Missouri Media Professor Yells For ‘Muscle’ To Deny A Reporter Protest Coverage

Big day for free speech issues on college campuses, Bros! Nothing gets the viscous juices in my veins flowing more as a fringe journalism/media geek. Today at the University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe stepped down after months of protests from students over his handling of racially-charged incidents on campus. The protests were widely covered over the past weekend — a student group called Concerned Student 1950 (the year Missouri first integrated) set up a “camp” in the middle of campus. The Mizzou football team refused to play. A graduate student, Jonathan Butler, went on a hunger strike, resolving to not eat until Wolfe retire.

Today Wolfe stepped down. Yay! Mission accomplished! Except things immediately got pretty weird when the national press descended on Columbia, Missouri to cover the protests. Tim Tai, a student reporter who was a stringer on the ground for ESPN’s coverage, got involved in a heated exchange while trying to take some pictures in a public space, even though the protestors set up a sign saying “no media safe space.” Ummm…. that doesn’t annul the First Amendment, guys!

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsVideo of Tai’s confrontation with the Concerned Student 1950 protestors quickly went viral. He was just doing his job after all (to report the story) and they were very clearly blocking him. No chill, guys!

Take particular note at the end, when a professor steps in and asks for “muscle” to get rid of this reporter doing his job. That’s Melissa Click, a communications professor at the University. According to her bio, her “current research projects involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children’s television programs.”

Just two days ago on Facebook she asked about how to get Mizzou protest story more national exposure:

Hey folks, students fighting racism on the MU campus want to get their message into the national media. Who among my…

Posted by Melissa Click on Saturday, November 7, 2015

Wait. What? Now she wants to control the messaging of the story? That’s a bit of a backtrack from triumphing America’s protected free speech values that allow the group to peacefully gather there.

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The student group elaborated on why there was so much press hostility on public property:

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Sorry, guys — That not really how free speech and a free press works! That’s public relations a.k.a. controlled messaging, not factual truth. Plus your protest is in public, so you should have no expectation of privacy. In fact, by definition, it’s LITERALLY the exact opposite place for such privacy.

Meanwhile, Tim is being really chill about the whole thing:

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Respect. Way to keep that chill, Tim. All the chill points to you, Bro.

Brandon Wenerd avatar
BroBible's publisher and a founding partner, circa 2009. Brandon is based in Los Angeles, where he oversees BroBible's partnership team and other business development activities. He still loves to write and create content, including subjects related to internet culture, food, live music, Phish, the Grateful Dead, Philly sports, and adventures of all kinds. Email: brandon@brobible.com