Friday, October 22, 2021


On October 4, the Deparment of Justice issued this press release:
Justice Department Addresses Violent Threats Against School Officials and Teachers

Citing an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools, today Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to meet in the next 30 days with federal, state, Tribal, territorial and local law enforcement leaders to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend. These sessions will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment and response by law enforcement.
You and I know the meaning of "harassment, intimidation and threats of violence" in this context. It's a reference to incidents like this:

But after the program was announced, there was little effort to explain it, at least until Attorney General Merrick Garland was subjected to hostile questioning about it in yesterday's House Judiciary Committee hearing.
On Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the senior Republican on the committee, said the Justice Department was creating “a snitch line on parents” who complain about school policy — a charge the attorney general repeatedly denied.

“There’s nothing in this memorandum that has any effect on the kinds of curriculums that are taught or the ability of the parents to complain,” Garland said.

Republicans did not buy his explanation.

“We don’t need the vast power of the federal government throwing its weight around,” Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said. “We don’t need you, the Justice Department, or the FBI trampling on the rights of parents.”
Republicans have spent the weeks since October 4 making pronouncements like this in every available forum. "Biden's FBI wants to criminalize dissent by parents" is a major line of argument on the right, and it's likely that swing voters have also been made aware of the narrative. Except for yesterday's hearing, there's been very little effort among Democrats to construct a counternarrative -- that is, an accurate narrative.

Many liberals and mainstream media figures believe that the vast majority of Republican dishonesty comes from Donald Trump. But this isn't Trump's doing. In yesterday's hearing, committee chairman Jerrold Nadler refused to allow Jim Jordan to play a video that had been submitted without the customary 48 hours' notice. Here's the video, posted on Twitter with the apparent imprimatur of all the Republicans on the committee:

Here's a New York Post op-ed:
Disturbingly, the Dems and their social media cronies repeatedly and casually abuse their power to enforce their ideology, rather than realize that perhaps the upswell of parental anger at teaching in schools is not the result of QAnon conspiracists but in fact is born of genuine concern and a sense of disempowerment over the future of their most precious charges.

Don’t like teachers telling all white kids that they are oppressors just because of the color of their skin? You’re an insurrectionist. Think maybe we need to start lifting COVID restrictions because you’re vaccinated? You’re a white supremacist. Oppose Build Back Better? You’re an obstructionist, a fascist.

Don’t vote for Democrats? You’re an enemy of the state.
That's just the latest salvo from Murdochistan. Here's part of a Tucker Carlson monologue from October 6:
You’ll notice if you look closely that nowhere in Merrick Garland's recent order, or the DOJ's press release, is any explanation of these "threats of violence." What threats of violence? Has violence occurred at these school board meetings? No. Look closer, and you’ll find this line: "The Justice Department will also create specialized training and guidance [that] will help school board members ... understand the type of behavior that constitutes threats."

Oh. So it’s a propaganda operation, funded by you out of the Department of so-called Justice designed to tell teachers and school board members that when parents complain, it’s domestic terrorism. It’s not the first amendment in progress. It’s not your constituents voicing legitimate complaints. It’s essentially a foreign adversary trying to kill you.

The Biden administration is trying to tell school board members, using the Department of Justice, that they are in physical danger from parents, and those parents are national security threats. Once again, nothing like this has ever happened in this country. It is an utter perversion of the mission and the power of the United States Department of Justice. It is almost impossible to overstate how sinister and crazy this is.
Every rank-and-file Republican voter now believes this. Maybe some of your moderate neighbors do too. And why shouldn't they? Who's tried to clarify what's really going on? Why don't Democrats understand the need to communicate the truth when the right works this hard to communicate lies?

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