Tuesday Edition

What can we learn from the senseless killing of one of my college friends? Plus: The truth about campus protests.

1. These Aren’t Working Class Protests

Campus protesters claim to fight for the oppressed and downtrodden of Gaza, but they themselves are anything but underprivileged. (Washington Monthly)


A new Washington Monthly analysis finds the overwhelming majority of extreme protests (the ones where encampments have been set up) are taking place at expensive schools full of comparatively wealthy students.

Chart: Washington Monthly

A breakdown of the data:

  • Pro-Palestinian protests at elite colleges are common; 318 of 1,421 ranked colleges had protests, and 123 had encampments.

  • Protests are rare at colleges with high percentages of Pell Grant (grants for low- and moderate-income families) students.

  • At 78 historically black colleges, 64% of students receive Pell Grants, yet only 9 had protests, and none had encampments.

  • Elite colleges with low acceptance rates and few Pell students have more protests and encampments.

Related: Last month, a student at Columbia University was widely mocked for demanding “humanitarian aid” for protesters who had taken over an administration building on campus.

Columbia PhD candidate Johannah King-Slutzky: “Do you want students to die of dehydration or starvation and get severely ill even if they disagree with you. If the answer is no, then you should allow basic — I mean, it’s crazy to say, because we’re on an Ivy League campus, but this is like basic humanitarian aid we’re asking for. Like, could people please have a glass of water?”

2. R.I.P. Cable News

The latest stats on cable news viewers highlight the medium’s bleak long-term outlook. (WSJ)

Chart: The Wall Street Journal

Median viewer ages for top the three cable news networks (per Nielsen):

  • MSNBC: 70

  • Fox News: 69

  • CNN: 67

Couple that with a years-long audience decline.

Confidence in mass media plummeting, and cable news is one of the least trusted sources of information.

Chart: Statista

Wall Street Journal reporter Isabella Simonetti on how aging audiences have affected the ad industry: “For years, media executives built their pitches to advertisers around the idea that they could reach younger audiences, with viewers 18 to 49 years old drawing a big premium and those 25 to 54 offering the greatest appeal to news advertisers. … Now media executives are embracing a new sell. They are focusing more on the mass-market reach of TV, and playing down the importance of age for advertisers.”

Bubba’s Two Cents

As journalist/podcast host Saagar Enjeti noted about the median viewer nearing 70, "U.S. life expectancy is 78...so it should be an interesting decade."

3. 5 Revealing Charts on School Funding

The following charts tell a story about how the U.S. is spending on public education. (Hat tip to school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis for pointing us to many of these charts.)

Administrative staff hiring is greatly outpacing growth of teachers and students.

Schooling costs have skyrocketed while enrollment and test scores have mostly stayed the same.

Funding per student has increased dramatically, but it’s not being spent on teacher salaries, which (when you adjust for inflation) have plateaued for decades.

The U.S. spends more per pupil than other wealthy nations.

The U.S. ranks outside of the top 15 countries when it comes to scholastic performance.

4. The Senseless Death of a Friend

Johnny Wactor, most famous for his role in General Hospital, was one of my good college friends at College of Charleston. This weekend, he was shot and killed in downtown Los Angeles after witnessing three men allegedly stealing a catalytic converter. From The Post and Courier:

Johnny had just left work at a rooftop bar with a female coworker when he saw someone at his car. When [he] asked if he was being towed, three mask-wearing thieves looked up at him, his brother said.

Johnny then moved his female coworker behind him, said Grant Wactor, a 29-year-old Summerville resident. Johnny did not confront the men or try to stop them, but they shot him anyway, he said.

The three men fled from the scene, police said. Wactor was rushed to a hospital, where he died.

Johnny’s death spurred some talk of violent crime in L.A., which is ticking back up after declining last year.

  • As of late April, murders in the city were up 4.2% year-to-date, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

  • In March, the LAPD reported violent crime was up 2.9% compared to a year prior, while robberies spiked 9.5%.

  • An ABC News analysis found mass transit crime reports increased by 54.7% from 2020 to 2023, with violent crimes rising 10.9% from 2022 to 2023.

Catalytic converter thefts have plagued California for years: The Golden State accounts for 37% of all the catalytic converter theft claims in the U.S.

  • In 2021, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon announced a plan to curb thefts in his city by getting car manufacturers to install anti-theft devices and mark the converters.

Amid rising concerns about crime, Gascon (who’s been dubbed “One of the country’s most progressive prosecutors”) narrowly survived a primary election in March.

How California’s City News Service described him earlier this year: “Gascon was elected in 2020 over incumbent Jackie Lacey as he promised a wave of progressive changes. But he has been under fire since taking office by issuing a series of directives critics have blasted as being soft on crime. The directives included a rule against seeking the death penalty, a ban on transferring juvenile defendants to adult court and prohibitions on filing sentencing enhancements in most cases.”

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