Author and podcast host Andrew Klavan was greeted with a standing ovation after he was introduced at his lecture sponsored by the Memphis chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.
Klavan is one of many speakers that regularly lectures for the conservative student organization.
Grace Baker, president of YAF, said she did not expect many objections from students over Klavan visiting the campus.
“We haven’t gotten any direct confrontations, but it does seem like a lot of people were taking down our posters,” Baker said.
Baker said the YAF wants its lectures to be an opportunity to engage with other groups with differing opinions.
“We want the audience to understand what fake news is, how to recognize it, and how to combat the fake news narrative that mainstream media wants to push out,” Baker said.
Klavan also highlighted mentioned the importance of engaging opinions throughout the lecture.
The screenwriter spoke to a packed crowd about the origin’s fake news and other issues. Klavan opened the lecture by describing the American public’s opinion on mainstream media.
“A Gallup Poll says that 59 percent of Americans no longer trust the mainstream news.” Klavan said.
Klavan said the distrust among the public is not unwarranted. He accused mainstream news outlets of being biased and favoring partisanship over truth.
“We have two sides, two major parties, you want people to hear from the left and the right because facts are shaped by values and the things that we want for the country.” Klavan said.
Klavan went on to list the major differences in values between the parties. Klavan said the left pursues equality while the right protects freedom and that those values cannot coincide with each other because equality forces everyone to be the same while some people will rise to the top with freedom.
The former reporter said the lack of open dialogue in newsrooms is fueling the fake news fire.
“Seven percent of journalists identify as Republicans, four times as many identify as Democrats,” Klavan said. “You are getting Democrat news.”
Klavan said this influx of Democrat news is leaving no room in the conversation for Republicans.
In addition to fake news, Klavan discussed issues on race and Republican interactions with Black voters. Klavan argued that Democrats have not helped black voters and that the Republican party has failed to reach out to the black community.
“My personal opinion is that for the last 55 years, black Americans have been screwed by the Democrats,” Klavan said. “They have been screwed royally by the Democrats, and the Republicans have abandoned them.”
Klavan moved on to abortion by discussing “Gosnell,” a movie he wrote the screenplay for, then ended the lecture with his opinions on same-sex marriage.
“The one thing we know is not true is that sides are either for same-sex marriage or hate,” Klavan said. “That’s a child’s view of things.”
Following the lecture, representatives opened the floor up for questions. Students in attendance were excited to voice their opinions to Klavan.
Randall Sharp, a broadcast journalism major, said he was looking forward to entering “the belly of the beast.”
“I enjoyed the interaction even though I don’t agree at all,” Sharp said. “I got to address some elephants in the room that I had for the right.”
Grant Ross, a communications major, was disappointed by the lack of dissenting opinions in the room.
“I think that most public speakers like this are really good at answering a question without answering a question,” Ross said. “I think if we could make events like this more personal with more time to talk, it would be better.”