Gag Order on Future Reporters

Teaching Self-Censorship at Columbia

It's Journalism 101 that you never make that offer at the start. First find out what a source will say on the record.

Dick Wald thinks the Gore story will blow over in a month or so. I doubt it. It will be remembered that this famed journalism school did not have the integrity—or the respect for its students—to tell Gore that if he insisted on gagging the students, he should go lecture somewhere else. Why didn't any of the professors, themselves journalists, publicly object to the gag rule?

At the renowned University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism, where Gore will also lecture, the dean—whose full name is Dean Mills—told me that "Columbia's instinctive secrecy has no place in, of all places, a journalism school! We have no such policy here."

Gore will also teach some classes at Fisk University and Middle Tennessee State University. (I've lectured at the latter's journalism school.) Neither university will allow Gore to make his talks off the record.

After Gore's first lecture in New York, the Nashville Tennessean quoted a Gore spokesman saying, "The former vice president had nothing to do with a gag order for his class at Columbia." George Orwell lives!

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