In April 2017, after Samantha Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents Dinner” television event in which the comedian argued for the importance of a free press (while throwing a few jabs at President Donald Trump and his administration), web sites such as the Daily Wire and Yes I’m Right published stories about the former Daily Show star’s husband Jason Jones, who allegedly was fighting to keep “poor black kids out of his children’s school”:
Jason Jones is not only a former “correspondent” for the left-wing Daily Show, he is also husband to Samantha Bee, one of the leftist leaders of the so-called Resistance Movement against President Trump. Oh, and Jones doesn’t want the city of New York to move his children’s school to a location that would make it more accessible to poor, black kids.
Both Samantha Bee and Jason Jones are wealthy and very white.
Samantha Bee’s husband is not only fighting this move, the former correspondent is — get this — urging parents who agree with him not to talk to the media:
“One P.S. 452 parent speaking out against the move is comedian and former Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, who’s married to Samantha Bee. “To portray any opposition as classist or racist is as bad as it can get,” Jones told WNYC. And elsewhere: “We are not divided,” he said at a public hearing about the proposal, “we are absolutely united in wanting what’s best for our children,” then encouraged fellow parents not to talk to the press about the controversy.”
Both articles lifted from a piece originally published by Slate in June 2016 about the rezoning of public schools in New York City. Despite the fact that the Slate article was nearly a year old at that point (and the issue has been resolved), web sites presented the story as if Jones were currently fighting the rezoning plan:
Samantha Bee’s Husband Fights To Keep Poor, Black Kids Out Of His Children’s School.
Husband of Trump-Hater Samantha Bee is Fighting to Keep Poor Black Kids Out of HIs Kid’s School. Oops!
The web sites also mischaracterized what Jones actually said, in the process omitting a crucial portion of his quote.
In June 2016, the New York City’s Department of Education proposed a plan which would have had P.S. 452, where the Daily Show correspondents’ children attended school, move sixteen blocks south:
Facing persistent problems of crowding on the Upper West Side, and the thorny issue of school segregation, the City’s Department of Education is considering another idea that’s met with sharply divided responses.
The plan – which is still in the early stage – involves P.S. 452. The small school currently shares space with two other schools on West 77th Street. The city is looking into moving the school 16 blocks south, into the building now occupied by P.S. 191. P.S. 191 would relocate into a brand new building right near its current home on Amsterdam and 61st Street, that was originally going to be used for a different school.
Several parents spoke out against the proposed plan for a variety of reasons. One argued that the move would make the commute unbearable, another accused the city of playing “musical chairs” with their children’s education, while yet another said that the move would deprive children of the benefits of attending school in their own neighborhood (such as walking to school with friends). However, because this proposed plan involved moving the school next to a housing project and adding a more diverse group of students to the school, some critics characterized the plan’s opponents as classist or racist.
This is the characterization against which Jones spoke out during a public hearing in June 2016:
I was just going to come up and make jokes because everything’s been said, eloquently and not so eloquently.
I read the newspaper for some reason, I can’t believe it’s still around, but it disheartens me to wake up in the morning and see that the Upper West side is divided. We are not divided, we are absolutely united in wanting what’s best for our children. Whether that means a bigger place for our children to learn, or wanting to keep it here, we are all united in wanting what’s best for them.
That said. When you scroll down and you read rhetoric from some parents that suggests that you are opposed to this move ‘those against this idea are terrified of what it would look like if the school were to be in an area by the projects’ is dishonest at best and slanderous at worst.
So I urge you A, to stop talking to the press. This is a private matter, I think, from our community. This story doesn’t exist without your quotes.
And this goes for both sides too. Because the other quote is just insane from the other side, suggesting that opposing the relocation, that a high-performing school like this could not move to a (inaudible) poor area and not change, shows very little respect for these incredible teachers.
So just be mindful of when you speak, if you’re going to speak to the press, because slandering or saying anything negative about this teaching staff is wrong. And, conversely, painting any opposition as classist or racist is about as bad as it can get.
It is true that Jones’ children were affected by a school zoning issue in New York City in 2016. Although ethnicity and financial status were both issues in the debate, it is false to say that the Comedy Central star was fighting at any point to “keep black kids out of his children’s school.”
Fertig, Beth. “An Idea to Solve Overcrowding Receives Emotional Response on Upper West Side.”
WNYC. 13 June 2016.
Krisel, Brandan. “Education Panel Votes to Officially Move PS 452 Campus.”
Patch. 20 January 2016.
Taylor, Kate. “A Game of Musical Chairs, Played Wwth Schools, Divides the Upper West Side.”
The New York Times. 12 June 2016.
Moser, Laura. “The Upper West Side Is the Latest Battleground for School Integration in New York.”
Slate. 17 June 2016.
Fertig, Beth. “Advice from Jason Jones to Upper West Side Parents: Don’t Talk to the Press.”
WNYC. 15 June 2016.