Texas GOP lawmaker clashes with CNN anchor on critical race theory, slams network's 'slanted view'

Media top headlines June 9

The New York Times getting panned for its Mara Gay defense, a case of mistaken identity at Vice President Harris’ press conference, and a White House press corps flight being delayed by cicadas round out today’s top media headlines

A Texas state lawmaker had a heated exchange with CNN anchor Victor Blackwell over critical race theory and even went after the liberal network for its slanted coverage. 

Republican Rep. Steve Toth, who authored legislation that would limit CRT from being taught in public schools, appeared on CNN Tuesday and was asked “why is this a priority” for him over other issues that Texas students face. 

“Critical race theory is not about not teaching the egregious things that happened in the past. Critical race theory is about blaming children today in the classroom for things that happened in the [past]. Years ago, we said stereotyping, racial profiling, we said that was the wrong thing, and yet that’s what is being taught in our classroom,” Toth began before holding up a copy of a children’s book called “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness” that was apparently found at a Texas school. “How about we start talking to kids about what brings us together instead of the things that make us different and separate us?… We need to teach the egregious things in the past while we don’t blame this generation for them.”

Blackwell then challenged part of Toth’s bill that reads, “A teacher may not be compelled to discuss a particular current event or widely debated or current controversial issue of public policy or social affairs,” pressing the GOP lawmaker on why teachers shouldn’t talk about current events like the “insurrection” at the Capitol. 

“But that’s the problem,” Toth said. “You guys, the left, you are the left, CNN is the left, you guys have completely-“

“Sir, that is a lazy argument,” Blackwell said. “Just answer the question.”

“It is not a lazy argument,” Toth shot back. “It’s clear … whether it’s what happened on January 6th or whether it’s what happened in Portland, Oregon, CNN does so from a slanted view towards Marxism and-“

“Your bill does not address CNN,” the CNN anchor interrupted. “There’s not a student in Texas who is going to learn anything more about you slamming CNN. Answer the question. Why shouldn’t teachers be compelled to teach about the widely debated issues of the day?”

Toth responded that teachers “can’t be compelled to teach it from a leftist point of view” but rather from a “diverse and contending perspective without showing to deference any one perspective.”

“But that’s not good enough for you,” Toth told Blackwell. “As you question me right now, you’re trying to make it sound like teachers have to do this from one perspective and one perspective only… I don’t care what CNN thinks and I don’t care what you think about my bill! It doesn’t matter to me! You’re not going to do this from a non-biased perspective. You have a bias!”

Blackwell then pressed Toth about how teachers can only address current events while “giving deference to both sides.”

“How do you ‘both sides,’ um, Charlottesville?” Blackwell asked as an example. 

“If you want to talk about Charlottesville, you should talk about people who were there peacefully and you should talk about people that were there hatefully,” Toth said. “There are people that were there that had lost their minds. Some guy drove his car into people. Is it appropriate to say that that’s evil? Yes, it is. It absolutely is. But there are also people at Charlottesville that sought to voice something peacefully.”

“‘Very fine people on both sides’ is what I’m hearing you say,” Blackwell dismissed the Republican, echoing then-President Donald Trump’s 2017 remarks. 

“That is also the way you lied about what Trump said,” Toth told the CNN anchor. 

“That’s a direct quote,” Blackwell said. 

“Yeah, yeah. That’s because you’re trying to make it into something that it’s not,” Toth replied. “There were people who there peacefully and there were racist, bigoted, hateful people. And that’s the truth.”

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