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Fox & Friends Provides More Misinformation In “Texas Textbook Wars”

Reported by Priscilla - May 19, 2010 -

The Fox & Friends gang knows that kids don’t need no librul education. Thus, they are fully behind the ultra right wing members of the Texas Board of Education who have crafted the social studies curriculum to fit their narrow, right wing world. Their week long series on the Texas textbook curriculum, in March, was relentless propaganda which was a blatant shout out for those who see America as a “Christian Nation” free of those tacky minorities and labor union types. Now that the final vote on the textbook standards is approaching, Fox & Friends is going full tile boogey on the propaganda and misinformation. Today’s “report,” which featured Fox’s William La Jeunesse on site in Texas, was fairly straightforward – yet it still contained some of the misinformation that seems to be a specialty of the morning Fox amigos (whoops, sorry, foreign language, my bad)

Former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson said that the Texas Board of Education is close to finalizing the decision on the curriculum. Gretch, all pretty in pink, said in her best breathless fairy tale voice, said that the vote will determine “what stays and what goes.” She added that whatever is decided “could affect the entire nation.” To Gretch’s question of why America should care about this, William LaJeunesse did the usual mantra about how the standards used in Texas texts affect texts in all parts of the country which to some extent is true. However, in a scathing response to Steve Doocy, earlier this year, the Texas Education Agency stated that “each state has its own textbook selection process. Publishers may offer other states the Texas edition of a book but they are not required to select it.” On a personal note, a friend of mine is a high school teacher and she informs me that schools are relying more on the internet for information – a process that saves the school district money as they don’t need to purchase as many books. LaJeunesse noted that a California lawmaker introduced legislation that would require strict scrutiny of any “Texas editions” of textbooks. And for all those atheist haters who might not have seen yesterday’s agitprop, the chyron: “Some Pushing For Vote Delay, ACLU, Atheists Among The Board’s Critics.” (The principal critics are educators). He then alluded to unnamed “others” who approve of the changes because “they bring balance.” To Gretch’s question about the “most contentious issues,” LaJeunesse distorted the truth. He said that despite what “some of the bloggers are saying” Thomas Jefferson is not out. Fact Check – He’s out as an influential enlightenment thinker. William claimed that Susan B Anthony is not out – Fact Check – She was targeted in a last minute amendment by creationist dentist, Don McElroy who thinks that she, along with W.E. Dubois and Upton Sinclair had a “negative view of America.” LaJeunesse said the separation of church and state is very contentious and that the conservative Board members “want it taught in such a way as to say 'is that what the Framers and the Founding Fathers meant?' Does the Constitution actually say the separation of church and state, no.” (Uh, Bill, you need to google “establishment clause”) He mentioned how “they believe that free enterprise should be taught and that capitalism isn’t a naughty word” and that conservative economic theory should be taught. He added that they want the “negative effects” of the Great Society taught along with the “risks of Medicare.”

Comment: Fox & Friends didn’t mention just how “contentious” the discussion is getting. As reported by the Tampa Bay Fox affiliate, the Director of the Texas Freedom Network, a group that opposes the conservative agenda of the Texas School Board, is getting death threats - one of which included a reference to Dr. Tiller. I did find LaJeunesse’s report enlightening as it, ironically, underscored why the reality based community should be opposed to this attempt, by the radical right wing so loved by Fox & Friends, to rewrite history to fit their own radical, right wing narrative.

Addendum: The Texas Freedom Network has a new article about how unbalanced the Texas Textbook coverage has been on Fox News. They cite the March graphic, in which Kathy Miller, the person from the Texas Freedom Network who received the Dr. Tiller death threat, which depicts her (no Cavuto mark but statement of fact) as a "troublemaker." The visual backed up the "troublemaker" accusation levelled by Jonathan Saenz, whom Steve Doocy hosted yesterday on Fox & Friends. My piece on so called Texas "troublemakers" is here. Guess they don't know that Fox & Friends is just "opinion" which means that defamation of character is no big deal.