When the Fox News Guards the Henhouse
I used to be a Fox News watcher. The conservative outlet was my preferred choice for television news, especially after Glenn Beck and his whiteboard left CNN. Back in the old days, Fox claimed to present “fair and balanced” coverage. But then something happened.
I can’t point to one single event that made me realize that the character of the network had changed. Instead, as with the slow deterioration of the Republican Party, Fox News seemed to be gradually and thoroughly corrupted by its association with Donald Trump. Fox was probably never as fair and balanced as it claimed, but during the Trump years, the network abandoned any pretense of impartiality and objectivity to become a cheering section for The Former Guy.
It was during this period that some of my favorite Fox personalities, like Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace, jumped ship or were forced out. Although some good people remain (Brett Baier, who I once flew, for example), the exodus of serious journalists from Fox was reminiscent of Beck’s departure from CNN on grounds of ideological differences.
The departures further changed the character of Fox, leaving the network as more of an opinion-driven arm of the GOP than a real news organization. Both CNN and Fox have always included both objective news and opinion shows, but Fox seems to have made a decision to tell its Republican viewers only what they wanted to hear.
While many people on the right mistrust CNN and accuse it (and all mainstream media) of being the PR wing of the Democratic Party, CNN has attempted to reach out to conservative viewers where Fox News and other right-wing outlets like Newsmax seem content to double down on their market niche. I don’t think Fox has any interest in attracting liberal or moderate viewers.
The shift became apparent in 2020 with the network’s post-election coverage as well as its reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout. While the fearmongering about masks and vaccines likely costs many lives, it is the election coverage that has landed the network in hot legal water.
Many of the network’s personalities went on the air with conspiracy theories about voting machines, and now Fox is being sued for defamation by Dominion and Smartmatic, two companies that make voting machines and that were specifically mentioned on Fox. This week a court let the lawsuit against Fox proceed.
And that’s not all.
In a court filing that became public last week, Dominion asked for a summary judgment in the case. This is essentially a request to bypass the trial and jury and have the judge make a ruling based on the evidence presented in other filings so far. Summary judgments are only likely when one side’s behavior is egregious and indefensible.
In the filing (full version available here), internal communications from Fox News personalities, executives, and other employees make it plain that Fox knew the stories that it was airing about massive voter fraud and hacked voting machines were false when it aired them. The words “nuts” and “crazy” were frequently used to describe the allegations and the people who made them, yet the allegations continued to air and conspiracy mongers like Trump lawyer Sidney Powell continued to appear on Fox.
For her part, Powell’s lawyers have admitted that the claims she made on Fox and other outlets were false, saying in her defense in her own defamation lawsuit last year, “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
It was all just political theater, and the memos and emails obtained during discovery make it clear that Fox knew it was all theater. The company was apparently more frightened of criticism by My Pillow magnate Mike Lindell than of defamation lawsuits.
And with good reason. Defamation lawsuits are notoriously hard to win. Under legal precedent, it isn’t enough that someone airs injurious lies, but the evidence has to meet the “actual malice” standard. This means that the false statement has to be made with “reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” It isn’t clear yet whether a court and jury will say Fox met this standard, but the judge who allowed the case to proceed at thinks it is at least possible.
In this case, Fox’s behavior seems, at least to this nonlawyer, to meet not only the actual malice standard but a number of other requirements that pertain to defamation as well. These include knowingly and publicly communicating false information to Fox’s viewers. The cases may hinge on whether Dominion and Smartmatic can prove that Fox’s airing of the conspiracy theories resulted in actual damages that can be compensated or punished.
Defamation has to be balanced with Fox’s First Amendment rights. The outlet has a right to free speech, even false speech, but it does not have the right to lie about people and companies with impunity. There is a limit.
I want to be clear that, in the pending cases, the First Amendment is not at issue. The First Amendment protects Americans from government censorship of speech and that is not what is happening here. The government did not prevent Fox from airing the false reports. Nor is the government now punishing Fox for what its hosts said.
Instead, what is happening is that Fox News is being called to account for telling lies about private companies by the very same companies that it defamed. This is occurring through a civil law process with a jury as the ultimate arbiter (unless the judge grants Dominion’s request for a summary judgment). The government is not involved beyond the legal system acting as a referee.
These cases aren’t about free speech, they are about lying for profit. To a certain extent, lying for profit is indeed protected speech, but lies that damage the reputation and business of innocent people and companies can cross the line. That seems to be the case here.
I was once a Fox News fan, but given the blatant lies that so many of the network’s employees pushed, lies that directly fueled the insurrection and brought the United States to the brink of civil war, I hope that the jury finds against the disgraced network. This trial should end with Dominion owning Fox News. Literally. (And I mean that in the traditional sense of the word “literally,” not the new redefined definition.)
At the very least, the scandal should wake people up to the fact that the opinion shows on Fox are not real news. These shows are feeding people propaganda and deepening the divides that are tearing our country apart. And they know exactly what they are doing.
As for me, I don’t watch much television news anymore unless it’s a rapidly unfolding story. I prefer to get my news from textual sources where I can get more details and nuance than from a three-minute spot or a 10-second soundbite.
I’ve come to hate conspiracy theories with a passion. As far back as 2011, I wrote about how to become a more discerning user of the internet and many of the same rules apply to television and print sources. Treat opinion articles and shows skeptically and remember that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
Don’t just believe what your itching ears want to hear.
Back before Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine this didn’t happen. Would that Democratic politicians saw codifying that as part of protecting democracy.Report
the fairness doctrine never applied to cable. (or newspapers, magazines, this website, substacks, etc) it was also a terrible idea and it’s good that it’s gone, but that’s neither here nor there.
that said, it is fairly rare to see an actual malice case have a chance of winning on good grounds – it’s kind of exciting!
this is one of those self-inflicted wounds that could have been mitigated by, like, four million different people doing not stupid things in sequence. or by using encrypted chats for everything, which is quite frankly surprising they did not do…or perhaps less surprising, given the idiocy on display in the court filings.Report
Any hope that Fox ends up a paying a Billion or so in court?Report
What is significant about this essay is how rare it is.
The revelations in the lawsuit SHOULD be earthshattering, a seismic event causing the entire edifice of Republican conservatism to collapse.
