The Young America's Foundation is out with its annual report claiming liberal domination of commencement speakers, and the distortions are common. YAF claims, "in the rare instances when conservatives were invited—and we do mean rare—liberal students and administrators went berserk," citing the "fact" that at the University of Vermont, Ben "Stein’s invitation was eventually rescinded." In reality, Stein himself decided to withdraw after his anti-science views caused controversy. Oddly, YAF ignores the fact that President Obama's speech at Notre Dame drew the greatest controversy and calls for censorship in the country.
YAF also claims that only "Five recognizable to barely-recognizable conservatives at the nation’s leading universities" gave commencement addresses among the top 250 universities. This is plainly false. A quick glimpse at YAF's list of speakers shows many more Republicans and conservatives speaking. At Stanford University, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee and moderate conservative, spoke. At USC, Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke. At the University of Washington, it was Robert Gates, who YAF lists simply as "Obama’s Defense Secretary" omitting the fact that he is a Republican who was also Bush's Defense Secretary. Carl Schramm, President of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation & conservative writer, spoke at the University of Illinois. At Virginia Tech, Gen. Lance L. Smith (Retired United States Air Force) spoke and according to one report "was quite conservative." Florida State University's speaker was Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, who was part of the Bush Administration's efforts in Iraq. And there's many, many more military people, corporate CEOs, and other conservatives who spoke at commencements. It may be the case that there were more liberal speakers this year as the conservative movement falls into a sharp decline in both intellectual power and popular support, but YAF certainly hasn't proved anything.
YAF calls it "another dose of leftist indoctrination." In fact, no one is compelled to agree with any commencement speaker, and the vast majority of commencement speakers are centrists and celebrities saying little of importance.