It’s a little bit sad how few in the mainstream media are racing to Katie Couric’s defense right now. After all, she was only doing her part for the narrative. When truth gets in the way of “the message,” it is the responsibility of the high priestesses of the media to massage it a bit, no?

In case you missed it, Couric, the celebrity news figure, who was been on all the networks, admitted last week that she had suppressed the opinion of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the hot topic of taking a knee during the national anthem because what RBG actually thought was off message. Couric, who is a co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s task force on media disinformation, cut the iconic jurist’s critical words about the protest measure being disrespectful in order to “protect her,” she confessed.

The problem here is that suppressing dissonant facts — a sanctioned practice during the War on Trump — has become awkwardly out-of-place without a raging orange man to justify it. Just ask the parents in Loudon County, Virginia.

If you haven’t heard about the bombshell revelation there this week, don’t feel bad. Someone in New York decided you didn’t need to. Some of the facts are in dispute (your correspondent reached out to a Loudon County school mom for some perspective), but what seems to be clear is a 15-year-old girl was brutally raped in a school bathroom and the administration covered it up.

At a contentious school board meeting in June during which genders and bathrooms were on the agenda, the superintendent told parents he was not aware of any violent incidents, when in fact the incident was already under investigation. The crime is horrendous, and so is the decision to whitewash it because news of its existence might derail “woke” progress in the affluent patch of Northern Virginia from which many parents commute to jobs in Washington, D.C.

To make matters worse, the father of the allegedly assaulted girl was physically removed from that June school board meeting by local police who threatened to jail him for 10 days for being disruptive by demanding answers.  In the interest of balance, I should also note that out in the state of Washington there recently have been parents who sought an “alternative teaching” of the Holocaust, which rightfully sparks a different kind of outrage.

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate “Good Times” Terry McAuliffe has said schools need not listen to parents about what is taught, implying that the state knows best. This recalls efforts by the Soviets who made a hero out of schoolboy Pavlik Morozov who turned in his parents to the authorities (who promptly sent them to gulag) for covertly speaking ill of the state around their kitchen table at home.  This “state knows best” business is a slippery slope.

In both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the state of Washington, facts matter. A horrendous crime did occur in a Loudon County. Efforts to ease up reporting requirements of sex crimes, such as those undertaken recently by the House of Delegates and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam, are wrong-headed and despicable. Chances are voters will have something to say about this in coming weeks.  Meanwhile, the Holocaust happened, full stop. Ask any GI who liberated the camps in 1945. No doctrine of fairness guarantees deniers equal time.

Because the media and national governing institutions have lost so much credibility in recent years, cultural conflict in America today is being fought before local school boards. When I covered these boards for The Camden Herald 30 years ago there was some drama, occasional theatrics, and plenty of crusades, but I would not have expected then we’d come to where we’ve arrived today. Still, it kind of makes sense because, in America, this is where democracy begins and – hopefully – doesn’t end.

Our politicians can learn a great deal by paying closer attention to debates at the school board level. When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chastised the Capitol press corps last week for not doing enough to “sell” the now perhaps doomed $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, she seemed to be missing something important about the role of the media in a free society.

Anyway, with luck, we learn from our mistakes, dust off, and move on in a better direction. Katie Couric’s admission can be instructive. Facts matter. Report them and let us draw the conclusions. Old school, maybe, but when things worked that way we all seemed a bit more civil and better informed.