The New York Times is facing backlash for being unable to put two and two together and realizing that lockdowns and school closures had a devastating effect on children’s mental health.
In a Twitter post published Tuesday, the Times wrote, “Teenagers in the U.S. are experiencing a mental health crisis. Why has the issue become so widespread, and why have many people been caught off guard? Listen to today’s episode of The Daily.”
Teenagers in the U.S. are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Why has the issue become so widespread, and why have many people been caught off guard? Listen to today’s episode of The Daily.https://t.co/SSyI8Kueo8
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 30, 2022
“The Daily” is the paper’s daily podcast.
In Tuesday’s edition of the podcast, host Michael Barbaro noted that the mental health crisis among kids and teenagers became “a lot more visible to people” during the COVID pandemic.
This was a correct observation. However, Barbaro stopped short of putting two and two together and recognized that this “visible” mental health crisis erupted as a result of the pandemic itself.
Or, rather, the result of the government’s response to the pandemic, i.e., heavy-handed regulations shutting down schools, shutting down recreational facilities, even shutting down playgrounds.
Dovetailing back to the Times’ tweet, critics took issue with the claim that people have been “caught off guard” by the mental health crisis among children.
“Parents, by June of 2020, were already sounding the alarms about the damage being done to the mental, emotional, social, and academic health of their growing children,” the Virginia-based Fairfax County Parents Association said in a statement to Fox News.
“Repeatedly, parent groups like ours reached out to school board members and school system administrators saying that the negative impacts of prolonged school closures would dramatically outweigh any impact COVID could have,” the group added.
“School systems like ours made the decision to sacrifice the kids to the panic of adults, when up until that moment society had generally agreed that when a crisis occurs it is the responsibility of the adults in society to put the best interests of children first.”
The group also expressed this sentiment on Twitter:
Parents weren’t caught off guard; we have been warning about school closures causing irreparable harm since June 2020. Finally @nytimes is catching up; they can help educate the leaders of school systems who are still in denial that learning loss and development delays are real. https://t.co/jHrUemHrPw
— Fairfax County Parents Association (@FFXParentsAssoc) August 30, 2022
The group wasn’t alone in lashing out at the Times.
I was told by the head of the teachers union, by the individual who WROTE CDC policy that kept schools closed, that kids would be fine. https://t.co/FDLj4GxtUi
— Ivy League Drop Out (@ivydropout2002) August 30, 2022
Really @nytimes, many people were “caught off guard”?? Maybe had your uninquisitive education reporters actually spoken with parents that wanted to keep schools open instead of gaslighting them & spotlighting @rweingarten during the last 2 years we would have been ahead of this.
— Jean (@queens_parents) August 30, 2022
YOU NY Times were caught off guard. WE parents saw this tidal wave coming and we’re ignored for 2.5 years and called names . Take some responsibility.
— mirnyc1 (@mirnyc11) August 30, 2022
Gosh, what a mystery! I wonder if it has something to do with the unscientific, ineffective lockdowns some of us have been warning about for the past 2+ years?
— Canadian Flanders 🍁 (@CanadaFlanders) August 30, 2022
Oh good grief we were warning about this since 2020. Does the NYT know any actual parents?
— LCPS Can Do Better (@LCPSDoBetter) August 30, 2022
Everyone saw this coming.
— 🌻Lisa Lu🌻 (@lisalunu) August 30, 2022
Notice the repeated mention of Randi Weingarten, the disgraced head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
Last year the Times ran a widely panned column praising Weingarten as a champion of school openings, despite her having in fact been one of the loudest and most influential proponents of keeping schools closed in perpetuity.
“Weingarten and her [allies] used their political muscle to exercise an inordinate amount of say over local school-district decisions and supplement the school-closure push by local unions,” the New York Post notes.
“Even as the august American Academy of Pediatrics encouraged schools to reopen for classes in fall 2020, Weingarten opposed then-US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ vow to reopen schools. And when the union-friendly Biden administration took over, the AFT was better able to exert influence.”
Yet to hear the Times tell it, she was Miss “Reopen The Schools.” It’s as if the Times purposefully chose to rewrite history. This is even more aggravating to groups like the Fairfax County Parents Association when coupled with the Times’ newfound realization that kids have suffered.
“We are still slack-jawed at the absolute abdication of the bulk of journalists and the media, who for over a year, also ignored every outreach from parent groups begging for someone to talk about what was happening before our eyes to our kids and the kids in our community. We repeatedly pleaded with media outlets to talk about the importance of the mental and emotional health of kids as they were repeatedly shoved to the side in favor of whatever the teachers unions wanted that day,” the group told Fox News.
“Parents learned quickly that the media no longer researches and investigates stories to expose what is happening–they instead pick and choose to cover only things that fit their pre-established and preferred narrative. So, without question, the idea that any entity would talk about the mental and emotional health problems of our nation’s children while ignoring the crime perpetuated against those children for so long, is a sad joke. We are watching with great interest as institutions and media outlets rush to pretend they shared these concerns all along.”
The question now becomes whether the media will ever get real and stop pretending. Fox News contributor Karol Markowicz believes the answer is a resounding no.
Yes what could it be. https://t.co/jnFp9Iiejs
— Karol Markowicz (@karol) August 30, 2022
“The NY Times is never going to face the damage they helped perpetuate by keeping schools closed. They’ll just keep writing the same stories about the great mystery of why kids and teens are so damaged right now. I hope they get to the bottom of it by the next pandemic,” she told Fox News.
“You can only be caught off-guard if you haven’t been paying attention. There are any number of reasons why kids aren’t doing well, and a great many of them are related to the amount of time they spend on screens,” Bethany Mandel, a famous homeschooling mother of five, added.
“After all of COVID, when we told them all of their social interactions had to take place virtually, there is no way we can feign surprise at the effects of how we forced them to weather the pandemic.”
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