By Jaci Wendel
This article was originally published in Issue 13, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (April 14, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
Author, political commentator and senior editor of Conservative Review Michelle Malkin visited DeSales University on April 6 to deliver the 31st annual Frank L. Marcon Lecture.
The Marcon Lecture Series was established in 1984 and brings in noteworthy communication professionals to Billera Hall to speak to audiences about issues that they come across in their careers and everyday lives.
Before the lecture took place at 7:30 p.m., Malkin met with a handful of students and faculty members in the Trexler Room of the DeSales University Center at 4 p.m. for a question-and-answer session, in which students asked about what it takes to be a journalist, the democratization of news and how Malkin expresses her Catholic faith in a field that is not always willing to tell stories that hinge upon religion.
After the session was over, many students were eager to get their picture taken with Malkin, who is somewhat of a celebrity in the political world. Besides having her own weekly syndicated column, Malkin also has made appearances on Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN and national radio programs; written six books on subjects ranging from racial profiling to the war on terror to “bipartisan beltway crapweasels;” and founded the websites HotAir, Twitchy and MichelleMalkin.com.
Malkin’s lecture that evening was self-described as “part venting session, part celebration and part introspection.”
She began by speaking about a number of journalists who are vocal about problems that mainstream media does not want to condemn, including David Daleidan, the man behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos, and Dinesh D’Souza, a neoconservative commentator whose political writings are influenced by the commitment to American Revolution principles.
Malkin mentioned an instance in which she was invited to speak on “The View,” where she recognized that the liberal hosts would not stand on the same side as her on political issues. Malkin took this opportunity to stand behind her beliefs in the face of hostility, and she encouraged the audience to do the same when faced with opposition.
“One thing that you have to do is be willing to speak loudly and boldly and unapologetically… You do not concede the point. You come back armed with the facts and ammunition and you speak louder and faster,” said Malkin.
The Philadelphia-born Oberlin College alumna railed against not only the mainstream media’s desire to silence stories that do not fall in line with popular beliefs, but also the over-sensitivity to controversial stances on hot-button issues, especially when it comes to questioning authority that others blindly accept.
“‘That’s off-limits!’ Why? Why do you get to decide which narratives America hears? That’s not up to you anymore,” Malkin said.
Inevitably and naturally, Malkin’s lecture led into her opinions about the current presidential race, and she told Wednesday’s audience that she feels “extremely conflicted” about the Republican candidates. On the one hand, she prefers Ted Cruz because he is a deft litigator and “truly a patriot”; on the other, she sympathizes with the position that Donald Trump supporters are coming from—people are tired of “kabuki [theater] and empty talking points.”
“There’s almost a feeling of wanting to burn everything to the ground and start over. And I understand that, most of all because the most basic functions of government have been abandoned and neglected,” said Malkin.
Finally, Malkin brought up the Veterans’ Administration and the issues that stem from the mismanagement of the organization. Malkin’s latest story on her website, titled “Requiem for a VA Victim,” relates the instance where Navy veteran Charles Richard Ingram III walked nine miles to his nearest VA, doused himself in gasoline on the front lawn of the building and set himself on fire. No one came to his aid because the facility is only open during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Ingram killed himself on a Saturday.
“Everyone should know this man’s name. Why aren’t politicians talking about it? Why isn’t it on MSNBC?” asked Malkin. “It’s just one of these countless stories that just sort of limp by, and people shrug. What kind of country do we live in now where somebody can set themselves on fire in front of a government building and nobody gives a damn?”
After the lecture, there was a brief question-and-answer session, and later a book signing. Malkin left a lasting impression on audience members, for the Billera auditorium was often punctuated by head nods, murmurs of agreement and emphatic applause for the conservative journalist.