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Hedges Booed Off Stage

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Maybe there’s hope for the college generation after all. New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, author of the foul pack of anti-Israel lies called the Gaza Diary (links to this nasty piece of work are found on many terrorist and terror-enabling web sites), was booed off the stage at Rockford College’s graduation ceremony when he used it as a platform for anti-American remarks: Speaker disrupts RC graduation. (Hat tip: ploome.)

Two days later, graduates and family members, envisioning a “go out and make your mark” send-off, are still reeling.

Guests wanting to hear the author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter are equally appalled.

And College President Paul Pribbenow is rethinking the wisdom of such controversial topics at future commencements. This is Pribbenow’s first graduation.

Hedges began his abbreviated 18-minute speech comparing United States’ policy in Iraq to piranhas and a tyranny over the weak. His microphone was unplugged within three minutes.

Voices of protest and the sound of foghorns grew.

Some graduates and audience members turned their backs to the speaker in silent protest. Others rushed up the aisle to vocally protest the remarks, and one student tossed his cap and gown to the stage before leaving.

Mary O’Neill of Capron, who earned a degree in elementary education, sat in her black cap and gown listening. She was stunned.

She turned to Pribbenow and asked him why he was letting the speech continue. He said it was freedom of speech. Pribbenow later said when people stop listening to ideas, even controversial ones, it is the death of institutions like 157-year-old Rockford College.

In tears, O’Neill left the ceremony.

Her husband, Kevin, sat in the audience with their daughter and was as indignant as his wife.

“This is a ceremony. … The day belongs to the students. It doesn’t belong to a political view,” he said.

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 Frank says:

Mr Zappa, I am astounded at the courtesy and soft voiced nature of the comments of my friend, the Senator from Tennessee. I can only say that I find your statement to be boorish, incredibly and insensitively insulting to the people who were here previously, that you could manage to give the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States a bad name, if I felt you had the slightest understanding of it, which I do not. -- - Senator Slade Gorton