Reviling racism and protecting free speech: PR, education, and the First Amendment in Oklahoma’s SAE controversy

There will never be a n*gger at SAE
There will never be a n*gger at SAE
You can hang him from a tree
But he’ll never sign with me
There will never be a n*gger at SAE

Some ignorant frat guys from the University of Oklahoma sang this on a bus. It was filmed and shared online. Within 24 hours, the university severed ties with the fraternity and shut down their campus house. Within 36 hours, two students appearing to lead the song had been expelled.

They deserve it. The existence of this line of thinking, much less the existence of a welcoming audience for such a message, makes me angry.

They deserve it. But they cannot be expelled, because it runs counter to the purpose of institutions of higher education and foundational American beliefs about expression.

Continue reading “Reviling racism and protecting free speech: PR, education, and the First Amendment in Oklahoma’s SAE controversy”

Oklahoma meteorologist advises viewers to drive away from tornado – Time to revisit severe weather coverage

Oklahomans must be thankful to see the calendar turn to June. The month of May was devastating in the heart of tornado alley, right down to the final day. On May 31, a tornado rolled over the Oklahoma City metro area, killing nine. As the ingredients came together for a particular dangerous storm, the right mix was also present for a media catastrophe.

On NBC-affiliate KFOR, chief meteorologist Mike Morgan told viewers in the storm’s path to get underground or “go south” – advocating evacuation as a tornado approached. Telling people to leave their homes and get in their cars earned criticism from fellow meteorologists, and made this blog post written one day earlier seem prophetic.

Continue reading “Oklahoma meteorologist advises viewers to drive away from tornado – Time to revisit severe weather coverage”