Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Oct. 10, 2005)

Shut Off the VCR and Teach

  By John Martin

When students pay tens of thousands of dollars to pursue an education they shouldn’t be subjected to their professors’ political beliefs.  But that’s exactly what’s happening.  Left-leaning educators are increasingly politicizing the classroom and integrating their liberal biases into course content.

In a research project looking at the extent of liberal indoctrination in the post-secondary learning environment, my research assistant accessed course syllabuses from universities and colleges across Canada and the U.S.   And it seems liberal educators have embraced a new approach to teaching.

 What is this new and wonderful innovation in the transfer of knowledge?  On-line learning?  Interactive instruction?  Team teaching?  Nope. 

It’s all about students watching and studying Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” as part of their course requirements. 

Despite containing outrageous mistruths, such as suggesting Canadians don’t lock their doors at night, the video has become mandatory viewing across the curriculum.  And it’s going to be tough getting a university degree without watching it.  Probably more than once.

Columbine is being used in English, Sociology, Political Science, Cross-Cultural Studies, and Philosophy courses at post-secondary institutions big and small.  

Depending on where you go to school, the video is also required viewing in Social Work, Communications, Media Studies, Anthropology, and Greek Civilization.  

And be prepared to watch Moore’s pseudo documentary if you register for classes in Psychology, Composition, Early Childhood Education, Critical Thinking, Criminology and English Literature.  That’s correct.  A Michael Moore video required in an English Lit course. 

Shakespeare?  We don’t need no stinkin’ Shakespeare.

I recently gave a presentation on liberal bias at a Criminology conference in Long Beach, California.  One young woman approached me and noted she had watched “Bowling for Columbine” in three different classes that semester.   And we were barely half way through the term!

Bush’s biggest critic even has an on-line instructor’s guide full of “Bowling for Columbine” assignments, study questions and quizzes.  That’s great.  Blockbusters supplies the course content and Moore himself designs the exam.  It’s amazing what a hundred grand and four years will get you these days.

It seems that professors are so infatuated with the left’s new hero and icon that they’re using his Bush-bashing film in any class they can.  Even though it’s no more a legitimate documentary than Spinal Tap is a real band, academics just can’t get enough of Columbine. 

I’m not even quite sure when Moore became the darling of the academic left.  I thought liberals’ pride and joy was Noam Chomsky.  Mind you, Chomsky is pretty heavy stuff.  Maybe their lips just got too sore trying to read him.  

Many moviegoers clearly enjoyed the Oscar winning film and there’s nothing wrong with a little multi-media to spice up the classroom.  But is Columbine’s message; whatever that is, so critical that a person can’t earn a post secondary degree without being exposed to it?   Or do educators consider it part of their responsibility to turn students on to the left’s favorite spokesperson?  

Academics talk a lot about the need for a diverse and tolerant learning environment.  But tolerating a culture of ideological diversity doesn’t appear to be on the radar.  Recent studies have shown that over 90% of professors identify themselves as liberal or very liberal in their views. 

Imagine if the remaining 10% forced students to listen to Rush Limbaugh as homework.  

Academic freedom notwithstanding, I suspect some heads would roll.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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