The United States Studies Centre self describes as:
The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney is a university-based research centre, dedicated to the rigorous analysis of American foreign policy, economics, politics and culture.
It has received millions upon millions of dollars from both the Commonwealth and NSW Governments. Yet despite its government funding, its housing within a university and its stated dedication to the rigorous analysis of American foreign policy, economics, politics and culture, they seem to offer little rigor or analysis. They seem to offer mostly cheap tabloid politics.
Exhibit 2 from their latest newsletter:
A war of words over civility in politics has erupted in the United States following a restaurant’s decision to refuse service to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, Stephanie Wilkinson, said she believed that Sanders worked in the service of an “inhumane and unethical” administration, that she publicly defended President Trump’s cruelest policies, and that that could not stand. Both Sanders and Trump criticised the restaurant on Twitter. Sanders’ father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, denounced his daughter’s treatment as “bigotry”.
Some rigor and analysis might have shown the USSC that Ms Huckabee Sanders was not denied service but she and her party (including family) were asked to leave half way through their meal. And then, having left, the staff of the Red Hen followed the party and harangued them at their next proposed dining venue.
And in a deplorably false equivalent, the USSC said the:
The incident came weeks after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, a verdict many conservatives praised. A few days prior to the Sanders’ encounter, protesters assailed Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Washington, just as the administration was coming under fire for its policy of separating undocumented immigrant families at the US border with Mexico. Trump’s policy adviser, Stephen Miller, was also accosted at a different Mexican restaurant, where a protestor called him “a fascist”, according to the New York Post.
Some further rigor and analysis might have shown the USSC that in the cake matter, the baker did not refuse to sell a cake to the same-sex couple. He was prepared to sell one of the existing cakes on display. What the cake maker refused to do was make a custom cake that had themes against his views. This was an incident of the government trying to force or compel speech (although the Supreme Court squib-ed the decision).
Equivalence would require the baker making the cake only to take it back. It would also require him (or his staff) to chase the same-sex couple away and to tell every other bakery in the area to not make a cake for the couple.
This presentation by the USSC was a disgraceful attempt to justify the Red Hen behavior and to mislead. It was dripping with important omissions and political bias.
And where is the University leadership on the quality control that applies to one of its satellites? They are writing and monitoring their diversity policy. A policy that ignores and in fact discourages intellectual, political and cognitive diversity.
The USSC is a fee paying member of the Axis of lefty insanity, with the other members within walking distance being the ABC and the University of Sydney. But citizens should not worry. We are all paying for this so it must be balanced, rigorous and factual. The charter and the management say so.
Unlike many Cats, Spartacus is not a universal President Donald Trump fan. Spartacus will call balls and strikes. But below is a well justified tweet that President Donald Trump sent on the news of the Red Hen incident. If only he would send something similar about the USSC. But that would just give them more oxygen then they deserve.