Pastor and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. came under fire late last month when he ordered faculty to return to the university and gave students the option to return, despite the mounting health crisis in the United States.
Surely enough, it wasn't long before students began falling ill.
Taking a page from the book of the President he loves so dearly, Falwell threw down the gauntlet against the journalists who broke the story of his recklessness.
Falwell said on Wednesday that arrest warrants were out for freelance New York Times photographer Julia Rendleman and ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis, claiming they committed the misdemeanor of trespassing onto Liberty University's campus while doing their jobs.
The warrants were posted on far-right conspiracy theorist Todd Starnes's website.
David McCraw, counsel for The Times, didn't hesitate to defend Rendleman:
"Julia was engaged in the most routine form of news gathering: taking an outdoors picture of a person who was interviewed for a news story. We are disappointed that Liberty University would decide to make that into a criminal case and go after a freelance journalist because its officials were unhappy with press coverage of the university's decision to convene classes in the midst of the pandemic."
Falwell has frequently spouted conspiracy theories that the virus is actually a biological weapon and that the virus was being overblown by the media.
People agreed that his petty attack on the press for reporting on the university was bogus.
There’s this little thing called the first amendment, though. https://t.co/1B3QdwD5n4— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1586405663.0
Did you dig into this at all? Which law enforcement agency has the warrants? What judge issued them? What’s the… https://t.co/56DfN1hZph— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@Andrew C Laufer, Esq) 1586399410.0
Um, good luck with that one. https://t.co/9OcwGJsrj3— Neal Katyal (@Neal Katyal) 1586397041.0
I’m a born again Christian. I’m donating to @propublica after @LibertyU @JerryFalwellJr bogus trespassing charge on… https://t.co/Q0Tew0U7d4— Village Grammar and Style Repair (@Village Grammar and Style Repair) 1586403217.0
For what, doing their jobs reporting on issues pertaining to student health and safety? https://t.co/wBrGcHmpfr— john wojcik (@john wojcik) 1586449018.0
Falwell's actions were far more harmful than a Trumped up trespassing charge.
‼️RECKLESS & DANGEROUS: “Defying a national trend of campus closures, President Jerry Falwell Jr. has invited stu… https://t.co/2j9yAe3J2r— Katie Phang (@Katie Phang) 1585079128.0
Science? We don’t need no stinkin’ science! #idiots https://t.co/unF2b9TUm0— RealityChecker46 (@RealityChecker46) 1585086493.0
Jerry Falwell is evil. Honestly I don't know how to judge the students. A lot of people don't have a choice to wher… https://t.co/iM88u7287r— Moff Gideon (Crobar) (@Moff Gideon (Crobar)) 1585080018.0
Good luck, Jerry.
For a deeper look into the white evangelical movement's political machinations, check out The Immoral Majority, available here.