The targeted harassment of faculty often originates with well-funded and highly networked right-wing political/media organizations.
For example, Campus Reform and the College Fix pay students to write outrage pieces about academics. These stories are frequently mainlined into the right-wing media ecosystem where they become amplified as part of a manufactured and highly partisan culture war narrative that paints university as explicitly hostile to conservative ideas. These stories often distort faculty claims, use strategic quotation marks to cast doubt on the merits of faculty speech, and play into highly partisan narratives around higher education.
These pieces, especially those that name individual faculty and accuse them of bias, should be treated as political attacks, and not simply journalism. As such, when responding, rather than debating the merits of what these outlets say, faculty, administrators, journalists, and the broader public should instead follow the money.
To built resilience in the face of these partisan attacks on higher education, we monitor those websites–the usual suspects–most responsible for originating much of the content that fuels these attacks on faculty.