Fault lines over schools shape Virginia race: The Note
The close of the governor's race brings a renewed focus on the suburbs.
The TAKE with Rick Klein
To hear the Democratic candidate describe it, his opponent wants to ban books from schools.
To hear the Republican candidate describe it, his opponent wants to ban parents from shaping what their children learn.
The closing days of the race for governor in Virginia are playing out along lines that are at least perceived to resonate among parents -- particularly across the suburbs that are likely to determine who wins next Tuesday.
Issues of school choice, parents' rights and COVID-era safety restrictions are now central to the messaging of both Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Youngkin's chief strategist told The Associated Press the campaign has long been aimed at reaching "Peloton dads and soccer moms" -- independent voters, mainly in the suburbs, who are dialed in to how their kids learn now more than ever.
President Joe Biden campaigned with McAuliffe Tuesday night in a Washington, D.C. suburb, in just one reflection of the national stakes.
"He's gone from banning a woman's right to choose to banning books written by a Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize-winning author, Toni Morrison,” Biden said Tuesday night, referring to Youngkin.
The race carries major implications for both parties' messaging and motivations. It has featured attacks and counterattacks on mask and vaccine mandates, school board activism, violence in schools, critical race theory and basic questions of curriculum -- including, now, a rehashed debate over whether parents get to decide if a Toni Morrison novel is appropriate for their high schooler.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
For the second time this month, a bipartisan group of lawmakers publicly questioned the impact of social media platforms' content on children and teens. On Tuesday, representatives from YouTube, TikTok and Snap -- the parent company of Snapchat -- testified about their platforms' practices and defended their respective companies' attempts at protecting youth from inappropriate content.
The hearing, which lasted more than three hours, comes after weeks of scrutiny aimed at Facebook due to a whistleblower report revealing the company knew the platform triggered body image issues among girls.
Throughout Tuesday's hearing, testimony from company executives reiterated steps their platforms have taken to promote safety while blocking young users from encountering harmful content. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pointed out that their offices were able to find loopholes within those measures and hammered the three platforms on being more thorough about addressing children's health and safety.
"Being different from Facebook is not a defense. That bar is in the gutter. It's not a defense to say that you are different. What we want is not a race to the bottom, but really, a race to the top," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, while adding that all of the platforms effectively had the same user-dependent business model.
Although the hearing demonstrated lawmakers' determination to keep social media companies' accountability to users in the spotlight, the senators were generally unable to reach any conclusive agreements with the executives about legislation that would address their safety concerns.
The TIP with Meg Cunningham
President Joe Biden appointed Washington state's Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, to lead a top elections office within the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday.
Wyman, who has bipartisan backing from election officials, has continuously shut down former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud and has been a vocal supporter of voting by mail, which has been the primary method of casting a ballot in Washington since the 2010s.
In her role at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Wyman will be tasked with coordinating state and local officials as they work to detect and respond to election integrity threats, like hacks or disinformation campaigns.
"The goal is clear: we must protect and defend the Constitutional pillar of our republic – elections," Wyman wrote in a post announcing her appointment.
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode begins with the vote by an FDA advisory panel greenlighting the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5-11. ABC News' Anne Flaherty talks next steps and breaks down a new COVID-19 travel update. Then, ABC News' Luis Martinez reports on the ISIS-K threat on the ground in Afghanistan. And, ESPN's Emily Kaplan details the investigation into allegations of sexual assault by an NHL coach against a player in 2010. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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