It was so embarrassing for the progressive media back then: Rolling Stone's 2014 "A Rape on Campus," its shot across the bow at fraternities, especially fraternities at the Southern (which means evil because majority-white) University of Virginia, collapsed into tiny pieces by 2015, since it seemed that the supposed frat-house gang-rape victim had made it all up. Rolling Stone hastily retracted the story, and most recently, paid out substantial settlements to the fraternity in question, Phi Kappa Psi and a UVA dean whom the story had accused of trying to squelch the rape episode.
But then, in 2016, the progressive media got another chance to bash fraternities at that very same University of Virginia: Otto Warmbier, a 21-year member of Theta Chi's UVA chapter who was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster in a North Korean hotel. Yes, it's a mistake to try to be a tourist in North Korea, probably the most terrifying totalitarian country on earth. And it's also a mistake, should you find yourself there, to help yourself to an impromptu souvenir. The media could have helpfully pointed out to young people that not all countries–in fact very few–offer the freedoms that we take for granted in America.
But nooo–why bother with words to the wise whan you can pile on words of social-justice-warrior mockery? Here's the report from the Washington Free Beacon:
North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal," read one Huffington Post piece, penned by blogger La Sha, days after Warmbier was sentenced in March 2016.
Warmbier, she wrote, "learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad."
"As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what's been described a ‘college-style prank,'" she continued. "That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country."…
Salon was, if anything, giddier.
"This might be America's biggest idiot frat boy: Meet the UVa student who thought he could pull a prank in North Korea," read the site's headline.
Most of that piece was spent praising a segment from Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore," in which Wilmore also mocked Warmbier.
"It's just tough for me to have much sympathy for this guy and his crocodile tears," Wilmore said.
"If your hazing includes international crimes, you've got to read the fine print on your American frat bro warranty … it says, ‘Frat Bro Privilege not valid in totalitarian dystopias,'" he joked.
It didn't seem to matter that Warmbier had been salutorian of his high school class, and that getting into the highly selective University of Virginia, much less double-majoring in economics and commerce as a Warmbier was doing, was no mean feat.
Otto Warmbier, as we all know, is dead. After 17 months in prison–during which God knows what happened to him but we don't–the North Koreans released him in a coma, and he passed away on June 19. Salon, according to Heat Street, had the presence of mind and respect for the Warmbier family to delete its nasty article, but the rest of Warmbier's stateside tormentors have been mum.
Consevative pundit Michell Malkin had this to say, in an article titled "The Double Murder of Otto Warmbier:
Otto's saboteurs engaged in the very same bigotry and stereotyping they recklessly accuse everyone else of at every turn. The far left learned nothing from leaping to conclusions about the Duke lacrosse players or the wrongfully accused members of Phi Kappa Psi at University of Virginia — where Warmbier was a junior double-majoring in commerce and economics.
By all accounts, Warmbier was a charismatic and caring human being whom one high-school classmate called "Everyone's friend." He was a lover of cultures and intellectually open-minded — "a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds," according to his family.
Utterly consumed by malignant identity politics, the left-wing intelligentsia have become the intolerantsia. They are bent on dehumanizing individuals, fomenting racial, ethnic and class division in the name of "progressivism," and never taking responsibility for the damage done.
Prayers and condolelences to the Warmbier family–but I can't think of one nice thing to say about the progressive media.