NBC News senior reporter Brandy Zadrozny suggested that parents and grassroots organizations are abusing open records laws to root out Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculum in schools.
Zadrozny, who covers misinformation and extremism on the internet for NBC, appeared on MSNBC on Thursday. She attacked one of the primary tools journalists use to get information out of elected leaders and bureaucrats on Thursday: freedom of information laws (FOIL). She called the use of FOILs by local groups against school districts “onerous” and said the laws are being used to spread false information about CRT.
“It’s hard for me as a reporter because I don’t want to put FOILs in a bad light right? Freedom of Information Laws are wonderful things. But it is in fact a tactic of national and just hyper and fast-growing local organizations to use onerous public records requests,” Zadrozny said.
She went on to explain how she believed grassroots groups, often lead by parents and invested community members, are using FOILs to target school boards and districts’ curriculum unfairly.
“What we saw in Maine is [activists] asking for all these records requests of, you know, ‘how much money did you spend on anything involving race,’ and that is used to frame again the school board as being, as paying for CRT, which is just not the case,” Zadrozny said.
“In Nevada, we saw, again, this local group called Nevada Family Alliance – who is really known for trying to get Drag Queen Story Hour at the local libraries – now one activist there told me this was the opportunity she had been waiting for,” she continued. “So she filed these onerous FOIL requests, gets them, and then translates them in a way that is just not correct or accurate, in a way that suggests again that the school board is coming for your children and teachers as specifically teaching kindergarteners – white kindergarteners – that they’re somehow oppressors.”
Zadrozny has previously accused conservatives of using CRT as a “boogeyman” used to demonstrate against any curriculum or subject they don’t like.
“It’s just not really true, so onerous FOIL requests, … showing up en masse and yelling at school board members, all of this is sort of a tactic and it’s being leapt upon by national organizations from the Heritage Foundation to ALEC to other groups that have popped up after the Trump presidency to sort of push this “America First” agenda,” Zadrozny said. “And it’s also being roundly embraced by news organizations … like Fox News, Breitbart, other right-wing news organizations who are just covering this stuff en masse when it’s really a local issue.”
Earlier this week, Chris Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an anti-CRT reporter, slammed Zadrozny and several of her colleagues for misreporting comments he made regarding his efforts against CRT in schools.
“NBCNews is pure propaganda,” Rufo said in a statement he posted on Twitter. “This report conveniently omits all the facts that have mobilized parents to action. I recently completed a twelve-part investigative series on critical race theory in public schools, exposing teachers promoting the ideas that ‘all white people’ are racist, that white-led schools systematically ‘spirit murder’ black children, that white parents should become ‘white traitors,’ and that white teachers are inherently guilty of ‘covert white supremacy.’”