The leaders of the movement exposed as frauds selling a line of propagand they themselves don’t believe, the entire media empire dedicated to spreading lies and misinformation.
Yet…with the exception of a few outliers like David Thornton here, there is barely a peep from the rest of the conservative ecosphere.
Its as if they already knew this, and are comfortable with it. Its as if they participate in the political process like wrestling fans, where they pretend to believe and line up behind heroes and heels, willfully being in on the charade.
This, again, is why I refuse to take them at face value whenever they talk in high minded principle about “fiscal conservatism” or “morality” or “patriotism” because they aren’t behaving like citizens of a republic, they are behaving like rabid theater fans pretending to believe.Report
Trump, the founder of the big lie, has not stood for election yet so we don’t know where he stands with voters.
Or did you mean Fox News is the “leaders of the movement”?Report
Are there any leaders of the conservative movement who are not either liars, grifters, or google eyed maniacs?
There are sincere, generally honest conservative political figures. People like Ben Sasse and Liz Cheney. I notice their prominence tends to wane quickly when their honesty comes into play. Even George W. Bush’s star fell into eclipse for failing to get in line with Trump (recall his reaction at Trump’s inauguration, “That was some weird shit,”) because when the money flows and we have power, laissez le bon temps rouler, baby! No one wants the party to end.Report
If you’re looking for politicians who aren’t liars or fanatics then you may be a while.Report
Ask a liberal who they are proud to support and you will get a long list of names.
Obama, Biden, Harris, Pelosi, Sanders, Warren. The most powerful people in politics.
Ask a (self-described “reasonable”) conservative who they are proud to support and you get evasive muttering and sweaty attempts to change the subject and for the love of God don’t mention the person who tops every poll and is almost certain to be their nominee for President.Report
That’s over and above that it’s perfectly ok to simply be against Sanders and Warren.
Edit: Or for that matter, at a local level Team Blue seems to be the party of wide eyed unrealistic idealism and economic insanity.
I.e. “bad governance”.
Red was the opposite. “Good governance”.Report
You’re proving my point.Report
I grew up in a middle/upper class suburb which was next door to an Urban city. Our local gov seemed pretty determined to make things work without more drama than marching in parades.
All very boring but functional. Pols that made the mistake of not being boring quit or were fired.
Local newspaper came out of the next door city. Lots of drama on Blue’s various issues. Terrible schools for minorities, stats worse than Detroit. That was published in the fine print of state reports that came out once a year. Blink and you’d miss it.
You’d think the head of the educational establishment there would be focused on education and/or Black achievement, but they’d give interviews where they’d say their top priority was fighting Apartheid or racism or whatever.
The origin of that sort of thing was obvious during elections. Both ballots would be published together.
Locally I’d often have the “problem” that everyone running for a seat would be obviously competent. The drain commissionaire would have two people who both had 20+ years of water engineering running for the seat.
In the city they’d be lucky if they had one person like that running for a seat, and they’d often have multiple “interesting” people running against each other.
The interesting people would then get elected and loudly debate various job destroying ideas. When it comes to government I like boring and functional.Report
And yet many of those boring and functional state and county leaders are being railroaded out by GOP voters for not acceding to the Big Lie, or the despicable Parents Rights nonsense. The impacts of that level of government being coopted by the loons is only now beginning to be felt, but will take decades to undueReport
despicable Parents Rights nonsense
Yeah, it’ll keep going.Report
Sorry man, but it is despicable. The “parents” who seem to be political operatives whipping up scared white people, are all about eliminating any reference to the LGBTQ+ community, women, and black people – especially the enslavement of black people. Its disgusting to me and should be to you too.Report
My “disgust” doesn’t work right according to what is currently fashionable, sadly.
I just see stuff like this and think stuff like “yeah, parents rights are going to win” and, if I’m being charitable, “this woman is a false flag person who is deliberately doing everything in her power to scuttle the school.”Report
Nothing says “We Support Parents Rights!” like arresting parents who support their trans kids and trashing AP courses in a temper tantrum.
Yeah, go with that message.Report
Eh, I’m pretty sure that the parents rights groups will be mostly fine by posting the excesses of Team Good and Team Good will have to resort to saying stuff like “they temporarily removed a book about a baseball player until it got reapproved shortly thereafter!!!”Report
Oh I know they will be fine with having parents get arrested for WrongGender crimes.
Which, is kinda my point. Their bleating about “parent’s rights” is absurd and preposterous and fooling no one.
Its right up there with “fiscal conservatism” or “small government” or “morality” as laugh lines.Report
Well, the last thing you want to do is put it up for a vote.
The vote will go the wrong way.
Just say that this is more important than democracy or something similar.Report
Put what up for a vote?
Arresting parents of trans kids?
Executing women for abortion?
Outlawing birth control?
Hell I’d take that deal every day and twice on Sunday.
I want people to be talking about this nonstop all day every day.
See, the weakness of your position is that you can’t actually make an argument supporting the school book censorship, so you have to fall back on appeal to vox populi.
But public opinion scans everything, not just the things you like.
Like, every day there is some new horror story about Republican states casually debating executing women who have abortions, or a governor trashing AP courses, or threatening to arrest people who are comfortable with trans.
Which way will public opinion swing? I don’t know and neither do you.
But its telling when that’s the only defense you have.Report
“the weakness of your position is that you can’t actually make an argument supporting the school book censorship”
maybe you could post the part where Jaybird said that he supported school book censorship
(no, not “he didn’t not say he wouldn’t refuse to vote in favor of not making it illegal”)Report
I do kinda see school book censorship as inevitable.
“He sees it as inevitable! THAT MEANS HE SUPPORTS IT!”Report
So can anyone here mount a defense of Florida’s book censorship?
Other than “B-but Liberals!”?
“It’s what a majority of the parents in the district want and it’s telling that the attacks against the parents have to misrepresent what actually happened.”Report
Is this your argument or one you’re borrowing from someone else?Report
Oh, is that how arguments work now?
P -> Q
“Do you actually believe P?”
Not even asking whether P is *TRUE*! Whether P -> Q is True!
It’s whether someone *BELIEVES* something.
Anyway, I do kinda see school book censorship as inevitable.
I can find you a guy saying No, no one of any significance is arguing for “very hard free speech absolutism”, if you want. I think that he may even believe it, if believing things is your metric.Report
Yes, that’s how arguments work.
