FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — Legacy media outlets continue to push misleading and blatantly false information regarding library books in Florida public schools.
On Tuesday, several national media outlets pounced on a story from the Miami Herald about a K-8 school in Miami-Dade county that age-restricted a poem read at President Biden’s inauguration. Many of the outlets claimed that the book had been banned.
Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb was removed from elementary school libraries, but remains available to middle school students.
More outlets spread the false version...— AG (@AGHamilton29) May 24, 2023
CNN was pretty much the only major outlet that had an accurate headline and got the facts right.
And then you wonder why no one trusts the press?
They actively and consistently spread misinformation. pic.twitter.com/NmWrAIKQAW
Gorman posted her disapproval of the new restrictions in a Facebook post, claiming “book bans like these are on the rise.” The poet encouraged her followers to donate to a fundraiser in support of a lawsuit from Penguin Random House and PEN America. The groups claim Escambia County has violated the Constitution by removing LGBTQ books from the elementary school libraries.
THE BOOK BAN HOAX
The media has repeatedly conflated “bans” with age-restrictions placed on library books that are paid for by taxpayer dollars. Pundits have even alleged that the state doesn’t want students to learn African American history.
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.
On March 8, Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference exposing pornographic books found in Florida school libraries and debunked inaccurate media coverage on the subject.
“There is a concerted effort to bring some of this sexualization into the classroom, particularly in some of these young grades,” DeSantis said. “How is that an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars?”
The Herald’s report on Tuesday stated that the DeSantis administration calls “book removal efforts are a ‘hoax.’” In reality, the governor’s office refers to the “book ban hoax,” because the state has not sought to ban any books.
VIRAL VIDEO GETS DEBUNKED… AGAIN
The media’s reports of book banning have given fuel to out-of-context videos that perpetuate the narrative on social media.
While the press shared the Herald’s reporting, a viral video showing hundreds of books being removed from a school library in Broward County racked up millions of views on Twitter and TikTok.
This video is not accurate and is simply a false representation. The State (@EducationFL) has not banned any books @browardschools. The school shown in the video was updating/refreshing its book inventory.— John J Sullivan (@Johnjsully) May 22, 2023
In the video, a teacher shows large bins containing a wide variety of books, including a history book about American frontier explorers Lewis and Clark and an encyclopedia of mammals.
The Left-wing activist who shared the video claimed that “the state has come in and removed hundreds of thousands of books from their school library deeming the books ‘inappropriate.’”
As it turns out, these books were from the 1990’s and were removed as part of a standard process to update older materials.
“They’re old books, so this is a process of ‘weeding’ we call it, which is really updating and refreshing the books to make sure they’re current, up to state statute, so it’s just a process that particular school was going through and that’s why there was all those books in bins,” district spokesperson John Sullivan told NBC 6. “Those books will be replaced in the library.”
In January, a video from a substitute teacher in Duval County Schools showing dozens of empty bookshelves racked up over 13 million views. The teacher suggested that the state ordered the books to be removed, but the district later revealed that the video was selectively edited to hide other shelves in the library that were full.
The viral video you are sharing shows less than half the story. Yes, those shelves were empty. But they were in a room full of books. See the video below for the full story. pic.twitter.com/fy50zNS7Ab— DCPS (@DuvalSchools) February 17, 2023