A MOMENTOUS WEEK AT THE COURT – AT 9:08 A.M. ET: The Supreme Court this week once again takes up the issue of racial preferences in higher education. It has been there before, but a different result might come down this time because of changes in the Court's makeup. From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Abigail Fisher is a slight young woman with strawberry blond hair, a smile that needs little prompting, a determined manner and a good academic record. She played soccer in high school, and she is an accomplished cellist.
But the university she had her heart set on, the one her father and sister had attended, rejected her. “I was devastated,” she said, in her first news interview since she was turned down by the University of Texas at Austin four years ago.
Ms. Fisher, 22, who is white and recently graduated from Louisiana State University, says that her race was held against her, and the Supreme Court is to hear her case on Wednesday, bringing new attention to the combustible issue of the constitutionality of racial preferences in admissions decisions by public universities.
“I’m hoping,” she said, “that they’ll completely take race out of the issue in terms of admissions and that everyone will be able to get into any school that they want no matter what race they are but solely based on their merit and if they work hard for it.”
The Times does a reasonable job of describing the case, although much of the rest of the piece is tilted against Abigail's position. The reader comments, by contrast, are vile, typical of the liberal left in ridiculing this brave young woman.
And my friend James Taranto, at The Wall Street Journal, points out that the Houson Chronicle, in what passes for a news story, has essentially described Abigail Fisher as a racist. It is sickening:
Here's how her hometown paper, the Houston Chronicle, began a "news" story on the case over the weekend: "In the fall of 2008, the University of Texas enrolled 10,335 minority students, not including Asian-Americans. As far as Abigail Fisher was concerned, that was one too many."
It's not even plausible that as a high school senior, Fisher tallied up the number of minority students--being careful not to include Asian-Americans!--and decided that it would be better if it were 10,334 rather than 10,335.
Sure, reporter Mike Tolson didn't mean that literally. What he did mean is that Fisher is hostile to minorities--a claim for which Tolson provides not a shred of evidence. Quite the contrary: She is quoted as saying ("in a videotaped interview posted on YouTube by her lawyers," Tolson notes): "I was taught from the time I was a little girl that any kind of discrimination was wrong."
It's bad enough that Tolson is so brazenly biased in a news story (and, we should note, in favor of the government--so much for speaking truth to power). Smearing a young woman by falsely imputing to her invidious racial motives is simply despicable. It would be inexcusable even in an opinion piece. Tolson and the Chronicle owe Abigail Fisher, and their readers, a groveling apology.
COMMENT: James Taranto is entirely right. The Houston Chronicle gives us an example of the kind of sickening journalism being practiced today, although the reporter involved could probably get an award from any number of journalism schools.
I'll let you know if the Chronicle apologizes. Don't count on it.
October 9, 2012