You state a position that you believe then defend it.
So…Can anyone here mount an argument in defense of Florida’s book censorship?Report
And to be clear, it’s Florida’s program, not the general proposition that some books are inappropriate and nobody is obliged to stock any particular book, that is at issue.Report
Ah, that’s the problem.
You think that not only does P, Q, and Q’s relationship to P matters, my opinion of P matters.
And I think that those things exist independently of me.Report
Imagine you are a normal person, and read your comment aloud.Report
“Why doesn’t he just come out and say that he is on the other side! Instead he just says that censorship is inevitable and he expects the guy who said that ‘no one of any significance is arguing for “very hard free speech absolutism”‘ to agree with his proposition!”Report
I’ll 2nd that.Report
Should we put up for a vote the State of Mississippi’s position on gender affirming care? A position in opposition to all the major medical groups concerned with that care?
Personally, I don’t think you should even allow *DISCUSSION* on it.
Just call parental rights “disgusting” and hit cruise control.Report
Local school administration has dropped the ball while dealing with my girls at a rate of once or twice per girl.
Pointing to Texas (total number of arrested parents holding at zero?) and announcing that this is totally a reason why parents can’t be trusted does not impress.Report
Is this your argument defending the Florida book censorship?
I just want to fix the goalposts here.Report
I live in Florida, have a kid in the school, and I haven’t noticed the issue come up; not only with me, but with anyone.
I’m not sure anything actually exists here. The entire situation could be internet outrage directed at the presumed next GOP candidate for President.
The AP issue has come up, and with the information I’ve had available I can’t tell if the governor has a point or not. When I’ve heard people attack his actions they’ve seemed to think there’s no over reach at all in the anti-racism movement.Report
So no one around is talking about it? And no news outlet is reporting on it? So you can’t form an opinion? Fascinating.
What do you think his point is that you can’t determine anything about?Report
My kid says there are no empty book shelves and the number of books is the same as last year.
The parents would be up in arms if this were a thing.
The schoolboard has shown zero hesitation at filing lawsuits against the governor, and they’re not doing anything.
It’s almost like the internet outrage is over something that doesn’t actually exist and the basic facts have been misrepresented.
His claims are here: we want education, not indoctrination
The challenge here in evaluating DeSantis and his “we Want Education” claim is the things he’s fighting against and tossing out don’t appear to be about indoctrination. Telling the truth about Black American’s experiences, and about the current state of those experiences isn’t indoctrination, unless you are afraid of the experiences of black people. Ditto the LGBTQ community.Report
You make it sound like he eliminated blacks from American History.Report
Much of his rhetoric – and the very vague laws the state legislature has passed so far – do lead to the conclusion that he wants to do just that.Report
Both of those things are your interpretations rather than the actual situations. So it’s an unfair attack.Report
All we have is his statements, and the laws as passed. None of the laws in question contain specifics that allow exclusion or inclusion – the best we can do is iterate based on statements of the politicians in question.Report
“Iterate”? I’m not sure what you mean by that. Laws can be vague, but that just confirms that it’s not the laws that trouble you, it’s your interpretation of the motives behind them. Again: accusing someone without evidence is unfair.Report
“Telling the truth about Black American’s experiences” means we need to only talk about the arguments in favor of reparations? Arguments against reparations need not be included?Report
No one is discussing reparations. The DeSantis position is we can’t talk about black history in a way that makes kids uncomfortable, or implies, much less says that whites should feel bad about how blacks are treated. That’s about two orders of magnitude removed from reparation discussions. Its foundational.Report
I don’t think it’s “feel bad”, but “feel guilt”. Can we agree that racial guilt is a bad concept?Report
No we can’t, until people of all ethnic backgrounds are fully integrated into the US. Ditto LGBTQ persons. And women.
We continue to treat people who aren’t cis-het white conservative men poorly in the US. That should be a subject of collective shame and guilt until its eradicated.Report
This is functional racism. (OK, it’s just racism, but I figured that the adjective would make it easier to understand.)Report
Or how about
So how, exactly, is it racist to demand the dominant ethnic group be accountable for the grievous, even mortal sins it has committed? Last I checked they aren’t seen by themselves as inferior – unless you want to broadly brush that all sinners are inferior; they aren’t a minority nor are they marginalized. Whites still hold the majority of political and economic power in the US.
So draw us the line good sir. Or just admit to bad faith trolling.Report
Out of curiosity, what have *YOU* done to hold yourself accountable for your mortal sins?
Give us an example.
“I caucused for Bernie but voted for Biden!” may not sound like a lot to me, but maybe it sounds like a lot to you.Report
I have no need to justify myself to you or anyone else. Its a tad insulting that you ask.
That said here’s a bit of my life as an illustration:
I make regular donations to black led organizations that do everything from community organizing to food pantries to healthcare provision. I’ve paid for a lot of anti-racism training led by black americans. I’ve also hired and promoted black candidates for jobs – two of whom have worked their way above me in my chains of command. I’ve regularly voted for and donated to the campaigns of black, Latino and women candidates whose policy platforms I wanted to support. I have attended marches and rallies on social justice issues because I think its important to be physically present and visibly supportive.
And I come here in the often vain hope that allegedly reasonable and intelligent folks might from time to time rethink their positions.
So what have YOU done Jay?Report
I have no need to justify myself to you or anyone else.
But I also don’t share your premise that the sins of the general can be applied to the specific.
And, quite honestly, I think that following that trail will take you some seriously awful places.Report
It’s racist for the same reason that it’s racist to hold Jews accountable for the crucifixion of Jesus.
“Group Sins of ethnic groups” is a toxic concept.Report
And yet in the US white’s (and more accurately White men) first created an economic system that enslaved blacks, fought a war to keep that system intact, then spent the next 100 years achieving the same outcome by Jim Crow – an outcome that has not been significantly rolled back for modern day black Americans. Blacks can not fix that. Women can not fix the systems that keep them economically subserviant to men, nor can they alone fix the growing discrimination they face over control of their bodies. And on and on it goes.
White men built those systems. White men caused those sins, and still seek to aid and abet them to stay in political and economic power. White men should be shamed and should feel guilty when they are doing so. And White men are accountable for doing the work of dismantling those systems.
