Authored by Jackson Richman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Feb. 23 called out what he called “media lies” over the Sunshine State banning the Advanced Placement (AP) course for African American Studies.
DeSantis said that the media “tried to create in Florida a narrative.”
“It’s basically a book ban hoax. It’s a hoax what they’re doing. And they’re trying to say that, because we have parental rights and because we have curriculum transparency, if you have a book that’s hardcore pornography in a library [that] 10-year-olds can access, a parent objects to that. That does not satisfy Florida [curriculum] standards. It should not be in the library with those young kids. And I think 99 percent of parents agree with that.”
DeSantis noted that Florida law requires the factual, unpoliticized teaching of African American history.
The governor accused critics of taking books off bookshelves to create a narrative to muddy the waters over the AP course ban, like one school taking a book about MLB Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron “because it talks about he faced racial discrimination.”
“They’re doing that to try to create a narrative. They’re not doing that because Florida has a law like that or anything like that,” DeSantis said. “They know that’s not in the law, but they’re doing it because there’s enough people in corporate media who will just take that and will run with that.”
DeSantis last month blocked the teaching of the AP course that he said was politically biased and “pushing an agenda” on students. The course includes far-left content including Black liberation theology, the movement to abolish prisons, Black Lives Matter, a push for reparations, and queer studies. The College Board has since revised the curriculum.
Left-wing media has blasted the DeSantis administration for banning the AP course.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell inaccurately claimed that DeSantis “says that slavery and the aftermath of slavery should not be taught to Florida schoolchildren.” She has since walked back her insinuation, though she took a shot at DeSantis and appeared to justify her premise.
“Governor DeSantis is not opposed to teaching the fact of slavery in schools, but he has opposed the teaching of an African American studies curriculum as well as the use of some authors and source materials that historians and teachers say makes it all but impossible for students to understand the broader historic and political context behind slavery and its aftermath in the years since,” she said on Feb. 22.
MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson also joined in the inaccurate media narrative, decrying that DeSantis is “happy with Black people being murdered on a regular basis.”
NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director Janai Nelson wrote in The New York Times that what DeSantis has done was “an unrelenting assault on truth and freedom of expression in the form of laws that censor and suppress the viewpoints, histories and experiences of historically marginalized groups, especially Black and L.G.B.T.Q. communities.”
Last year, DeSantis signed two education-related bills into law that attracted controversy mainly from the left.
The Florida Parental Rights in Education Act prohibits teaching sexual orientation and gender ideology to students K-3 and below.
The Stop W.O.K.E. Act codified Florida’s prohibition on teaching critical race theory for students K-12 and below—in addition to not allowing the teaching of only left-wing narratives, including the notion that, as a pamphlet from DeSantis’ office put it, “a person’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis refuses to give comments to NBC and its affiliates until Andrea Mitchell corrects a "blatant lie."
As Epoch's Patricia Tolson notes, DeSantis' office announced on social media that it will not consider any requests for interviews from NBC and MSNBC until Andrea Mitchell corrects her “blatant lie.”
During the Feb. 20 edition of her program, Mitchell failed to issue a correction.
At the end of her Feb. 22 morning broadcast, Mitchell issued a statement, saying she was “imprecise in summarizing Governor DeSantis’ position about teaching slavery in schools,” adding that “Governor DeSantis is not opposed to teaching the fact of slavery in schools but he has opposed the teaching of an African American Studies curriculum as well as the use of some authors and source materials that historians and teachers say makes it all but impossible for students to understand the broader historic and political context behind slavery and its aftermath in the years since.”
Mitchell did not identify the “historians and teachers” referenced in her statement. Nor did she report that Florida law requires the teaching of African American history, including slavery.
On Feb. 22, DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin responded on Twitter.
“To all of the bookers and producers reaching out to our office @NBCNews and @MSNBC for @GovRonDeSantis to join your shows, this will be the standard response from our office until @mitchellreports apologizes and your track record improves,” Griffin wrote, with an attached screenshot from a written response.
To all of the bookers and producers reaching out to our office from @NBCNews and @MSNBC for @GovRonDeSantis to join your shows, this will be the standard response from our office until @mitchellreports apologizes and your track record improves. pic.twitter.com/8kQcLLEVzW— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) February 22, 2023
“I think we need to take a step back,” the attached response begins. “There will be no consideration of anything related to NBC Universal or its affiliates until and at least Andrea Mitchell corrects the blatant lie she made about the governor … and NBC and its affiliates display a consistent track record of truthful reporting. Please feel free to pass this up and around the network.”