It turns out that The Daily Caller isn’t the only news organization banned from the convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA), a four-day hothouse of leftism that will feature a session on a controversial academic boycott of Israel.
The MLA is also banning at least one large international Jewish new agency: Jewish News Service (JNS.org), a nonprofit that serves Jewish community newspapers and other media outlets around the world.
Mark Aurigemma, a communications consultant for the MLA, relayed the information to The Daily Caller. (RELATED: Modern Language Association’s fascist douchebags outlaw The Daily Caller from convention)
Aurigemma provided no reason to TheDC. To JNS.org, he claimed that the international news agency does not meet the MLA’s media accreditation standards.
“JNS.org was surprised by MLA’s denial of our application for a press credential to cover its annual convention,” Jacob Kamaras, editor in chief of JNS.org., told TheDC. “As a news outlet that does substantively cover academic issues — as a basic search of our website, which MLA said it performed, would indicate — we feel MLA’s claim that we do not meet their standards for media accreditation is unfounded.”
Kamaras added that, obviously, JNS.org has an interest in reporting to its target audience of Jewish people about a hostile bunch of American professors who want to boycott a country full of Jewish people.
“Given our ongoing news coverage of academic boycotts of Israel, and the presence of an MLA convention session titled ‘Academic Boycotts: A Conversation about Israel and Palestine,’ we feel that MLA’s denial of our press credential serves to stifle coverage that would have been a valuable contribution to the public discourse on the convention,” he said.
In an email exchange with the JNS.org reporter who applied for a credential, Aurigemma discussed the MLA’s rationale for preventing a well-respected international Jewish news agency from reporting on professors as they collectively bash Israel at one of America’s largest academic confabs.
“Press credentials for the convention are limited to journalists and media outlets with a demonstrated history of reporting on academic issues,” Aurigemma explained. He asked for “some of your academic-focused clips” to show “a demonstrated history of reporting on academic issues.”
The JNS reporter sent no fewer than nine examples of education-related stories including, for example, a piece on an Israel divestment vote at the University of California, Berkeley, a piece on the American Studies Association’s academic boycott of Israel and a piece on Brandeis University’s suspension of a partnership with a Palestinian school after the school held a Nazi-like rally.
Only one of these stories carried the reporter’s byline.
Aurigemma did not approve of the JNS.org reporting on academic issues. So, he banned the large international wire service from the MLA convention.
“As noted, the convention reserves media credentials for outlets and journalists that are substantively focused on academic issues.” Aurigemma repeated in his reply. “In reviewing your request we could only consider the clip that you authored, as you are the reporter applying. We did also visit your archive at JNS to see if there was other academic coverage there with your byline, but did not find anything that meets the convention’s criteria for media accreditation.”
Kamaras, the JNS.org. editor in chief, said he tried but failed to get more information out of Aurigemma concerning the reasons why an international wire service would be prevented from reporting on a national convention of academics.
“When I asked MLA who did get credentials, he said, ‘MLA policy is we don’t disclose other journalists who are registered for the convention,'” Kamaras told TheDC. “He also said 3 or 4 outlets were rejected under the same grounds we were rejected, but declined to disclose who they were. Beyond that, I’m not sure about who got a credential or not.”
The academic boycott of Israel has been undertaken by the American Studies Association, a group of fringe professors with a membership that almost certainly overlaps with the professors who make up the MLA.
In 2002, the MLA’s membership passed a resolution to expressly “condemn boycotts and blacklists against scholars or students on the basis of nationality, ethnic origins, and religious background as unfair, divisive, and inconsistent with academic freedom.”
This year’s MLA convention will be held at the Chicago Marriott and the Sheraton Chicago Jan. 9 to Jan. 12.
A page at the MLA website dedicated to convention policies notes that there will be a full-time press office, “located in the Chicago Marriott (Printers Row, 2nd floor).”