By Binghamton Review E-Board
On February 3rd, 2020, Binghamton University’s Frances Beal Society posted audio clips on Instagram and Twitter, claiming that the clips contained dialogue from TPUSA members and Binghamton Review writers. On February 6th, 2020, Pipe Dream released two articles about the leaked clips – one posing as an “objective” news piece, and the other an editorial from Pipe Dream’s Editorial Board. The audio clips and claims from Frances Beal Society are laughably insignificant, but Pipe Dream’s coverage and subsequent editorial legitimize and spin them in a way that is defamatory, dangerous, and incredibly dishonest.
Binghamton Review’s name is brought up in Frances Beal Society’s social media posts, and throughout both Pipe Dream articles. Frances Beal Society only mentions it once, but Pipe Dream continually discusses Binghamton Review, and even alludes to the source of the audio recordings potentially being a Review meeting. Let us make this abundantly clear – Binghamton Review has absolutely no connection to the leaked audio. The audio was not recorded at a Review meeting or event. November 21st, when the audio was allegedly recorded, was a Thursday. Last semester, Binghamton Review held meetings on Mondays and Tuesdays, and while we did work on production on some Thursdays, we did not on the 21st, as that was after our last issue of the semester had been released. Additionally, Binghamton Review had no connection to the tabling or the Art Laffer event, and therefore would have no reason to plan for a response to the outcome of those events at our meetings.
There is some membership crossover between Binghamton Review and political clubs such as College Republicans and TPUSA. Our writers and staff are free to attend any other clubs that they want, and are free to do whatever they please in their free time. Binghamton Review is not responsible for their actions as members of those clubs, or as individuals. Binghamton Review is only responsible for the actions of Binghamton Review as an organization. Blaming Binghamton Review for the actions of College Republicans is the equivalent of blaming Free Press for the actions of College Progressives.
Pipe Dream claims that the people speaking in the audio clips are “in leadership positions” at “the Binghamton Review” (which is not our name, “the” Pipe Dream). However, the majority of Binghamton Review’s staff, including club President and Editor-in-Chief Tommy Gagliano, were not present at the “meeting” in which the audio was recorded.
Pipe Dream’s description of the content of the audio clips is also dishonest and misleading. An individual can be heard saying “scorched Earth, kill them, get them,” in an obviously sarcastic and joking tone. It is not hard to deduce from the clips that he is referencing the aggressive political climate on campus, and the attitude that promotes underhanded tactics to “defeat” the “enemy” – exactly like Frances Beal Society did by leaking this audio. One would never know this simply from reading Pipe Dream’s coverage, though. While translating audio recording to text, the tone and context are lost, and Pipe Dream does not do a single thing to remedy it. In fact, they take advantage of this loss of context to promote a dangerous narrative. They suggest that the individual genuinely wants students dead. I can only assume that this is an intentional misinterpretation, because not even Pipe Dream writers are dumb enough to miss that. In their editorial piece Pipe Dream takes it a step further, claiming that “it does not matter whether these comments were said in jest or not.” It is shocking to see so-called “journalists” state that context does not matter.
Another section of the audio recording that is emphasized by both Pipe Dream and Frances Beal Society is a voice, allegedly belonging to Lacey Kestecher, saying “Honestly, if they jump me, big money” after discussing a desire to wear a MAGA hat around campus. This is portrayed by both organizations as an expressed desire to provoke students, and make money for TPUSA in the process. They both miss the point completely. The foundation of the statement is the very real fear that a student wearing a MAGA hat would be assaulted while walking around campus for daring to have differing opinions. “Big money” is a joke making light of this possibility, as if to say “if I get assaulted, at least I can sue my attacker after.”
Frances Beal Society claims to have received threats and hate, but declined to share any of them. We can definitively say that, if members of their organization have received threats or hate, they did not come from members of Binghamton Review. If anyone has been harrassed by Review staff, please let us know and we will do something about it. We can be reached at email@example.com.
Frances Beal Society also cut off the audio recording short, but claimed that the removed portion consists of people “targeting specific individuals.” They refused to share it for reasons of “confidentiality,” which is a bad excuse when they could have simply cut out the sound when names were mentioned. We have no choice but to believe that this is a lie.
To use Pipe Dream’s own rhetoric: The E-Board of Binghamton Review condemns Frances Beal Society and Pipe Dream for their egregious remarks. Frances Beal Society has clearly demonstrated from its recent history that it should never receive a charter. Pipe Dream’s complicity and participation in this heinous behavior furthermore indicates that the University needs to investigate whether they are intentionally defaming students and student organizations, and if so, reconsider the privileges they have as an organization. The University has a responsibility to address these lies with action.
The campus should be no place for hate – but with Pipe Dream’s attitude towards conservative student groups, right now, it is.