Liberty University blocks newspaper website for reporting on its federal financial aid haul

Jerry Falwell Jr. doesn't want his students or staff learning how much government cash his school receives

By Alex Pareene

Published April 13, 2011 5:14PM (EDT)

Last month, the Lynchburg News & Advance reported that Liberty University, the evangelical private school founded by Jerry Falwell and run by Jerry Falwell Jr., received almost half a billion dollars in federal financial aid money last year. After we pointed out that that was more federal money than NPR received last year, Liberty University apparently blocked access to the News & Advance website for at least one day. Yes, Liberty University is exactly like Communist China.

Liberty University officials at first claimed they were unashamed of receiving so much government cash, but apparently they later thought it embarrassing enough to attempt some clumsy censorship.

Not that Falwell admitted that that's why he blocked it!

“Most of the websites that are blocked have to do with obscene material, material that is inappropriate,” Falwell said. “It just so happened last week The News & Advance was blocked for a day or two. We’re a private organization and we don’t have to give a reason and we’re not.”

Liberty’s decision last week to block The News & Advance website,, was not related to the newspaper’s content, Falwell added.

But Jim Romenesko says he learned that the financial aid story is what led to the blocking.

The dean of LU's law school seemed nonplussed by Falwell's actions: "I had no knowledge of it. I hadn’t heard about that and it would be surprising to me."

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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