Anti-American Idol at UT Austin

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

When conservative students at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin created a satiric scholarship to reward anti-Americanism, those young Tories named it after a journalism professor at the school who richly deserves the recognition.

The Young Conservatives of Texas offered a one-way ticket to communist North Korea in its “Robert Jensen, I Hate America Scholarship.” For his part, the scholarship’s namesake was not amused.

“Instead of debating policies, there is a focus on whether one is or is not American,” Jensen said. “There is no settled notion of what it is to be American and what Americans should do.”

Actually, Jensen has been giving advice to Americans for years, whether they want to hear it or not. Never was his advice less wanted than in the days that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

When Jensen accused the United States of pre-9/11 terrorism, even his own school’s chief executive felt compelled to publicly condemn the tenured pedagogue.

“Jensen is not only misguided, but has become a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy,” UT president Larry Faulkner wrote. “Students must learn that there is a good deal of foolish opinion in the popular media and they must become skilled at recognizing and discounting it.”

“I, too, was disgusted by Jensen’s article, but I also must defend his freedom to state his opinion.”

Nor was Jensen himself terribly repentant. He eerily parroted Saddam Hussein’s statements before the War on Iraq. “What makes the grief of a parent who lost a child in the World Trade Center any deeper than the grief of a parent who lost a child in Baghdad when U. S. warplanes rained death on the civilian areas of Iraq in the Gulf War?,” Jensen rhetorically asked at a teach-in in Austin in November of 2001.

Ironically, Jensen is not a big fan of the anti-war Michael Moore film “Fahrenheit 9-11.” The reason for his ambivalence is an odd one.

“It’s a conservative movie that ends with an endorsement of one of the central lies of the United States, which should warm the hearts of the right-wingers who condemn Moore,” Jensen writes. “And the real problem is that many left/liberal/progressive people are singing the film’s praises, which should tell us something about the impoverished nature of the left in this country.”

As the North Korean-bound scholarship named after him indicates, Jensen gets mixed reviews from his students. Interestingly even the most positive reviewers note the slant that Jensen gives his lectures on journalism.

“His views may not be your views or my views but he teaches truth,” one student wrote. “He’s a good prof. even if you don’t agree with him (and more than likely you won’t),” another student wrote.

A review of his writings and speeches (portentously entitled Citizens of the Empire) might lead observers to affirm the conclusion drawn by another student reviewer: “Jensen is the Platonic form of an ***clown.”

To find out what *** is, look Jensen up on