American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten turned an already testy Fox News interview into an extremely heated affair on Monday when she pressed anchor Martha MacCallum about conservative “misinformation” on the last presidential election.
In recent months, there has been a sustained backlash among conservatives over the issue of racial equity in the classroom. GOP legislators across the country have proposed bills to ban the teaching of “critical race theory” in K-12 schools, all while demanding that students be taught that 1776 represents the true founding of America. (Much of this is in response to the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which has sparked criticism among some historians.)
With Fox lately being obsessed with the topic of critical race theory, MacCallum wanted to know whether Weingarten believes the 1619 Project is factual and whether she endorses it being part of American history lesson plans. After Weingarten said it’s a “point in history” that’s worth teaching because it represents the first slave ships arriving in America, MacCallum criticized her for having a “very simplistic take.”
Going back and forth over the merits of the project with Weingarten, MacCallum complained that it “is not factual” as it teaches students that the “country was founded on the basis of wanting to preserve slavery.” The union head, meanwhile, said she’s “not arrived at the same conclusion” about the project’s findings.
At that point, Weingarten decided to change the subject to something a bit more touchy for the Fox News anchor.
“I would hope that Fox would be just as focused on let’s get rid of the misinformation about what happened in this election. This election was free and fair,” Weingarten flatly stated, prompting an incensed MacCallum to interject.
“Oh, come on, Randi,” she exclaimed. “This is not the topic we’re here to talk about! I’m not going to talk about that. We’ve talked about that before… That’s a dodge, OK?!”
MacCallum then tried to swing the discussion back to critical race theory in the classroom, only for Weingarten to eventually return to the issue of the past election—which former President Donald Trump and his allies have falsely claimed was “stolen” due to widespread voter fraud.
“If you’re talking about misinformation now, Martha, and I hope you are, I really would hope that Fox would really look at what happened in this election and how we can—because every social studies teacher is wrestling with this—to discern fact from fiction. We have to do that,” Weingarten said as MacCallum loudly sighed.
“Yeah, we have a president, President Biden, was elected in 2020. I think that all of that is quite clear,” MacCallum replied. “So I’m not sure why you are so concerned with that part, with that particular moment in history. Every election is significant. Nobody is hiding anything under any rocks here.”
Even though MacCallum insists it’s “quite clear” that Biden is the president, and she doesn’t know why anyone would be “concerned with that part,” recent polls still show as many as 70 percent of Republicans believe Biden didn’t legitimately win. In fact, House Republicans are currently set to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from leadership solely because she has pushed back on the “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from Trump.
Fox News, of course, has played a big part in helping sow those seeds of doubt among conservatives, which is largely why they are currently facing billion-dollar defamation lawsuits from voting software firms Dominion and Smartmatic. (Fox News and several Fox personalities have since filed motions to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit.)
Finally, Weingarten wasn’t the only person Monday to use her appearance on a conservative news channel to turn the tables and make the segment about right-wing election lies. Former Obama aide David Litt trolled a Newsmax anchor about the network recently retracting a slew of baseless claims to settle a lawsuit with a Dominion employee.