CNN’s Brian Stelter insisted that opposing a Florida bill that would bar schools from teaching children about gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten through third grade is “not a culture war”; it is merely supporting “equal rights for everybody in a country.” His guest replied that Disney’s CEO should have spoken out against the popular legislation more forcefully, since the company is a “moral guardian.”
On CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Stelter asked why CEO Bob Chapek was “so out of touch” that it took him days “to come to the side of his employees to speak out against Florida’s controversial, so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”
His guest — the former president of Walt Disney Television, Garth Ancier — said, “The problem is that Disney is much more of a moral guardian company than most.” He noted Chapek is in “a very special position,” because former Disney CEOs Bob Iger and Michael Eisner acted as “moral clarions”; both men strongly advocated for Disney to support LGBT issues and abortion-on-demand, as well as the Paris Climate Accords and gun control.
Chapek issued two statements before bowing to pressure to condemn the bill (SB 1834), which does not actually bar anyone from uttering the word “gay.” Instead, it says that a “school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels,” nor in a way that is not age-appropriate in public secondary schools.
But Ancier said the CEO “didn’t react quickly enough” to condemn the commonsense measure, designed to protect children from inappropriate sexual content at taxpayer’s expense. “I just wondered how he got this wrong in the first place.”
Stelter pondered in disbelief why “it took the better part of a week for Chapek to come to the side of his employees” by denouncing the bill, asking if Chapek was “so out of touch with his employee base that he decided he was going to try to avoid this controversy.”
Earlier statements from Chapek that did not thoroughly oppose the measure amounted to “unforced errors” that have “caused people to question his leadership” of the studio that produced “Snow White,” said Eric Deggens, TV critic at taxpayer-funded National Public Radio.
Stelter, whose has dedicated his career to policing media speech, said he bristles “when the media calls [the Florida bill] a culture war battle.”
“It’s not a culture war, talking about equal rights for everybody in a country,” Stelter asserted, before immediately reversing himself. “I mean, I guess it is,” he said, before concluding, “I’m getting tired of the culture war frame,” he added, referring to the issue of teaching children about transgender issues during their first days in school.
While he said he opposed calling this a “culture war,” Stelter did not mention that the legacy media frequently portray Republicans as the aggressors in these cultural skirmishes for attempting to hold back public schools from teaching their children ideologies that violate their moral beliefs. For instance, on Saturday the Associated Press published an article on the Florida bill stating that Rick Wilson, the co-founder of the scandal-plagued Lincoln Project, “has spoken out against the culture war many Republicans are creating.”
For his part, Ancier pinned the blame on Chapek for not immediately opposing the bill, which is supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). “The challenge you have is, if you don’t immediately speak out against it and drag on like this. then evolves into a culture war issue,” Ancier said.
More than 60% of the American people support the Florida bill’s restrictions on controversial subject matter for children as young as five, according to a poll released Monday by The Daily Wire.
Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones (D) said he opposed the bill, because “these children are more smarter” than DeSantis’ education policies.
You can watch part of Stelter’s panel discussion here.
Related: ‘Children Are More Smarter’ Than Ron DeSantis’ Education Policies: Democratic Teacher-Turned-Senator