Without a compliant (cheer leading?) media the GOP would actually have to tell us what they are FOR, and face accountability for what they have opposed. Education has surfaced as next iteration of the phony "repeal and replace Obamacare" campaign gimmick. The media couldn't be bothered to ask TFG and other GOPers about the "replacement," knowing there was no such thing, and no such thing was ever intended. The lede in repair and replace reports should have always been "But there is no replacement plan, and 30 million Americans will lose health insurance." And the CRT lede should be, "But critical race theory isn't being taught in K-12 grades." All horse race ALL THE TIME!

Expand full comment

Republicans are also banning books.

Expand full comment

Education is a profession. Parents need the reassurance that their children's schools are structured around professionalism. Changing course willy-nilly isn"t a recipe for success and I hope Virginia's fever breaks before its educators lose faith. Parents, safe to say, if they truly lnow what's best, will end their siege mentality based on Fox shouting points.

Expand full comment

"The current analysis among the Beltway media makes no sense. That might be because it’s being crafted and told almost exclusively by Republican operatives, not educational professionals. Schools opened up under Democrats — they’ve returned to “normal” —but parents are mad at Democrats for last year’s school closures?"

The common thread that makes it all make "sense" is that Republicans don't think we ever should have actually done anything about COVID-19, and should not be doing anything about it now. They think it was a Chinese bioweapon, and anyway it's "over" now (lol I got my positive test result this morning).

Well, that and the fact that Republicans vote against Democrats no matter what, and our six-figure media refuse to ask that. Your closing question is never asked on a political desk. (Note that any other desk in any media outlet almost always asks themselves "Wait, does this make sense or are we getting worked here?" Not Our Media stars, though.

Expand full comment

Paul Farhi has a good story in The Post on the New Jersey mainstream republican--in other words, the bigot--who defeated the state senate president. He goes into the loss of local journalism and how the gatekeepers are lacking. I sent him a note, part of which follows.

In 1982, I was a teenaged reporter for a little daily in southern Nevada, The Valley Times. By then we were into bankruptcy, but before my arrival the paper had been known for its outstanding coverage of the mob, gaming, and politics. Our publisher, Bob Brown, was a backroom wheeler-dealer in the state GOP, though he would sometimes endorse Democrats. But he especially disliked our four-term US Senator, Howard Cannon. Brown helped convince Chic Hecht, a businessman and former state senator, to run in the republican primary. Hecht won.

It looked like a mismatch. Hecht was short, with a speech impediment and a penchant for malaprops. Nevada usually stuck with the incumbent. Cannon had delivered a lot of federal money over the years.

But Cannon had been in a bruising primary, and this was when right-wing groups were rising--the National Conservative Political Action Committee put a lot of effort in to help Hecht. For his part, Hecht never spoke in a TV ad. You'd see a photo. But all of his ads attacked Cannon as a liberal who missed key votes (neither was true).

He also attacked Cannon as corrupt. That's more debatable. But in fact, mobsters and Teamsters leaders had been caught on a wiretap conspiring to attempt to bribe him. They never actually bribed him. But somehow, the Reagan Justice Department needed Cannon's testimony right before the election.

Cannon lost. And after the election, some of his supporters said that one of the problems was that Hecht hid from the media. No. I wrote stories on that campaign and if I needed to interview him, I found him. It was that the local media did not take him seriously, because they did not think he could win. If they had done their jobs, he would not have won, or would have been less likely to do so. That was nearly 40 years ago. I don't think we can blame the decline of local journalism for it.

Expand full comment

Every parent, rich, poor, high wages, low wages, cares about the education of their children. I spent most of my 30+ year career in education in the burbs, rural and inner city and education mattered to all big time. Youngkin talked against CRT because he knew where to find the raw nerve among parents and he played on that vulnerability to scare the hell out of them. Public K12 schools are locally run. The feds have nothing to do w/curricula, that’s up to the local school districts. Districts can apply for fed grants to support their schools but most of their funding comes from local property taxes. In my state of MA parents are required to be a part of the educational process via school councils. CRT was a nonissue in schools until the Rs concocted their lie about ‘it’ being taught in schools; an ugly cheap shot that has worked nationwide. As to Penny’s remarks, of course wages and the financial security of families are paramount. No disagreement there. But school life is embedded within the daily life of families, communities and a part of that security. All parents want their kids to succeed, even those in dysfunctional households. Schooling is a huge part of that aspiration.

Expand full comment

Instead of my usual quibbling, a little autobiography to show where I come from or, in J school parlance I suppose, my bias. In no particular order...:

First, there was the exposure at a young age to Alex Cockburn's Press Clips column in the Village Voice. When I say young, it pretty much was always over my head.

