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Hannity Wants Textbooks To Be Fair And Balanced – Oh, The Irony, The Irony!

Reported by Priscilla - October 19, 2008 -

The newest hot-hot-hot item to get Repbulican knickers in a bunch (and their undies do seem to be in a perpetual state of wrinkle) is the flap over a Racine Wisconsin 8th grade literature text which has, according to the whiners, too much Barack Obama and not enough John McCain. It was mentioned by Sean Hannity, at the end of his Thursday night’s (October 16th) show and “explained” in more detail on Friday night’s (October 17th) Fox News “Grapevine.” Yes, gentle readers, the country is in deep “doo-doo” and Fox is valiantly trying to tie its ongoing war against education into the upcoming election.

“Grapevine” tells us that the problem is that the Racine school department has been using a text that, according to the peasants with pitchforks, is so seditious that “includes a chapter on Obama, but nothing about John McCain. The "Dreams From My Father" chapter features an excerpt from Obama's 2004 speech at the Democratic Convention and a portion of his 1995 autobiography.” (Comment: Wow, that sure is an example of the encroaching “liberal agenda.”) At least “Grapevine” mentioned that the text was published before Obama became the candidate – something that Hannity neglected to mention when he had his little tirade about it at the end of his show. Both Hannity and “Grapevine” quoted the head of the Wisconsin republican party who is accusing the Racine School Department of being a “satellite campaign office for Obama.”

Like the so called “war on Christmas,” this is just another tempest in a teapot meant to show how poor Republicans are being picked on. Hannity told his audience that this book had an entire chapter on Obama and nothing on John McCain. If Hannity had bothered to read the facts, he would have realized that the book was published in 2005 when neither Obama nor McCain were their party front runners for the office of the presidency. Had he bothered to check the Racine press, he would have learned that this literature text (something Hannity hasn’t seen for a long time, if ever!) contains an “excerpt of Obama’s 1995 book “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,' ” which "is included in a unit titled “Our Place in the World.” The unit deals with history, culture and authors. The section about Obama also includes an excerpt from his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.” The school department further explains “We want to find materials that reflect our student body, which is a diverse and multicultural student body,” Weiss said. “The goal of this is definitely not to endorse one political candidate or to endorse one political party over another.” Both Hannity and “Grapevine” noted that the school department is reviewing the text which, up until now, has received no complaints from parents. Neither noted that the school district has already deleted the Obama section from the 2009 edition, in compliance with policy. A conservative parent complained. Republicans, aided and abetted by hate media, joined the fray and the rest is history.

Comment: “Grapevine” cites GOP executive director Mark Jefferson says: "You don't have to look very far outside of the Democratic presidential nominee to come up with other stories of inspiration." Somehow, I don’t think that Mr. Jefferson gets it. As an author and role mode for the African American community, the inclusion of this subject matter is entirely appropriate. John McCain, the son of a well off admiral, was not a bi-racial child who was raised by white working class grandparents. Obama was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review at a college that he was admitted to on his own merit and not by family connection. As noted by the school, "this text was a literature text and at the time it was written, Obama had authored books. Who in the Republican Party would have had that kind of background? According to the editors of the text, it was felt that Obama’s work was a strong example of an autobiography, coupled with his speech, which showed how a person’s life story affects that individuals’ work..It was chosen for a specific pedagogical purpose." Considering the context, including John McCain seems a little odd. But that doesn’t stop Hannity from saying that this story “drives him nuts.” If Hannity had done some research, he would have had the above information as it was published on Tuesday. He told Alan Colmes that “if you’re going to have a project about a candidate” (and this was neither a “project” nor, at the time, about a candidate) then you just can’t have it about one without including the other. Colmes agreed.

Too bad Hannity and Fox News don’t practice the kind of “fair and balanced” journalism that Hannity expects of others.

Racine School Board policy regarding review of books found here.