Unless white men want to finally admit that the “All men are created equal” stance was just a big giant historic troll.Report
What makes you say that? Is Jim Crow still a thing?
It’s bigotry to hold individuals in one group responsible for what their group did in the past. Full stop.Report
You do realize I’m in that group? That I’m holding MY PEOPLE accountable?Report
Why do you think that I am “your” people?
This is a serious question.
Wait… does holding other people accountable count as justification to some degree?
I may have found a shortcut! Hey, Phil! I held you accountable and you said that you had no need to justify yourself to me or ANYBODY.
Don’t you see that as problematic?
(There we go. Whew. This is easier than I thought!)Report
This is the best point of all. Especially when the most probable practical ramification for most people (until SCOTUS says otherwise anyway) is that the son of the Nigerian doctor who lives next door to me gets a bunch of pluses on his college applications over my Franco-German-Romanian-Irish-God-Knows-What-Else son because other (and I very much emphasize other) people think it looks better on a brochure. Now that’s what I call Social Justice, baby!Report
I’m sure you’re white. But one of the funny things about the internet is that statements are just statements. The sentences you type are sometimes inherently racist, and it doesn’t matter who types them.
If we pictured you as a gay black non-Christian female Northerner, you’d be held as a bigot.Report
You’re comparing slavery/JimCrow to the current situation.
I’m asking for facts and logic. You’re pointing to skin color. Pointing to someone’s skin color, even your own, is not explaining your reasoning.Report
You have bene presented with facts for many years here which you dismiss because they don’t fit your priors. I am tired of presenting facts. because they aren’t moving your or anyone else’s needles because you don’t want them to be moved.
I’m being called racist because I hold people who look me, who benefit from the same privilege I do to account for systems that still exist that privilege me. Systems built on an observable, recorded history. I can’t hold slave owners to account because they are dead. I can’t hold the Roosevelt Administration people who interred Japanese Americans accountable because they are dead. But the systems that allow them to do that still very much exist. So I have to hold those systems, and the people that enable them and benefit from them accountable. Including myself.Report
If I ask you “what systems” and you need to talk about things that haven’t existed for generations, then you’re not proving your point.
Calling someone (the governor) a racist for disagreeing with you also doesn’t prove your point.Report
Your first definition has three required characteristics;
– prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism against a person or people
– by an individual, community, or institution
– on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group
You’re calling for white students to be made to feel guilt for things they didn’t do. That meets condition one. You want it done by an institution, two. You’re calling for it by race, and that’s the third.Report
If possible, I’d like to go back earlier. You said that you interpret DeSantis’s statements and laws to indicate he wants to eliminate blacks from American History. Can you back that up without making a reference to the white guilt idea on which we disagree?Report
– Because there are clearly no black queer folks who are oppressed much less deserving of consideration in a class room.
I will point out that anti-black racists have a centuries long history of appealing to “patriotism” in implementing racist oppression. As if its unpatriotic to hold one’s country to account.
There is no way to discuss slavery or Jim Crow accurately without discussing race based oppression.Report
Quote 1 – It’s clear that his problem is with “queer theory”, not with the skin color of the individuals being discussed in “queer theory” curricula.
Quote 2 – Ditto the above except with “critical race theory”. You can’t expect him to ok any critical theory.
Quote 3 – This is the interesting one. You can talk about how people were oppressed or privileged during the slave and Jim Crow eras. You can even talk about them being oppressed or privileged today. You can’t talk about them being necessarily oppressed or privileged based on their race.Report
There is no other reason for their oppression.Report
You’re saying the problem with them not teaching CRT is that they’re not teaching CRT. You don’t have a problem with them teaching CRT because you agree with its tenets. But it’s possible to teach about race without teaching CRT.
However, it’s a tenet of CRT that you can’t teach about race without teaching CRT.Report
I have yet to see any highschool or lower curriculum that teaches CRT. And much of what is being banned, or discussed to be banned is not CRT – its just modern race relations and the history that underpins it. Ist a LOT easier to dismiss modern race issues if you don’t tell people the history.
The research that CRT academicians develop is pertinent in that it describes the systems that bound race and class in the US presently. So in that sense its related but needn’t be included.Report
They use CRT as a buzzword, because it allows them to oppose anything without bothering to explain why, or provide justification.
“CRT” is intended to be a conversation stopper.
When the conversation is pushed, though, notice how they falter.
Like, pick any one of the banned book, and have them explain exactly why it is inappropriate.
They never can.Report
Let me just repost my link to the gov’s justification(s).
So that’s why, justification, and invitation to change so it’s history and not indoctrination.
And in response to that we have accusations of racism and claims that modern life uses the same systems as slavery.
Oh, and even though the link supplies the chapter where reparations are talked about (endorsed is a better word) and what the gov found objectionable to that approach, the response was “no one talks about reparations”.Report
The governor found reparations discussions objectionable because the curriculum failed to include the status quo of NOT paying or discussing reparations? Yeah that’s a great reason to trash the thing. Instead of, ya know, trusting teachers to teach about that side.
As to the rest – the references to interseionality, black queer studies and the Black lives movement are indeed steeped in racist tropes and language. Never mind that each of us is an intersection (!) of differing identity parts, societal roles and legal labels. Discussing those things is not indoctrination – its seeing people for who they fully are and valuing them for those things.
What is it about seeing and valuing black queer people that is so scary? what is it about intersectionality – remembering we are all intersectional to one extent or another – that’s so scary?Report
Your response to what he said about reparations make it clear you didn’t read what he said nor what he objected to.Report
Your tweet says “All points and resources in this study advocate for reparations. There is no critical perspective or balancing opinion in this lesson.” Since we are not currently paying reparations (except in … checks notes … Tulsa for a race riot and massacre) The status quo is to not pay reparation and not discuss them. I do not believe the AP curriculum would prevent any teacher from introducing that discussion, though I hardly think its “balanced” opinion to continue ignoring the topic.Report
He’s clearly not saying that you can’t talk about it, misrepresenting his argument to claim he is doesn’t lend strength to yours.
The gov is pointing out that there is a vast difference between “covering the issue of reparations” and “indoctrinating people into believing that one side of the issue is correct and the other is wrong”.
If it’s not indoctrination, then why is only one side of the issue covered?
