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Media running wild with Kamala Harris’ 'lie' on Florida's Black history education, curriculum co-author says – Fox News

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Dr. William Allen, co-author of Florida’s Black history curriculum, spoke with Fox News Digital about the "lie" being peddled by Vice President Kamala Harris and the media.
The legacy media has run wild with a cherry-picked talking point from Vice President Kamala Harris, who kicked off a cycle of misinformation about Florida’s Black history curriculum. 
Dr. William Allen, a descendent of slavery who helped author the curriculum, has said Harris’ “lie” was quickly parroted by an agenda-driven media. 
“When you go through all the media, you see two lines of thought. One line presents the text and gives a fairly analytical appraisal of the situation while reporting the facts that there are protests. The other line of thought, and that’s largely present in the commentariat, ignores the text, ignores the grammar and pursues an agenda,” Allen told Fox News Digital. 
“They’re discussing this not from the perspective of what’s in the curriculum standards, but from the perspective of what they want to impose upon the national narrative,” Allen continued. “No one should be surprised by that. That’s characteristic of our politics in this era.”
‘THE VIEW’ HOST BLOWS UP OVER FLORIDA SLAVERY CURRICULUM, HAS TO BE CENSORED ON AIR: ‘THAT’S BULLS—!’
Dr. William Allen responded to Vice President Harris’ criticism in an interview with Fox News Digital. 
Harris told a Jacksonville crowd last week that Florida’s new state-wide Black history curriculum replaces “history with lies,” setting the tone for liberal pundits and reporters to scold Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Harris claimed middle-school students in Florida will be “told that enslaved people benefited from slavery.”
In reality, the thorough curriculum details harsh conditions endured and also explains that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit” both while enslaved and after once they became free. 
“The reason I call the vice president’s statements categorically false is because it is obvious to anyone of basic literacy that the mere grammar of the sentence in the curriculum standards to which she referred refutes her charge,” Allen said.
“When grammar reveals the truth, you don’t need rhetoric to reveal the truth. You don’t need to oppose rhetoric to rhetoric, misinformation or true information to disinformation or whatever,” he said. “You need simply to invite people to reflect, which is what we’re doing with schoolchildren.”
He said “misinformation” can be easily dealt with by returning to the basics and asking people to read the curriculum before trashing it. Allen believes the media rushed to take Harris’ comments as accurate, without bothering to fact-check, because they share a common agenda.  
“I wish I could answer for the motives of the media or for the vice president. I’m not able to do that. But I can tell you this contextually — it is obviously part of a larger effort driven by an agenda,” Allen said. 
Allen is the former chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a key member of Florida’s volunteer African American History Standards Workgroup, which wrote the curriculum. The group worked publicly for a little over two months with the goal of “creating an independent curriculum for African-American history for the first time,” and the state added the finishing touches. 
CNN PANELIST CALLS OUT VP HARRIS OVER ‘COMPLETELY MADE UP’ FLORIDA SLAVERY CURRICULUM CLAIM
Vice President Kamala Harris rails against Florida’s new Black history curriculum during a speech in Jacksonville, Florida on July 21, 2023. (Fox News)
Allen feels Harris didn’t simply travel to the Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville, where she amplified criticism of the new curriculum standards, because she “woke up with a spirit of outrage” last week.
“She went there because it had been a planned event. She was asked to come in order to give it a high profile, and it was probably coordinated by the teachers’ union,” Allen said. 
“I say that this took place in this manner because the African-American History Workgroup in Florida worked from February to the end of April in open public sessions, inviting all comers who could not only listen, but can contribute, and the teachers’ union was absent throughout that whole process,” Allen continued. “It remained silent until the process was sealed and delivered. And then like snakes who lay in the grass, they emerged to cast their sniper fire.”
Allen said it boils down to impose a “fabric of lies” on the country that America “was born in slavery, grew in slavery and remains enslaved” to this day. 
“That’s the story that people want to tell from a certain perspective. And anything which challenges that, and which pulls out American principles, that one, abolished slavery and two, recognizes accomplishment is incompatible with that narrative. So, I think that’s what’s driving the theory behind this issue,” he said. 
The media has furiously echoed Harris’ talking point since the curriculum was approved by Florida’s Education Department. 
FLORIDA BLACK HISTORY ACADEMIC SHREDS HARRIS’ ‘CATEGORICALLY FALSE’ CLAIMS IN UNAIRED ABC NEWS INTERVIEW
Dr. William Allen’ comments criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris were omitted from ABC News’ report on Saturday’s “World News Tonight.” (ABC)
“The View” co-host Ana Navarro called the curriculum “bulls—,” and insisted it was an attempt to “whitewash” slavery. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg said DeSantis is a “disgrace,” while the Disney-owned ABC News didn’t even bother to air comments Allen made about Harris’ falsehoods during a lengthy interview about the ordeal. 
