SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2023
Texas does it again: On Thursday night, after the balloon panic broke, the presence of the big white orb was discussed on cable news.
On CNN, viewers were allowed to hear what the Biden Admin had said about its decision not to shoot the two-ton airship down.
We don't know if the administration's explanation was completely accurate, or if it was really accurate at all. But if you were watching CNN, you were at least allowed to hear what they had said.
On the Fox News Channel, the disordered child named Tucker Carlson adopted a different stance. He conducted a worried discussion with one of his typical guests.
Each fellow was completely puzzled by the decision in question. Also, neither fellow ever mentioned the explanation the Biden Admin had given.
That's the sort of thing which happens nightly on the Fox News Channel. What happens on our own favorite channel, where script is derived from the Storylines our blue tribe is known to prefer?
What happens on our own blue channel? Consider a script to which we viewers were exposed that same night on The 11th Hour:
Stephanie Ruhle was attempting to conduct, or was perhaps pretending to attempt to conduct, a discussion of certain changes which have been made to the College Board's proposed Advanced Placement course in African American Studies.
Ruhle's guest was Nayyera Haq. Here's how she was introduced:
RUHLE (2/2/23): Joining us now to discuss Nayyera Haq, a former White House senior director and former State Department senior adviser. She wrote an op-ed about this very topic for MSNBC, saying the AP's African American history course still has a lot to teach students.
It's true! As best we can tell, Haq is "a former White House senior director and former State Department senior adviser." That said, she currently describes herself, at her own site, in the following manner:
TELEVISION AND RADIO HOST, WFH CEO
A smart and relatable broadcast journalist, Nayyera hosts talk radio on SiriusXM. She also hosted a nightly newscast and was a foreign affairs correspondent for the Black News Channel.
In short, it seems that Haq is currently a SiriusXM talk radio host. For the record, we couldn't confirm that claim through the SiriusXM search engine or anywhere else at the SiriusXM site, but it certainly could be accurate.
Whatever! The apparent discussion was now underway. Before long, Haq offered this:
HAQ (2/2/23): The challenge of our American system is that it's very much a local control, so you have local politics take over it. So you have Texas deciding they literally are going to stop using the word "slavery." They're going to call it "involuntary relocation." But because they're such a huge market, Texas—bookmakers from around the country are going to cater now to the Texas curriculum.
"Bookmakers" may not have been the right word. At any rate:
"That is insane," the hapless Ruhle instantly said. We had a similar reaction ourselves, though we'll note one major difference.
To our practiced ear, Haq's thrilling claim did indeed sound a bit "insane." For that reason, we wondered if it was possible that the claim, however pleasing, might also be untrue.
According to Haq, Texas is literally going to stop using the word "slavery" in its public schools. They're going to call it "involuntary relocation" instead—and the major textbook publishers will soon be following suit.
Due to decades of experience, we didn't automatically believe that Haq's claim was true. A Google search quickly established the fact that the claim is simply bogus.
Haq's claim dates back to a brief and ridiculous incident in June of last year. The notion that Texas was going to make the change in question was immediately shot down by the State Board of Education, and this fact was widely reported—for example, by the Washington Post, by The Hill, by CNN.
For the record, the proposed change would have involved the way the painful topic of slavery was taught to second graders. The Hill's report started like this:
DANIELS (7/1/22): A proposal by Texas state educators to call slavery “involuntary relocation” in second grade classes has been rejected by the State Board of Education.
The proposal, first reported by the Texas Tribune, was introduced at the board’s June 15 meeting. Throughout the summer, the board will consider several curriculum updates to comply with lawmakers’ requirements to keep subjects that make students uncomfortable out of schools.
Nine educators, including a professor from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, were behind the suggested language change.
The Tribune reported the proposal was struck down by the board unanimously.
The report continued from there.
Has Texas decided that "they literally are going to stop using the word 'slavery' "—that they're going to employ the term "involuntary relocation" instead?
It made a pleasing claim for blue tribe viewers, a claim from pure Storyline. For better or worse, Haq hadn't gone quite that far in the op-ed column for MSNBC to which Ruhle had alluded:
HAQ (2/1/23): And there are other battles over our education that demand our attention. At this moment in history, the Texas State Board of Education is trying to eliminate the word “slavery” from its coursework; textbook makers try to meet the state’s standards in order to have strong national sales.
In her op-ed column, Haq only said that Texas was trying, at this moment in history, to eliminate the word "slavery." She offered no link in support of that more limited claim.
All in all, whatever! When she got on the air with Ruhle, Haq jacked her claim up a notch. Moments later, the hapless host was saying this:
"Nayyera Haq, thank you so much for your impassioned contribution tonight."
Haq's contribution may have been "impassioned," but were her statements accurate? We've been able to find no evidence in support of what Haq said.
Sorry, Virginia! There is no sign that the state of Texas is trying to eliminate the world "slavery" from its public school coursework. That notion had a one-day run last summer, and it was quickly shot down.
We're able to find no subsequent report which says that any such change in Lone Star lingo has been decided upon or is being sought. Here's an Associated Press fact-check from late December, shooting down a subsequent variant of this eternally pleasing tribal rumor.
That said, Haq's claim was pleasing script for blue tribe ears, pleasing script from Preferred Storyline. We love to hear stupid shit of that type—Did you hear the one about the white medical students?—and people like Ruhle are on hand each night to provide this tribal service.
Increasingly, Tucker Carlson seems to be out of his mind at the Fox News Channel. Our own tribe is routinely lost in pleasing dreams of our own.
In our view, Ruhle has been a massive disappointment as host of The 11th Hour. Who or what is the impassioned Haq?
As best we're able to say at this point, only The Shadow knows! The gods on Olympus roar with laughter as these clowncars roll on.