Commentary: What is Karl Rove afraid of?

Karl Rove, "Bush's Brain," according to a best-selling biography by Jim Moore and Wayne Slater, will speak at UC Merced on Oct. 8.

First lady Michelle Obama and former President Jimmy Carter also have come to speak here. And it keeps UC Merced up to speed with CSU Stanislaus, which hosted former vice-presidental candidate and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in June.

But UC Merced should be ashamed of itself for kowtowing to the ground rules Rove and his handlers have imposed: the event is not open to the public — you have to buy a ticket to attend; all recording devices must be turned off after the first five minutes of Rove's speech; reporters are not permitted to record Rove's speech; there will be no media availability before or after Rove's lecture; the question-and-answer session is for audience participation only.

Carter's appearance was a ticketed affair, but there were no coverage restrictions, and he gave a one-on-one interview to the Sun-Star.

These are unreasonable restraints on a free press and the public's right to know.

Who is Rove afraid of? What is UC Merced afraid of? How could an accurate and full account of Rove's remarks damage either the speaker or the institution? Is it Rove or is it UC Merced who's scared to let real live reporters ask questions? Or are both too timid to field questions from professional journalists?

To read the complete editorial, visit www.mercedsunstar.com.