From Politico this morning comes a lovely little example of the way media bias works in practice. Almost invariably, the press assumes that what the Democrats are doing is normal and that what Republicans are doing is not — even when it is the Democrats who are proposing big changes. Thus it is that when the Democratic party seeks to use the power of the federal government to serve a radical and discredited theory to every child in America, the story is that the . . . Republicans don’t like it:
EXCLUSIVE: MCCONNELL LEANS INTO THE CULTURE WARS — Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL and 37 GOP senators will call on the Education Department today to stop a proposed rule that invokes the 1619 Project — the latest turn in the culture wars.
The Biden administration — citing the ongoing reckoning over race and the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on African Americans — has proposed updating American history curricula to more fully flesh out the consequences of slavery and contributions of Black Americans.
The lightning rod for Republicans? That the proposal specifically mentions the 1619 Project, which several prominent historians have criticized — particularly its suggestion that the American Revolution was fought to secure slavery. In a letter, McConnell and the other senators will blast the administration for putting “ill-informed advocacy ahead of historical accuracy.”
This formulation always results in the GOP being cast as the aggressor. If Republicans try to change things in education, they are engaging in a “culture war.” And if they try to stop the Democrats changing things in education, they are engaging in a “culture war.” It really is rather tiresome — especially when, as Politico notes, the Democrats’ plans really are controversial, and not just among Republicans:
IT’S NOT JUST CONSERVATIVES: The proposed rule has also triggered a more muted debate on the left. While it has largely skirted the attention of the mainstream media (National Review and the New York Post have pounced on it), several sources told us about conversations among a group of prominent liberal political strategists, academics and authors about whether to go public with their own criticisms.
Apparently, “pounce” is one those irregular verbs from Yes, Minister: I have conversations; you divert your attention; he pounces.
Politico ends its missive with this:
FINAL THOUGHT: The anti-1619 sentiment is uniting one of the oddest coalitions in politics: McConnell conservatives, Linker-style centrists and anti-woke socialists.
Maybe, then — just maybe — it’s not Mitch McConnell who is the “warrior” here.