s communications department, which claimed to be independent from the Herald, tipped off the Editor-in-Chief about YAF’s impending article–leading the newspaper to fire Tripp Grebe.
In an email to YAF, university spokeswoman Meredith McGlone commented that the school “has a distinguished history of supporting freedom of thought,” but would not comment on the situation given the Badger-Herald‘s independent status.
McGlone must not remember the Badger-Herald claiming free speech “props up dangerous rhetoric,” or campus leftists throwing sex toys at NYT bestselling author and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, or even administration officials deeming conservative speakers “controversial” as rationale for charging security fees. These actions show that the university has not, in recent memory, supported the existence of conservative ideas on campus.
Harrison Freuck, editor-in-chief of the Badger Herald, told YAF that his and Samiha’s emails “were poorly worded and do not reflect our views at this time.” “[We] explained to Tripp that [the] Editorial Board does not have to do with why we didn’t publish his piece, despite what I initially said,” Freuck commented. He claimed instead that the piece was denied due to containing “inaccurate/irrelevant information.”
Tripp Grebe told YAF exclusively that he was frustrated with the outlet’s censorship. “It’s frustrating that my column was censored because its viewpoint was different from the paper’s editorial stance,” Grebe said. “Like any writer, I want to work for a paper that will permit me to express my viewpoint in a responsible way – without being required to change my opinion to satisfy others. I look forward to finding that opportunity in the future.”
Rather than publishing ideologically diverse columns to drive discussion and critical thinking, the Badger-Herald thinks its readers are too feeble to handle a free and open exchange of ideas and expels anyone who dares to buck radical leftist orthodoxy.
Hiding under the guise of the Editorial Board’s endorsement of BLM and defunding the police is no excuse for rejecting an op-ed that opposes it– rather, it should push the Badger-Herald to publish pieces that challenge their ideas and notions about police. Instead, it’s being used as a tool to suppress conservative voices–something that should not stand within higher education.