Only a small portion of Allen’s comments were featured on Saturday’s broadcast of “World News Tonight”, when he defended the controversial line.
“It is the case that Africans proved resourceful, resilient and adaptive, and were able to develop skills and aptitudes which served to their benefit both while enslaved and after enslavement,” Allen said on ABC News.
DeSantis’ press secretary Jeremy Redfern shared several more minutes from Allen’s interview with ABC News in a series of tweets, highlighting Allen’s response to Harris.
Allen learned his lesson and told NPR he would only speak to it if the interview were live as a result, but it hasn’t stopped other outlets from botching the facts. Many have relied on analysis from Republican presidential candidate and former CIA spy Will Hurd, who has gotten an uptick in attention for bashing the curriculum. 
“DeSantis should make it clear that he doesn’t think that slavery was a jobs program,” Hurd said on Bloomberg. 
“CBS Mornings” put a spotlight on the “growing controversy over Florida’s new education standards that call for middle schoolers to be taught that some enslaved people actually benefited from slavery.”
Perhaps the most egregious was MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who told viewers that new rules “order teachers in Florida to say, effectively, that slavery wasn’t that bad.” 
“It had some upsides, at least, according to Florida’s new official history instructions for teachers. Enslaved people were lucky enough to learn skills and trades while being enslaved and sold, tortured, and raped with impunity,” Maddow continued. “These new history regulations compel teachers to point out the upside of slavery. It’s just astonishing.” 
MSNBC’s Joy Reid told viewers that Florida kids will learn Black people “benefited from slavery by getting cool new job skills.” An MSNBC guest also causally suggested DeSantis gave “guidance that slavery had some benefits to slaves” without being corrected by host Jen Psaki. 
The media is torching Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over a false narrative that his state is educating children that there were “benefits” to slavery.  (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
CNN senior political analyst Nia-Malika Henderson said it’s “jarring to hear a presidential candidate in 2023 make a similar argument that slave owners made… slave masters made about slavery, this argument that somehow it was good for African Americans.” 
ABC News correspondent Mary Bruce went even further by suggesting the teaching of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black child who was lynched in 1955, could be on the chopping block in Florida by tying the backlash in the Sunshine State to President Biden’s recent announcement of a national monument in honor of Till. 
“Now the President’s announcement- the president, who is roughly the same age that Till would have been, it comes as we are seeing this controversial and very polarizing debate in this country over the teaching of Black history, that move by the Florida Board of Education to teach that some slaves may have benefited from the skills they develop is sparking a firestorm,” Bruce said on Tuesday’s “Good Morning America,” adding, “this White House says that monuments like this to Till will help to teach the complete story of our nation’s history.”
Allen said Americans need to really focus if they want to learn the truth about the curriculum as agenda-driven media outlets continue to spread Harris’ false statements, but the accurate information is out there ready to be consumed.  
“The most important thing is to read… not only were the sessions of the workgroup open and public, but they’re also recorded and on record and transcribed, so everyone has access to them,” Allen said. 
“Anyone could read them and make the judgment for themselves, and most people have the ability to arrive at a solid judgment. I don’t insist that every single soul has that ability, but most people do. I’m quite confident,” he continued. “If you listen to the vice president and also read, you can’t help but recognize that what the vice president says is not true.”
DESANTIS LETS LOOSE ON FLORIDA ‘OBSESSED’ KAMALA HARRIS SPEECH RIPPING STATE’S BLACK HISTORY STANDARD
As for Harris, Allen is finished giving her the benefit of doubt. 
“You can say the first time she said it, she probably hadn’t read it and it was false. The second time she repeated the falsehood, it was no longer false. It was a lie. And it’s important for people to make that observation,” Allen said. 
As pundits on ABC, CNN, MSNBC and other outlets trash the curriculum, Allen is happy people are talking about it at all. 
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“I consider it a good thing that this has blown up in the way it has to. What it underscores is that this is not a Florida question, this is a national question. And without doubt, if the people who were speaking before they read, were to read before they spoke, they would learn a great deal,” Allen said. “They would discover that everything is talked about in this history, not just one portion of it. The horrors are not glossed over. The accomplishments are not ignored.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Bailee Hill and Alexander hall contributed to this report. 
Brian Flood is a media editor/reporter for FOX News Digital. Story tips can be sent to brian.flood@fox.com and on Twitter: @briansflood. 
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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2023 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

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