TAMPA, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis blasted media-driven narratives that the state is banning benign books by correcting inaccurate reports and exposing books in Florida school libraries that contain pornography.
The governor’s press conference began by playing a video compilation of pornographic books found in various school districts and inaccurate news reports related to the issue of inappropriate books in schools. Prior to the start of the video, attendees were asked to escort children out of the room and disclaimers warning of adult content were issued.
“There is a concerted effort to bring some of this sexualization into the classroom, particularly in some of these young grades,” DeSantis said after the video concluded. “How is that an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars?”
“Parents, when they’re sending their kids to school, they should not have to worry about this garbage being in the schools,” he added.
The press conference represents the DeSantis administration’s most concentrated attempt to correct often misleading and occasionally false media-driven narratives regarding education in Florida.
Nearly one year ago, the governor signed HB 1467 to provide parents with curriculum transparency in public schools. Dozens of legacy media outlets have latched on to the legislation – as well as the Stop W.O.K.E. Act – to make the laws appear extreme and unreasonable.
FABRICATIONS BY NATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS
In February, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell fabricated a quote from the governor claiming he said “slavery and the aftermath of slavery should not be taught to Florida schoolchildren.” One week later, CBS’ Michelle Miller declared that the state had removed a book for “having a black character” – another false statement issued by a member of the press. In late January, The Washington Post issued a correction after conflating the new law with existing state statutes related to giving children pornography.
FLORIDA MEDIA PILE ON
In addition to disinformation from the national media, TV stations in Jacksonville inaccurately reported that teachers could receive third-degree felonies for giving unapproved books to students. They also suggested the state wanted to ban biographies of Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente.
“That’s a false narrative in service to using our schools for indoctrination rather than education. And we’ve drawn a very firm line in the sand in Florida about that,” the governor added. “Some of the stuff you saw [in the video] is pornographic. Why would we have that in a media center with 10-year-old students? It’s just wrong.”
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. suggested that the media is inflating concerns of excessive book censorship as a Trojan horse to smear DeSantis.
“The Florida Department of Education does not ban any books. That’s a lie, it’s never been true,” Diaz Jr. said at the press conference. “All they’re doing is trying to use this to create a lie and attack our governor.”