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June 19 2014

St. Louis Post-Dispatch to George Will: Shut Up!

Charlotte Hays

Some things you just aren’t allowed to discuss any more. Like telling the truth about the Obama administration’s inflated and politically-valuable statistic that one-in-five number women on campus is the victim of sexual assault.  That is a no-no.

George Will raised questions about the suspect statistic (here and here) and this is what happened, as explained in a letter to readers that has just appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Starting today, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson replaces George Will on Thursdays and Sundays. …

The change has been under consideration for several months, but a column published June 5, in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status, made the decision easier. The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.

We have heard from both conservative and liberal readers asking for new conservative voices. We believe Mr. Gerson’s addition to our op-ed page will be a refreshing and revitalizing change.

In coming weeks, we plan to bring more diverse voices to this page, and to connect our print readers with some of the other vibrant conversations taking place in the digital universe.

But not so diverse that the newspaper can print a well-argued column with facts and figures by a Pulitzer Prize winner?

The St. Louis newspaper bizarrely mischaracterizes Mr. Will's column, which I urge you to read.

We at IWF take any accusation of sexual misconduct seriously. But we are also concerned that a closed-mindedness is developing around these issues.

We see that in this Midwestern paper’s dropping Will at least in part because he raised questions about figures highly suspect figures.

These inflated numbers are part of what is driving a kind of burgeoning hysteria that we fear could have dire consequences for young people. We are deeply concerned that this hysteria will lead to the erosion of the right to due process for the accused.

If you share our concern, please join us next week on June 26 for a panel on the campus “rape culture” that will feature the Factual Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, Stuart Taylor of the Brookings Institution, columnist Cathy Young, and former Bush administration official Andrea Bottner, who handled international women’s issues. Here are the details.

We expect lively but civil discourse. Unlike the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we aren’t afraid of facts.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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