Right-wing media stops covering CRT in schools because I guess that’s over for now

Right-wing media stops covering CRT in schools because I guess that’s over for now

In the run-up to the November elections a couple of weeks ago, right-wing operatives, news organizations, and politicians could not stop talking about the crisis of race and education and how American history is taught in our nation’s schools. The easily digestible catchphrase for it all was critical race theory, or CRT. Even though CRT was not, is not, and has never been taught in schools below the college or post-graduate level, the boogeyman of something with the term “critical” in it was a lot more catchy than the more descriptive articulation of what conservatives were whining about—race and stuff.

The best part of it all is that none of the coverage actually discussed American history and race, which might actually be something worth teaching children. In a remarkably unsurprising turn of events, not unlike the week where “caravans” of migrants were threatening to invade our southern borders, the mentions and acute terror of CRT being taught in mythic elementary schools has…vanished. In the end, CRT was and will always be a conservative talking point that provides cover for a lack of policy initiatives, while generating enough of the perception of a divide between working folks, of all ethnicities and beliefs, to rile up the media landscape and their base.

As the Washington Post puts it, “Fox News’ focus on the issue [CRT], frequent during the spring and summer, reemerged in October—and faded quickly after the elections in Virginia and New Jersey.” 

The Post created an easy-to-read graph to visualize how ultra-right-wing propaganda works to lather up their potential voting base. One thing you will notice is that, by screaming as loudly and as uniformly as they do, the right-wing-o-sphere can create a rising tide of BS that pulls up traditional media mentions of the bogus stories, as well.

Meanwhile, when conservative Democrat Steve Sweeney was ousted from the New Jersey legislature in a major upset on election day, many people wondered what it meant for the Democratic Party that a conservative Democrat could lose to a nobody Republican, who seemed to have spent about $153 on his campaign. In fact, after winning the Republican nomination to run against Sweeney, in April, no local news outlet ever got around to researching anything about the GOP’s candidate. Instead, they talked about how teachers should best ignore race and our country’s history of racism.

Then the day or two after the elections, it was revealed that Durr had all kinds of “culture war” type opinions in his recent social media posts. They were filled with some (now standard) GOP racism, Islamophobia, and offensive conflagration of public health policies with the Holocaust.

The constant refrain from the right-wing in the country these days is to sow as much dissent and the perception of chaos, which gives voters anxiety that things are changing too fast. For every reactionary bigot who is terrified that their child or grandchild will be taught some strange version of history titled “White people are the devil,” the rest are primarily nervous that they don’t understand what exactly is happening and want things to remain closer to the same, even if that means growing inequality and an exacerbation of all of the things that are actually stressing their communities out.

This doesn’t mean that these make-em-up culture wars end, of course. It just means that the hyped-up tenor on right-wing media settles back down to a simmer. Fascists are gonna fascist, and those stories will continue to percolate along with immigrations stories and mask mandate and cynical vaccine requirement stories.

This will go on until the next election moment when, instead of talking about how to fix the economy and how to lower drug prices, and how to deal with our opioid epidemic, and how to foster more opportunities in our country for more Americans, Fox News, OAN and the like will begin screaming 24 hours a day about how everything is on fire. Everything will be elections are rigged but vote anyway. When you vote in your rigged election, only a racist bag of facial hair like J.D. Vance will be able to make you feel like you did before Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party sold off our country to the highest bidders.

But, as we have seen, the only thing that voting for the GOP gets you is a respite in covering a single culture-war artifact.

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