“The Washington Post’s Laura Meckler spent three weeks preparing a hit piece against me,” Ruffo said Sunday on Twitter, adding that the newspaper used five “flat-out lies” to smear him. “This is how the media lies.”
The WaPo article, which was published on Saturday, placed Rufo at the center of a Republican push to attack CRT and use it as a political weapon to portray Democrat policies as extreme, scary and anti-American. Meckler attempted to show that Rufo has misled the public about the nature of CRT and has made claims about training materials that go further than the documents that he cites.
But Rufo countered that the article was intentionally misleading and he demanded that the newspaper’s editors issue an immediate correction and retract all false statements. “Democracy dies when the media lies,” he said, alluding to WaPo’s slogan of “Democracy dies in darkness.”
The documentarian, who has exposed teaching of CRT in schools, government agencies and corporations, said the Post first lied by presenting the theory as a “benign academic concept” that merely claims racism in America is systemic. The description obscures the extreme concepts of CRT, he said, such as “all white people are racist,” “abolish the white race” and “anti-capitalism.”
Secondly, Rufo said, the article gave a false account of his role in helping to inspire then-President Donald Trump’s executive order banning teaching of CRT in federal agencies. For instance, he said he visited the White House not right after an appearance on Fox News, as the Post implied, but nearly two months later.
Meckler also misquoted him to make it appear that he said it was “so obvious” that he wanted to conflate unrelated leftist ideas as being part of a CRT brand in the minds of voters. In fact, he said that during an interview with the reporter, he directly refuted that interpretation. He called on the Post to release a recording of the interview to support or disprove the reporter’s claim.
However, Rufo didn’t deny the social media post that the Post was referencing when the reporter brought up use of CRT as a bogeyman catch-all. He said in March that “we have successfully frozen their brand” and that “we will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.” He added that “the goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think “critical race theory.”
Rufo also refuted the Post’s claims about two examples of CRT training that he was accused of overstating. For instance, the newspaper said that contrary to the activist’s statements, a training program at the US Treasury Department didn’t tell employees that “all white people are racist.” But Rufo cited such statements in the training materials as “virtually all white people, regardless of how woke they are, contribute to racism,” and “whiteness” includes “white privilege and white supremacy,” saying that in his view, the instruction was tantamount to saying that.
Rufo has become a popular target for mainstream-media criticism in recent weeks. For instance, the New Yorker said he “invented the conflict over critical race theory.”
With some Republican-led states banning teaching of CRT in schools and parents speaking out against the concept in school board meetings across the country, Democrats have recognized that the controversy is gaining political retraction. For instance, a video of radio host Ty Smith, who is black, arguing against CRT at an Illinois school board meeting earlier this month garnered millions of views on social media. Republican lawmakers, including Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) and Representative Madison Cawthorn (North Carolina), called Smith’s rant “powerful.”
Mainstream media outlets have responded to the rising momentum of the anti-CRT movement by defending the concept and, as in Rufo’s case, attacking the messenger. For example, NBC reporter Brandy Zadrozny complained last week on MSNBC that parents who oppose CRT are using “onerous” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to demand information on curriculums, then misrepresent the information they’re given.
“So what we’ll see, what we saw in Maine is asking for all these records requests of, you know, how much money did you spend on anything involving race?” Zadrozny said. “And then that is used to sort of frame the school board as paying for CRT, which again is just not the case.”
She offered no explanation as to why Democrats are troubled by banning of a curriculum that they claim isn’t being taught.
MSNBC host Joy Reid said Rufo has misrepresented CRT, using it as a brand name to label everything that makes conservatives “uncomfortable.” After Rufo responded last week by challenging her to a CRT debate, Reid accused him on Saturday of making “white man demands.”
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