8:24 pm in Uncategorized by amerigus
Last fall, I asked whether MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes (my two favorite) are pressured not to cover issues like hydrofracking or GMO foods by their bosses (see “Is Rachel Maddow Going Easy on MSNBC Advertisers?“). No one knows whether or not they had to sign confidentiality agreements governing editorial control of their shows, or what, if any influence there may be by new ownership. Media watchdog FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) notes that Maddow’s history of reporting on the shady dealings of ALEC becomes awkward as MSNBC’s new parent Comcast is a celebrated corporate member of ALEC with plans to exploit the Common Core ”juggernaut” selling their wares to schools.
As a teacher, I’ve watched the charter/Common Core debates go mainstream of late, including reports on CNN, ABC, CBS, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Stephen Colbert, The Nation, Mother Jones and many more. But NBC and MSNBC are different because they were previously involved in promoting Common Core. Researching the record of MSNBC hosts, I soon learned of their divisions (which could be a good thing). Let’s go through it:
It started with MSNBC blogsman Trymaine Lee. I thought it odd that he wrote so articulately about the charter school controversy, while Morning Joe gives obvious preference to charter school principals with air time and promotion.
CHRIS HAYES: had a real teacher on the air one time (a BadAss Teacher from the 45,000+ member Facebook group) in a balanced debate against a charter proponent, while Hayes stayed neutral. Hayes noted keen interest in “Common Core” as an issue held against Jeb Bush’s by his competitors, but misspoke about Common Core’s component parts. He did interview Diane Ravitch here and reported on Michelle Rhee’s “bombshell” cheating cover-up here. But why would his news instinct take him away from Common Core, the latest tea party stampede, and subject of Glenn Beck’s next book?
[Update: Hayes ran segments on Common Core both Thursday and Friday, see addendum below]
RACHEL MADDOW: Noticeably absent on the issue of Common Core, charters and #Rheeform in general, but has concerns about career readiness and smartness deficits. In thoughts about raising expectations made at a 2013 appearance at her alma mater Stanford, Rachel asked “who is going to write the stuff that goes into Wikipedia?”
This is the first part of the classic Common Core pitch — we’re so “low” we need to do something. The second part is the Common Core lobby’s assertion that changing standards helps, a claim in major dispute. So Rachel avoids the subject on her show, but basically can’t believe how poor the resumes of her job applicants are.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: a charter school true believer, Morning Joe’s show is the on-air home for Eva Moskowitz of Harlem Success Academy. The only example found of Common Core coverage was an article on the Morning Joe web page which spoke of the “botched” rollout, top-down inflexibility, lack of teacher input and data mining.
ED SCHULTZ: Ed also didn’t wade into Common Core waters but spoke out here for public schools, calling the charter school vacuum of student talent and funding the “new segregation”.
STEVE KORNACKI: Did a panel on Common Core but concentrated on GOP infighting and attacks against Obama instead of the nuts and bolts of the policy. You’d think wonks like Steve Kornacki or Chris Hayes might delve into the bipartisan affront to accuracy with Common Core’s evaluations, if they had a green light. But not so far.
In a different segment, Kornacki stood mute as former VA governor Jim Douglas parroted the specious claim that a standards overhaul somehow will improve performance. The data was there to obliterate the assertion, had Kornacki been read up:
Higher standards are the goal, but without in-classroom, hands-on support (particularly tackling non-academic obstacles to learning), little will change. After a decade of corporate pork spending, the achievement gap only worsened, right up to last year – so say the tests.
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: A definite charter guy, @lawrence is a longtime board member at Codman Academy, a charter school in Dorcester, run by his former Harvard classmate.
AL SHARPTON: Also mum on Common Core, the Rev continues to praise charters today but has a sordid past, accepting half a mil to endorse NYC’s charter expansion with the tacit help of the Bloomberg administration. Not his best moment, because most of the money reportedly went to just one person on his staff, a well-connected state Democratic party official. Yeeech. But Rev Al did speak out against charter maven Eva Moskowitz for eclipsing Bill de Blasio’s pre-K rally in Albany with a decisively bigger counter-rally (which we learned was secretly hatched by Governor Cuomo).
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY (herself a teacher): Hosted a highly staged live forum Oct 2013 on MSNBC starring David Coleman of The College Board, the Common Core’s top developer. Coleman spoke persuasively to a live audience stacked with school kids. Amid the softball questions, Harris-Perry hinted at ‘controversy’ but was mostly decoration as Coleman expounded at length, as seen in this clip.