What a fantastic end to this sh*tshow. Every woke panderer should be humiliated as thoroughly as the University of North Carolina is today.
UNC hired her to be the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at its Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Typically that comes with an offer of tenure but it didn’t in Hannah-Jones’s case. Why? One possibility is racism — by a school that had just offered her a coveted position and a five-year contract. The other is the fact that her signature work, The 1619 Project, has been been criticized by some historians as slanted and myopic and accused by its own fact-checkers of having made “avoidable mistakes.” UNC’s trustees may not have wanted to commit to defending her output for the rest of her life, not knowing what might come next.
So they offered her a five-year deal with tenure a possibility afterward. Hannah-Jones accused them of racism and was naturally supported in that claim by other academics and wider media. Chatter about a lawsuit was heard. With the heat on, UNC’s trustees met in special session last week and decided to grant her tenure after all on a 9-4 vote.
Too late, Hannah-Jones said a few hours ago on “CBS This Morning.” Congrats to UNC on having capitulated to political pressure and ending up accused of bigotry anyway.
JUST IN: Award-winning journalist @nhannahjones reveals on @CBSThisMorning she has declined the University of North Carolina's offer for tenure and will be the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Reporting at @HowardU. pic.twitter.com/w9j0gVe0cd
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) July 6, 2021
Their own faculty at the School of Journalism knifed them after Hannah-Jones’s announcement:
Faculty members at UNC School of Journalism issued a statement:
"We support Ms. @nhannahjones choice. The appalling treatment of one of our nation’s most-decorated journalists by her own alma mater was humiliating, inappropriate, and unjust.
We will be frank: it was racist." https://t.co/Km9V5GRYeC
— Kumar Rao (@KumarRaoNYC) July 6, 2021
The X factor in the Hannah-Jones saga is Walter Hussman Jr, the man for whom UNC’s journalism school is named. He’s a newspaper publisher and a mega-donor to the university who committed $25 million to UNC a few years ago for its journalism program. He wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of Hannah-Jones being granted tenure, believing her to be more of an activist than a truly impartial reporter:
“I worry about the controversy of tying the UNC journalism school to the 1619 project,” Hussman wrote in a late December email to King, copying in Guskiewicz and Routh. “I find myself more in agreement with Pulitzer prize winning historians like James McPherson and Gordon Wood than I do Nikole Hannah-Jones.
“These historians appear to me to be pushing to find the true historical facts. Based on her own words, many will conclude she is trying to push an agenda, and they will assume she is manipulating historical facts to support it. If asked about it, I will have to be honest in saying I agree with the historians.”…
“My hope and vision was that the journalism school would be the champion of objective, impartial reporting and separating news and opinion, and that would add so much to its reputation and would benefit both the school and the University,” he wrote. “Instead, I fear this possible and needless controversy will overshadow it.”…
Hussman sees his role as an active one. He told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in 2019 that there’s too much opinion in news coverage. “We’re trying to take a step to move it back in the right direction again,” Hussman said.
So passionately does Hussman believe in separating opinion from news reporting that he made it the first of his five “core principles” that are etched in stone inside the School of Journalism. UNC’s trustees obviously thought carefully before pissing off a major benefactor, but they went ahead with hiring Hannah-Jones anyway and, as noted, even took the final step of offering her tenure when they came under scrutiny.
Oh well. The mere fact of Hussman’s involvement in the process ended up being decisive to Hannah-Jones, she said in a statement today:
“I cannot imagine working at and advancing a school named for a man who lobbied against me, who used his wealth to influence the hires and ideology of the journalism school, who ignored my 20 years of journalism experience, all of my credentials, all of my work, because he believed that a project that centered Black Americans equaled the denigration of white Americans. Nor can I work at an institution whose leadership permitted this conduct and has done nothing to disavow it. How could I believe I’d be able to exert academic freedom with the school’s largest donor so willing to disparage me publicly and attempt to pull the strings behind the scenes? Why would I want to teach at a university whose top leadership chose to remain silent, to refuse transparency, to fail to publicly advocate that I be treated like every other Knight Chair before me? Or for a university overseen by a board that would so callously put politics over what is best for the university that we all love? These times demand courage, and those who have held the most power in this situation have exhibited the least of it.
One would think that beating Hussman on the tenure issue and taking a lifetime appointment at the school named after him would have felt like a supreme triumph for Hannah-Jones. She outmaneuvered the mega-millionaire who could afford to make the trustees care about his opinions but who ended up being defied by them anyway. As it is, she’s taking a position at Howard University instead. God only knows what UNC was thinking in trying to hire her without meeting all of her employment demands, knowing what the consequences would be if it didn’t. It can’t be long now before the faculty starts agitating to have Hussman’s name taken off the school.
Here’s the full interview with Hannah-Jones this morning.