Or are you claiming that there is no other side of the argument and for it to be covered at all means they need to be taught to believe the same things you do?Report
Geat let’s take your concerns one at a time shall we?
Concern 1. Intersectionality
You say it “ranks people according to race, wealth, gender and orientation”.
How does it do this?
Concern 2: You quite Roderick Ferguson: What about his remarks concerns you?
Concern 3: Movement for Black Lives is an organizations whose stated goals include eliminating jails and prisons, ending pretrial detention, and ending the war on Black trans, Queen and gender nonconforming people.”
Why is this inappropriate discussion for students?
Concern 4 You quote Bell Hooks: What part of her quote is inappropriate for student discussion?
Concern 5 You say this section advocates reparations without opposing views. Have you read it?
You say that Kelley states that activism, rather than the university system is the catalyst for social transformation.
Why is this inappropriate for student discussion?
Further, Kelley says that merely renaming spaces is not enough.
Why is this inappropriate for student discussion?
Remember I’m not asking you to agree or disagree with the points.
I’m asking why the government should forbid students from discussing them.Report
Dark Matter provided a link to some objections to the proposed AP Black Studies curriculum. The first author named is Kimberle Crenshaw, a major figure in CRT. The other names included were: Angela Davis, Roderick Ferguson, Leslie Kay Jones, Bell Hooks, and Robin D.G. Kelley.
The link also talks about reparations, which are discussed only in positive terms in the curriculum.
You say that CRT “describes the systems that bound race and class in the US presently”. By any fair reading, that means you believe in the tenets of CRT. The rest is arguing about terminology. That’s why I said you were complaining that they’re not teaching CRT.Report
CRT is a set of tools and hypotheses that are testable about about modern systems. The only “tenet” it has is a critical examination of the role law and policy play in constructing and maintain systems in the US that create and maintain racial oppression. That need for critical examination existed long before CRT, it exists outside CRT – and CRT is not the only way to examine it. Plus as a set of tools its not teachable in public schools because it requires a level of familiarity of HOW law and policy work that is not taught in primary or secondary schools.Report
Can you back that up? I’ve never seen CRT advocates describe it in terms of testable hypotheses. They typically reject that approach in favor of narratives. It’s a branch of critical theory, with all that that means.
But frankly none of those words in your comment address any point I made. I don’t care if you call it CRT or grape soda, you’re starting with the premise that blacks are systemically oppressed in the US today, and complaining about any presentation that doesn’t follow that premise. It doesn’t matter that much whether they’re teaching CRT or the premises that underlie it, at least not enough for you to use that as an objection to my comments.Report
Let’s just quote wiki: Criticism of CRT has focused on its emphasis on storytelling, its critique of the merit principle and of objective truth, and its thesis of the voice of color. Critics say it contains a “postmodernist-inspired skepticism of objectivity and truth”, and has a tendency to interpret “any racial inequity or imbalance […] as proof of institutional racism
…basing its claims on personal narrative and for its lack of testable hypotheses and measurable data
The counter argument is the definition of “truth” should be redefined and anyway too many scientists are white.
IMHO: If you’re coming off against objective truth then that’s because the objective truth is not on your side.Report
Here’s a line from Richard Delgado’s 2001 book “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction“:
You make that sound like a bad thing.Report
I guess it just depends on whether you’re a fan of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.
(Of course, I rather suspect that what replaces it will fail to reach its ideals as often as the old system failed but have the added detriment of having dumber aspirations. “Maybe it’ll fail in a way that is better than if it succeeded, though!” “No, it won’t.”)Report
There’s nothing more consistent with Enlightenment values than interrogating them. Neutral principles of constitutional law? Where do they come from? What are they? What authority do they have or claim? If they exist, do they actually drive judicial decision making? And since we’re talking about critical race theory, how do race, racial attitudes, and the baked-in effects of past racial injustice affect all of this?
These are real and serious questions, probably too advanced for K-12 education, and they deserve serious discussion. Merely being a “fan” of some set of answers and turning education into a pep rally for the local team is the last thing people who say they believe in the liberal order (there are plenty of folks who don’t, and say so explicitly, but it’s all too common around here to ignore the real threats and aim their fire elsewhere) should root for.Report
They absolutely deserve serious discussion!
The problem is that instead of serious discussion, we end up with bad DEI.
Have you not noticed that? Like, we’re not replacing the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law with a fully interrogated and better interpretation of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law…
We’re replacing it with bad DEI.
In practice, I mean.Report
Ready. Fire. Aim.Report
I knew Crenshaw was a lawyer with no background in history as an academic
discipline but I just went ahead and googled the rest. As best as I can tell the only one that appears to have a degree in history is Robin DG Kelley. You see that over and over again with these topics, where the writers they want to cite as authorities lack any apparent expertise in the subject.Report
What are the academic pedigrees of those writers? And why does lackiing specific degrees mean they should be discarded?Report
If you asked for a sex ed curriculum and I gave you one filled with reference material from Catholic priests with no background in biology, would it raise any red flags for you?Report
It might raise red flags – though I note that not all priests or bishops are sex abusers. They reside within a SYSTEM that seeks to hide sexual abuse instead of denouncing and punishing it. That same system also has teachings about human sexuality that are, frankly , antiquated and harmful.
Crenshaw is a Black Lawyer; Robin DG Kelley is a degreed historian; Angela Davis is a black woman with a philosophy PhD. Roderick Ferguson is a black man who teaches American Studies (with a PhD); Leslie Kay Jones is a black woman with a Ph.D. in Sociology; bell hooks is a well known black woman author. It strikes me that having such august academic contributions tot he materials high school students are exposed to in an AP African American Studies class is to have those students work with the products of leading Black academicians on the experience of being black.
Unless you want to prevent students from learning about being black in America from actual black academicians. Which would, IMHO be very functionally racist.Report
Seems to me like you’d want your sources to have some proven expertise in the subject matter. And if the issue is teaching accurate history you would want to use the work of historians. I mean, I don’t want to overstate my own expertise but I do have a BA in history and am certain I would have been docked points in my college research papers for citing these kinds of works, even as secondary sources.Report
So the credentialed historian and the credentialed American Studies professor – which is a discipline of history are being rejected why? And you’d rather historians talk about law then lawyers? And I know plenty of historians who publish regularly with sociologists and anthropologists ( and geographers and even the odd oceanographer) because those disciplines add why and how to the historian’s what.Report
Isn’t the big claim made right here at OT that uneducated parents are fully qualified to challenge educational readings?Report
I am an educated parent.Report
And Crenshaw is an educated lawyer, but your complaint is that she has no background in history.
