In an effort to bolster its obsessive fear-mongering over the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools, Fox News has hosted nearly a dozen “concerned parents” or educators who are actually Republican strategists, right-wing media personalities, or conservative think-tank staffers.
According to a new review by liberal watchdog Media Matters, the network—which has mentioned critical race theory over 1,300 times since March—has downplayed or even outright ignored many of these guests’ GOP activist ties while featuring them as local citizens outraged over their schools’ curriculum.
One prominent Fox guest in the fight over critical race theory has been Ian Prior, who has repeatedly been introduced as merely a “Loudoun County parent” who has “gone from concerned parent, like many of you, to legal activist.” But he’s no stranger to partisan politics.
Prior, who launched a political action committee this year opposing the teaching of “critical race theory,” is also an ex-spokesperson for the Department of Justice and has worked for several high-profile Republican groups. He also made dozens of appearances on Fox prior to this latest culture-war flashpoint.
Another regular ol’ concerned person that Fox featured—this time as “one of the teachers who was at that school board meeting” in Loudoun County that opposed critical race theory—was Lilet Vanetsyan, who is actually affiliated with pro-Trump political group Turning Point USA, runs a Teachers for Trump social-media group, and has worked as a reporter for conservative outlet Right Side Broadcasting Network.
A Fox News spokesperson pushed back on the characterization of Media Matters' report, citing several examples of Fox News anchors introducing the guests as members of activist organizations or other political groups.
Fox News’ over-the-top coverage of critical race theory comes amid a concerted Republican legislative effort banning the arcane academic legal framework which studies the impact of systemic racism.
NBC News recently reported that a well-funded nationwide network has been behind the sudden battle over critical race theory, with GOP activists seeking to broadly apply the term to “the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”