Fresh Takes Opinion — 27 April 2018

Dear Editor,

Not too long ago, The Las Positas Express newspaper posted advertisements around campus declaring that their only allegiance is to the truth. It is quite disappointing then, that their recently published profile on Las Positas Young Americans for Freedom is anything but truthful. In an era where the political Left is decrying “fake news,” it is completely unaware of its active engagement in its creation. Taylor Lobb’s article on our group, entitled “Nationally recognized ‘Alt-right’ club emerges on campus,” is the latest example of this phenomenon.

First, let’s set the record straight: Young Americans for Freedom and its parent organization, Young America’s Foundation, is not associated with the “alt-Right.” Originally a small fringe Internet group encompassed by the larger online community, it very rapidly devolved into a bigoted alliance of white nationalist trolls that mirror the identity-politics of the Left. The alt-Right, consisting of neo-Nazis and bigots, are as significant as a speck of dust, with a membership that rivals the fanbase of Amy Schumer. Not only did practically all conservatives distance themselves from the extremist group, but the “alt-Right” distanced itself from more traditional conservatives.

If you hear a group labeled as “alt-Right,” we suggest immediate skepticism. It is used more as a dismissive pejorative by lazy pseudo-intellectuals to smear political opponents than it is used as an accurate descriptor. This is the case here, as none of our members nor our chapter identifies with this group.

Lobb begins her defamatory screed by citing a decade-old incidence in which Kyle Bristow, a former Michigan State University student, led a “straight power” rally, and made numerous reprehensible statements. Lobb uses this story as evidence of YAF’s supposed animus towards minorities, but this dubious claim couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bristow’s group was never a chartered chapter of YAF; he used the YAF name without the national organization’s permission (this has been stated publicly multiple times by Grant Strobl, the National Chairman of YAF). YAF has always maintained a clear and consistent principle of prohibiting racism and bigotry within its ranks — our chapter upholds that standard. We can also assure that our President is not following in Bristow’s footsteps whatsoever.

Continuing her assault on proper journalism, Lobb cites other YAF events performed by Bristow, with her primary source being the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Left-wing smear organization. What has driven Ms. Lobb to rely on such a laughable source is beyond our imagination. The SPLC’s objective, as Kyle Smith puts it in National Review , is “to marginalize and shut up even mildly right-of-center voices by calling them instruments of hate, making increasingly strained attempts to tie conservative commentators, authors, political figures, and professors to the alt-right or neo-Nazism. At the same time it elevates absurd bloggers to the level of potential leaders of lynch mobs.”

Lobb also writes on our supposedly “controversial” presence on campus. We are unaware of any noteworthy controversy generated by our founding. The only extent to which we generated any controversy, which is without a doubt a stretch of the very word itself, is our pro-gun advocacy in the face of the “March for Our Lives.” The debate Press Secretary Noah Thompson engaged in with fellow students was as cordial & respectful as possible (readers can find the recorded debate on our Twitter page), as even The Express itself wrote in a previous feature entitled “Civil Discourse.” Nor did our club face much difficulty within the ICC.

The rest of the poorly researched article reads more like an opinion piece than a profile. Given Lobb’s own personal views, this is expected, but for a newspaper to publish such a reprehensible collection of Lobb’s fallacious fantasies is truly shameful. We wonder if Ms. Lobb or the campus paper itself would afford the same treatment towards groups on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

What was supposed to be a profile on our YAF chapter included just two of our President’s quotes. Press Secretary Thompson participated in an extended interview with one of the Express’s reporters for this piece, yet not a single one of his comments made into the article.

In summation, The Express’s latest profile on YAF is a sloppy and defamatory smear piece masquerading as journalism. We therefore request an official retraction and apology from the campus newspaper.

We would also be absolutely ecstatic to give the Express a second chance in delivering an accurate and balanced profile on YAF, its message, and its purpose. Since our establishment on this campus, we have been nothing but cordial and engaging. We deserve and expect far better from an “award-winning” newspaper.

For those interested in what our chapter is really about, we encourage readers to email twzischka@zonemail.clpccd.edu for more information, or visit YAF’s website at yaf.org.

– Las Positas Young Americans for Freedom

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We are the award-winning student newspaper of Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif.

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