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While Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill has gained national attention, NBC News reporter Marc Caputo said the media needs to stop incorrectly addressing the bill as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo reports that Caputo said in an interview with WFLA 8 that the legislation doesn’t say “don’t say gay,” but rather bans the instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for kindergarten through third-grade students in the state, among other things.
“While legislative intent does matter, what does also matter, when you challenge legislation, is you first have to look at the four corners of the document, and see what it actually says,” Caputo said in the interview.
“The bill does not say, ‘don’t say gay,’” he explained. “It says, ‘Don’t teach about these issues, in general.’ So, you know, the reality is, ‘don’t say gay’ is technically not an accurate description.”
WFLA reporter Evan Donovan asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis about the Parental Rights in Education legislation, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, at a press conference in early March.
Caputo noted the reporter’s interaction with DeSantis regarding the bill, in which the reporter was smacked down by the governor.
“Despite the fact that you were very careful in the way you asked that question of DeSantis, he bit your head off,” Caputo told the fellow reporter. “He sees an opportunity here for the news media to not live up to its own standards.”
Caputo highlighted the media’s efforts to call out false statements from former President Donald Trump, but are not doing the same with the Florida bill.
“We made a big deal during Trump years, and rightfully so, and critics did, that the news media needs to start calling lies, lies, and be very clear if something was baseless, was without fact, was supported or not supported by evidence or without evidence, and if something was false, we’d say, ‘He falsely stated it,'” Caputo said.
“Well, to say this actually says ‘don’t say gay’ is false,” he said.
“For us to say, ‘Oh, the ‘don’t say gay’ bill,’ that would be a similar thing — similar, not exactly the same — of us during Obamacare saying, ‘Oh, well the Obamacare bill is the ‘death panel bill,’ because that’s what the opponents call it,” he said. “Well, it wasn’t the ‘death panel bill.'”
“And, again, when you read the four corners of this document, it doesn’t say, ‘don’t say gay,'” the NBC reporter said.
In early March, Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature passed the bill which forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. DeSantis is expected to sign it into law soon.
Florida’s HB 1557 or Parental Rights in Education can be read in full here.
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