America’s blue chippiest educational institution could have found much more deserving people to celebrate. But they aren’t trending on Twitter.
Who says Harvard is a bastion of the intellectual elite?
Just like the rest of us, the blue chippiest of American educational institutions is a sucker for clickbait.
How else to explain the excruciatingly embarrassing contretemps that started last week when the university’s prestigious Institute of Politics announced the addition of an eye-poppingly odd couple of fellows: former White House spokesman Sean Spicer and formerly imprisoned whistle-blower Chelsea Manning.
As the geniuses who dreamed up this pairing undoubtedly intended, the news earned Harvard a lot of buzzy headlines. Then came the blowback from partisans on the right, who see Manning as a traitor who endangered national security. That resulted in Harvard ungallantly pulling the crimson carpet out from under Manning’s feet. Now there’s the inevitable counter-blowback from the left.
If a former Army intelligence specialist is considered unworthy for violating public trust, Manning supporters wonder, why is Harvard having no second thoughts about Spicer? He was the one who infamously hollered at reporters for failing to publish untruths about inaugural crowd size, photographic evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
I leave it to others to ponder how either Trump mouthpiece embodies veritas, the Latin word for truth emblazoned on the Harvard seal.
Far more disturbing is what this says about a culture of which Harvard is supposed to represent the very acme.
Don’t get me wrong: As a longtime journalist and now a member of a college faculty, I’m all for the First Amendment and academic freedom. I have no problem with Harvard inviting Spicer or Lewandowski, or for that matter Manning, to speak at the university and (most important) to answer questions.
A fellowship is something different, however: It’s an…