Heads up, Concerned Parents, there’s a new moral-panic bogeyman—fomented by the far right and Fox News—that’s coming for America’s children, and it’s called critical race theory.
On this week’s episode of Fever Dreams, The Daily Beast reporters Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer talk to senior NBC News reporter and Daily Beast alumna Brandy Zadrozny about how the battle over CRT has become the “new obsession of the rabid right,” one that Tucker Carlson and well-connected conservative activists are trying to foment in towns nationwide.
As Zadrozny explains, the culture war over CRT—inflamed by Carlson and Fox News—has started to infect local school boards, with conservative parents “invading and swarming” budget meetings and going on curriculum witch-hunts. Just as COVID-19 anti-maskers attacked local health departments armed with talking points from Fox News, we’re now seeing the same thing with disgruntled parents opposing diversity initiatives in schools. Forget the fact that no one is actually teaching critical race theory or cultural Marxism to third-graders—the Fox feedback loop has created a maelstrom of misinformation at the local level. And well-organized rightwing groups are making sure that if any cranky parent—or longtime GOP operative—has a complaint about their school, well, they’re likely to get linked up with Fox producers faster than you can say “Howard Zinn” and invited as a guest on Tucker’s show.
Elsewhere on the episode, Suebsaeng and Sommer talk about the right’s scramble to find something to complain about when it comes to our new federal summer holiday, Juneteenth (“they can’t quite agree on why they oppose it, but they suspect it has something to do with critical race theory”), and how some forever-Trumpers want the president to get credit for a holiday that has absolutely nothing to do with him.
And don’t miss our discussions of the rise of the Barstool Republican and whether it’s fair to kink-shame the Proud Boys, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how Trump tried to shut down Saturday Night Live.