Jim Holstun, an English professor at the University of Buffalo, sends this along:
Tony Blair spoke at the University at Buffalo on Wednesday, October 7. As usual, the University prescreened and censored questions. But one questioner got through by submitting a fake question for review, then asking a real one.
Blair looks even more like a liar than usual here. I’m told that University at Buffalo Vice President and Chief Censor Dennis Black nearly burst a vein when he heard the unapproved question being asked.
Tony Blair, of course, refuses to affirm international law, as one would expect from the man who refused to call for a ceasefire during Israel’s war on Lebanon. But it takes a deft questioner to make him debase himself so openly.
Blessed is the university with students who have such moxy and smarts!
And an article from a University of Buffalo student newspaper gives more of the story:
The screening was put in place to prevent repeated questions, condense similar questions and displace irrelevant questions like that of Blair’s age, height, favorite color, and other questions that didn’t pertain to the speech, said Dennis Black, vice president of student affairs.
Despite the screening process, one student was able to slip in several uncensored questions.
Nick Kabat, a senior political science and psychology major, was chosen as one of the few students that would be able to ask Blair a question. His original question was approved, but Kabat says his intention was to get accepted and then ask Blair a much harder question.
“Most of the questions would be easy for Blair to respond to – questions that have been asked a million times,” Kabat said. “It made a statement to the crowd that this man is not as perfect and charming as they may believe.” . . .
Kabat did not receive any form of punishment for changing his question and says he would do it again if given the chance. He said that he could tell that Blair was not expecting the question and thinks the former prime minister was thrown off by it.