Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Collapse of Liberty University's Think Tank?

 Here is more from the New York Times:

When the Falkirk Center think tank was established at Liberty University in Virginia in 2019, it quickly became the de facto headquarters of evangelical Trumpism on a campus that had risen to national prominence.

Past and present fellows have included Sebastian Gorka, the radio host Eric Metaxas, and the former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis. Mr. Rudy Giuliani, the former president's lawyer, appeared on a podcast episode titled “Is the Election Really Over?” that aired the week after the election.

Now, less than two years later, Falkirk’s high-profile founders are gone, and Liberty is rethinking the center’s future in a post-Trump world.

The university quietly opted last fall not to renew the contract of Charlie Kirk, the combative young conservative activist who started the Falkirk Center with Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of Liberty’s founder. Mr. Falwell resigned as university president in August in the wake of a multipronged scandal that included allegations of sexual impropriety.

Liberty refers to the Falkirk Center as a “think tank,” although it has produced no traditional scholarship or academic research. Instead, it produces a podcast and videos on hot-button political and cultural topics, and is known for its aggressive social media presence.

The center, which is funded and owned by the university, also placed at least $50,000 worth of political ads on Facebook promoting Mr. Trump and other Republican candidates in the run-up to the election last fall, according to Politico.

Its rotating assortment of “fellows” do not have consistently defined responsibilities.


Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece about the launch of the Falkirk Center, and here is a post about how the think tank supported the Trump campaign.