Media top headlines June 24
Rose McGowan speaking out in support of Britney Spears on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ Christie Smythe discussing her strange relationship with ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli, and MSNBC’s Joy Reid talking over Christopher Rufo in their debate on critical race theory round out today’s top media headlines
Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., received another wave of negative media coverage this week following his signatures on bills related to civics education. The new laws require high school students to learn about “the evils of communism and totalitarian ideologies” and allow college students to record, with professors’ permission, lectures to use as evidence in complaints about political bias to the university.
DeSantis is one of several conservative leaders to launch efforts against the use of Critical Race Theory in classrooms, an initiative proponents argue is an important method to teach about racism. Critics charge Critical Race Theory teaches students that racism is at the root of America’s founding and to judge one another by skin color.
Washington Post columnist Max Boot was among a number of critics to declare that DeSantis was waging a “culture war.”
DeSantis, he wrote, “is showing Trump-level skill at waging culture war,” and that he is so far winning “‘The Apprentice: Culture Warfare Edition.'”
The Post used the unflattering headline, “In push against ‘indoctrination,’ DeSantis mandates surveys of Florida students’ beliefs.”
More than one critic noted that the title “simply isn’t true.”
“It’s a survey that asks only if people feel that they are free to express their views on campus. It doesn’t ask what their views are, and it expressly reaffirms the First Amendment in its text,” National Review’s Charles Cooke indicated, linking to a report on the subject from Reason writer Jonathan Adler.
Adler quotes from relevant provisions from the bill to summarize the required survey as not one of political beliefs of students and faculty, but a survey to measure “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented.” The required survey, Adler writes, also measures the extent to which “members of the college community, including students, faculty, and staff, feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”
But several other outlets ran with the same narrative.
“Ron DeSantis goes after free thought at colleges with an eye to 2024,” a Vanity Fair headline blared on Thursday.
“Vowing to prevent the ‘indoctrination’ of Florida’s youth, Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced plans to indoctrinate Florida’s youth,” Eric Lutz began the Vanity Fair piece. Later, he accuses DeSantis of being one of the leaders of a “deranged culture war.” DeSantis and his fellow conservatives, Lutz charged, are on an “anti-history crusade” that is akin to “whitewashing the sins of America’s past.”
“Ron DeSantis Is Blithely Sowing the Whirlwind,” an Esquire headline read. In the piece, Charles P. Pierce alleges that DeSantis didn’t provide examples of school indoctrination “because the governor is as full of crap as the Christmas goose.”
Despite the negative media attention, DeSantis has watched his popularity rise in recent months. He recently stunned an MSNBC panel by beating former President Donald Trump in a a 2024 straw poll of conservative voters at this year’s Western Conservative Summit in Colorado.
“He’s like a conquering king,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said of the governor.
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