The Modern Language Association (not a group with which I normally sympathize much) apparently denied the Daily Caller press credentials for this year’s MLA conference. The response of Eric Owens, “Education Editor” of the Daily Caller? Calling the MLA “douchebags” six times, plus once in the headline of the column, a headline that right now appears on the Daily Caller front page. (I assume that, at the Daily Caller, like at many online sites but not like at most newspapers, a columnist — and especially an “editor” — gets to choose the post title.) Oh, and there are six “fascist”s in there, too; that at least is not a vulgarity, but it shows a certain lack of creativity, no?
I assume that the MLA, like other academic groups, holds conventions that are generally open to members only, not to the public at large. If you’re a nonmember, but want to cover the convention, you would need the convention organizers’ permission. And while it would seem rather closed-minded for a scholarly organization to let politically friendly media outlets cover it and refuse admission to outlets on the other side of the political aisle, I find it hard to fault such a group for refusing admission to people whose idea of journalism is calling people “douchebags.”
Now maybe the real reason that the MLA denied the Daily Caller access is actually just politics. But Owens’ column undermines any such claim, rather than establishing it.