Predictably, the ongoing left-right media debate about how to teach children the historical evils inflicted on black people has now expanded to similar disagreements over the horrors experienced by the Jewish people.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has faced a national backlash for his state’s new curriculum guidelines, which includes the suggestion that students should learn that African-American enslaved persons in the pre-Civil War South “developed skills” that could be “applied for their personal benefit.”
In an effort to defend DeSantis, who has already sought to distance himself from the education decision, on July 24 during the Fox News chat show “The Five,” former “Red Eye” host Greg Gutfeld argued a similar point about the Holocaust, citing Viktor Frankl’s classic work, Man’s Search for Meaning.
“You had to survive in a concentration camp by having skills,” he said. “You had to be useful … utility kept you alive.”
This inspired a rebuke from the White House with spokesperson Andrew Bates saying, “What Fox News allowed to be said on their air yesterday —and has so far failed to condemn—is an obscenity.”
The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum took a more measured tone, acknowledging that Gutfeld was not entirely wrong, but rather, “we should avoid such oversimplifications in talking about this complex tragic story.”
The state museum tweeted: “While it is true that some Jews may have used their skills or usefulness to increase their chances of survival during the Holocaust, it is essential to contextualize this statement properly and understand that it does not represent the complex history of the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany.”
Gutfeld offered other provocative presidential race commentaries this week, saying two days later that the vaccine-skeptic Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “should run as a third-party candidate because I do think he should, he would win.”