One-and-a-half months into Political Science 219, Dr. Freed’s Section B class is still wondering whether or not his apparent love for Richard Nixon is ironic.
Junior Doug Collins said that while Freed has hung up posters of many former U.S. presidents on the walls, Nixon’s is “definitely” the biggest one.
“It’s a 24 by 36, and all the other ones are 11 by 8.5,” said Collins. “It’s like, why don’t you just get a life-sized cardboard cutout and admit that you love Richard Nixon?”
Sophomore Beth Harper, whose seat is situated directly under the poster, said she definitely thinks Dr. Freed is more fond of Nixon than any other political figure they have discussed in class, and that almost all the reading they’ve been assigned on the former president has been positive in tone.
“I don’t know where the hell he’s finding all of these articles,” said Harper. “I mean, he wrote a few of them, but who else is kissing Nixon’s ass that much in this day and age?”
Collins said the Nixon unit has stretched on for three long weeks, and there’s no end in sight.
“He only spent, like, a day talking about Lincoln,” said Collins. “And maybe two classes on FDR. But he really just cannot say enough nice things about Richard Nixon.”
Harper said she once objected to Dr. Freed saying Nixon supported the free press, citing the Watergate scandal. In response, he questioned how much she really knew about the Washington Post’s “witch hunters,” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and accused her of being biased.
“I know I’m a journalism major, but wasn’t Watergate, like, objectively bad?” said Harper. “And it wasn’t just Watergate. Remember the Pentagon Papers? Nixon, like, really hated the media.”
Dr. Freed said he has no idea what his students are talking about, and that he wouldn’t have said anything at all if their concerns hadn’t “escalated” so much in recent days.
“They keep harping on the Watergate thing, which is so annoying,” said Dr. Freed. “If Nixon said he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it.”
Collins wondered aloud one day before Dr. Freed had arrived to class whether someone should just suck it up and ask him if he genuinely loved Richard Nixon. Before the class of 42 could reach a verdict, Freed entered the room and muttered something under his breath about the “fake news media.” He then promptly began the day’s lecture on exemplary Chiefs of Staff, starting with Freed’s favorite, H.R. Haldeman.