Kevin Barrett doesn't mind spewing his conspiracy theories so everyone can hear them. But the media can forget about getting a videotape of the University of Wisconsin-Madison instructor teaching his wild-eyed ideas.
According to UW-Madison officials, reporters are being allowed to attend Barrett's first classnext week. But TV reporters are barred from bringing along any cameras. Print reporters are being told to leave photographers at the door, as well.
"He said no cameras," UW-Madison flack Dennis Chaptman said, adding that university brass agreed to the ban.
Barrett garnered widespread bad press this summer for his silly assertions that the U.S. government orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks for its own benefit.
Tony Galli of WKOW-TV (Channel 27) in Madison asked for permission to attend and tape the first session of Barrett's class "Islam: Religion and Culture." That class is slated to meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and about 200 students have enrolled.
Galli's boss, Al Zobel, said the station has been permitted to bring its cameras into classrooms at the publicly funded university in the past. To avoid disrupting the class, Zobel said, his station even offered to have a single pool camera that would share its tape with other media.
UW-Madison officials nixed that idea, saying they feared cameras would disrupt the classroom. Chaptman dodged questions about why having a single camera isn't obtrusive in a state courtroom but would be bothersome in a classroom.
Chaptman, a former Journal Sentinel reporter, shed no tears for Galli and his blow-dried colleagues.
"I'm sorry if TV reporters are honked off," he said, noting that Barrett will meet reporters after class to answer any questions on air. "But we have accommodated TV reporters."