The newest attack on “critical race theory” echoes the Great Replacement conspiracy theory

Fox publishes former Trump official’s pamphlet accusing the left of trying to “replace you,” along with proposal to forbid teachers from acknowledging systemic racism


By Eric Kleefeld | Media Matters / June 10, 2021



Fox News has been openly pushing an effort geared toward the midterm elections to elevate the specter of “critical race theory” — a broad academic discipline that seeks to explore how the history of racism in America still has an effect


on modern life and society — and to present it as a national threat.

Now the network has gone one step further and has actually published materials that seek to recruit people for local school board campaigns.

In an article on Wednesday, headlined “Conservative think tank creates 'A to Z guide’ for stopping critical race theory in schools,” the Fox website promoted the political organization Citizens for Renewing America, headed up by Russ Vought, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Trump administration. The story contains a byline of Fox News reporter Matt Leach, part of the network’s purported “straight news” division. Its opening paragraphs, however, were more a direct call to action rather than straight news coverage.

Parents across the country are standing up and speaking out against critical race theory in schools. From Loudoun County, Virginia, to Carmel, New York, school board meetings have become must-see TV. But what happens when the cameras turn off? How can parents turn their outrage into meaningful change? “We are asking people to go into the arena in a situation where they are going to be called a racist," said Russ Vought, president of the Center for Renewing America and former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Trump. “They’re not, they’

ve got the moral high ground, but no one wants to be called that."

The article carried embedded copies of two different PDF files from Vought’s organization, one a 33-page political guide that lays out both grievances against the supposed teaching of critical race theory and general methods for organizing a local political campaign. The other is an eight-page document, with a model proposal for school boards to adopt. Vought appeared Wednesday morning on Fox & Friends, to promote his campaign. “I don't really think I have seen something spur up with so much passion out of the grassroots like this has come up,” Kilmeade said, at the end of the interview. “I can't go through a day without reading two or three separate stories from around the country about people wanting to take action that never did before.”


Of course, the reason Kilmeade “can’t go through a day” without seeing stories about the dreaded menace of “critical race theory” may be because he works at Fox News, which has mobilized those same efforts. Indeed, network figures have acknowledged that hardly anyone was even talking about this subject — that is, until Fox itself kicked it up. According to Media Matters research in May, Fox News had covered the topic over 550 times in 11 months, while another of our studies found that nearly 90% of Facebook posts on the topic of critical race theory between November and May came from right-leaning sources.

As another example, on Thursday’s edition of America’s Newsroom, the network highlighted a wave of political efforts involving multiple Republican governors and private citizens attending a school board meeting. Later, the program featured an interview on the subject with Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee in this year’s election for governor of Virginia. In addition, Fox’s coverage over the past year has been geared toward insisting that systemic racism against Black people does not even exist — but instead the real threat of systemic racism is pointed against white people.


Vought’s guide promotes numerous conspiracy theories — and it is dangerously close to the “Great Replacement” theory

Given Fox’s promotion of the political handbook in an effort to create outrage among Republican voters ahead of midterm elections, it is important to examine exactly what Vought’s group is saying.