Fast Company lies, again
June 12, 2023
Fast Company commits a cardinal journalistic sin – it lies. This is not one of those things where we disagree with someone. We are not talking about a difference of opinion, we are talking about the misrepresentation of objective facts. You know, those facts that fact-checkers tell us are so important.
The story is about recent changes to Florida laws concerning education. We know that many people don’t like them, but many do like them. That’s just opinions. Clearly, Fast Company does not like the laws but makes its arguments with falsehoods and actual lies:
Two major bills that passed the Florida legislature and were signed into law by DeSantis last year have targeted education as it relates to gender and race. The Parental Rights in Education (or “Don’t Say Gay“) bill, which went into effect last July, banning public schools from teaching about gender identity or sexual orientation from kindergarten through the third grade, was recently expanded to include all grades.
That’s not what the bill says at all. Fortunately, the State of Florida publishes its bills and acts on the Internet:
Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.
Sure, we can all have lovely arguments about what is age-appropriate, but that’s not a ban. It’s not even close to a ban, to call it a ban is a lie. The expansion to all age groups keeps that age-appropriate clause – so, kids are taught what they need to know at the age they need to know it. At those older ages, such teaching is in sex ed classes, not in others.
Fast Company also tells us:
The Stop WOKE Act outlaws instruction that could make any student feel uncomfortable, which has largely targeted discussions of systemic racism in the U.S. and its historical origins.
That law also doesn’t do anything of the sort. The text is here. It does say that you can’t insist upon white privilege training as a condition of employment. There are other conditions in there but we challenge anyone to find anything at all that says instruction that makes a student feel uncomfortable is banned.
One possible reaction to this sort of stuff is simply to laugh. The things they’re lying about are there, on the internet. We can go and read the original sources and see the truth. But that would be a mistake. For you and we, the sort of people who check this stuff, are a minority.
What actually happens is that most people who read a piece of journalism assume that it’s telling the truth. They’ve got editors. Morals and ethics are things journalists are taught. So, what is said often enough becomes the truth. For it becomes a cycle of endless repetition so that people believe it is the truth – and the truth in politics is what people think, not what is in fact accurate.
This point is important and important for reasons nothing to do with DeSantis, Florida, schools, or anything so specific as that. Lying to push a political line has a name different from journalism – it’s called propaganda. But that’s what much of the American press is these days, Fast Company here is only an example of it. Propaganda, not journalism, lies not truth.