Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's DeSantis Defense Brigade continues in full effect, especially when it comes to defending the intrusive education policies of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Kevin Tober defended DeSantis and attacked a teacher who exposed the practical effects of his policies -- in a Feb. 18 post:
The cast of CBS Saturday Morning spread some misinformation about the state of education in Florida when correspondent Cristian Benavides claimed that “classrooms and school libraries look like this” while showing a photo from a substitute teacher that was fired on Wednesday for spreading misinformation.
During his report, Benavides interviewed teacher Andrea Phillips, who was not the one who was fired, but who was there to provide the anti-Gov. Ron DeSantis emotion, “Without a diverse variety of books that represent my students, I can't get them interested in books.”
Reporting over some viral images, Benavides recalled, “Duval County Public Schools, which includes Jacksonville, said it would conduct a formal review of all books. While that review is ongoing, classrooms and school libraries look like this.”
What Benavides left out was a statement from the district. From First Coast News:
In discussion between the district and ESS regarding this individual’s misrepresentation of the books available to students in the school’s library and the disruption this misrepresentation has caused, it was determined that he had violated social media and cell phone policies of his employer. Therefore, ESS determined these policy violations made it necessary to part ways with this individual. (emphasis added)
So the problem is not that the teacher was actually wrong, it's that she went public with it. Tober never explained what, exactly, the "misrepresentation" is that Phillips made -- indeed, teachers were in fact stripping books out of their classrooms out of fear. Further, blogger Judd Legum reported that the Duval County school district did, in fact, order all books removed from classroom shleves to be vetted.
Geoffrey Dickens cranked more defense in a Feb. 23 compilation item attacking criticisms of DeSantis' changes in teaching black history, though he offered no reason why the changes needed to be made in the first place. The same day, Tierin-Rose Mandelburg sneered at Florida students who are pushing back against the changes, reading straight from the DeSantis PR handbook:
Walkouts are just about as effective as petitions.
Regardless, Florida college students are planning a walkout for Thursday, Feb. 23, to protest Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) supposed anti-black and anti-gay policies. Yes, this is as dumb as it sounds.
The Florida College Democrats and Dream Defenders organized the “Stand for Freedom” movement scheduled for noon on the 23rd. It’s in opposition to DeSantis and supposedly as a push to “restore diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in colleges and universities,“ USA Today reported.
In the “Stand for Freedom” statement/sign up sheet, organizers stated that their “education is being tarnished” by DeSantis and added, “He has displayed a pattern of behavior in which he Hijacks School Systems as he did with the New College of Florida. Marginalizes and Dehumanizes The LGBTQ Community, and portrays an abject Disregard Of The Rights Of Students. He says we are being indoctrinated by wokeness, but we say he is using us in his narrative, and destroying our schools to achieve his vision.”
Talk about drama!
Last month DeSantis did introduce a legislative proposal taking a stand against academic discrimination and indoctrination but nowhere did he “hijack” a school system or “dehumanize the LGBTQ community.”
Despite what critics are saying, the legislation will actually help diversify schools. Florida Lottery Secretary John F. Davis said the proposal will give all students the opportunity to succeed “regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, or socio-economic status."
Written very much like a paid DeSantis operative, not a "media researcher."
A Feb. 25 post by Tim Graham complained that it was pointed out that DeSantis tried to water down content in AP black history curriciulum while the College Board, which governs AP content, was fighting to keep what the Washington Post falled "robust content" in the curriculum, which caused Grahsm to huff: "'Robust content' is a fancy term for overt propaganda." He offered no evidence this was, in fact, the case. Graham also whined that one critic "is a radical leftist who wrote a book celebrating Cedric Robinson, the author of Black Marxism."
Alex Christy spent a March 1 post grumbling that late-night comedy shows made jokes about DeSantis' dictatorial education reforms, .as well as the fact that the Disney-hating governor actually got married at Disney World. Christy found no humor here of course, insisting that "Disney changed in the time since DeSantis got married."
Christy then groused in a March 3 post:
MSNBC has officially run out of original thoughts. On Thursday’s Alex Wagner Tonight, the eponymous host and Columbia Journalism School Dean Jelani Cobb came together to agree with Critical Race Theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a fascist.
While the current segment was mostly about the university system, the interview Wagner referenced was about the A.P. African-American Studies controversy making it a bit ironic that MSNBC frequently says Critical Race Theory is a made up controversy while citing one of its most famous advocates to call people fascists.
Actually, a state-mandated prohibition against certain things being taught in school because they are believed to run counter to that government's political agenda -- was is the case with the irrational ban on CRT -- seems to be the very definition of fascism.
Graham returned to whine in a March 7 post when an actual historian -- something neither Graham nor DeSantis are -- called out thegovernor's education dictates:
"Renowned” PBS filmmaker Ken Burns appeared on Tuesday’s CNN This Morning to rain fire on Gov. Ron DeSantis over a bill in the Florida legislature to mandate some boundaries on how taxpayer-funded universities teach American history. In the fevered brain of this PBS star, DeSantis is somehow comparable to both the Nazis and the Soviets. CNN loved this, and didn’t blink at this blatant misinformation from a "treasured chronicler."
Burns told CNN “All of these bills that DeSantis and others are doing limit our ability to understand who we are and they are not inclusive, they are exclusive. They are narrowing the focus of what is and isn’t American history. It’s terrifying. It feels like a Soviet system or the way the Nazis would build a Potemkin village,” Burns said.
He threw in Fox News to please his CNN hosts. “Tucker Carlson’s doing the same thing with the footage from 1/6. It’s just a kind of rewriting of history at the most dangerous level. It’s a huge threat to our Republic.”
When Burns noted that he learned from researching the Holocaust that "it's easy to make a person other," Graham huffed in response: "So conservatives are like genocidal Nazis and Soviets....and we shouldn’t create an “other.” Does that make any sense?" No less sense than the mindless right-wing demonization of CRT and portraying LGBT people as "the other: that is the foundation of DeSantis' education changes.