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Fox News’ War On Textbooks That “Could Rob Your Child Of A Fair Learning Experience” – Oh, The Irony!

Reported by Priscilla - January 8, 2009 -

While Fox News might not recommend a Fahrenheit 451 burning of all books, they sure want to get rid of those “liberal” texts that say bad things about good conservatives and don’t say bad things about bad liberals. And to reinforce this message, Fox features – without any opposing viewpoints – conservative Dayton University Professor Larry Schweikart to push this meme. (So there are conservative professors – who knew!) Schweikart, who makes frequent appearances on Fox News, has written a book, “48 Lies About American History” – a book that catalogues the (according to Larry) liberal lies that your children are being exposed to in high school texts. Fox News is doing their best to make sure that American youth are getting the “right” stuff as detailed by Schweikart who has appeared on Hannity’s America and Fox&Friends.

Back in September, Schweikart was featured on Fox&Friends where he told a very concerned Gretchen Carlson about this liberal threat to education. Flash forward to December of 2008 when ole Larry got three – count em – appearances on Fox&Friends – just to remind viewers of this liberal threat to education (in case they forgot). Steve Doocy (who makes your average muppet look like a Rhodes Scholar) introduced the segment on December 10th: “You send your kids to school to learn about American History but are the lessons they’re getting filled with mistakes and misrepresentations because they’ve got faulty textbooks? The chyron read “Liberal bias in books.” Doocy wondered why are there so many liberal lies in textbooks these days“to which the prof explained that the “world views” of the writers “tend to come through in how they write.” The chyron read, “trouble with textbooks.” Schweikart said that in one text, the words “brutal and Spanish” were used all the time while “only time they referred to sacrifice as a “harsh practice.” (Comment: The brutal Spanish were engaged in a brutal war of conquest) Another quote (while the entire page was shown only the offending quote was legible) described Reagan as a “war monger” (the quote could have read that Reagan was criticized for being a war monger; but who cares about context!) Schweikart whined that the book didn’t credit Reagan with creating 14 million net jobs in addition to blaspheming that Gorbachev ended the cold war. The chyron read “Accuracy in academia. How textbooks distort U.S. history.” Doocy showed a phrase, from another book, that stated “Sacco and Venzetti and the Rosenbergs were innocent people who were wrongly accused” – again just that sentence with the rest blurred. (The word “false” was superimposed across the “page”) Schweikart said that“other books used comments like “there are questions” and “questions remain” about the guilt.” (Comment: like an NPR discussion about this very topic!) Chyron read “The truth about America. Historians debunk pc myths.” Schweikart complained that, in one offending text, there are more photos of and “more ink” about Clinton than Reagan. MENSA member Doocy said “my kids cart home textbooks that cost a lot. How is the average parent supposed to know they’re right? Schweikart recommend that parents examine the text and “look at Reagan, it they get that right, the rest should be OK.” Then Doocy said to the audience, thus confirming my suspicion that this is a kids show “we want your parents to send us your textbooks if you find inaccuracies.”

In case the Heartland didn’t get the message the first time, Schweikart appeared three days later on the weekend edition of Fox&Friends with the same schpiel. And in case you didn’t see him then, you had yet another opportunity last week when Alyson Camerota interviewed the professor on December 31st. It was same old, same old with different chyrons but the same “leading questions” such as Camerota’s opening: “Are educators using classrooms to promote their own political agenda?” The chyron read “Liberal Bias in Books. Common myths learned in school.” Camerota explained that, as part of the ongoing series, “the trouble with textbooks,” Fox “is working to expose the ideology that could be robbing your kids of a “fair learning experience.” The chyron read “Liberal ideology taught in U.S. classes.” Schweikart had a few new examples. He took issue with a textbook comment that said that Islam, like Christianity, is based on monotheism because, he noted, the Koran doesn’t believe that Jesus is divine. He was also upset that one text had a discussion about the staged Iwo Jima flag raising photo because that “called into question the patriotism of those waving the flag.” Again, Camerota encouraged parents to send in examples of these “heretical” texts.

Comment: If Fox were truly “fair and balanced” and “real journalism” they would interview educators and those involved in publishing texts. Missing from the equation were facts about the location and number of school districts that use the books. I guess Fox would like history texts to be like Fox News – conservative and totally devoid of anything that requires nuanced thinking – not fair and balanced, not real, just ideology meant to stifle intelligent discussion. But send in those books cuz there’s some book burning to be done.