Meet Charlie Kirk, The “Boy Wonder” Trump Ally Behind A Poorly Sourced McCarthy-Like Watchlist Of Professors
A new website called Professor Watchlist is soliciting “tips” to help publicly “expose and document” college professors who “advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The conservative group Turning Point USA, led by frequent Fox News guest and former Breitbart.com contributor Charlie Kirk, is behind the site.
Professor Watchlist, which launched  on November 21, encourages visitors to “submit a tip” to report professors  who “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” (The website originally  also solicited reports of professors who “promote anti-American values,” but that language has since been deleted.) The submission form  allows visitors to identify professors by name and school, and to submit evidence of perceived bias discovered via “Article/News Report,” “1st Hand Experience,” or simply “Word of Mouth.” It also allows visitors to share optional “Video/Photo Evidence” of alleged transgressions. The site’s “About Us ” page notes that it will “only publish profiles on incidents that have already been reported somewhere else,” though it does not provide further information on the quality of previous reporting required or the overall vetting process.
As of noon on December 1, the site lists  143 professors by name, including photos of the allegedly biased educators, brief details of reported incidents that have warranted their inclusion on the site, and links to “source(s)” that reported the incidents. Of these 143 entries, right-wing student reporter website Campus Reform , operated by the conservative activist training group the Leadership Institute , served as the singular “source” for 75. The conservative student blog The College Fix  sourced 10 entries, and the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant David Horowitz Freedom Center ’s website DiscoverTheNetworks, which often cites white nationalist groups , accounted for another 12. Other sources included Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, FoxNews.com posts, and edited “undercover” videos from conservative activist James O’Keefe’s discredited group Project Veritas . (Even Bill O’Reilly  expressed some concern about the legitimacy of these “third-party” reports in a recent interview with Kirk.)
Kirk’s Professor Watchlist site mimics the M.O. of other “citizen journalist” vigilantes of the far-right, like O’Keefe’s  Project Veritas, by promoting “tips ” from the public with little accountability for the truth, yet potential real consequences  for those caught in the crossfire.
In fact, O’Keefe was invited to attend  the final presidential debate courtesy of Kirk and Turning Point USA. Last year, O’Keefe spoke about “gorilla journalism ” (sic) at a Turning Point USA event in West Palm Beach, FL, and Professor Watchlist cites his videos as the sole “source” justifying four entries so far.
The “alt-right” white nationalist  news site Breitbart.com, now predictably defending  Kirk’s dangerous watchlist, has previously aligned itself  with O’Keefe via exclusive releases  and spirited defenses  of his “journalism” tactics. Both Kirk  and O’Keefe  also appear to support Breitbart mouthpiece Milo Yiannopoulos , a racist and sexist media stunt artist who styles himself as a journalist.
The 23-year-old Kirk has made guest appearances  on Fox Business  for several years. Kirk was previously a contributor  at Breitbart, and he has written pieces for The Washington Times  and FoxNews.com , among other right-wing outlets, beginning when he was in high school. On Twitter, Kirk has pushed Clinton  conspiracy  theories , repeatedly  delighted  in the failures  of “the media,” and targeted  “leftist ” professors and “likely ” professors for perceived bias  for years.
In 2015, Kirk was the subject of several puff profiles labeling him a “major player in conservative politics ” and a “boy wonder ” set to “energize” the Republican Party. His group also hosted multiple “Big Government Sucks ” rallies that year, with Sens. Ted Cruz  (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) making appearances. In July of this year, Kirk spoke  at the Republican National Convention about Turning Point USA, describing its work to push conservative values on college campuses, which he called “the most treacherous terrain imaginable.”
Apart from “calling back to McCarthyism and making lists of college professors who have offended their conservative sensibilities ,” Kirk’s Turning Point USA is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose stated mission  is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.” The group claims to have a “presence” on 1,000 college and high school campuses nationally. Another of its projects, Hypeline News, is a “young-adult driven social news site” that employs college-age writers and says it’s “taking back the media .”
Kirk personally publicly supported  Trump for the final months of the election season (although during the primaries he called Trump a “statist ” and “demagogue ” and was “cheering for a slowdown of the Trump train ” in March). In 2011, however, Kirk -- then a high school student -- repeatedly tweeted  at Trump, encouraging  him to run  for president . Last week, Kirk reportedly  met with undisclosed members of the Trump transition team at Trump Tower  to give “advice on young people and millennials and outreach.”