It seems to be a double standard here.
Is it important that the people in charge of reading lists have credentials or not?Report
I’d be more into claims about schools being really good about educational readings if, you know, there wasn’t that whole “not a single proficient child” thing going on.
Maybe if the schools were really good, appeals to their authority wouldn’t come across as ringing hollow. Empty. Empty like a football.Report
I’m actually not sure that situation is applicable to an AP class. My guess is those kids are doing just fine. And really I would say that in a public, k-12 environment the most defensible place for the kind of writing in question would be in a high school AP class. You could even make a case that it’s a good thing to include it, provided it can be criticized, isn’t portrayed as the absolute truth about the world, and that other perspectives are part of the curriculum (I know, I know, but bear in mind it’s a hypothetical).
What doesn’t make sense to me is saying the removal of a bunch of pieces of writings by people who are not historians (with the exception of Kelley) is inherently misleading students about history.Report
Those are the parents that you need to take down a peg!
Who do they think they are? Raising children who could thrive in a public school! That’s the *DEFINITION* of privilege!
They should have no say in what the schools teach them after the essential initial molding has finished!Report
Heh, well that’s where this all starts to get us into some trouble isn’t it?Report
Say what you will about the parents of the children in the 23 schools that don’t have a single proficient child: You don’t see them getting all uppity and complaining about the books in the school library!Report
No, they don’t, that’s for sure.Report
The more we probe this, the more it just sounds like you guys are equating “Stuff I disagree with” with “Stuff that is inappropriate for student discussion”, just taking your personal opinions and giving them the force of law.
The complaints about the readings lists are debatable, but that’s just the point- they are open to debate and discussion, whereas DeSantis wants to make them all closed off and forbidden.Report
“This stuff shouldn’t be under discussion!”
“NO WAIT!!! LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS!!!”Report
You have no opinions on this matter, remember?
You’re on the sidelines, a disinterested observer with nothing of value to offer, right?
Let us know if you form an opinion, and we can talk about it.Report
I’m a disinterested observer who keeps disinterestedly observing how where the goalposts used to be are not where they are now.
And where they were in that argument are not where they are in this argument.
It’s like they sometimes act like a wave and sometimes act like a particle and observation can change which they are at any given moment.
Again, DeSantis’ disagreement on the subject of reoperations isn’t that it’s taught, it’s that only one view point is taught.
And that seems to be the central problem with CRT in general. It’s a viewpoint either without evidence or actually conflicting with the evidence.Report
Does anyone else here think that’s Desanctimonious’s real objection?Report
First, has anyone here actually read the book he is talking about?
Can anyone verify that it does indeed fail to offer other viewpoints?
Second, is that the only objection on the table?
I asked about the other 5 and no one has responded.Report
We haven’t needed to thus far because the counter argument has been that even if it doesn’t that’s a fine and the correct way to do things… because reasons.
I haven’t bothered with a deep dive on them because reparations seemed to be a clear example of open indoctrination.Report
Once again, your defense of a law making it a felony for a teacher to use this book seems remarkably weak.
Especially since the law itself allows only a single subjective opinion to be taught.Report
The world is not binary where the only choices are “accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior” and “never mentioning Jesus at all”.
Kicking CRT out does not limit the world to “a single subjective opinion”.
Worse, given how many times in this conversation we’ve had basic CRT arguments matched to the basic definitions of racism, there’s a strong argument that the state is entirely correct to kick it out.
By the way it’s not just us who have made that observation. Wiki’s list of objections to CRT include that as a problem.Report
You don’t seem able to find any defense of the law without simply saying “IT’S CRT!” as a buzzword.
Like, the five other concerns I list above, from Pinky’s link. Can you tell us why these justify banning them?
Without just saying “CRT” over and over?Report
If CRT is a racist narrative, then it’s in the same category as white supremacy which means that by itself is enough to get it banned.
As for the others, I’ll try to get time to look into them later.Report
RE: Topic 4.15 Intersectionality and Activism.
Concern: Foundational to CRT and ranks people based on their race (etc).
So basically it’s something white nationalists would be great with, they’d just rank people’s value differently?
RE: Topic 4.19 Black Queer Studies
Concern: Roderick Ferguson.
I don’t have enough information to form a judgement. If he’s the only person in that topic then I understand why this would hit the radar as indoctrination from that quote. If that quote isn’t representative of everything else or if there are multiple other points of view then less so.
RE: Topic 4.29 BLM
Again, not enough information. BLM is big enough that it should be included as a part of African American studies. However is this inclusion “why BLM is correct and there is a war on Black trans, queer, (etc)” or is it more factual?
RE: Topic 4.16 Black Feminist Literary Thought
Concern: Bell Hooks, author of many intersectionality texts.
Another section on intersectionality and that quote reads like “this is why the system is racist”. It’s possible this could be presented as part of a range of opinions, but that’s unclear.
RE: Topic 4.30 Reparations
Concern: All points and resources in this topic advocate for reparations. No critical perspective or balancing opinion.
OK, that’s a problem.
RE: Topic 4.31 Black Study and Black Struggle in the 21st Century
Concern: Robin Kelley
Yet another communist? I think that’s three of them here. And the warning that simply establishing safe spaces and renaming buildings does nothing to overthrow capitalism.
Obviously this is a thumb nail overview of one side of the argument. It’s possible there is serious cherry picking here and this isn’t a problem in practice. However, if they’re right then their actions are reasonable.
Somehow I doubt this section includes authors who claim CRT’s arguments are racist and require the redefinition of truth and evidence to pass muster.Report
This is a lot more informative and substantive conversation than any proponents of the book bans ever offer.
And even here, the concerns are debatable points, upon which reasonable students might agree, disagree or find useful.
There isn’t really much here to justify making this a firing offense, much less a felony.Report
The “felony” thing seems to come from hysteria from the Left (at best) and a desire to paint DeSantis in the worst light possible (more likely). The Washington post claimed that, but supposedly now they’ve retracted it.
