Friday, March 25, 2011

NY Post, Fox News, and Gotham Schools

It's kind of heartbreaking what's happened to journalism in these parts. You have to wade through oceans of crap to get anywhere, and even then you can't be too sure what you're looking at. But in America today, we get very selective news. Is there war in Afghanistan and Iraq? I mean, I don't see it on TV, so how can it really be happening?

Education news was looking up for a while. I mean, sure, the Post prints the same one-sided crap all the time, there's a definite slant at the Daily News editorial page, but at least there are all these blogs, where real people give it to you firsthand. Gotham Schools was a really exciting prospect. For the busy blogger, you could find all the headlines every morning rather than combing the web every day. Sure, every piece of crap one-paragraph "story" from the Post got a link, and some things seemed to escape them, but there it was.

Yet their community section has progressively become less challenging. It's dominated by one of the very worst writers I've had the misfortune to come across, who's managed to acquire remarkably little insight about our profession. Of course, when we found this writer was a member of E4E, featured on a Michelle Rhee video, and angling for a "reformer" gig (none of which Gotham Schools saw fit to include on his bio), there was suddenly a reason Gotham may have seen fit to feature him. Never mind that none of the programs this writer embraced had any track record, or any realistic possibility of helping education. Never mind that his group is funded by "reform" billionaires--this baseless point of view was something Gotham Schools felt needed further exposure. After all, Bill Gates can always use a helping hand, what with so few outlets available to him--Oprah, the so-called "Education Nation," and the entire corporate media can only get you so far.

Gotham crossed a line when it chose to spit in the face of a bunch of teachers who supported union. A movement, led by teacher-bloggers, called Edu-Solidarity, offered dozens of posts last Tuesday about why union was important to them. Gotham Schools thought it would be a good idea to put up a disingenuous scab post the following day.

Gotham Schools is free to publish what it sees fit. Like Murdoch ventures, it need not trouble itself with whether or not what it publishes is accurate, valid, or based in anything resembling objective reality.

But that big old "screw you" to bloggers like Miss Eyre, Jose Vilson, and Stephen Lazar is disgraceful, an act of outright depravity. And again, Gotham Schools may do what it wishes. It can even pretend to be objective when doing so. But I'm not buying.

Are you?
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