My time spent at the Campus Progress National Conference was anything but a welcoming forum to discuss different ideologies. However, in her recent column Emily Rutherford of Campus Progress makes it seem like I was welcome with open and tolerant arms to the Campus Progress National Conference. Unfortunately Emily had to waste her time traveling to the Young America’s Foundation conference before she was kicked out for live-blogging, while Campus Progress tells you not to even bother coming.
In her article Rutherford describes the Campus Progress conference as having “welcomed attendees of all different viewpoints and encouraged them to blog and tweet about the conference.” Emily fails to mention the ideological screening process an attendee must complete prior to their acceptance to the conference.
Attendees are vetted using long-form questions prior to registration. Apparently myself and my fellow conservative friends were good enough at masking our ideology in order to be given the go ahead to attend the conference. A fellow conservative was not willing to hide his ideals for the chance to attend; he was not admitted.
While there I kept my mouth closed and my eyes and ears open, limiting my responses (that were hardly responses but merely tweets of direct conference quotes) to Twitter. Rutherford must have done some research to find my tweets about the conference because I did not use any Campus Progress hashtags or the extended name of the conference, for fear of my discovery and removal from my box of crayons, which we all used to color our feelings on health care reform, at the health care panel and discussion. All we did there was take notes and do video interviews. One fellow intern later published a story on the conference.
I find it appalling that Campus Progress has tried to once again look as though they were inviting to different ideologies when their screening process clearly demonstrates otherwise.
I don’t appreciate being used as an example of the joys of “progressive tolerance” when I did not, at one time during the conference, ever feel as though I could express my true viewpoints. Maybe if Ms. Rutherford followed my lead and went to YAF’s conference to sit, listen and follow the rules, she would have not been kicked out, and she might have learned something too.
Deidre Almstead is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.