Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Stacey Abrams of journalism, has whined her way to securing tenure at the University of North Carolina. But more important than that is what her fans in the media believe her victory means.
They see it as progress in fundamentally changing the way America operates.
Karen Attiah, an editor at the Washington Post, wrote favorably of Hannah-Jones on Thursday. “As more successful journalists from marginalized groups enter and change what continues to be a white, male-dominated field,” she said, “our ideas about truth and objectivity need to change, too.”
Some journalists get a promotion and have a small party to celebrate. Hannah-Jones gets a promotion and it’s time to reconsider the cores of reality.
Attiah went on to say that “false objectivity,” whatever that is, “has been employed to erase and discredit the work of journalists from marginalized communities and reinforce narratives that make White power structures more comfortable.”
The concept of objectivity, she said, “is not a neutral view from nowhere,” but “too often a view from the heights of white, male privilege.”
Of course. To say that Hannah-Jones’ past writings on slavery were riddled with factual errors is objectively true but for people like Attiah, that’s simply “a view from the heights of white, male privilege.” A fact is white supremacy.
Attiah concluded with a prayer that one day, “moral clarity by journalists takes precedence over upholding an unjust, ‘objective’ status quo.”
There you go. Attiah and others like her, view news journalism first and foremost not a matter of recording history as accurately as possible, but as a vehicle for their social justice advocacy. It’s not a matter of dispassionately laying out world events, but in providing “moral clarity.”
It all translates to giving activists like Attiah and Hannah-Jones the authority to tell us not the objective truth but to tell us what they want the truth to be. You’re a racist not because you demonstrably harbor the view that blacks are inherently inferior but because Attiah and Hannah-Jones tell you that you’re a racist.
And if they can tell you that, what can’t they tell you? There’s nothing. Hannah-Jones was initially denied tenure. Her social justice activist supporters said that decision was unfair and obviously an act of white supremacy. She now has been offered the advancement.
That’s how these people want the country to operate. Whatever they want, they get, no questions asked, and if it means taking it from you, you should hand it over with cheer.
That’s what Attiah means when she says “our ideas about truth and objectivity need to change.”