From what I saw, this was yet another vacuous gab session which ignored actual teachers in favor of pundits and politicians. But they did seem to amp up the propaganda even more this time around: both Chris Christie and Michelle Rhee were given a platform to spew their anti-union, anti-tenure, and anti-teacher rhetoric with no challenge whatsoever.
Now, Rhee is a demonstrated failure, both as a teacher and as a superintendent; no one who knows anything about education takes her seriously anymore. And Christie has already shown he is incapable of winning a debate with anyone informed on education where he doesn't control the mic (that link still cracks me up - @stopthefreezeNJ completely embarrassed the guv). Which leaves me to wonder...
Was it a condition of their appearance on Morning Joe today that they would not have to face hard questions from competent adversaries? Is that why there were no representatives from the NJEA on today's show? No education researchers who challenge the NJDOE's misuse of data? No reporters who have questioned Christie's orthodoxy on education? No parent advocates who have documented the abuses occurring under ACTING Commissioner Cerf's watch? No teachers who are critics of Christie's and running for political office?
For that matter: no smart-ass teacher-bloggers?
Did anyone from MSNBC think to ask any of these folks if they would like to come on the show and force Chris Christie or Michelle Rhee to answer some hard questions about their reformy agenda? Or was this simply a piece of political theater, engineered to sell the public on the ridiculous idea that America's problems can be traced back to a handful of "bad" teachers who have tenure?
There's one way to find out: MSNBC needs to come clean about today. Was anyone from the NJEA asked to be on the show? Did the NJEA contact MSNBC and ask to participate? What were they told?
Did any of the producers of Morning Joe even try to get someone on the show who could competently present an opposing point of view?
You can tweet these questions to the following folks:
Joe Scarborough: @JoeNBC
Mika Brzezinski: @morningmika
The question is simple: did you attempt to contact the NJEA or any other critic of Chris Christie and/or Michelle Rhee to appear on this show?
If you didn't... well, we may as well just watch Fox. At least we know where we stand with them.
Look at Mika's expression: awkward...