Mary Grabar

What happens when an education editor wants to advance her own liberal agenda, even as her newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, brags about “Bringing Balance to Opinions”?

She publishes an op-ed by a “Distinguished Professor” demolishing a bill she dislikes. She denies the same opportunity to a supporter of such legislation, who does not have tenure because of her conservative views. The education editor acts like she has done her duty by bringing on the scene an “expert,” before whom too many legislators bow down in obeisance. So the public is kept in the dark, and the bill, Georgia SB 426, the “Teach Freedom” act, never gets out of subcommittee.

This is what happened after this writer proposed a column to Maureen Downey at the AJC, on Tuesday, March 6. The email was not answered. Two days later, a column by James C. Cobb, the Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Georgia, appeared in Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog. The column was then published the following Monday on the Opinion pages with the title “Taking an Ideological Ax to U.S. History.” The following Friday it was featured as #1 among the “top 10” on the History News Network and then on the following Monday with the title, “Georgia Senate Tries to Whitewash the Founding Fathers.”

To my second email inquiry, Downey replied, “I might be interested for online if your piece speaks to this bill specifically.” In other words, the Distinguished Professor will have a prominent place on the printed pages that Georgia legislators read, but I “might” get a shot at a post on her blog—if I stay within the lines.

Professor Cobb begins his op-ed by presenting himself as taking the high moral ground: “In the 43 years that I have taught United States history in both state universities and the public schools, I have done my best to resist the temptation to turn my lectern into a ‘bully pulpit’ for proselytizing my personal political gospel” (but his university web page reveals a focus on race, class, and gender.)

He continues, “Not surprisingly, I also get my back up when others, with no particular preparation in the field but a truckload of ideological axes to grind, attempt to prescribe both the content of historical curricula and the lessons that are to be drawn from them.”

In other words, citizens and their representatives (“with no particular preparation in the field”) should just shut up.

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at