“Yes, the state where the government DOESN’T force you to cover your face and show your papers when you go indoors is the Soviet-Style Police State,” Logan Dobson tweeted in reply to this clip.
Is Acosta still considered a “news” anchor by CNN or is there no line between news and opinion there anymore? With the exception of Wolf Blitzer, I think every host in the line-up who’s associated with the news side of the network now freely opines during their “news” programs. Acosta isn’t saying anything here that would surprise us if we heard it on Anderson Cooper’s show, right?
Anyway, it’s not clear from this very short clip but he and his guest weren’t discussing COVID policy. Their exchange had nothing to do with Youngkin’s executive order allowing parents to opt their kids out of school mask mandates. Although one would think the fact that the new governor is loudly opposed to social restrictions like those might factor into Acosta’s calculus about whether Virginia is actually a “Soviet-style police state” or not.
Jim Acosta thinks that Virginia has become "a Soviet-style police state" pic.twitter.com/UmgFTyRIgR
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) January 26, 2022
He and Molly Jong-Fast were talking about the tip line Youngkin has set up to help enforce his new order banning the teaching of “inherently divisive concepts” from Virginia schools. That order was aimed at Critical Race Theory but extends more broadly, with Youngkin himself citing an example in an interview he gave yesterday about the tip line:
“… [It’s] for parents to send us any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected, where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools,” Youngkin said.
Youngkin brought up a recent, controversial “privilege bingo” assignment in a Fairfax County high school.
“We’re asking for folks to send us reports and observations that they have that will help us be aware of things like privilege bingo, be aware of their child being denied their rights that parents have in Virginia. And we’re going to make sure we catalog it all,” Youngkin said.
One of the squares featured in the “privilege bingo” assignment was “military kid,” which no one associates with privilege:
This is over the top – time for FCPS to get away from identity politics and back to teaching our kids. pic.twitter.com/WtB2DLuhgH
— Supervisor Pat Herrity (@PatHerrity) January 19, 2022
Democrats have reacted badly, comparing the new tip line to citizens being encouraged to inform on each other to the authorities. That’s where Acosta’s nuclear hot take about a “Soviet-style police state” came from. Insofar as there’s any valid comparison to the USSR here, it lies in the fact that a tip line surely isn’t a model of government efficiency in sniffing out problematic lesson plans in schools. Lefties and bored teenagers are already spamming the tip line, for instance. And some celebrities are encouraging fans to demand equal treatment, noting that there are some concepts taught in school that liberals would consider “inherently divisive” too:
Black parents need to flood these tip lines with complaints about our history being silenced. We are parents too https://t.co/5cBdlahnyB
— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 25, 2022
If you’re a parent who’s troubled by something being taught in your kid’s class, I’d guess that an email to the tip line is one of the least effective ways to convince the government to spring into action. You’re better off posting about it on social media and tagging school-choice activists, or contacting your state representative or local media and alerting them to the existence of some juicy political content. That’s how “privilege bingo” appears to have come to wider public attention. Youngkin’s pushing the tip line, I assume, because he wants to appear can-do and proactive in his early days in office. He’s showing his base that he takes their priorities seriously even though it’s really just a gesture.
Acosta, meanwhile, seems to believe that teachers should have total freedom to teach whatever they like with no accountability to anyone, least of all to the parents of the children in their class. A quote from later in this same interview:
A recent report shows there are dozens of new proposals opening pathways to punish teachers teaching things that parents don’t like. Why doesn’t this upset the traditional conservative tenants of liberty, anti-censorship, and freedom? I guess, you know if you want to cancel your teacher you just have to e-mail the Governor in Virginia and I guess rat them out in other ways in other states.
Youngkin is asserting the freedom of parents not to have their kids indoctrinated with political perspectives that aren’t necessary to the lesson. Since when does a conservative movement that’s long championed school choice believe it’s “conservative” to let public-school teachers do any ol’ thing they want?
There are intelligent criticisms to be made of the GOP’s crusade against CRT, like the proverbial “chilling effect” it may have on valid historical instruction that isn’t aimed at indoctrination, but Jimbo’s jab isn’t one of them. Here’s a little more from the interview via Newsbusters.