Washington Post ‘Fact Checkers’ Run Interference for Merrick Garland Over DOJ School Board ‘Threats’ Directive
The WaPo started out with the headline, “The false GOP claim that the Justice Dept. is spying on parents at school board meetings,” as though the DOJ would literally use the word “spying” in any memo they knew the public would be able to put eyes on.
It is without fail that when a Republican states an inconvenient truth or a Democrat is accused of something serious, Glenn Kessler and his army of pseudo-fact checkers at the Washington Post will attempt to ride to the left’s rescue. It’s like clockwork and sadly is not limited to the WaPo, as we’ve documented recently.
The latest instance comes after accusations from a number of high-profile Republicans against Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland over the directive he issued last week in response to the National School Boards Association letter that urged the feds to get involved in investigating so-called “domestic terrorist” parents after alleged “threats” and “acts of malice” were supposedly directed towards school board members as the debate over Critical Race Theory heats up.
WaPo “reporter” Salvador Rizzo wrote the “fact check” and started it off by listing the quotes from the GOP politicians who he then tried to debunk:
“Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation. Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.” – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
“Frankly, I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like it in American history. … Are you aware of any time in American history when an attorney general has directed the FBI to begin to intervene in school board meetings — local school board meetings?” — Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)
“Merrick Garland says he’s going to use the Justice Department to spy on parents at school board meetings.” — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
“Who would have ever thought that you would have an American president make a decision to leave Americans behind in Afghanistan now directing the DOJ to try to silence parents and actually separate parents from what their children can do inside schools?” — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
“Now the FBI is trying to silence parents. That’s wrong.” — Republican Virginia gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin
Now, after reading the actual Garland memo, which directed “the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum,” you’d think that most people would understand that the claims made by those Republicans against the DOJ were inarguable.
Nevertheless, Rizzo proceeded to try and do just that, first with a headline that read, “The false GOP claim that the Justice Dept. is spying on parents at school board meetings,” as though the DOJ would literally use the word “spying” in any memo they knew the public would be able to put eyes on.
As always, the devil is in the details in these things. Again, from the memo:
These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.
Knowing per the memo that the feds will be coordinating “meetings” to “facilitate discussions” with state and local leaders “on strategies” as to how to assess and handle any alleged threats, that tells us that the “spying” will come in the form of monitoring and surveilling parents at school board meetings because, last I checked, that’s what the feds do. Surely Rizzo doesn’t think they’ll be simply sitting around waiting for a phone call from a local yokel sheriff’s department noting “suspicious activity” before they take action, right?
The crux of Rizzo’s argument is that GOP arguments on this matter are overblown because Garland specifically mentioned alleged threats in his memo and said nothing about cracking down on legitimate dissent. Well, duh, again, they aren’t going to spell it out in those exact words but that is in effect what will happen here.
Take a look at the pretzel logic involved in Rizzo’s assessment of a quote he got from a spokesman for McCarthy:
Mark Bednar, a spokesman for McCarthy, said existing laws already establish criminal penalties for violence or threats as outlined in the memo. Bednar said the Justice Department’s move was heavy-handed and could have a chilling effect on parents who might otherwise speak up about their children’s education.
“Localized threats of violence are appropriately handled by local law enforcement,” Bednar said. “As such, the real question is why the Biden administration used the power of the federal government to publicly threaten ‘a series of measures’ aimed at addressing local school board meetings. … The unnecessary, ominous rhetoric from the DOJ’s memo could have a chilling effect on parents’ First Amendment engagement with their local schools.”
Fair, but McCarthy’s comment on Fox News was that Biden was “directing the DOJ to try to silence parents and actually separate parents from what their children can do inside schools.” There’s no indication Biden himself is directing this, or that the Justice Department will be targeting legitimate speech (free of violence or threats) at these forums. [emphasis mine]
I mean if you didn’t know any better, you’d think Rizzo worked for the DOJ himself due to his obvious willingness to pretend that the DOJ’s actions, which he even agrees could have a “chilling” effect on parents, aren’t a reflection of the Biden administration’s position on this issue. I mean Biden wouldn’t even defend a female Democrat Senator after she was stalked and filmed in a women’s restroom. Does anyone think he’s going to defend concerned parents against allegations of domestic terrorism, either?
Rizzo’s ruling on the claims made Republicans about the Garland memo was four Pinocchios.
Naturally, Kessler tweeted out a link to his colleague’s work because of course he did:
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) October 15, 2021
Twitter users responded accordingly:
Glenn is once again beclowning himself as a tried and true liberal hack.
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 15, 2021
This fact-check refutes the Republican claims by using only Merrick Garland's memo, as if he'd put "we'll have FBI agents at school board meetings" in it. https://t.co/3M5pDcOVjf
— Doug Powers (@ThePowersThatBe) October 15, 2021
This DOJ memo is unprecedented.
The entire point is to send a chilling effect in hopes of intimidating & silencing parents. Why are you guys defending the Biden Administration for doing this???? https://t.co/vGZQbDPhx3
— Kelli Ford (@KelliAFord) October 15, 2021
Kind of funny how all these fact-checks seem to lean to one direction politically https://t.co/hRzrFLjzjw
— OhMyStradivarius (@LarryFinesHair) October 15, 2021
“Funny” in a weird way, but unfortunately, this issue is no laughing matter at all.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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