After desperately trying to gin up media coverage of student protests at the University of Missouri, one of the school’s media professors is now furiously trying to “muscle” the press off campus to prevent them from covering student protests that rapidly spiraled out of control Monday.
Mizzou president Timothy Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday after members of the school’s 4-5 football team announced they would boycott team activities unless the school acceded to certain demands surrounding racial equality. Unsurprisingly, Wolfe’s resignation did little to quell the mob.
On Monday afternoon, activists who had demanded Wolfe’s resignation abruptly demanded that media stop covering their activities on the public campus of the taxpayer-funded university. At the center of those demands was Melissa Click, an assistant professor of mass media within Mizzou’s communications department.
In the video below, you can see Click ask for “muscle” to help her bully a Mizzou student into not covering the ongoing mob protests:
“You need to get out, you need to get out,” Melissa Click demanded of the person filming the protest. “You need to get out,” she continued before trying to grab the camera out of the videographer’s hands.
“I actually don’t,” the journalist told Click.
“Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here,” the media professor then hysterically exclaimed to the assembled mob. “I need some muscle over here!”
According to her bio on the University of Missouri website, Melissa Click specializes in “audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy”:
Her research interests center on popular culture texts and audiences, particularly texts and audiences disdained in mainstream culture. Her work in this area is guided by audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy. Current research projects involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children’s television programs.
Click’s dissertation for her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst was about the “commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon,” according to her CV. You can read the full dissertation here.
Before today, Click had furiously tried to gin up coverage of the Mizzou protests. On Saturday, Melissa Click posted on Facebook a request for national media coverage of the Mizzou grievances:
The interactions captured in the full video prior to Melissa Click’s anti-journalist interventions were no less Orwellian.
“You need to back up if you’re with the media!” a voice in the background yelled to the journalists trying to document the protest. “You need to respect the students! Back up!”
“I am a student,” Tim Tai, a student photographer trying to cover the protest, responded.
After Tai protested that the crowd was trying to push him, several people in the crowd laughed, tried to cover the camera with their hands, and responded, “Okay, then we’ll just block you.”
“You don’t have a right to take our photos,” one of the protesters asserted, apparently unaware that he was on taxpayer-funded public property that is by law open to the press.
Later in the video, the crowd aggressively started pushing the reporter around in an attempt to get him to stop covering their behavior.
“They have an education to get and a life to live,” a woman identified as Janna Basler, the assistant director of Greek Life & Leadership at the university, yelled at the photographer.
“I’m trying to document this for history,” Tai, the photographer, told the crowd.
“Everybody else has documented it,” Basler declared. “You gotta go.”
“You are infringing on what they need right now, which is to be alone,” Basler, a taxpayer-funded university employee, said of the assembled crowd. Basler did not elaborate on how participation in a large, anti-speech mob was consistent with needing to be alone.
At some point on Monday, Melissa Click locked her Twitter account to prevent the public from viewing any of her tweets. In 2013, she published a paper on the use of social media in pop culture. She has not published any peer-reviewed research since then, according to her resume.