Feature

The one-man war against a gay student

Anderson Cooper of CNN asks Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell whether his blog attacking a gay student council president amounts to cyberbullying

The video: CNN's Anderson Cooper grilled Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell this week about his personal blog, which is entirely dedicated to posts about Chris Armstrong, the University of Michigan's first openly gay student body president. (See video below.) Shirvell, a Michigan alum, accuses Armstrong of trying to impose a "radical homosexual agenda" on the school. His blog has featured photos of Armstrong with the word "resign" written across his face, and a rainbow flag with a swastika superimposed on it. Cooper suggests Shirvell's campaign is inappropriate and borders on cyberbullying. "You're a state official, this is a college student," Cooper says. "What are you doing?"
The reaction: Shirvell's "vitriolic blog postings" might very well qualify as cyberbullying, says Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post, except that Michigan has no cyberbullying law. "What's stunning is his total lack of judgment" along with "his seeming inability to understand how, well, strange his actions are." Plenty of people find Shirvell's views "offensive," says Alix Kemp at The Gateway, but "he has as much right to express them" as anyone else. Some have called for him to be "unceremoniously sacked," but that would turn a bizarre, petty spat into an assault on freedom of speech. Watch a clip from the interview:

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