Dr. Darren Beattie was the only non-tenured professor in the entire country to publicly endorse Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. He subsequently worked at the White House as a speechwriter for President Trump until CNN smeared him as having “white nationalist ties.”
The White House bureaucracy flinched at the media onslaught and urged Dr. Beattie to resign. When he did not, they fired him.
His sin? Attending an academic conference that had featured controversial speakers and delivering a non-controversial talk.
And so, the guilt by association mob descended on Dr. Beattie — a distinguished academic with a Ph.D. in political theory from Duke — and tried to destroy his political career and extinguish his livelihood.
Few conservatives will find this story particularly shocking.
They remember that CNN’s KFile, the organization that smeared Dr. Beattie, tracked down and blackmailed a private citizen who posted a GIF of Donald Trump at a WWE wrestling match body slamming a figure with CNN’s logo superimposed on the face.
They remember that CNN sued to get the names and home addresses of jurors in the Paul Manafort case, claiming that such doxing would not lead to “realistic threats of violence or jury corruption” — as if the jurors in such a high profile case would not be harassed.
They remember when CNN showed up on an elderly woman’s lawn with a camera crew to pester and harass her over allegations that she had attended a Russian organized rally for Trump, doxing her in the process.
In each case, CNN and other media outlets showed blatant disregard for the lives of their victims. They were hell-bent on twisting reality to fit their narrative and were perfectly happy to leave a trail of destruction behind them as long as they could continue to smear the President and his supporters.
Context and nuance be damned, CNN had a mission and they were not going to let anything as trivial as ethics and basic human decency get in their way.
So, when they smeared Dr. Beattie and disgustingly twisted the facts to fit their narrative, no one was surprised. The only surprise was that the spineless cowards within the bureaucracy at the White House would cave so easily. Heavens knows, if President Trump had been personally involved in the decision, Dr. Beattie would have likely received a promotion.
But conservatives who publicly support Trump understand the risks. They know that they will be blackballed from jobs, harassed in public, and continually punished for their unforgivable political views. I have personally lost job opportunities because of my support for Trump and I have family members who have been fired for their political views. We view it as a part of life.
Even in the White House, a spineless sack of protoplasm worried about his or her reputation may cave to the inordinate pressure from a destructive media machine hell-bent on destroying its enemies. It has happened more than once.
But last week, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) hired Dr. Darren Beattie as a special adviser for speechwriting.
The traditional and social media onslaught hit, but Gaetz held firm. Finally, a spine in the body of Congress that more often than not seemed entirely composed of invertebrates.
Many underestimate the power of peer pressure. The term conjures images of high school students coercing a poor kid into smoking a cigarette or shotgunning a beer. But these images may be apt given the immaturity of many in government.
Independent thinkers, unafraid of standing up for what is right, are unfortunately increasingly rare. They have been co-opted by pollsters and fundraisers designed to reelect candidates instead of ensuring the proper governance of the country.
Thank God we still have some courageous leaders willing to buck the trend of guilt by association.
Karl Notturno (@KarlNotturno) is a fellow at the Center for American Greatness and at the Abigail Adams Institute and a 2019 Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute. He serves as director of A Soldier’s Home, a nonprofit that helps homeless veterans. He graduated from Yale University with degrees in philosophy and history.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.