The state of New Jersey has launched an initiative to require that all K-12 students be taught "media literacy," because the government must enlist teachers to fight so-called misinformation.
Let’s take an imaginary look at what the first day of school would look like.
Welcome, class, to "Basic Student News Literacy," It appears in your schedules as "BS News Lit." Our wonderful governor, his Eminence Gov. Phil Murphy, ordained that we must instruct all of you in how to think.
We will be telling you in great detail about the biggest news stories of the past several years – Russiagate, the stolen election … in Georgia, the dangers of unapproved social media and the 1619 Project.
First up, turn in your phones. My assistant Igor will be collecting them.
Why do we need your phones? We are going to remove any unapproved apps. Conservative news? Gone. Twitter. Nope. You have to use Mastodon now, where people think the left, I mean right way. Mastodon knows how to shut down crazy talk about two genders or claims about Hunter Biden.
Let’s see what else … Christian apps, can’t have them. But Jenny, your Church of Satan app is just fine. Alyce, I see you have a pro-life app. You have to stay after class for special re-education run by our friends at Planned Parenthood.
The digital era gives us access to endless information. And that’s bad. We will be adding a few approved apps to your phones. That’s where you should be getting your information. Pretty standard stuff, The Washington Post, New York Times, MSNBC and the American Federation of Teachers. No CNN, it’s too rightwing. That’s enough for your impressionable minds.
But you like Twitter? I told you, it’s banned. There is no big conspiracy of government trying to work with big tech to censor speech. Anything they tried to restrict was bad for you. The government only has your best interests at heart – especially when it takes away your rights. And if the legacy media don’t tell you about it, it’s for your own good.
You’ll note that this course lasts all year and has an extensive reading list. There are all the best books about the evil orange man whose name we dare not mention – Bob Woodward, Maggie Haberman and Mary Trump, as well as Howard Zinn’s "A People’s History of the United States," "Gender Queer" and "Das Kapital." All the greats.
No, Maurice, we don’t need any pro-America books. The best books are those that tell you what you know already. I’m watching you, young man. I think what we've got here is failure to communicate.
Now, let’s begin. This class is designed to help you cut through the noise of day-to-day news. The first, and most-important way to do that is to be sure not to read, watch or listen to any wrong think.
Today, we’re going to start off with truly great journalism – Pulitzer Prize winners.
I’m quoting our friends at Pulitzer, the ones who gave the New York Times and its star reporter Walter Duranty a well-deserved Pulitzer for its coverage of the alleged Russian genocide of Ukrainians in the 1930s. Pulitzer gave the Times and The Washington Post an award for coverage "of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration."
Ah, Russia, Russia, Russia. … What’s that, Kofi, the Times corporate site admits that it "has been publicly acknowledging" Duranty’s "failures" and the paper itself calls the genocide "one of the great atrocities of 20th-century Europe."
Well, you are using bad facts – even if they come from approved sites like the Post and Times. In this institution, to get along, you go along.
Let’s go along.
We are going to discuss why you can’t trust right-wing news outlets and Republican politicians. They don’t just lie, they deny the results of elections. You can’t trust anyone who does that. Yes, Mia, the top Democrat in the House did say Trump had a "so-called election victory," and Hillary Clinton did claim the 2016 election was "stolen," but they meant well. That’s what’s important. It’s not the facts, it’s the feels.
And speaking of politicians who mean well, next month we’re going to have a special guest, Georgia Gov. Stacey Abrams. Of course, Li, the machines said she lost, but voting was suppressed, and who really can trust a machine?
I know, I know, more people did vote than before. But they voted the wrong way. So the correct votes were suppressed. I may have to set up a meeting with your birthing parents.
Next class, we are going to discuss trustworthy alternative news sources like "The Tonight Show," "The View" and top Hollywood celebrities. James Woods? That’s it, Andrew, you’re going to the principal’s office.