By Denise Tessier
Earlier this week, fully a third of the Journal’s Op-Ed page was filled with a column by yet another conservative voice. This time, however, it was a conservative Christian college, rather than think tank, that provided the expert.
The column was written by Paul Kengor, whose by-line describes him as “Executive Director, The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.”
Grove City College, located in Pennsylvania, has been ranked 133 among liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Reports. It also has been consistently ranked as a “Top Conservative College” by the Young America’s Foundation, “the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement.”
On its website, Grove City College describes the motivations of its founders in 1876, who:
. . . held a vision of Christian society transcending denomination, creeds, and confessions. They were committed to the advancement of free enterprise, civil and religious liberty, representative government, arts and letters, and science and technology.
Believing that the fruits of civilization would be destroyed if religious and ethical roots were allowed to wither, the founders intended that the claims of Christ as God and Savior and of inspired Scripture be presented to all. They hoped that through its program of intellectual, moral, and spiritual education, Grove City College would produce young leaders, whatever their creed or confession, capable of pushing civilization forward on every frontier.
And while many points of view are examined, the College unapologetically advocates preservation of America’s religious, political, and economic heritage of individual freedom and responsibility. (emphases added )
This is not to debate the quality of Grove City College as an educational institution, but to provide some background on where the author of the Journal column works. The Sept. 10 column, which is not available on the Journal’s website, posited that the Democratic Party is becoming more godless and socialist. It can be read here. In the Journal, it ran under the headline, “Dems’ Exclusion of God a Tenet of Europe,” in large, 60-point type.
It’s hard to tell whether this is the first time the Journal has run Kengor, since even this published column didn’t show up in a website search. The Journal’s sister publication, the Mountain View Telegraph, has run at least three columns by him – in September 2010, January 2011 and September 2011.
It will be interesting to see if the Journal follows suit and Kengor becomes a regular. At the end of this week’s column, the Journal described Kengor as:
. . . a professor of political science at Grove City College and the author of the book “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.”
What’s interesting, however, is the line after that, which says:
The views and opinions expressed herein may, but do not necessarily, reflect the views of Grove City College.
It’s curious that the Journal’s editorial editors were careful to preserve this disclaimer for Grove City College, without adding one of their own. (Such disclaimers, by the way, did not appear on the three Mountain View columns.)
Readers generally understand that letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the writer, and they probably understood that the column that also ran on Sept. 10 by the “retired APS teacher” is that person’s perspective. There is no general “disclaimer” that these writings “may, but do not necessarily, reflect the views” of the Albuquerque Journal.
Kengor, however, was given top billing and plenty of space on the Journal’s Sept. 10 Op-Ed Page– along with a curiously disingenuous disclaimer from his college.