Then there was press coverage of Reagan. It exuded an unprofessional love for him (after a couple of years of ad hominem attacks on Carter) which, you know, shouldn't be the press' job. What really drove it home, as if it was needed (it wasn't) was the pass the mainstream media gave him for sending US Marines into Beirut to inexplicably be targets -- and 243 of said targets were killed. Our awesome press saw nothing wrong with that at all. (Interesting factoid: Colin Powell was, at the time, was senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.)

Finally, there's this book: "Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes". Background on the book is here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/189718.

The frosting on the cake, for one thing, is my ongoing obsession of the mainstream normalizing Trump (historically unfit POTUS, sociopath, moron, toxic narcissist) even after his deadly response to Covid and then attack against fair elections and support for depowering the power of the vote. Of course, there's other issues so mishandled -- deliberately -- as to render our media no better than a state propaganda rag like the Pravda of the USSR.

But, sure, one wee quibble or elaboration on today's post: The misreporting Eric documented results from deliberate choices, not ignorance or ineptitude. That, yes, makes it worse.

Expand full comment

Here in purple PA06 (Chrissy Houlahan) the Ds won the school board election and a fair number of the municipal spots...so now the Rs are calling for a 'forensic audit' of the election. I don't know...is it time for 'fire for fire'?

Expand full comment

So much of the backlash is over the teachers’ unions, which outlets, including the NYT (especially) and New York magazine, do not like. Even Michelle Goldberg jumped on the “Democrats better watch out over education” bandwagon.

It’s the tip of the spear for the GOP’s renewed push for privatization, sending tax dollars to private and parochial schools, which pay teachers less and offer fewer to no protections. And a way to strike at those unions, which historically support Dems.

People are tired of the pandemic and need someone to blame for the impact it’s had on our lives. Teachers have always been an easy scapegoat. “So what if these teachers could have gotten sick and died. My kid shoulda been in school and is now sooooo far behind!” That is the tone and message that comes across in the various interviews and comments. Even though schools are open and kids are back in classrooms, they are angry Covid precautions like masking and social distancing are still in place—even though Covid is far from over and there will be fight over getting kids vaxxed now that they are eligible.

It is maddening, and media coverage is only going to get worse now that the midterms are a year away. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Expand full comment

Education is not an important issue to poor and working class voters; WAGES are important. Not everyone wants to go thousands of dollars into debt for college, only to graduate and not be able to pay the rent.

Essential workers deserve AT LEAST the same pay as white collar workers ($15 and hour is a JOKE!)

But the Dems don't respect essential workers, and it hasn't been lost on working class people that it was Dems who closed the factories through NAFTA.

It's also Dems who focus on "re-educating" the "dumb" people so they can get a "real" job rather than a lowly essential job like caring for children, the elderly, and the disabled; delivering food to our stores; stocking our stores; keeping stores open so that the rest of us can eat; picking our food; butchering our meat; picking up our trash; cleaning our toilets.

Without those jobs, society stops. Yet the Dems throw symbolic crumbs to these workers and promise to cancel student loan debt rather than medical or housing debt.

The Dems have a class problem and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

Expand full comment

Yes. Chamber of Commerce, business community pushed it here.

Expand full comment

Wow. Interesting!

Expand full comment

Instant post-election analysis has long been like peering at a Quiga board and making grand pronouncements. But this Press Run is especially depressing, given that the conclusions were obviously based not on fact but what sounded compelling. How hard is it to write that CRT is not taught anywhere in the U.S. except at some universities. You know, where presumably semi-mature, independent-minded students choose to learn about the theory.

Expand full comment

Have asked any of the journalists or networks involved WHY their reporting is so biased? Why do they alter facts to fit an inaccurate narrative? Why do they report in this odd manner? How do they justify themselves? It can't just be that they have some sort of fear of appearing biased against Repubs. Or, if they do appear that way what price would they pay? What is the explanation for their reporting bias?

Expand full comment

We agree! I miss Al Franken in that chair. He’d be terrific especially in the time of FG et al.

Expand full comment

Re: CRT - the term has been co-opted by the propagandists. The "real" meaning has been buried under the rubble of Charlottesville chants and flown like a flag by opponents of everything progressive. Hence, even though those asked can't define the "CRT" that they are so against, schools are being castigated for teaching it.

I'm pretty sure the major media outlets are like old-timey school boys getting jars full of ants from different colonies and dumping them out together just to watch them fight. So the recourse has to be sorted out without them.

Option one: get into the discussion of what CRT actually is and watch the objectors as their eyes glaze over while they wait for their turn to denounce CRT being taught to their first-grader.

Option two: figure out a catchy phrase to call what they are actually objecting to. I don't know, maybe call it "Sunday School for the Week", or name it "The Bellweather Course" after the Jenny Slate character - Quote - "Fear Always Works" Or something.

Option Three: Rename "Critical Race Theory" something else, like

"Intersectionality Study" or anything that can't by twisted into "Critical of Race" bs.

Option Four: I don't know. It's your turn to think of one.

Granted, for some options, including there will be pushback that needs to be planned for, and there are other options, including a mix of these ideas

Expand full comment