A proposed education bill in Virginia has received sharp criticism for the misinterpretation of basic historical facts surrounding former President Abraham Lincoln's debate with the late Illinois Sen. Steven Douglas.
According to Slate, the controversy centers on a bill pre-filled by Rep. Wren Williams (R-Va.). As the Republican war on Critical Race Theory (CRT) continues, the latest piece of suggested legislation in Virginia "proposed a new standard for regulating high-school social studies curricula in the state, including a requirement that students learn about 'the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.'”
However, Slate senior writer Christina Cauterucci has highlighted the glaring problem with that so-called historical fact. The “Lincoln-Douglas debates” over the continuance of slavery were not between the late president and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but rather the late Illinois senator.
"This was a clear misunderstanding of the 1858 “Lincoln-Douglas debates,” in which Steven Douglas, a then-sitting senator from Illinois—not Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist—faced off against Abraham Lincoln on the issue of slavery," Cauterucci emphasized.
"The bill also includes deliberate attempts to censor teachers and reshape the facts of U.S. history to flatter white men—the sorts of provisions Republican lawmakers have been advancing in state legislatures across the country in a manufactured panic over the supposed teaching of critical race theory," Cauterucci wrote. "(In November, Virginia ousted its Democratic governor in favor of Republican Glenn Youngkin, who made the issue a pillar of his campaign.)"
She also noted how the bill would also serve as a legislative mechanism to advance Republicans' attack on critical race theory as it would censor teachers from speaking truth in classrooms.
"The Virginia bill would prohibit instructors from teaching that the U.S. is 'systemically racist or sexist' or that 'the ideology of equity of outcomes is superior to the ideology of equality…of opportunities.' It would also ban school boards from hiring anyone 'with the job title of equity director or diversity director or a substantially similar title.'”
Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday morning, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance explained that a deep reading of the federal seditious conspiracy indictments filed against eleven members of the Oath Keepers revealed that the Department of Justice is looking at more than the Jan 6th insurrection.
Speaking with host Ali Velshi, Vance suggested more indictments are likely to follow.
"One of the keys to understanding this indictment is it doesn't look at January 6th as just one day," she began. "The conduct starts shortly after the election and continues to January 6th. We now seemingly have a more firm answer to the direction whether the DOJ is looking at January 6th as a standalone day or is this continuing course of conduct surrounding the big lie."
"The fact they are looking at the longer spectrum of conduct is good news for people who want to see people who were involved in the day's events held responsible for all of the efforts to interfere with the election, not just the violence that manifested on January 6th" she continued. "This is prosecutors continuing to move up that ladder of responsibility. They've now hit a point with people involved in a definitive way and the violence on that day. The question is whether some of these individuals and other people who have been indicted will decide to cooperate with prosecutors and if they decide to cooperate, what information they may have to share."
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Facing a wave of grassroots pressure, one of the largest television providers in the U.S. reportedly plans to drop the far-right, rabidly pro-Trump One America News Network, an outlet that has come under fire for disseminating falsehoods about the 2020 election results, the coronavirus pandemic, and other major issues.
Bloomberg reported late Friday that DirecTV has informed OANN's owner, Herring Networks Inc., that it intends to "stop carrying the company's two channels when their contract expires" in early April.
The move comes after civil rights organizations and other advocacy groups called on DirecTV and AT&T—which owns a 70% stake in the satellite-TV provider—to sever ties with OANN for "spreading anti-democratic disinformation, promoting Covid-19 conspiracy theories, and fueling racism."
According to a recent Reuters investigation, AT&T—the world's largest telecom company—"has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue."
"The dangerous conspiracies and lies regularly aired on OANN have worsened a public-health crisis and given oxygen to baseless claims about the irrefutable outcome of our last presidential election," Nora Benavidez, senior counsel and director of digital justice and civil rights at Free Press, said in a statement Friday.
"OANN can say whatever it wants on its own soapbox, but it does not have an automatic right to a national audience through DirecTV," Benavidez added. "We welcome the news that DirecTV has made the decision to stop carrying OANN, especially knowing millions of viewers will no longer be subsidizing this hateful content with their monthly pay-TV bills."
Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, also applauded DirecTV's move, calling OANN "a cauldron of misinformation and extremism."
"Without DirecTV, OAN would certainly not exist in its current form and possibly not at all," said Carusone. "Now that OAN's anchor distributor has dropped them, Verizon FiOS (OAN's second major distributor) should follow suit. And certainly no other cable provider should pick them up."