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New York Times, Politico slammed for 'Republicans pounce' framework on stories about reopening schools

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Critics are slamming the New York Times and Politico over a pair of recent stories saying Republicans are “weaponizing” or “seizing on” the push to move more aggressively on school reopening.

As bipartisan calls grow for schools to reopen across the country, the new administration finds itself caught between parents, including suburban ones who helped propel President Biden to victory, who want their children in classrooms and teachers’ unions fighting to keep their members out of them.

But the two outlets framed their stories in starkly political terms. The New York Times headlined its piece last week, “Republicans Seize on Shuttered Schools as a Political Rallying Cry” and reported Republicans “are hammering at the issue as a way to win back alienated women and suburban voters.” In that same vein, Politico published a piece Tuesday headlined “GOP tries to weaponize pandemic-exhausted parents against Biden.”

“Pro-science pouncing,” conservative CNN commmentator Mary Katharine Ham tweeted about the Politico piece.

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“Students are committing suicide,” one user noted, referring to reports of increased suicides by students over the mental stresses of isolated learning and the length of the pandemic. “Not everything is politics.” 

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GOP House staffer Natalie Johnson called out the Times for its framing as well.

Conservative media watchdogs have long complained about mainstream outlets framing negative stories for Democrats as Republicans “pouncing” or “seizing” on the issue, effectively presenting the issue to readers as simply being about rank partisanship.

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In spite of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that schools are not hotbeds for coronavirus spread with proper precaution, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Sunday there was still “work to do” on that front. Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci also said Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill needed to pass for schools to reopen.

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