Chris Lange, FISM News
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is demanding answers from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona concerning a National Education Association letter urging social media companies to stifle critical race theory opposition “propaganda.”
“Big Tech’s potential censorship of concerned parents would be a chilling addition to the Biden administration’s efforts to intimidate parents seeking a greater role in their children’s education,” Cotton wrote Monday in a letter to Cardona.
The NEA made the request in an Oct. 8 letter asserting that school board members face “physical threats” from parents speaking out against COVID-19 policies and CRT.
The letter came out just days after the National School Boards Association asked the White House to investigate concerned parents as “domestic terrorists” in a Sept. 29 letter. This missive was used by the Department of Justice to justify the creation of a Federal Bureau of Investigation task force to monitor and flag outspoken parents as possible domestic terrorists, even after the NSBA apologized for the letter amid intense backlash.
Cotton pointed out that the social media censorship pitch – made specifically to Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok – was “remarkably similar” to the previously discovered NSBA letter.
“Specifically, this letter singled out ‘radicalized adults who falsely believe that graduate level courses about racism are being taught in K-12 public schools,'” Cotton wrote. “This statement appears to be a thinly veiled reference to parents who are concerned about critical race theory, a radical ideology that claims America is a fundamentally racist country and attributes moral characteristics to people on the basis of race,” the senator continued.
“The letter also decried a ‘small yet vocal group of extremists who are putting the safety of our children, educators, and families at risk over the notion that wearing a mask is an infringement on personal liberty,’” Cotton added. “NEA accused groups concerned about curricula based on critical race theory and restrictive mask policies of spreading ‘propaganda’ and ‘lies’ on social media and requested that social-media companies ‘stamp out’ such speech.”
Cardona has come under fire since recently-uncovered documents revealed that the White House allegedly helped draft the NSBA letter, which was solicited by Cardona. The Department of Education has denied the collaboration took place.
Cotton pointed out that both letters imply a campaign to label “individuals opposed to critical race theory and mask mandates in schools” as “potential domestic terrorists.”
The senator further highlighted the Biden administration’s “concerning record of collaboration with tech giants and teachers unions, including the NEA,” citing reports that the White House “inappropriately influenced” the CDC in developing reopening guidance for schools amid the pandemic.
Cotton noted that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that the administration has engaged in flagging “‘problematic’ posts for Facebook to censor because they allegedly contain ‘misinformation’ about coronavirus.”
The senator is asking Cardona to answer whether or not he or his staff have asked social media companies to “monitor, censor, demote, or otherwise limit the distribution of social media posts and groups related to school policies.” He further requests all correspondence between the Department of Education and the NEA, and between the DOE and the social media giants to whom the NEA addressed its letter.