Now that a public information campaign has decisively turned Americans’ sentiments against Critical Race Theory (CRT), the media have engaged in numerous tactics to fend off the backlash from parents. One of their most common strategies has been to claim that there is no reason for concern because no public school teaches CRT. Call it CRT denialism.
In reality, the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, promised at its annual convention last weekend to “share and publicize” information about CRT and to “oppose attempts to ban critical race theory” in public schools. Nonetheless, many well-respected outlets of the legacy media have repeated the claim that America’s K-12 classrooms are CRT-free. Here are a few examples:
Joy Reid has arguably done more to spread CRT denialism than any other figure in the media. She maintains that Critical Race Theory, which grew out of Critical Legal Studies, exists only in classes designed for aspiring lawyers. She said on June 10, “There’s no teaching of [CRT] in elementary school. It’s in law school.” On the June 18 episode of “The ReidOut,” she complained that Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott “signed a law this week intended to ban Critical Race Theory from being taught in public schools, even though it’s not being taught in any K-12 curriculums anywhere, including in Texas.”
CNN host Don Lemon has gone so far as to present educators as victims of overbearing parents who don’t know their place. Lemon asked the chairwoman of the Loudoun County (Virginia) school board, Brenda Sheridan, “How frustrating is this for school, for educators around the country to be dealing with B.S. that they’re not even teaching because it’s being stirred up by politicians and propagandist on so-called news networks?” The network is so committed to tamping down parental backlash over the curriculum that it quoted Keziah Ridgeway, who says she’s the only public high school teacher in Philadelphia who she knows teaches Critical Race Theory, as saying, “Critical Race Theory is not being taught in schools.”
NBC News argued on the nightly news that parents had been hoodwinked, deceived, and mobilized by deep-pocketed conservative donors into assailing noble-minded school bureaucrats and administrators. “Virtually all school districts insist they are not teaching critical race theory, but many activists and parents have begun using it as a catch-all term to refer to what schools often call equity programs, teaching about racism or LGBTQ-inclusive policies,” wrote Brandy Zadrozny on June 15, in an online article based on her news segment. Now concerned parents aren’t just racist, they’re homophobic, as well.
USA Today, once billed as “America’s paper,” crammed every allegation and assertion of CRT’s advocates into a long, rambling, one-sided jeremiad that rambles over everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to Marjorie Taylor Greene and vaccinations.
“Critical race theory is not being taught in most schools across America. It’s a decades-old legal framework for examining laws that reproduce inequalities in society,” wrote USA Today’s Ryan Miller. His sources for this assertion are an employee of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a community organizer named Richard Gray.
Miller blames parents’ objections to CRT’s divisive and inaccurate curricula on “anger” and “fears about critical race theory, stoked in national media and fanned by conservative think tanks and activists.”
“Raucous meetings around the country may appear to be driven by a growing group of worried families. But experts also point to well-funded conservative and libertarian think tanks using critical race theory as a catchall phrase to spook parents and gin up activism,” he wrote.
“There’s a ‘Wizard of Oz’ element to this, where you pull back the curtain and see it isn’t just a groundswell movement of concerned parents, but a well-orchestrated political movement,” said Gray.
Gray, who denies CRT is transforming school lesson plans, works for the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.
The Associated Press
Even the world’s largest and most respected news organization has not been immune to printing misinformation about CRT. “There is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12 public school students, though some ideas central to it, such as lingering consequences of slavery, have been,” wrote Bryan Anderson an AP article on June 24 titled “EXPLAINER: So much buzz, but what is critical race theory?” (Screaming capitals in original.) In another story on Tuesday, the AP’s Collin Binkley contrasted crass GOP operatives with selfless teachers union leaders. “Critical race theory has become a political rallying cry for Republicans who argue that it sows division and makes children feel guilty for being white. But Weingarten said the concept has mostly been taught at the college level and is not taught at the nation’s elementary, middle and high schools,” he wrote.
CBS News wrote that, in a speech, “Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), said critical race theory it is not even taught in elementary schools.” In the same report, CBS reporter Caitlin O’Kane quoted Jazmyne Owens, of New America, as claiming it isn’t “taught in elementary and secondary schools because it is based in legal theory.” Owens also said that the wave of legislation ‘is really aimed at erasing and whitewashing American history.’”
Politico played politics with CRT by recycling the worn narrative that Republicans ginned up the controversy for partisan advantage. Virginia “Republicans hope to leverage this issue to wrest away Democrats’ control of all three branches of state government,” wrote Maya King. “Last week, GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin even held a campaign rally in front of the Loudoun County school board building to decry critical race theory — even as the school board repeatedly denies teaching it. (Nor is it taught in school districts around the country where conservatives are attempting to ban it.)” But the Politico article King linked as proof that CRT is not taught in schools says, “Critical race theory … is not taught in many of the schools where lawmakers are seeking to ban it.”
King signaled her real concern in the story’s title, “Could a School-Board Fight Over Critical Race Theory Help Turn Virginia Red?”
If these news outlets got something as easily verifiable as this wrong, what other issues are they shading? And why do they always seem to coincide with Democratic Party talking points?
This article has been revised for clarity.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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