scolastic backs down, embraces media literacy

I was going to go off on a big tear against Scholastic for the 9/11 discussion guides they’d produced to accompany the film we’ve been talking about these past few days, but it looks as though they’ve agreed, after a great deal of pressure, to call them back and destroy them. I would link to the Scholastic site so that you could see the items in questions, but it looks like they’ve done a pretty through scrubbing away any sign of them. (None of the PDFs that were there earlier are still there.) So, in their absence, I’ll give you this partial rundown from Media Matters:

…The “Path to 9/11” resource sheets, and study guides provided to teachers… omit critical information regarding the Bush administration’s pre-Iraq war weapons of mass destruction claims; falsely suggest a tie between Iraq and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; give upbeat accounts of reportedly dire conditions on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan; suggest that military responses to Osama bin Laden by the Clinton administration could have “hinder[ed] the U.S. stance on the war on terror”; and ask students to debate whether the media “hinder our national security.”

According to the TPM Muckraker, the pieces aren’t just being recalled – they’re being replaced with “ritical thinking and media literacy.” How cool is that?

According to the TPM report, Scholastic will be stressing the following in the replacement materials:

1. Media Literacy – what is a docudrama; how does it differ from a documentary; what are the differences between factual reporting and a dramatization?

2. Background to 9/11 – what are some of the causes of unrest in the Middle East and other parts of the world that give rise to attacks on the U.S. and other countries?

3. Geography and Culture — there is a long history of conflict in the Middle East. How well do students understand each of the countries involved and what influences their behavior?

So, it looks like we might have won that battle, but the fight isn’t over yet. The film, the last I checked, was still scheduled to air on ABC this weekend… I wonder if maybe it’s time to start asking that people call Disney demanding their money back for upcoming vacations to the Magic Kingdom.

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5 Comments

  1. Kate
    Posted September 8, 2006 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    This isn’t a docudrama! This is Bush propaganda, pure and simple.

    Scholastic may have finally seen the light, but ABC execs need to be hung out to dry if this thing airs. Actually, if they have no better judgment than to let this project go ahead, as they have, someone should take a good hard look as whether or not they are the right people for the jobs they’re in.

  2. Ted Glass
    Posted September 8, 2006 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Right wing talk radio is going crazy over this. The theme of the day seems to be that “Clinton wants to rewrite history.” It’s fucking amazing.

    It reminds me of that time when everyone was absolutely convinced that John Kerry, a decorated veteran wounded in battle, was a coward and that Bush, who sat out the Vietnam War, was the one with balls.

  3. trusty getto
    Posted September 8, 2006 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    If you’re interested, here’s the link to the new, rewritten guide for students:

    http://content.scholastic.com/browse/unitplan.jsp?id=175

    And here’s the letter from the Scholastic’s CEO on their website:

    http://www.scholastic.com/medialiteracy/

  4. mark
    Posted September 9, 2006 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the links, Trusty… Hopefully, if I can stay awake after paying all of our bills tonight, I’ll get another post up on the subject of this film. Disney still hasn’t agreed to pull it and the pressure is growing.

  5. Dave
    Posted September 12, 2006 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    “According to the TPM report…”

    Is that anything like a TPS report?

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