Friday, September 19, 2014

Always Google Your Invitees. ALWAYS.

Ahiza Garcia at TPM:

A group of high school students in Kentucky was in for a shock this week when a political candidate with a history in the white supremacist movement took the stage as part of the University of Kentucky's "Constitution Day" celebration, radio station WUKY reported.

The celebration took place on Wednesday and was intended to "recognize and celebrate the U.S. Constitution." Local high school students were there along with students of the university, the radio station reported.

But it appears that many in the group didn't know what they were in for when Robert Ransdell, the write-in candidate for U.S. Senate from Kentucky who recently made news for his campaign signs that read "With Jews We Lose," took to the microphone as an invited speaker.

The radio station reported he ranted about the "Jewish-owned and controlled media" and emphasized "the need for this nation's white majority to recognize that they have ethnic interests" before he eventually had his mic cut.

The high school students in attendance were ushered out of the event and onto buses by their shocked high school teachers, according to WUKY.

University professor Buck Ryan of the Citizen Kentucky Project, the group that organized the event, told WUKY that a student of his invited Ransdell and that the write-in candidate called Ryan to apologize after the event.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has noted, Ransdell has a long history in the white supremacist movement and used to be an organizer for a once-prominent neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance.

WUKY reported that the university released this statement following the event:
The University Of Kentucky hosted it’s 11th Constitution Day, a federally mandated program for all higher education institutions to recognize and celebrate the U.S. Constitution. Elected officials and candidates in this November’s elections were invited. One of the candidates for the U.S. Senate is Robert Ransdell. Mr. Ransdell was invited because he has registered and has been qualified as a write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate with the Kentucky Secretary of State Office. 
Constitution Day is not about politics, it is a celebration of the principles of the Constitution. All speakers are asked to focus on those principles. Unfortunately, Mr. Ransdell included his political beliefs and platform in his comments. Many of those in attendance felt his comments were inappropriate, especially for an audience that included high school students. The University Of Kentucky was not aware of the content of his remarks prior to him speaking and does not condone or endorse any political platform or agenda.
Wonkette caught this critical action:
Two high school journalism teachers attending the event with their students were outraged, particularly because there was no notice that the speaker was a genuine First Amendment Outlier. One of the teachers, James Miller, went onstage during Ransdell’s talk, took his mic away, gave an impromptu talk about the phenomenon of false balance in media, and apologized to his students for having brought them to the event. Let’s see if we can’t get Mr. Miller nominated for some kind of teaching award, can we?
 Kentucky students interested in journalism: get yourself into James Miller's class immediately.

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