Critical race theory has blossomed in the United States into a culture war between institutions and those they purport to serve. As usual, legacy media have colluded to delegitimize any objections by either minimizing the dogma, re-defining it, or denying its existence. Americans ought to consider the media’s frenzy to smear writers exposing CRT in 2012 when examining the reality of today.
After Andrew Breitbart indicated at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he had footage to substantiate that President Barack Obama maintained a relationship with a prominent critical race theorist, it led to a news storm.
Breitbart’s fiery speech led to a now all-too-familiar CRT battle between two opposing media forces. Breitbart.com released footage of Obama speaking at a diversity protest in support of a professor named Derrick Bell, whom the outlet’s former editor Ben Shapiro referred to in an explainer column as “the father of Critical Race Theory (CRT).” Heritage Foundation fellow Mike Gonzalez told me in an email he is more like the “godfather” of CRT.
Bell, a Harvard University Law professor at the time, was overwhelmingly defended by left-leaning pundits, as was Obama. If you can picture it, and hopefully you can given how investigative journalist Christopher Rufo and others have been treated by media today, Breitbart’s writers were lambasted as conspiracy theorists.
Joel Pollak, the editor-in-chief at the time and now the current Breitbart editor-at-large, was implicitly called racist on CNN by host Soledad O’Brien, a “smear artist” in The New Yorker, and told in The Nation he was unreasonably rebuking “intellectual leaders in a long tradition of calling on America to address racial unfairness.”
“The Breitbart.com approach is to turn every last human gesture into evidence in an ongoing character trial conducted by the most zealous members of an ideological tribe,” declared The Atlantic. “The people in charge of Breitbart.com belong on a 1990s college campus chanting ‘the personal is the political’ and fighting with their far-left analogs. Instead they’re running a popular conservative Web site, which tells you just how intellectually bankrupt movement conservatism has become.”
Rolling Stone rejected CRT’s radicalism, declaring, “Anyone who thinks power and race don’t figure in how the law is applied or that racism is a thing of the past is not paying attention.”
The narrative construction was equally apparent in Slate, which railed against Breitbart’s claim that CRT means tearing down meritocracy, or the American system. The key was to normalize it — just like today.
“And many of [Bell’s] ideas are not radical today in the sense of being outside the mainstream: Critical race theory is widely taught and studied, not only in law but in sociology, education, and other fields,” wrote Slate’s Will Oremus. “And it is part of the mainstream debates over affirmative action, immigration, and hate-crime laws.”
Pollak told me, “It was like shouting into a dark room in the early years,” noting the difficulty in years past with getting media to adequately focus on CRT. Just as Rufo recently credited himself and others with having “successfully frozen” the left’s CRT into the American psyche, the media in 2012 launched a campaign to instill the idea that Breitbart and the “right-wing radicals” were promoting nonsense.
However — and this is the important part — it turned out to be a sham. Media Matters, the far-left George Soros-backed group, admitted as much last week. While displaying a clear reluctance to acknowledge the obvious, Media Matters claimed while Breitbart’s reporting “failed” at the time, it has led to conservatives “dust[ing] off the same playbook from 2012.”
“Nearly a decade later, Breitbart News’ failed smear of critical race theory is back — and this time it appears to be working,” the group stated.
Clearly, legacy media is paying attention nowadays to CRT. But how they do is the kicker. While it is true MSNBC’s Joy Reid told Rufo last month CRT is “made up” and merely “Christopher Rufo theory,” it’s the same old tune.
The left has sought for a decade to bury conservative media’s findings on CRT. Today’s commentators are engaged in a schizophrenic-like frenzy to protect their institutional allies. It is as if Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, NBC News, and others have turned back the clock to 2012, with the targeting of Breitbart, Pollak, Shapiro, and all the rest mirrored in the young journalists who have taken this stuff on.
The only difference is that CRT is much more mainstream now than it was then. It’s ubiquitous. And the media is now faced with a reckoning. Can it truly hide something right in front of the people’s eyes like it did last time? Where will it end?
Just this week, Reid ventured to say conservative backlash to CRT is equivalent to far-right extremism. It is “an all-out war for power,” she said, as well as the effort is “steeped in…white nationalism.”
Here was Joy Reid promoting the belief that CRT critics are Q-Anon people, saying opposition to CRT and teaching students to hate themselves are part of the "insidious underbelly of the GQP culture war" and "an all-out war for power" that's "steeped in...white nationalism" pic.twitter.com/zQ8TJoRpwy
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) July 7, 2021
“Making it ‘Christopher Rufo theory’ is a way of personalizing it. The old [Saul] Alinsky method of personalizing something. And if they can demonize him enough, maybe this will go away and people will stop talking about it,” Pollak also told me.
What we are witnessing today is the culmination of years of independent and conservative media reporting that validates what many people have come to realize: Corporate media will do whatever it can, however, it can, to hide the truth in order to appease party allies and mold narratives consistent with their political ideology.
CRT’s emergence into the public consciousness — albeit more widespread given its application in schools — is nothing new. But deceitful elites would have you think so. The media has been fortunate to be able to mold what Americans think of their history for decades.
But unlike 2012 — when parents did not overwhelmingly deal with CRT-infested curricula and employees could clock in and out without hearing the word “equity” — it is all too real.
At this point, the more corrupt outlets decry CRT as just another right-wing conspiracy, the more Americans will recognize the truth. Too many leftists who read teleprompters in soulless studios and craft editorialized theses crave nothing but power. Even if it means destroying America with manufactured racial tension to get it.