Special Report: Columbia University

Soros Funds Next Generation of Liberal Journalism

One good indicator of the potential future bias of a school’s students is the one-sided nature of the school’s student publications. Columbia’s Journalism School has around 17 different student publications, depending on the semester.

Columbia University School of Journalism student publications took time to sing the praises of the Occupy movement – not surprising given Gitlin’s outspoken admiration for the Occupiers.

CUSJ’s student-led TV News segment, “Columbia News Tonight,” frequently covered the Occupy Wall Street protests favorably. “The movement has captivated New York City and the world with their protests against the one percent who control the nation’s money,” a Columbia News Tonight reporter said, before allowing Gitlin to pitch his book during a two minute “news” segment on Occupy Wall Street.

Consequently, Columbia’s anthropology department announced that they would be offering a class on Occupy Wall Street, including fieldwork. The class was later removed from the course offering list. “Columbia News Tonight” has also hyped liberal issues from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sugary drink ban to minimum wage laws.

The “Columbia Journalist,” a student-run news website, praised Ahmadinejad for his call for direct talks with the U.S. on Iran’s nuclear program, saying that he was “often portrayed in the West as an erratic leader with eye’s set on Israel’s destruction.”

The Columbia Spectator, run by undergraduate students, quipped that “Columbia students said they are mostly used to hearing incorrect reports about their school from Fox News,” after Fox News ran a report on students attending lunch with Ahmadinejad, and wrongly stated that Bollinger would also be attending the event. The Iranian Mission rescinded its controversial invitation to the students, and the Spectator ran a follow-up article on how students protesting the event were overreacting.

This is not the first time that Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been called out for bias. An October 2012 panel comparing Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party was criticized by Fox News for being stacked with liberal journalists.

In 2009, CUSJ students released “J-School State of Mind,” a parody of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” which bashed the Fox News Channel, Sean Hannity and conservatives. The video was promoted on the website for the CUSJ run chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists.