Much of the focus in the debate over progressive attempts to indoctrinate K-12 students has centered on teachers injecting Critical Race Theory (CRT) concepts into their lessons. But, this is not the only way the hard left seeks to influence your children. Indeed, a recent development suggests they are also intent on preventing students from viewing material that is in opposition to woke theology.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced on Tuesday that it was partnering with NewsGuard, a news rating site that is biased in favor of the left. The collaboration is ostensibly designed to promote “media literacy” among students who are susceptible to being influenced by “misinformation.” The announcement reads:
Under the terms of the pathbreaking licensing agreement, coinciding with National News Literacy Week(link is external), the AFT's 1.7 million members, tens of millions of kids they teach, and their families, can now receive free, real-time “traffic light” news ratings and detailed “Nutrition Label” reviews, via a licensed copy of NewsGuard's browser extension, whenever they search the web for news and information.
For years, educators have fought battles against suspect sourcing, with their students often misled by dubious outlets and spam sites posing as “news.” NewsGuard offers a practical solution, alerting students and educators to those sites while also providing a valuable lesson in media literacy.
The “traffic light” news rating and “Nutrition Label” are supposedly designed to inform news consumers of the accuracy, honesty, and reliability of a given news site. NewsGuard created these tools to help people avoid being deceived by “misinformation,” which, as you already know, is defined as “any opinion that conflict with the left.”
The Media Research Center (MRC) conducted a study in December 2021, in which it found “extraordinary left-wing bias” in NewsGuard's rating methodology. It found a 27-point disparity on average between left-wing sites and right-wing sites. You can guess which side of the aisle has the higher average score, right?
MRC's assessment showed NewsGuard rating left-wing site the Nation, and Jacobin, an unabashedly Marxist site, at 93 percent while the average rating for conservative outlets like Fox News, Breitbart News, and the Washington Times was 66 percent. It is not difficult to imagine that these disparities are specifically intended to make left-wing outlets appear more credible than those on the right. It also seems obvious that the AFT, which is led by union boss Randi Weingarten, is trying to ensure students are not as frequently exposed to non-progressive sites as they are with left-leaning outlets.
The browser extension would show a green checkmark for sites NewsGuard deems to be “credible” and a red exclamation point for those that “fail to meet the basic standards of credibility.”
“For years, educators have fought battles against suspect sourcing, with their students often misled by dubious outlets and spam sites posing as ‘news,'” the AFT announcement declared. “AFT President Randi Weingarten hailed the deal as a game-changer for teachers and families drowning in an ocean of online dishonesty.”
Weingarten lauded NewsGuard as “a beacon of clarity to expose the dark depths of the internet and uplift those outlets committed to truth and honesty rather than falsehoods and fabrications.”
However, the MRC report showed that the outlets NewsGuard has rated favorably aren't so deserving of their positive ratings. The Nation, in particular, published a piece titled “In Defense of Destroying Property,” in which it justified the George Floyd riots.
Jacobin published a piece titled, “Why You Should Be a Socialist – and a Marxist,” in which the author argues that Marxism should not be labeled as authoritarianism. “Marxists have ‘had too little regard for the importance of individual liberty.' This is certainly true for Stalinism, but it's hardly a fair picture of the rich democratic-socialist tradition inspired by Marx,” he wrote.
Mother Jones, which was given an 87.5 percent rating, is one of several outlets that published the debunked Steele dossier and intimated the details of the document were fact. Buzzfeed, which also has a positive score, did the same and has not corrected its reporting.
On the other hand, MRC's report notes that conservative sites are typically given lower ratings:
By comparison, The Federalist, posted in the “right” AllSides list, was scored the worst with a ridiculous “12.5” on NewsGuard. A predominant reason for the abysmal rating, according to NewsGuard, was that The Federalist questioned the efficacy of mask mandates for COVID-19, even though liberal CNBC (not on the AllSides list, but has a “95” NewsGuard rating) cited a study showing that cloth masks were only 37 percent effective at filtering out virus particles. Another August preprint study did not find an “association between mask mandates or use and reduced COVID-19 spread in US states.”
People like Weingarten have no problem with attempting to indoctrinate children into hard-leftist ideology – they tend to believe the ends justify the means. She, like many others on the left, hold to the so-called progressive notion that your children do not belong to you, they belong to the state. It can be no surprise, then, that the AFT would take steps to censor opinions with which they disagree. If their objective is to create a new generation of progressive activists, they can't have those pesky conservative ideas seeping into children's brains while they are supposed to be learning reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, can they?