Accuracy in Media

The Guardian published a piece this week allowing Robert Reich to state a flat-out untruth. This is interesting, because he’s trying to accuse others of fascism – you know, the political system that depends upon the Big Lie?

The background here is that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s reform known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, or more accurately, the Parental Rights in Education bill. The basic idea is that parents should have a say in what, how and at what age their kids are taught, rather than it just being whatever the teachers’ unions have decided to force feed them. This is something of a big story these days, given that lockdown and remote schooling exposed parents to what their children were actually being taught.

So, what Reich says:  “In Florida, discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity are now barred in schools. “

Reality is, and this is from the Washington Post hardly a right-wing outlet:

“What does Florida’s law do?

  1. It bans instruction or classroom discussion about LGBTQ issues for kindergarten through third grade. For older students, discussion about gay and transgender issues has to be “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.””

None of us want age-inappropriate discussions of anything at all, the arguments are over what at what age of course. But it is clear there that Reich has put out a flat untruth. There’s no walking back from “barred” when the only limitation is what is discussed and how at what age.

This is what makes his other comments in that piece so rich in irony. For example, “Last Tuesday I tweeted: “Just wondering if ‘DeSantis’ is now officially a synonym for ‘fascist’.” “ Well, no, not really. For fascists are those who use the Big Lie to scare the populace. Rather than those who pass laws asking for perhaps a little decorum in schooling.

That this is in The Guardian might surprise – it’s a British newspaper. But it has a declared ambition to become the leading left liberal newspaper in the English speaking world. Thus they carry Australian, New Zealand, and yes, U.S. coverage to aid in that ambition. As a global media outlet they rank around No. 100. They gain 360 million visits a month from that position. That’s a big operation that Reich is spreading untruths to.

What really amuses – and this writer has written for the paper – is that the most famous quote from the editor who made the Guardian what it is was that “Comment is free, but facts are sacred.”

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