This penalty did not come from DeSantis’ new law but from a pre-existing law prohibiting the distribution of pornography to minors.
If that’s true and an example of the Left’s reporting (really screaming Wolf/Na.zi), then all the other claims need to be taken with a grain of salt.
Change the skin color of the racist ideology being taught and imho you would be fine with a firing offense.
CRT has had multiple decades to fix it’s flaws and/or evolve beyond the need to “redefine truth”. Far as I can tell, it hasn’t and shows no intention of doing so.Report
It is possible to talk about Jesus Christ, influencial historical figure, without using the “our lord and savior” narrative.
It is possible to talk about modern day inequality without insisting that it’s root cause is systems that haven’t existed for generations.
There’s a lot of motte-and-bailey here. Not wanting the framing of “our lord and savior” isn’t the same thing as “not wanting to mention Jesus at all”. Not wanting CRT’s narrative isn’t the same as being unwilling to talk about racism, history, and/or inequality.Report
That’s laugh out loud funny. Until the mid-1980’s the public schools I attended in Louisiana taught the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression using commercially produced textbooks that purposefully neglected to mention the reason for Southern secession – the protection of slavery. That you actually believe a generation of southern politicians who were taught that have any interest in the reality of black history – much less current oppression is a pox on your otherwise strong intellectual abilities.Report
Do you have any objections that aren’t multiple generations old?
Further, granted, being unwilling to talk about these things in general is going to include being unwilling to talk about CRT.
That doesn’t mean that all discussions about race need to be advocating for CRT.Report
my experiences as a school child in Louisiana aren’t multiple generations old. And that schooling shaped the current leaders of the South, who are by and large my generational contemporaries. Seems to be relevent to me . . . .
The problem I see with your framing is that the state of Florida has in fact concluded that all discussions of race by their nature are discussions of CRT – which as you correctly note are but one framing. So best to not talk about it at all or so it seems.Report
It’s like saying any discussion of Jesus MUST be in the context of him as Lord and Savior and any effort to exclude that is an exclusion of all aspects of him.Report
No, the point I am making is that contra certain claims being made a student is perfectly able to get an accurate understanding of American history including as it pertains to race without these materials in the curriculum. These writers (other than possibly Kelley) are not historians, they are activists and political writers, which is fine but their mission inherently makes getting the historical facts right at best secondary to their work.
As I said above, and now that we have acknowledged that CRT is in fact being taught in public schools and/or that some BOEs or whatever want to teach it, the most defensible place to discuss it would be in an AP level course for HS upperclassman. The question then is whether the concepts will be presented as opinions open to debate and whether materials that challenge them will also be in the curriculum. And if that’s the case then I’m not all that worried about it, since we are really talking about only supplemental materials up for debate in the most upper level courses. However, if it is the capstone on an approach to education that has accepted all of the premises of these writers from early elementary onward then that is a different story.Report
So the topics are debatable and the sources have political biases, and therefore it may be possible for other methods of learning the material.
This is an astonishingly weak defense of the state forcing the teachers to remove the books and forbidding their use under penalty of felony arrest, don’t you think?
It pretty much confirms my suspicion that what is really going on is taking conservative opinions and enshrining them as state mandated dogma.
ETA: The rejection of “activists” as unreliable sources of historical discussion is particularly absurd since almost all historians use activists as their primary sources. Soltzenhitzen, MLK, the very Founders who wrote the Federalist papers…these are all just political activists with strong political biases.Report
If you replace “advocating for CRT” with “advocating that Jesus is our Lord and Savior”, then there would be no controversy on the Gov’s orders and the big mystery would be why the state needs to use a club this big to make this happen.Report
Me being educated gives me more confidence at stepping in, but needing to step in has nothing to do with my degrees.
Two of my kids have been mis-taught how to count. Another time the system insisted that she remain a C or D student rather than repeat a grade. Another time she was given classes far below her. Another time far above. Another time there was “no room” at the school down the street until we moved out of district.
6 incidents for 4 girls.Report
RE: Quote 3
The problem is with claiming that people today are repressed on the basis of their race.
If I say “repressed how” and you need to talk about generations old systems that don’t exist, that’s such a Non sequitur that it hits the radar as indoctrination and not education.Report
If you need to compare our current situation to slavery and Jim Crow, then you are pointing out the weakness of your case and making the governor’s point for him.Report
need to discuss Jim Crow and slavery because they are American history and they contribute to today’s America. To discuss them accurately you have discuss oppression based on race. Governor DeSantis has signed a law that says the state’s schools can not discuss race based oppression. Its a clear line that you just don’t want to acknowledge.Report
Whatever Phillip is or isn’t calling for, the banned books do NOT call for “white students to feel guilt”.
The banned books simply tell the truth of American history, that white people enslaved and oppressed nonwhite people.
If snowflakes feel guilt, that’s on them.Report
I already posted a link to his actual position. That doesn’t come close to describing it.Report
A bit of serendipity, as some dustup from an Andrea Mitchell interview led to an official tweet with the attached link.Report
Your link demonstrates indoctrination, not education.
The state is literally telling people what conclusions they must arrive at, and forbids open ended inquiry.
For example, “American history shall be viewed as factual, not as constructed shall be viewed as knowable, teachable, and testable, and shall be defined as the creation of a new nation based largely on the universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence”.
This is a blatant bit of indoctrination, making an opinion into dogma.Report
You make that sound like a bad thing.Report
This is so illustrative of why Trump and DeSantis have become the leaders of the Republican Party.
You, Dark, are not a googly eyed bigot.
And you are very careful not to go on record as openly defending their actions.
But you are also very careful not to criticize the googly eyed bigots, even to the point of doing the Sgt Schultz thing of seeing nussing, you see NUSSING.
So the googly eyed bigots like that teacher in Escambia rule the day, because no one is willing to stand up and say there are no
Why should I believe my kid’s first hand reports when I can listen to your outrage?
DeSantis is getting ready for a Presidential run.
Ergo he needs to be reported by Team Blue as a Na.zi.
That happens every election cycle. Ergo it will happen this time.
So reporting empty library shelves when the shelves aren’t really empty? That’s not even close to the bottom.Report
Your kid has zero insight into other schools, much less other districts – which as we’ve documented hear abouts have vastly different interpretations to inconsistent guidance from an administration that doesn’t want to be accountable.
