Setting the Record Straight on Karl Rove Protests at Hopkins

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Baltimore made national news earlier this week when Karl Rove’s talk at Johns Hopkins’ Shriver Hall was disrupted by protesters yelling about his role in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. (Rove’s response? “Who gave you the right to occupy America?”)

Most news outlets from the Huffington Post to the Washington Post to the Baltimore Sun reported that the protesters were not students, but rather Occupy Baltimore reps. That’s partly true, but these reports neglect to mention that there were actually two separate but coordinated protests challenging Rove that day. The people chanting inside Shriver were indeed from Occupy Baltimore, but there was an independently organized group made up of Hopkins students — the Johns Hopkins Human Rights Working Group, to be exact — who were staging a protest outside the hall.

Most media outlets have conflated the two groups, and Johns Hopkins spokesman Dennis O’Shea denied that the protesters were Hopkins students. Well, that guy with the bullhorn in the picture? A Hopkins grad student. Don’t believe everything you read.

Check out the video of the incident on our homepage.



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3 COMMENTS

  1. What an absurd story.

    First of all, I didn’t deny anything. I answered questions. Second, the question I was asked was whether any of the people removed from the auditorium were Johns Hopkins students. My answer was “no” because every indication is that none of them were.

    Had I been asked whether students were involved in the protest outside the building, I would have answered “yes” because there were. And, yes, a student group organized that outdoor protest. I was aware of that and would have said so if asked. The fact is that I was asked no questions at all about the outdoor protest.

    It is inaccurate to say that “most media outlets have conflated the two groups,” because most media outlets did not mention the outdoor protest at all.

    “Don’t believe everything you read?” Well, there I agree with you. Certainly, don’t believe everything you read on Baltimore Fishbowl.

    By the way, there is also at least one inaccuracy in the Reuters story to which this post links. The third-to-last paragraph should read, “About 10 of the protesters were escorted from the auditorium and about five were carried out by security, said O’Shea.”

    Dennis O’Shea
    Spokesman, The Johns Hopkins University

  2. Thanks for your response, Dennis. I wrote this post after hearing from several Hopkins student protesters who were upset because they felt like their participation was not recognized (not by you, by national media outlets). I appreciate your setting the record straight(er).

  3. Huh, good to have the official comment, but that sure is a lot of venom coming from a university spokesperson (sorry, spokesman). What does “every indication” mean, Mr. O’Shea? That none of the protesters were wearing Blue Jays sweatpants? That campus security couldn’t trick protesters into giving up the right to remain silent?

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