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SLIME THE TEACHERS WELL! The NEA “hates America,” Carlson said. It all spiraled downward from there.


E-MAIL EMENDATIONS: We’re no longer using our old address; we can’t reply when you e-mail us there. Note our new address to the left of this page. When you write us there, we can write back.

SLIME THE TEACHERS WELL: The sliming of the NEA has been an ugly affair right from the start. For example, Tucker Carlson was in rare form on last Tuesday’s Inside Politics. He shared his views about the NEA’s “Remember September 11” web site. “It is totally outrageous,” Carlson said. “And I think it shows instinctive dislike, distrust, maybe even hatred of the United States.” “Why does the NEA hate America so much?” he asked on that evening’s Moneyline.

The NEA “hates the United States?” Such was the fruit of the latest hoax, conducted by the Washington Times. The NEA had constructed a red-white-and blue web site concerning September 11. With links to the CIA and to Homeland Security, the site featured three speeches by a “great American,” President George W. Bush. But the Washington Times had a jihad to run, and the paper knew just how to do it. The Times hunted about on the NEA’s site, and it found an essay by Professor Brian Lippincott to which the site was obscurely linked. The paper pulled truncated quotes off this one obscure text; misrepresented what the quotes plainly meant; and pretended that the NEA site was therefore bad anti-American. The nation’s flunkies, losers and copyists quickly began mouthing the spin-points.

Tucker Carlson was hardly alone in the sliming. In last Saturday’s Washington Times, for example, Mona Charen wrote that the NEA’s lesson plans “bend over backwards not to place blame against any group or country, except perhaps the United States.” The next day, Oliver North, in the same paper, asked a rhetorical question: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a teacher’s union that didn’t want to blame America first?” In the Washington Post, George Will took the cake. “The NEA represents, and presumably reflects the mentality of, the people who are delivering—inflicting?—public education,” Will wrote. “That is as frightening, in its way, as any foreign threat.” America’s teachers are worse than al Qaeda! Is George Will practicing “moral equivalence?” And by the way, while we’re still on the dim-witted subject, who’s “blaming America first” now?

A hate campaign was unleashed by the Times. George Will couldn’t wait to take part.

But readers, how did this nasty campaign gain purchase? Why did a range of major newspapers—the Columbus Dispatch; the Denver Post; the Cleveland Plain-Dealer; the Richmond Times-Dispatch—all print editorials saying that the NEA was refusing to place any blame on al Qaeda? (Dispatch headline: “Whitewashing the terrorists”) It happened because your good guy pundits decided to sit this one out. On August 19, Robert Kuttner told it just like it was; the Times report was “a hoax,” he said. It was “about the most dishonest piece of journalism I’ve read in years” (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/27/02). But from that point on, the good guys fell silent. HUNT and SHIELDS were on their decks; GREENFIELD was swilling a finer wine, too. By Sunday, SNOW and BEINART were on TV reciting the Times’ talking points for it! Talk radio burned the nation’s ears, and the “good guys” took their usual dive. How did this nasty jihad gain purchase? Because our “good guy” pundits simply don’t care. Our “good guy” pundits are too fine than that. They have long since walked off from the battle.

How did the Washington Times know it could publish a “hoax?” It knows the heart of the opposition. Interested citizens around the country should begin to get clear on that too.

TUCKER’S TARGET AUDIENCE: To whom was Tucker Carlson speaking? Last Saturday, the NEA’s Jerald Newberry appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. Here are three of the calls he received:

CALLER: This is a very pernicious and dangerous thing that they’re doing. This is what they do in Communist countries and parents should be aware of this…This is a cookie-cutter, Communistic solution, one solution fits all children.

CALLER: I think they need to change their name to National Union of Teachers and then we can more accurately call them the NUTS.

CALLER: I believe the NEA people are not going to be satisfied until you actually train terrorists. It’s just pitiful that your offices couldn’t have been in the World Trade Center.

There were others, less easy to excerpt. But is this surprising, when a major pundit—on CNN, speaking to uncomplaining Judy Woodruff—announces the NEA’s hatred for America? When George Will says that the nation’s teachers are more frightening than al Qaeda? And are these calls surprising when our finer pundits sit out the fight out on their wide, sweeping decks? Our “good guy” pundits have sat there for years. Maybe they ought to pop on C-SPAN and see the discussion they’re missing.

One other caller offered a warning:

CALLER: New Jersey has a radio station here that has taken Professor Lippincott’s information and made hay of it all week…They don’t really care about 9/11, they just use the opportunity to bash the NEA. They will bash the teachers unions any chance they get…At least in the state of New Jersey I think the NEA needs to do some image-building because they have quite opposed forces here in this state.
On talk radio, of course, that “making of hay” was transpiring all over the country.

Let’s be clear: It isn’t the business of “good guy” pundits to help the NEA build its image. It used to be the job of such pundits to speak up when the public was baldly deceived. But today’s great pundits don’t bother with that. Kuttner spoke loud and clear on Day One. From that point on? Radio silence.