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Obama exhorting Americans to expand their horizons is insulting to some FOX Friends

Reported by Chrish - July 9, 2008 -

FOX and Friends sent a mixed message to viewers this morning 7/9/08 about recent Barack Obama comments regarding our tendency to be mono-lingual. It's embarrassing, he said, because visitors here are usually at least bi-lingual and we can barely eke out a merci beaucoup.

Gretchen Carlson opened the segment by saying there was something of a firestorm, but cautioned that she would have an "interesting" viewpoint on it - code for not going along with the typical outraged act.

Carlson asserted that that has "an elitist tinge" to it - "a little bit; he wants us to speak French!" inserted Steve Doocy - but once that meme was reinforced, Carlson admitted that her kids are learning Spanish. Judge Andrew Napolitano, again subbing for Brian Kilmeade, said Obama is challenging us to study harder, and it's a gift we give our kids.

Steve Doocy said Mitt Romney was offended, and played a clip from last night's Hannity and Colmes wherein he said that Obama looks towards Europe for a lot of his inspiration - raising taxes, government health care - and that's not right for America. "John McCain is going to make sure that America stays America." After the clip Doocy elaborated that Romney also wondered why Obama made a big deal over language; why not math and science?

Why not all of it? What is wrong with a little embarrassment over our shortcomings to encourage us to overcome them?

JAN and Carlson were squarely in favor of learning foreign languages and both lamented that they don't - Carlson wishes to speak her family's Swedish, and Napolitano, having had six years of Latin, has to wait to speak to the Pope.

Doocy went on another tangent, complaining about people in America that don't speak English, but that's an entirely different topic. He invited viewers to email on whether they are "motivated or miffed."

Indignation at being shamed into learning something from another culture is pure American arrogance, not patriotism, but the right often conflates the two. One of Condi Rice's big selling points for the right is how educated and worldly she is (read: not your ordinary black woman) and that's admirable. Why shouldn't we all be at least as educated as European grade-schoolers? How can we continue to boast of superiority when we lag in so many areas? Bill O'Reilly would call that blaming America, but we call it concern. Obama is showing leadership, not complacency and false superiority.

The segment in the second hour was similar. Obama "took Americans to task" for not speaking a second language. To be "fairandbalanced" this hour, Gretchen Carlson told viewers that the rest of the speech said that a foreign language is a powerful tool for young people to get a job.

The banner under this entire segment read "Bonjour, Barack: Embarrassing we can't speak French," and the reinforcing mini-banner they've added to the right of the screen said "French Flap." See the hostile spin? France and all things French have been thoroughly demonized by Bill O'Reilly and it has spilled over into the rest of the FOX echo chamber. It's a buzzword to get the FOX cultists in a lather.

Carlson and Napolitano again defended Obama's exhortation to parents to have their children learn a foreign language. Steve Doocy, apparently more provincial than the others, again defended English-only because it is the #1 language in the business world and tried to divert again to the people in this country who don't speak English. But, Doocy admitted, he had 5 years each of Spanish and French (of which he only remembers un peu, un poco) and his kids "absolutely" had foreign languages in school: he's just miffed that Barack Obama is "lecturing" and wants us to be French. Carlson said "that's just ridiculous" and said she hopes her kids end up speaking ten languages. She reiterated that she doesn't speak Swedish and quite frankly, she's embarrassed about it.

The segment wrapped up with viewer emails - 3, with a predictable "balance." The first mocked Obama with the false and ridiculous accusation that Obama doesn't even know how many states there are; the second supported him; and the third suggested if he's embarrassed about Americans in any way, he should move. Great intellects are watching FOX and Friends, ayuh.