Daniel Schmidt, a sophomore at the University of Chicago and the editor-in-chief of College Dissident, has made a name for himself by asking questions to prominent establishment figures when they spoke at his university. Here are three question-and-answer exchanges that went viral.
1. Mainstream journalist Anne Applebaum calls the Hunter Biden laptop story not “interesting”
Last April, the University of Chicago hosted a three-day conference called “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy.” Speakers included President Obama, CNN host Brian Stelter, and The Atlantic journalist Anne Applebaum.
After Applebaum finished speaking, Schmidt got the chance to ask her about the story perhaps most subjected to disinformation: Hunter Biden's laptop. Before outlets like CBS and The Washington Post confirmed the legitimacy of the story, social media giants like Twitter censored coverage outright. Additionally, more than 50 former intelligence officers falsely claimed the story showed signs of Russian disinformation.
Schmidt asked Applebaum whether she thought the media treated the story inappropriately, especially because polls suggest one in six Biden voters would have voted differently had they been aware of the story. Her response was clear: she did not find the story to be “interesting.”
Her answer stunned viewers, and the question-and-answer exchange has amassed nearly three million views on Twitter.
2. Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki falsely denies she encouraged illegal protests
In May, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki spoke at the University of Chicago just days after encouraging protests outside Supreme Court justices' homes following the leak of a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
According to 18 U.S. Code Section 1507, protesting outside the residences of court officers with the intent of interfering, obstructing, or influencing a decision is prohibited.
Schmidt asked Psaki whether she regrets encouraging illegal activity. She denied she ever did so and accused Schmidt of lying about what she said.
3. Representative Liz Cheney refuses to say if she thinks Ray Epps should be prosecuted
Never-Trumper Representative Liz Cheney spoke at the University of Chicago in November following the 2022 midterm elections. Schmidt asked Cheney if she thinks Ray Epps, an actual insurrectionist caught on camera, should be prosecuted, as members of the Proud Boys have been charged for the same acts Epps committed.
Cheney refused to answer Schmidt's question. Instead, she lectured him on how the three branches of government work and called Ray Epps a conspiracy theory.
After Schmidt asked his question, a student immediately apologized to Cheney for Schmidt's “behavior” and called him “the worst this campus has to offer.”