On April 12, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson will be the latest to deliver the School of Media and Journalism’s Roy H. Park Distinguished Lecture. The lecture is funded by the Triad Foundation, which was formed in 2003 by Park’s son, Roy Park Jr., a graduate of the MJ-school and winner of the Davie Award, the Board of Trustees’ highest honor.
Carlson follows in the footsteps of a host of conservative columnists, commentators, and other media figures who have given the talk in the past. Four of the previous six lectures featured speakers from Fox News; visitors to 2013 and 2015’s events came from the American Enterprise Institute and the Wall Street Journal, respectively.
Carlson’s slating has drawn criticism from the Chapel Hill community. The News & Observer cited several incensed alumni of the MJ-school who wrote on Twitter and other platforms that the decision left them “embarrassed and ashamed." Frustrated responses to the original announcement on the school’s Twitter surpassed 70.
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Faculty member John Robinson, adjunct director of the School of Media and Journalism, wrote a blog post questioning the validity of the backlash. While acknowledging differences between the two instances, he ultimately compared the event to the Institute of Politics’ recent conversation with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni and current UNC president Margaret Spellings.
The IOP, however, bears no responsibility to train journalists. Even if it did, hosting two figures from opposite ends of the political spectrum is far more conducive to learning than inviting a slew of conservative commentators for years in a row.