Alex Wagner adopts the position: Alex Wagner is spectacularly telegenic and she’s plenty smart.
For that reason, she is one of MSNBC’s gang of fiery new liberal Mouseketeers. They make us feel that we’re part of the gang. They’re youngish and they're lots of fun. They're our very best friends on TV.
If they came out one day yelling, “I’m Alex! I’m Chris!” would anyone be surprised?
When necessary, these Mouseketeers may adopt the company line. To see Wagner do so concerning the Chicago school strike, click over to Digby’s post.
One point is essential:
None of the people on that panel have any idea what they’re talking about! They don’t know what goes on in urban schools. Beyond that, they don’t care. They don’t understand the potential problems with the use of standardized tests to evaluate teachers. They certainly don’t understand the reasons for the current strike.
They have no idea what they’re talking about. That said, they do know their scripts.
(In principle, we’re not opposed to using standardized tests as part of teacher evaluation. Key words there: In principle.)
After her initial presentation, Wagner adopts the corporatist line in every word out of her mouth. Here’s what she said in her second throw, the toss she made to John Heileman:
WAGNER (9/12/12): It’s worth noting, it’s hard to say, “Look, we don’t want to be evaluated. You just have to keep paying us what you’re paying us.”Cute. You’ll have to watch to evaluate her tone, which we would describe as snide.
In her next contribution, Wagner snidely noted that Chicago teachers are being paid an average of $76,000. She forgot to say what she is paid for reciting the company line.
“Let me say one thing though,” the fiery TV liberal continued. “I mean, the narrative here is that somehow the teachers unions do not have the interests of children at heart. And the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Chicago school children not in school doesn’t do much to ameliorate that image.”
Wagner snarked as she said it.
Once more, let’s stress a key point: Wagner doesn’t have any idea what she’s talking about. She doesn’t know squat about low-income schools. She has no plan to learn.
Like everyone else in the insider press, she does know her approved narratives. For whatever reason, NBC and its cable arms have always been weirdly involved in pushing the Bloomberg/Gates “education reform” agenda. In this post at the Atlantic, Molly Ball helps explain how these alignments are coming to the Democratic Party itself:
BALL (9/8/12): [Michelle] Rhee, the controversial former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor known for her hard-charging style, has worked with Republican governors to push her reform ideas in states across the country. Her ongoing pitched battle with the teachers unions has put her at odds with one of the Democratic Party's most important traditional constituencies.For ourselves, we’re not unalterably opposed to performance-based pay. On balance, we think experimentation with charter schools has been quite constructive. We’re not opposed to everything Rhee says and does. As we've said in the past, we like some things she says.
Yet there are signs that Rhee's persona non grata status in her party is beginning to wane—starting with the fact that the chairman of the Democratic convention, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, spoke at the movie screening Rhee hosted at the convention earlier this week. Another Democratic star, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, spoke at the cocktails-and-canapes reception afterward. Across the country, Democratic officials from governors like Colorado's John Hickenlooper to former President Clinton—buoyed by the well-funded encouragement of the hedge-fund bigwigs behind much of the charter-school movement—are shifting the party's consensus away from the union-dictated terms to which it has long been loyal. Instead, they're moving the party toward a full-fledged embrace of the twin pillars of the reform movement: performance-based incentives for teachers, and increased options, including charter schools, for parents.
But the highlighted text explains what’s happening as liberals adopt the “reform” position. For whatever reason, big-money people like the Bloomberg/Gates version of “education reform”—and Democratic candidates adore those big-money people! Cory Booker ran out to kiss big-money ass during the dust-up over Bain Capital.
Now, Booker is kissing big-money ass over “education reform.”
Beyond that, big-money people have been behind NBC’s weird advocacy for the Rhee/Bloomberg line—and Wagner is paid by NBC. We’ll have to guess that she is paid much more than that $76,000 per year. The future pay-days will be vast, as long as she colors inside the lines.
For whatever reason, Digby singles out Heileman for (well-deserved) criticism, thereby giving Wagner a pass. That’s also a typical part of this process. But if you want to see a liberal Mousekeeter cheerfully adopt the position, click over to Digby’s site and watch Alex Wagner sound off.
Wagner is scornful toward Chicago teachers. Please understand that one key point:
She has no idea what she’s talking about! Performing like a good Mouseketeer, she’s simply reciting her lines.
Two final points: When Wagner forgot to say how much she's paid, all the other panelists forgot to ask her.
At the New Republic, Richard Kahlenberg notes that the median salary for Chicago teachers is $68,000. He'll never make it on TV advancing points like that! (His whole piece is worth reading.)