Fast forward from the 1970s, and the Reagan Era led to an outburst of conservative newspapers across the country. The unheralded success of the Dartmouth Review at Dartmouth College inspired conservative students at other institutions to found similar newspapers. The Institute for Educational Affairs, founded in 1978 to assist conservative academics, created The Collegiate Network in 1984 to offer these groups technical and financial assistance.
Jim Keller, a Government major, founded The Cornell Review in the spring of 1984. Ann Coulter, an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences, edited the paper in the same year. The Review soon became successful as an outlet for students disaffected by the university's perceived leftist slant. The paper drew immediate and critical attention for its discordant rhetoric and "shock journalism."
During the 1980s, The Review assumed a socially conservative stance while attacking affirmative action and communism. It notably criticized university-sponsored ethnicity-oriented residential communities, known as "program houses," as segregationist. While embroiled in several controversies, it continued to defend free speech through outspoken journalism and creative satire. In 1986, leftists voiced their opposition to the paper by seeking out and shredding nearly every copy of one issue at a multitude of locations on campus during the early morning hours after delivery.
Later, The Review's social conservatism started mellowing, and it ran articles in defense of homosexual marriage and abortion as well as articles opposed to those practices. This prompted the inception of a rival publication called The Cornell American in 1992. Craig Hymowitz, who was the chairman of the Cornell College Republicans and who had a troubled history with The Review, is credited with the original vision for the publication. In January 1992, Hymowitz, Jonathan Bloedow, and Hartley Etheridge founded The American Society, an independent organization formed to "advance classical American values, and to publish a journal, The Cornell American."
The first issue, entitled "The Endangered American," was published in March 1992. It contrasted with The Review in appearance and style, but most notably in tone—the older paper was known for its unconventional humor and lampooning of campus excesses, inflammatory to its critics. The new publication was even and philosophical but pretentious and boring, to fans of The Review. The situation paralleled that of Peninsula and the Salient at Harvard.
The American garnered media attention across the United States with its second issue, entitled "Residence Life: Guilty as Charged." This issue made several allegations against the University’s resident advisor training program.
While even-toned in style, the paper's ideological development tracked rightward, reflecting socially conservative views. It heavily criticized the university's health clinic for its links with Planned Parenthood and the high local abortion rate; the College of Human Ecology, accused of hostility to traditional morality and views of family; and Cornell's ethnic-studies-oriented program housing, which it blamed for left-wing indoctrination and increasing racial tension.
The American was unable to secure a strong financial base. It was repeatedly denied funds from the Collegiate Network, of which The Review was a longstanding member, and found it difficult to retain advertisers. It lost momentum after Bloedow's graduation in 1994 and published its final issue in 1996, after which most of its remaining staff joined The Review. The American Society persisted until 1998 as a sponsor of speakers and other campus programs.
Kushagra Aniket is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.