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Exposed

The Washington Post’s attempt to smear me and my work on critical race theory fails spectacularly. June 24, 2021
Education
The Social Order

The fight over critical race theory has consumed American media. Conservatives have rallied against an ideology that seeks to divide the country into the racial categories of “oppressor” and “oppressed.” Liberals have defended it as a “lens” for understanding vague buzzwords like “systemic racism” and “racial equity.”

I’ve been on the front lines of this battle. My investigative reporting has exposed critical race theory in American education, with disturbing firsthand reports about public schools forcing eight-year-olds to deconstruct their racial identities, telling white teachers that they must undergo “antiracist therapy,” and encouraging white parents to become “white traitors” and advocate for “white abolition.” These stories have reached millions of readers and helped spark a grassroots movement against critical race theory among parents in school districts across the country.

They have also made me a target for the Left. In recent months, outlets including the New York Times, New Republic, MSNBC, CNN, and The Atlantic have attacked me on television and in print. No doubt the Washington Post believed that its 3,000-word exposé would undermine my reporting and cast me as a right-wing villain. The Post dispatched two reporters, Laura Meckler and Josh Dawsey, and spent three weeks preparing a hit piece that accused me of various intellectual crimes.

There was just one problem: the Post piece rested on a bed of untruths. Meckler and Dawsey fabricated the timeline of events surrounding my involvement with President Trump’s executive order on critical race theory; botched a direct quotation from me about my work; erroneously claimed that a diversity lesson at a Cupertino, California elementary school never happened; and insisted that my reporting about the Treasury Department’s diversity programs was false.

I went through Meckler and Dawsey’s piece line-by-line, publishing a point-by-point rebuttal on social media and sending it to the Post’s editors. Within 48 hours, the entire story collapsed. The paper admitted to fabricating the timeline of events, retracted or added six full paragraphs to the story, reversed its assertion that the Cupertino diversity lesson never happened, and made the absurd argument that the Treasury Department, which had told employees that “virtually all White people . . . contribute to racism,” did not mean that “all white people are racist.”

This was a deep embarrassment for the Washington Post, which then attempted to hide behind vague “clarifications” and dispatched a vice president of communications to do damage control. But the paper’s actions were indefensible: it sent out deeply partisan reporters with no regard for the facts to do a hatchet job on a fellow journalist.

Here’s the problem: I have a strong social media platform and can defend myself. Within 24 hours of the paper’s retractions, my statement on social media had set the record straight. But what about the ordinary Americans speaking up in school board meetings and city halls against what they see as a dangerous and divisive ideology? Every day they are smeared, slandered, and degraded by hyper-partisan outlets like the Washington Post.

As the Post has made clear with its reporting on critical race theory and other national stories, the legacy media corporations are heavily invested in false narratives. The solution, at least in part, is for Americans to maintain a healthy skepticism of the press and to continue to expose their fabrications and distortions on social media.

Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

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