You might want to be a lot more humble about that.Report
I’ve said this several times now, but need to again.
Imagine you are a not-insane, non-bigoted ordinary voter who is educated but largely apolitical. A person who has a normal range of cultural opinions, not religiously observant but vaguely spiritual.
imagine them sitting in on this conversation.
What is the pitch here, from the conservative wing?
Evasive mumbling interspersed with “Hey look over there!”?Report
Team Blue is screaming wolf again. Since they care more about identity politics than good governance, if elected they’ll run things based on the former and not the later.Report
Sure. Maybe other districts have parents that don’t care about their children or their children’s education.
Maybe it’s just the parents in my school district, that one teacher with the camera, and that section of the internet who care.
Or maybe there are vast numbers of parents cooking up the tar and feathers and it’s not in the news because… reasons.
Or maybe there’s confusion and Blue is exaggerating and ginning up outrage.Report
The reality is parents do a better job protecting their kids’ interests than the state. The various times I’ve needed to step in when they were dealing with the state has made that extremely clear.
The state in general, and the school system specifically, are tools which make my job as parent a lot easier. However it’s possible and easy for our interests to diverge. My job as parent means putting my kids interests first.
The schools work best when they’re working for me and serving my interests, they’re a nightmare when they’re insisting that I serve theirs.Report
In this case, your kids interest is determined by other parents whether you agree with them or not.
You get to vote for school board members.
You get to vote for superintendent.
But you are not allowed to vote for the other parents who shape your kids’ curriculum.
Your parental rights don’t matter at all.Report
You want “boring and functional”.
But “Deranged and Bigoted” is what the Republican party is offering:
In their first meeting, the new board members adopted a series of measures that changed things in Ottawa County. They fired the county administrator and replaced him with John Gibbs, a former Trump administration official, Christian missionary, failed congressional candidate and election denier who once suggested women should not have the right to vote. They ran out their corporate counsel. They closed the county’s office of diversity, equity and inclusion. They picked for their new public health officer — pending state approval — a safety manager at an HVAC service company who, during the Covid pandemic, suggested ivermectin and neti-pots instead of social distancing and masks.
That is the claim. And you can cherry pick to “prove” it.
In local elections I’ll still continue to try to exclude jokers from power no matter what their team or skin color.
In national elections I’ll continue to try to vote for economic growth, or if I can’t do that, the least amount of economic damage.
If you need to talk about what some carefully cherry picked official is doing in the outback of Texas, that’s showcasing the weakness of your argument, not your strength.Report
The article interviews a few moderate Republicans very much like you.
How’s that workin’ out for them?
(Read the article to find out)Report
I see the Jokers got organized, took over, and have created a mess.
The lesson to learn isn’t “vote for Blue’s jokers because they’re not Red”, it’s “don’t vote for jokers”.
This happened to my student council in College. The Sherlock Holmes society was insufficiently Left so our budget was eliminated. They got thrown out of office the next election with 85% of the vote.
In Ottawa they’ll either grow up and get a lot more sane (unlikely), or… let’s just quote from your link:
“They risk having so much of a pushback that some of them would get primaried in two years,” Redmond said. “And even worse, if they didn’t get primaried, it will set the stage for the Democrats to come in and take over, and that would be a real disaster.”Report
so why are so many of the jokers winning then?Report
Has it ever occurred to you and Dark that maybe the jokers are getting elected because the story they tell is what the electorate wants to hear?Report
The “jokers” are winning because of what we see right here on this blog.
The moderate Republicans refuse to call them bigots but instead use euphemisms like “jokers”, and insist that this is all overblown wolf-crying, and besides the liberals are worse.
So the hardline bigots win.Report
Sometimes Chip you need to let the silence of our right wing overlords at OT speak for itself.Report
I use the word “joker” because either they’re not serious or we shouldn’t be taking their election seriously.
If you’re running for the head of the school board based on your opposition to apartheid and that’s your big qualification, then you’re not a bigot but I see no reason to treat your candidacy seriously.
Ditto if you’re running for office and your big qualification is your belief in God.
I tend to not trust Blue about accusations of bigotry because their definition seems to be “not a member of Team Blue”.Report
These people hold office and all the power that comes with it.
Why shouldn’t we take them seriously?
They are the Republican party now, while you and Pinky are the marginalized minority fringe.Report
A LOT of Republicans told us to take DJT Literally but not seriously. Seems to be a ting on that side of the aisle.Report
Nah. My theory is more that the electorate is playing a “avoid leaving the frying pan to go into the fire” game except in the rare cases where they throw the bums out.
And the people in power have to have reached a level of particular awfulness to be thrown out.Report
Mostly Identity politics.
They oppose Apartheid. They believe in God. Their skin color matches mine.
That’s more important than experience and having a track record of competence.Report
So it would appear.Report
Yes, FOX News’ people are very much leaders of “the movement.” In many cases and ways, the conservative media is more influential than politicians.
The for-profit media tail has been wagging the dog since, oh, about halfway through the Bush Administration. Our Tod did a whole series of articles on this phenomenon several years ago called “Sailing Away to Irrelevance,” with the title predicated upon the presumption that the American people would soon enough see this for what it is, and reject it as the OP does. (Note that this does not mean rejecting a preference for conservative political policies, as the OP illustrates.)
But alas, essays and actions like what we read in the OP are the exception — and FOX News “journalists” keeping private their acknowledgement that The Big Lie and indeed most of the Trump Mythos was transparently bullshit while publicly peddling it with apparent sobriety and emotional urgency (for profit, at the urging of upper management) is a significant reason why.Report
I would really like that group have to pay a Billion or two in damages in court.Report
I used to believe it was THE thing that would sway them. Now, I suspect Fox has that quietly in reserve somewhere, and once paid will continue to do what they are presently doing.
Fox, Newsmax, OAN – they are unafraid of any sanction.Report
We now know that Fox News is who we always knew they were.Report
I’m shocked — shocked! – to learn that gambling is going on here.Report
I agree with Chip’s general characterization – stuff like the below is not about the truth or good governance or advancing policies to help Americans. Its about crafting a narrative to rebut the January 6th Committee and try to dissemble against the insurrection narrative ahead of the 2024 election. So that power can be obtained and maintained.