Accuracy in Media

It’s entirely true that book banning – at least in libraries and schools – is going on in today’s America. What’s not true is what is implied here by NowThis News, which is that it’s all about the GOP suppressing truth and righteousness. But that’s the way NowThis seems to want to run with it.

“The American Library Association found 729 challenges to library, school, and university reading materials in 2021, in its annual State of America’s Library Report, released on Monday,” according to NowThis.

They did. But it’s this part that is more than a little misleading: “Since the start of 2021, a number of GOP lawmakers — such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — have demonstrated persistent efforts to eradicate literature perceived as unsavory from classrooms across the country.

 “Many of the targeted books include topics related to the LGBTQ+ perspective, sexual orientation and gender identity, and critical race theory.”

There’s nothing untrue about either of those statements. But the cumulative story does not reflect the truth.

The listing of banned books is here in the actual report.  It includes, in the top 10, “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Of Mice And Men,” neither of which tend to have the GOP running after them – the objections come from the other end of the political spectrum.

“Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a ‘white savior’ character, and its perception of the Black experience,” it lists as a reason.

“Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students,” it continues.

Neither of those is about the GOP or LGBTQ issues. They’re both about race, to be sure, but not right-wing issues over race either – or at least the complaints about them are not those of the right.

Now This gains some half a million visits to the website each month. The site or channel is very much more important in the video news world. It’s also part of a much larger group that includes Popsugar and has also now merged with Vox Media. They really do know better than this with such editorial resources.

That there will be at least some selectivity in what is stocked by libraries, or suggested to children, is obvious. But to leave the impression that it is only the GOP, or only on LGBT issues, driving it is to be grossly misleading. Many different groups, including those normally though of as being on the left, are trying to control what children read.

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