Media + Academic Bias

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

The real test of the bias in academia revolves around who gets admitted to the faculty lounge.

“MSNBC television host, award-winning scholar and Wake Forest University alumna Melissa Harris-Perry (‘94) will return this summer to her alma mater as a chaired professor,” Wake Forest announced in an online press release on April 11, 2014.

“Melissa Harris-Perry is one of the nation’s foremost intellectuals publicly exploring—and thoughtfully influencing—the intersections of politics, race, gender, religion and culture,” Wake Forest Provost Rogan Kersh stated. “We are delighted that she has chosen to come home to Wake Forest and help ignite in our students the passion she has for contemporary political issues and social justice.”

Previously, Harris-Perry taught at Tulane, the University of Chicago and Princeton. Conservative historians and economists may have to start their own think tanks in order to ply their trade but apparently having the right attitude is enough to get you an academic berth.

Outside the classroom, Harris-Perry’s  observations border on the bizarre, even given the network she works for:

  • “Over the weekend, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry weighed in on the Affordable Care Act by saying that the term ‘Obamacare’ was actually meant to be a ‘derogatory term,’ conceived by ‘wealthy white men,’ to put themselves above a black man and to diminish his accomplishments,” Accuracy in Media chairman Don Irvine reported on December 9, 2013.
  • At the Take Back the American Dream conference in 2012, “Some conservative media attention has been focused on another speech at the conference, a rather bizarre presentation by MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry,” Cliff Kincaid reported for AIM. “Predictably, as a black liberal, she described America as a racist nation. But this Tulane University professor went on to describe America’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a search for a new ‘racial enemy’ and the ‘imagined other,’ as if Islamic terrorism did not exist.”

As to what Harris-Perry teaches in the classroom, one of the trio of favorable reviews she got at Tulane on Rate My offers a tantalizing hint: “MHP is an enthusiastic and intriguing professor. Her lectures are interesting (and usually filled with Beyonce references) and the class discussions are always stimulating. Overall her class is enjoyable but she does have a tendency to be a more harsh than necessary grader.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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