One of today’s most emailed NPR stories discusses a book by Robert Jensen, a professor of media ethics and journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. In his book, Jensen purports to explain why all white people are in fact racists. I haven’t listened to the story, nor have I read the book (although I did read the excerpt of the book at the NPR web site). Frankly, it sounds like liberal, guilt-ridden psychobabble to me, but what do I know?
Oh, wait. I do know one thing. Jensen is no stranger to the media. While you probably won’t hear it on NPR, these are a few more things you should know about Jensen if you read his book:
According to the Professor Watch List, Jensen introduces the “unsuspecting” student to a crash course in “socialism, white privilege, the truth about the Persian Gulf War and the role of America as the world’s prominent sponsor of terrorism.
“Jensen half-heartedly attempts to tie his rants to ‘critical issues’ in journalism, insisting his lessons are valid under the guise of teaching potential journalists to ‘think’ about the world around them. Jensen is also renowned for using class time when he teaches Media Law and Ethics to ‘come out’ and analogize gay rights with the civil rights movement,” the list entry for Jensen reads.
Aside from classroom idiocy, Jensen was a strident voice after 9/11. In an article published on September 26, 2001 in the Houston Chronicle, Jensen offered these pearls of wisdom:
But as I listened to people around me talk, I realized the anger and fear I felt were very different, for my primary anger is directed at the leaders of this country and my fear is not only for the safety of Americans but for innocent civilians in other countries.
It should need not be said, but I will say it: The acts of terrorism that killed civilians in New York and Washington were reprehensible and indefensible; to try to defend them would be to abandon one’s humanity. No matter what the motivation of the attackers, the method is beyond discussion.
But this act was no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism — the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes — that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime. For more than five decades throughout the Third World, the United States has deliberately targeted civilians or engaged in violence so indiscriminate that there is no other way to understand it except as terrorism. And it has supported similar acts of terrorism by client states.
If that statement seems outrageous, ask the people of Vietnam. Or Cambodia and Laos. Or Indonesia and East Timor. Or Chile. Or Central America. Or Iraq. Or Palestine. The list of countries and peoples who have felt the violence of this country is long. Vietnamese civilians bombed by the United States. Timorese civilians killed by a U.S. ally with U.S.-supplied weapons. Nicaraguan civilians killed by a U.S. proxy army of terrorists. Iraqi civilians killed by the deliberate bombing of an entire country’s infrastructure.
So, my anger is directed not only at individuals who engineered the Sept. 11 tragedy, but at those who have held power in the United States and have engineered attacks on civilians every bit as tragic. That anger is compounded by hypocritical U.S. officials’ talk of their commitment to higher ideals, as President Bush proclaimed “our resolve for justice and peace.” [Emphasis mine.]
It goes on in this vein, but I really don’t want to waste my blog space with this type of stuff. You get the drift. And the people of the great state of Texas get to pay this man’s salary.
Now, do you really want this man lecturing to you about racism?