Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, August 7, 2015

Educators Must Stand Up To The McCarthyites And Smear Merchants At The NY Post

The NY Post has another attack article on NYC teachers/NYC schools/Chancellor Farina/Mayor de Blasio that makes the claim schools are teaching ridiculously easy texts to students like "The Three Little Pigs," therefore making a high school diploma in NYC essentially "worthless."

Arwen E at NYC Educator's blog dispatches with this piece of Post yellow journalism here, explaining that the "Three Little Pigs" was used as a five minute DO NOW exercise to discuss point of view and bias in the college-level texts taught in the class, not as the main text.

Educators know that when you have students who struggle with texts, it's useful to use easier texts as a lead-in to the harder texts, but the Post writers either don't understand that teaching technique or care about it.

The idea behind this kind of lesson would be to use "The Three Little Pigs" to show how point of view in a story changes the inherent bias in the text - for example, if the text had been written from the wolf's perspective instead of the pigs' perspective - then use that frame to take on more difficult texts (say Beowulf and Grendel.)

But that kind of explanation didn't serve the agenda of the Post owner, editors or writers, so instead that piece of information is buried in the article and the main gist is "Hey, kids are reading kindergarten texts in de Blasio's high schools, a de Blasio diploma is worthless."

This piece of "journalism" is so yellow it looks like fall foliage and should be called out as such.

But so should the two writers whose by-lines appear on the article.

This is agenda-ridden propaganda, not journalism, that uses any old story they can (no matter how slim on the facts) to try and smear a NYC diploma under Mayor de Blasio as "worthless."

They ought to be embarrassed and ashamed as so-called journalists to contribute their efforts to it but as they work for Rupert Murdoch, I doubt they're capable of either embarrassment or shame.

The Post's agenda is, in the short run, to take away mayoral control of schools from de Blasio, and in the long run, to send him packing in 2017 (as symbolized by the ridiculous countdown clock they have at a website called

This piece of yellow journalism is just one volley in a constant barrage of attacks the Post has been launching against NYC schools and teachers, part of a larger war they have launched against Mayor Bill de Blasio (see here and here.)

These are McCarthy-level smears and attacks based on half-truths and lies, they're funded by Murdoch (who is said to be losing $20-$30 million a year on the NY Post) but they're written by the "journalists" at the NY Post and published by the editors and so it's a group effort in McCarthyism.

It's time for teachers and administrators in New York City to stand up to the NY Post and call them what they are - smear merchants and McCarthyites.

They have no sense of decency, no care for the damage that their recklessness and carelessness do - they have only a political agenda and a lack of shame and embarrassment in pursuing it no matter how much they have to twist, manipulate and deceive.

Their agenda is to destroy de Blasio, but they have no compunction about destroying NYC schools and NYC schoolteachers in the process with their lies and smears.


  1. If you want to see what a smear campaign looks like, look into the Post's execrable behavior in the case of Dolph Timmerman.

    1. Yes, classic Murdoch smears, both from The Simpsons, then from the Post.

  2. Since there really were communists during the Cold War employed by the US Government and exposed by McCarthy I don't think you want to label this as McCarthyism. That label would imply (to students of the Cold War) that there might be some truth in the Post's reporting on the 3 Little Pigs. And there is not.

    1. Harper Collins dictionary definition of McCarthyism (second listing):

      the use of unsupported accusations for any purpose

      Harper Collins, btw, is owned by Rupert Murdoch.

  3. One way teachers have to fight back is to refuse to talk to any Post reporter - and slam them indiviudally for their reporting. Names and numbers - leave messages on their machines, etc.

  4. Joseph McCarthy was brought down in 1954 when he finally went too far by attacking the Army, claiming it was full of Communists--which was really just another way of calling President Eisenhower a Communist since, of course, he'd been 5-star Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces during WWII.

    During what became known as the "Army-McCarthy Hearings" a lawyer, Robert Welch, for one of the witnesses called to testify before McCarthy's committee, looked up at McCarthy and said these famous words:

    "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness....Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer's Guild ... Let us not assassinate this lad further."

    "Senator; you've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

    "You have seen fit to bring this affair out and if there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good!"

    Because the hearings were televised live Americans finally got to hear a brave man confront McCarthy directly--which no one had been willing to do for almost five years. Within months, McCarthy's poll numbers declined precipitously: from 56% in January to 34% approval in June. On December 2, 1954 the Senate voted to censure McCarthy and "McCarthyism" (at least the form led by McCarthy himself) was done.

    If we had a union that had any courage or integrity Michael Mulgrew could have been a "Robert Welch." If we had state legislators who had any courage or integrity, an elected official could have been a "Robert Welch," instead of members of the "Heavy Hearts Club."

    We will need to find our own "Robert Welch or Welches" if we are to stop the McCarthyism that is now being directed at teachers and our unions.

    I expect very soon that public school teachers will be hauled before OSI or SCI and asked "Have you now, or have you ever been, a member of the United Federation of Teachers or New York State United Teachers." They will be asked to "name names" of colleagues who are or have been and will be fired for cause with a one-day 3020-a hearing if they plead the Fifth Amendment.

    Robert Welch, where are you now?

  5. I'm sorry, but asking teachers to stand up and take real action....well that isn't going to happen.

    Aside from a deep minority of us who, by some chance of genetics, personal history, or whatever are active and labor minded and engaged, well, teachers as a group are THE MEEK. (And contrary to what I was told in Catholic school, the meed DO NOT inherit the earth. They just die, like everyone else.)

    Come on. Look around. We all know what I am saying. These aren't the people you'd see beside you on the ramparts or in a trench. By and large they are the breeders, the people who keep Disney going, the folks who didn't read the heavy books in college, who have as much depth as a dry puddle. The vast majority of working teachers today are not proto-Robert Welch's.

    Our union leadership is a reflection of the lack of engagement, lack of labor-mindedness, lack of political awareness, lack of any form of understanding outside their own bubbles, among working teachers. Our awful union leadership exists in the vacuum of working teachers' ignorance and lack of engagement.

    The generation that hacked out our protections and our former political power in fact gave too many of us a comfortable gig for many decades. Those folks, born of the 60s and earlier, are gone. Those protections and political power begat many generations of the sloppy-dumb. Now we have us. The last group on the planet you'd ever want to stand up to organized, intense, politico-corporate power.

    We are our worst problem. Not the reform movement. Most working teachers today don't even know what we've lost. They have no context. No schema. No framework. How could they? By and large these aren't people who read history, philosophy, political philosophy, literature, etc etc etc. And if you are reading this, you aren't one of the majority that I'm talking about.

    Calls to action among working teachers is a pipe dream. Our only hope has proven to be active, engaged parents.

    We, collectively, don't have what it takes.

    1. Yu prove your point quite clearly by posting anonymously. Grow a set then give us all a speech.

  6. Imagine of the President of our largest national teacher union was actually on the side of teachers and stood up to this bullying with a bold response. Ahh but she's busy shilling for Hillary and trying to set up her next career move. Oh well.

    1. Randi? She is NOT "the President of our largest national teacher union." Lily Eskelson Garcia is the President of the NEA which is about twice as large with 3 million members - including us - and which has not made an endorsement in tthe primaries.

  7. Why are we surprised? It's a new school year. Mort Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Post, has been affiliated with the Broad Foundation for years. They believe in Milton Friedman's 'shock and awe' method of social control.