Falwell Jr. killed student newspaper articles critical of Trump: report
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., a staunch supporter of President Trump, reportedly reviewed and rejected stories and opinion pieces written about the president in the school’s student newspaper.
World Magazine, a Christian news publication, reported Monday that tensions rose between Falwell Jr. and the school newspaper, The Champion, when the Evangelical leader endorsed Trump for president in 2016.
Falwell Jr. reportedly required that editors disclose whom a columnist planned to vote for in the 2016 election.
When sports editor Joel Schmieg penned a column objecting to Trump’s vulgar comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape that was released in October 2016, Falwell Jr. ordered the piece be spiked because the paper had already run one Trump column that week, World Magazine reported.
Schmieg told the publication that he posted the column on his Facebook page instead, and was warned by school staff against doing so in the future.
“I didn’t feel comfortable being told what I couldn’t write about by President Falwell,” Schmieg told World Magazine.
The World Magazine report cited Falwell’s objections to the student newspaper as part of a broader pattern of Liberty University leadership stifling critical pieces student journalists pursued on campus.
Falwell Jr. has remained a fierce advocate for the president, inviting Trump to speak at Liberty’s 2017 commencement.
Earlier this month, he piled on against one of Trump’s favorite targets for criticism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calling him a “phony.”
Falwell Jr. claimed that Sessions showed up on the Liberty University campus the night before the 2016 election, but drew little student interest.
“Could it be our students were the first to see he was a phony pretending to be pro- @realDonaldTrump ?” Falwell Jr. tweeted.
Strangely @jeffsessions appeared unannounced at @LibertyU the night before the 2016 election on a bus tour. I told students but could get almost none of them to come hear him. Could it be our students were the first to see he was a phony pretending to be pro- @realDonaldTrump ?
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) August 2, 2018