MEDIA WATCH: Corporate totalitarian propaganda in full throat... Education Week establishes new standard for corporate propaganda as with a 46-paragraph lead article without quoting one CTU officer

When you are subsidized by some of the richest corporations in the history of Earth to provide disinformation and misinformation to the general public, it takes more effort than usual to push corporate school reform propaganda as "news" when thousands of people are marching through America's third largest city against your agenda every day for a full seven days and the leaders of those thousands of people are available to any reporter who makes the effort to talk to them.

But during the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, Education Week managed to ignore the reality and continue the fantasy world of corporate school reform that has bankrolled its pretentious endeavors for more than a quarter century.

During the 25 or so years since America's corporate charities birthed it was a propaganda tool pretentiously calling itself "American Education's Newspaper of Record", the Washington, D.C. based Education Week has firmly established itself as the voice of corporate school reform (and a cheap one at that; Substance is still waiting for a promised payment from Ed Week for a photograph of "Hands around Senn" it used six years ago!). Every week Ed Week ignores teachers, constantly recycling the same propaganda talking points from the traditional teacher bashers and usually establishing itself as the place where the Debutantes' Ball for the latest astroturf arrivistes parade.

With thousands of teachers, parents, students and community leaders demonstrating in downtown Chicago and at various sites across the city every day during the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, "American Education's Newspaper of Record" had to go out of its way to find corporate hacks to quote against the strike — but "Education Week" managed to do so. In its first major story about the strike, which ran to more than 40 paragraphs, Ed Week began by quoting an "expert" from San Francisco, continued through a quotation from the ever corporate University of Chicago (Timothy Knowles for the current iteration of those apologetics) and not only managed to miss the officers of the Chicago Teachers Union but the thousands in the streets. Above, teachers and others marching on the first day of the strike, September 10, 2012, in downtown Chicago. Substance photo by Kati Gilson.But when the Chicago Teachers Union actually broke all the molds of the past 30 or 40 years and directly challenged every hypocritical rant about the latest iteration of "school reform," Ed Week met the challenge in its typical way.

Once the strike was over, Ed Week began repeating the CPS lie that the "deficit" facing the school district was "one billion dollars" and that schools would have to be close in order to face the tough choices ahead. The post-strike lead story (available on the Ed Week website, in part, by September 21, 2012), by propagandist Stephen Sawchuk, began with the lede:

"Chicago teachers voted this week to suspend a 7-day-old strike, sending some 350,000 students back to the classroom and paving the way for the teaching force to vote on a tentative contract. But for many in the Windy City, the contract has raised another potentially tall hurdle: how the cash-strapped district will manage to pay for it. District officials estimate the agreement forged with the Chicago Teachers Union will cost $295 million over four years—cheaper than the two previous city teachers’ contracts, but nevertheless costly in a school district that estimates it will carry a $1 billion..."

As in its previous articles on the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, Ed Week couldn't find teachers or union leaders to quote contradicting the lies being promulgated by the ruling class.

Earlier in September, Ed Week managed to report on the largest teacher strike of the 21st Century in the USA without quoting one of the people who was leading the strike, ignoring most of the people who were on the picket and protest lines during the strike, and generally enshrining the conventional corporate wisdom as the official narrative of the strike despite all the facts to the contrary. If ever the USA wanted a tour-de-force in corporate Stalinist propaganda, the September 19, 2012 edition of Ed Week was it.


January 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

By: Stephen Sawchuk


The Education Week article you refer to here quoted extensively from CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. Every article on the strike has included quotes from either CTU officials or members.

Stephen Sawchuk

January 19, 2013 at 1:18 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Ed Week 'facts' as corporate propaganda

It's nice to hear from one of those who is repeating, as "news", the Chicago "deficit" claims, even if months after that initial report. We didn't hear from them during the strike, of course, even though our reporters were on the ground, clearly identifying ourselves, throughout the entire reality.

Contrary to the "correction" suggested by one of the main national reporters who somehow covered the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, usually from afar, most of the coverage in Ed Week was biased towards the CPS and City Hall party lines in Chicago. One among many examples is the statement, unsourced because it is simply another piece of City Hall bias, that CPS is "cash strapped." And as we note, that quote is from an article bylined by the reporter who now suggests that Substance should publish a correction.

I would be glad to do a debate with Ed Week on that topic, since the biases of that publication are serious to all of us, and since "American education's newspaper of record" has long been a propaganda sheet for corporate school reform. Here is as good a place to begin, but finally that debate will take place in other forums as well. Nearly two decades, Ed Week's reporters have been propagandists for corporate school reform -- and against the unions who try to become independent of the corporate "school reform" party line.

As Substance and, now, CTU researchers have documented for more than a decade, Chicago Public Schools routinely creates a phony "deficit", sometimes of enormous fictional amounts, and then circulates that talking point through either a beholden or gullible press corps. The quote from that reporter's article is one example of how that fiction slowly emerges into the general public debate as "fact." It's propaganda, from the slippery phrase "cash strapped" to the zinger, "billion dollars..." Like much that the plutocracy subsidizes, the facts reported in Ed Week are part of the problem. Until the reporters bother to try and report beneath the talking points of the plutocrats' apologists, that pollution of the main stream will continue.

June 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

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