If you’re on this media platform reading this piece of commentary, my guess is that you’re just as fed up as I am with the biased, unprofessional news coverage that oozes daily from Maine’s lamestream media outlets. In fact, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?
The Maine Wire is an oasis of fresh air and clean water on Maine’s parched journalistic landscape, that’s for sure.
In the surrounding desert, the Portland Press Herald is one of the worst offenders with respect to parroting the party line of the authoritarian Leftists who dominate state government, academia, and the arts. But we’re all used to that by now, aren’t we? Ho hum….
Occasionally, however, the PPH drops all pretense of being a news organization and publishes propaganda so brazen it can be fairly described as willfully and intentionally dishonest.
Such was the case last week in an article by so-called “education reporter” Lana Cohen headlined, “Bills aim to restrict library books, discussions of race in Maine schools.”
Cohen’s report on the conflict between parental rights advocates and their adversaries in the public school establishment sounded like a press release from the teachers’ union. Or perhaps Cohen cribbed her talking points from one of the Augusta-based, taxpayer-subsidized nonprofits that lobby the Legislature for more funding and less accountability in Maine’s K-12 government-run schools.
Whatever the case, here’s how Cohen falsely characterized the opposing sides in the battle over curriculum content:
“One side says schools should focus strictly on academics, teaching students math, English, history and science, while discussions of race, equity, diversity and emotional skills should be outlawed. The other says it’s impossible to accurately teach subjects like history and English and prepare students to be engaged and informed adults without reading books that highlight sometimes complicated lived experiences or discussing topics such as racism, slavery and oppression, and that students wouldn’t be able to succeed in school without being prepared to socialize, manage their emotions and ask for help.“
Where to begin breaking down this steaming compost pile of woke propaganda?
To begin with, I don’t know anyone in the parental rights movement who wants to outlaw discussions of race, equity, diversity, or emotional skills. And neither does Lana Cohen know of such a person or persons, or she would have identified them. And even if they exist, they certainly don’t represent anyone but themselves.
Cohen created this flimsy straw man out of thin air to discredit parents who are showing up at school board meetings to challenge the pervasive racial profiling, racial stereotyping, and racial scapegoating that are woven into the curriculum in K-12 government-run schools across the state.
If Cohen were a real journalist, she would be rummaging around on the Maine Department of Education’s dumpster-load of a website, taking note of the distinctly left-wing bias of the teacher training material on issues of race, and the stunning lack of intellectual diversity on the site. Conservative, reality-based viewpoints are notably absent. You won’t find any reference to a single one of the numerous black scholars who reject the narrative of America as a systemically racist country. Why are Shelby Steele, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Walter Williams excluded from the Department’s supposedly inclusive list of respected authors on the subject of race relations?
Every single parental rights advocate I know is very much in favor of students and teachers discussing race issues – as long as the discussion is fair, open and honest. Teachers should be free to express their opinions, however biased they are, as long as students understand that they are free to make up their own minds and to disagree with the teacher – without incurring any penalty for doing so.
What we’re against is singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering and inequities of another racial group of students. We’re against feeding kids the malicious fiction that America is a “systemically racist” nation run by “white supremacists” who benefit from “white privilege.”
Central to any discussion of race relations in America is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in employment, housing, and education. The truth is that “systemic racism” was outlawed more than half a century ago. But that historical reality doesn’t fit the oppressor/victim narrative pushed by the teachers’ unions and their comrades in the fake news media. They want us to pretend with them that America in 2023 is no different than Alabama in 1956.
If “systemic racism” were a real thing, the federal courts would be swamped by lawsuits on behalf of hundreds, perhaps thousands or tens of thousands of plaintiffs. The civil-rights attorneys representing those plaintiffs would be on the cable news networks every night bemoaning their heavy caseloads.
It’s not happening, because America is the least racist white-majority society in the world. Just ask the millions of non-white illegal immigrants who have violated America’s non-existent southern border in the past couple of years. Apparently, they didn’t get the memo about the deeply embedded “white supremacy” that pollutes our public and private institutions.
In any event, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the reporters and editors at the Press Herald to sober up and practice real journalism. They just can’t help themselves, because they’re not journalists – they’re woke propagandists aboard a sinking ship.
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