Keeping it real

While all this [the televised, except on Fox News, January 6 coup attempt hearing] was going on, of course, the noise continued on Fox. “It tells you a lot about the priorities of our ruling class that the rest of us are getting yet another lecture about January 6 tonight, from our moral inferiors, no less,” Tucker Carlson said as he came on air at 8, calling the insurrection “a forgettably minor outbreak” of mob violence, and adding, “They are lying and we are not going to help them do it.” At 9, he was relieved by Sean Hannity, who declared that the hearing had “overpromised” and “underdelivered” even though it was still going on. . . .

Back in the real world, the hearing was getting rave reviews from many real journalists.[1]

What catches my eye here is something I saw even on the order of fifteen years ago when I was working on my Master’s in Speech Communication. In one of the classes I took—it was part of the core curriculum for the degree—even a conservative professor, Bill Alnor (who somehow combined social conservatism with capitalist libertarianism), discounted Fox News as not “real news” and derided the already apparent delusions of the right.

Alnor, I should note, was on my committee and I don’t think I realized at the time what an honor it was to have him there (along with Agha Saeed, another deceased,[2] honorable, brilliant, and under-recognized scholar). Obviously I disagreed with his conservatism, but Alnor was (he has passed on) an honest and, I must say, honorable conservative. I gotta tell ya, I miss this guy. Though an evangelical Protestant, he took on megachurches for their fundraising practices.[3] It is really Alnor I rely on when I offer broad generalizations about media scholarship for the very reason that his perspective was so far to the right from my own and the likes of, well, pretty much everybody else I see in the field.

In the passage I quote above, Jon Allsop highlights this divergence of delusion and reality.[4] As a human scientist, I should probably be a bit more respectful of what I here label ‘delusion,’ as I struggle with contradictory ways of knowing (the study of which is epistemology).

But then I remember Alnor. There’s no doubt in my mind he’d be calling bullshit. Sometimes, as my cat, Admiral Janeway, reminded me, you have to keep it real.

  1. [1]Jon Allsop, “The January 6 hearing and the value of spectacle,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 10, 2022,
  2. [2]Ibrahim Hooper, “CAIR Offers Condolences on Passing of ‘Legendary Leader’ Dr. Agha Saeed,” Council on American-Islamic Relations, February 20, 2021,
  3. [3]American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, “ACLU/SC Helps Evangelical Scholar Exercise First Amendment Rights,” October 7, 2005,
  4. [4]Jon Allsop, “The January 6 hearing and the value of spectacle,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 10, 2022,

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