NMSU business professor David Clements gained national attention for his YouTube video in which he criticized president Floros’ comments on the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack. He claimed Floros’ criticism of the Capitol riots paired with his “silence” during the Black Lives Matter protests represented an unfair double standard.
“If you’re going to call out violence, call it out but do it year round,” Clements said in a Jan. 20 appearance on the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight. “Don’t just wait until it’s politically convenient due to what happened.”
Clements gave himself the oxymoronic title of “middle-ground Trump supporter,” while claiming to have irrefutable evidence that the election was stolen. While he promises to be apolitical in the classroom and to treat all students equally, Clements’ radically biased political grandstanding and intellectual dishonesty outside the classroom leads me to seriously doubt the quality and integrity of the education he provides.
It was inevitable that the attack on the Capitol being rightly labeled as a terrorist attack would lead many like professor Clements to compare it to the protests that occurred over the summer. There is an important distinction between these events and I’m sure it has been explained to him time and time again.
“While he promises to be apolitical in the classroom and to treat all students equally, Clements’ radically biased political grandstanding and intellectual dishonesty outside the classroom leads me to seriously doubt the quality and integrity of the education he provides.”
The Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after the death of George Floyd stemmed from legitimate and life-threatening grievances. Communities were tired of seeing young black men and women being murdered at the hands of those tasked with protecting them.
After decades of peaceful protests and pleas for equality that fell on deaf ears, the climate of 2020 led to an eruption of frustration and pain felt all across the country. So, I apologize if the world doesn’t sympathize with the mobs of political has-beens who stormed the Capitol because they couldn’t handle losing an election.
Portland was not set on fire and Kenosha was not burned to the ground. Those cities are fine and are still there. In fact, a study by The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project found that 93% of demonstrations linked to Black Lives Matter remained peaceful.
What happened at the Capitol, on the other hand, was not just property damage, as professor Clements insinuated. This was an attack perpetrated by people who intended to take and potentially execute political prisoners. These people were not simply breaking into a Target or Starbucks; they were attempting to overturn a national election.
In his video professor Clements encouraged his viewers to question everything they see. He questioned why police were seen opening gates and waving protesters into the Capitol. He questioned if it was really Trump supporters who did this or some sort of coordinated inside job.
He even had the audacity to question the actions of Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman, who is now being hailed as a hero for leading a mob away from the entrance to the Senate chamber.
We knew the answers to many of Clements’ questions long before this failed insurrection ever happened. The FBI warned Capitol police about extremist threats and calls for violence, and social media served as a hub for political extremists to communicate and even provided a record of their threats.
Among other claims Clements perpetuated is the false narrative that antifa led the attack on the Capitol citing a now deleted and unsourced video of a supposed member claiming responsibility. Unlike the many Trump supporters and Proud Boys who were seen in now historic videos, this man’s identity is unknown.
With the help of dedicated journalists, internet sleuths and the public, many perpetrators of the attack have now been identified and charged. Perpetrators like Proud Boys members, Dominic Pezzola and Robert Gieswein, took part in organizing the attack, confronted police officers and were among the first people to make it inside the building.
Other known participants included West Virginia lawmaker Derrick Evans, who filmed himself entering the Capitol, and Riley Williams, who is accused of directing people inside the building and stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop.
While I shudder in frustration at professor Clements’ biased opinions, I have to admit he made some good points in his contradictory mess of a video. I agree that it is not OK to label all Trump supporters as racists or bigots. It’s true that not everyone at the Capitol that day was there with the intent to cause harm.
While it is hard to understand why anyone would want to be on the same side as the guy with the Camp Auschwitz shirt, Trump supporters don’t look at it in such a black-and-white manner. There is often a huge difference between the right-wing white nationalist and your run-of-the-mill conservative.
While many of us worried about our boomer parents falling for conspiracy theories like QAnon, the reality is most of them had never heard of these conspiracies and had no idea what was really going on. Then the Jan. 6 attack opened their eyes to the insanity that had become the Republican party.
Many Republicans have even begun publicly denouncing the GOP altogether as over 30,000 Republican voters have changed their registration over the last month.
Professor Clements claims his only goal is to encourage “an environment where we can process facts,” but his actions, such as citing the Epoch Times — a radical right-wing publication with a long history of publishing false information — during a live Q&A, show his inability to discern credible sources from propaganda.
Moreover, Clements claimed without evidence in the Carlson interview “that [NMSU] is under a spell of Marxism,” and that “20% of the faculty members [at NMSU] identify proudly as Marxists.”
In a different YouTube video posted Jan. 22, Clements defended this claim citing the National Association of Scholars, a non-profit with a history of lobbying for politically conservative educational organizations. Clements also cited surveys that he admitted only included students and sociology professors.
Clements also blatantly chooses to misrepresent socialism and Marxism, often conflating the two. In that same video, he said he sees Marxists as anyone with a “worldview that revolves around an oppressor-oppressed narrative.” Clements sets up a straw-man fallacy in which even democratic socialism is unfairly and incorrectly aligned with communism.
I could go on for hours scrutinizing and debunking professor Clements’ many unfounded claims. At this point he has failed to convince me that he is a credible source who actually has any compelling or meaningful information to offer. He has failed to explain, for example, why Trump’s own legal team has not looked at any of the supposedly damning evidence he claims to have that would prove the election was stolen.
If you are a student planning to take one of professor Clements’ classes, proceed with caution. While he is no doubt a brilliant business professor, his willingness to perpetuate provably false narratives, share unsourced videos, push conspiracy theories and cherry-pick information is concerning to say the least.
Like professor Clements said, question everything you see. This includes overtly demagogic political rhetoric we have heard time and time again.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to New Mexico State University, the NMSU Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Kokopelli, or any other organization, committee, group or individual.