Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The New York Post gives us James O'Keefe's latest gotcha:
Cornell dean says ISIS welcome on campus in undercover video
... Well, okay, he's an assistant dean. And not an assistant dean whose focus is academics or ideas:
... A video sting operation shows Cornell’s assistant dean for students, Joseph Scaffido, agreeing to everything suggested by an undercover muckraker posing as a Moroccan student.

Scaffido casually endorses inviting an ISIS “freedom fighter" to conduct a “training camp” for students at the upstate Ithaca campus -- bizarrely likening the activity to a sports camp.

Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas asks.

Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting....
First of all, here's how Scaffido is described by Cornell:
Advisor to the Cornell Concert Commission (CCC), Cornell University Program Board (CUPB), and Slope Day Programming Board; maintains the Registered Student Organizations (RSO) web server; is a member of the Events-Management Planning Team (EMPT); is available for event planning consultation.
(Slope Day is a century-old Cornell traditional celebration that's evolved into something like an outdoor music festival with additional fun and games; recent headliners have included Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Gym Class Heroes.)

Here's Scaffido's bio from the website of the State Theater of Ithaca, where he's a board member:
Mr. Scaffido is an Assistant Dean of Students for Student Activities at Cornell University. Having served in the field of higher education for over 20 years, Mr. Scaffido specializes in large-scale event planning/production, and advising student organizations. At Cornell, he oversees the promotion and production of major events, including concerts, lectures, comedians, and Slope Day. He has also assisted with major community events, including working on visits by the Dalai Lama and Wynton Marsalis.
So this isn't the guy you turn to for deep thoughts on geopolitics at Cornell. This is the guy you turn to when the Dalai Lama books three events in Ithaca:
People from beyond Central New York purchased tickets.

“I think it's a good range,” said Joe Scaffido, assistant dean of students for student activities. “We noticed a lot of people with shipping addresses outside Central New York and we understand that a lot of hotels are already booking up, so we know people have purchased tickets to all three events. So we're anticipating a lot of out of towners, which I think is great for our community.”

Scaffido said the Dalai Lama's visit will be good for the surrounding community, too.
Beyond that, when "Ali," O'Keefe's pseudonymous ambush questioner, describes what he wants from Scaffido, it's really unclear whether he's talking about Islamic State supporters or "freedom fighters" resisting the Islamic State:

"ALI": I think maybe, be nice to start a humanitarian group that supports, you know, the distressed communities, a humanitarian group in the Middle East, northern Iraq, and Syria. And I think it would be important for especially these people in the, you know, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the families and the freedom fighters in particular and their families, I think it would important to, maybe, just probably educate, but to maybe send them care packages, whether it be food, water, electronics.
From this description, could you tell which side the people in "the distressed communities" are on? Yes, in Scaffido's position I might have asked for some clarification -- but as I keep telling you, he's not a department head, but rather the guy Kevin Smith turns to for "crew assistance" when he's making an appearance at Cornell and wants footage for a straight-to-video documentary.

Scaffido does drop the ball when asked about Hamas:
"ALI": If you did, like, supported, like, Hamas or something like that, is that a problem or-- ?

SCAFFIDO: The university is not going to look at different groups and say, "You’re not allowed to support that group because we don’t believe them" or something like that. I think it’s just the opposite. I think the university wants the entire community to understand what’s going on in all parts of the world.
But I don't this guy has more than the vaguest idea what Hamas is.

And regarding ISIS, it's never clear whether "Ali" is talking about supporters or opponents. As Mediaite's Tina Nguyen writes:
... it’s possible that Scaffido thought that the guy referred to anti-ISIS forces when he kept talking about “freedom fighters”.... Another, barely charitable opinion: Scaffido doesn’t know what the term “ISIS” stands for, and the volunteer took advantage of it by continually referring to the group as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Right -- and because "Ali" does both, that's double the bamboozlement for a guy whose job description does not include keeping up on current events.

Why does this guy get to represent the ideology of America academia anyway? O'Keefe doesn't care, nor do the Murdochites and others who keep retransmitting O'Keefe's nonsense. They've embarrassed someone they can describe as an ideological enemy. That's all that matters.


Matt said...

Good reporting but it will fall on deaf ears of those conservatives with confirmation biased.

Victor said...

One of these days, O'Keefe or one of his minions will run into someone who's on to them, and may not be a nice person, and decides to physically lash out to hurt them.

Not that I'm for that, since I'm against violence.

But, if that does happen, I hope it's that psychotic little Lee Harvey Oswald look-alike, O'Keefe, who gets his ugly twisted face shattered, and not one of his sociopathic ass-kissing minions!

Roger said...

Scaffido's barely smarter than Dr. Ben Carson.

Ken_L said...

The most remarkable thing about the right wing reaction is the unthinking acceptance of censorship; that of course it would be unthinkable to let someone from Hamas onto campus and expose students to their ideas. And then they have the gall to prate about liberals being slaves to PC!

northierthanthou said...

What O'Keefe understands very well is that when people are confused, and especially if they are also shocked, they tend to go on auto-pilot. He specializes in confusing and shocking people, discards videos of people who handle it well and shows us those that don't while pretending their WTF coping strategies are the outcome of political design.