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Fox & Friends & William LaJeunesse & More Texas Textbook Propaganda

Reported by Priscilla - May 20, 2010 -

In their relentless propaganda series, the Texas Textbook Wars, Fox & Friends is utilizing their on site “reporter,” William LaJeunesse to further perpetuate the stream of right wing misinformation regarding proposed changes to the Texas social studies curriculum. Yesterday, LaJeunesse made some dubious claims regarding the situation and today he’s back for more. I suppose you could say that the “coverage” from both the studio and the location is consistent.

LaJeunesse reported on the contentious hearing yesterday. In stating that there was concern that politics was overshadowing the debate, he did mention that the conservatives dominate the Board of Education. Video was shown of a man who supported the changes and one who didn’t. Guess who the supporter was – Fox fave and Hannah Giles attorney Kelly Shackleford, from the right wing Liberty Institute, who appeared on Day 4 of the March Fox & Friends Texas Textbook agitprop week. Shackleford spoke in favor of the new amendment that “contrasts and compares the words ‘Separation of Church and State’ with the actual words of the Constitution.” (A favorite meme of the religious right is that this phrase doesn’t appear in the Constitution – despite the existence of the “establishment clause” used by the Supreme Court in a number of decisions particularly the one about school prayer). The propaganda that followed was subtle but obvious. The man who spoke against the changes said that the changes “should be vetted by members of the writing teams.” LaJeunesse sequed brilliantly into “that is what started this mess in the first place when the current curriculum was submitted to a review board of teachers, they recommended pulling out Christmas and replacing it with a Hindu holiday and removing partially or wholly Alexander Graham Bell and Albert Einstein.” Fact Check – the “whole thing” really began because conservatives didn’t like what was in the curriculum and wanted to change it to fit a conservative Christian right narrative. As noted by the Texas Freedom Network, “curriculum writers — teachers, academics and other community members — had suggested listing Easter but not Christmas as an example of a Christian holiday in a Grade 6 course on world cultures…and added Diwali as an example of a Hindu festival alongside Ramadan for Islam and Yom Kippur for Judaism.” There was a recommendation to remove Alexander Graham Bell and replace him with the African American George Washington Carver who, along with Edison, would be seen as technology inventers who “exhibited a love of individualism and inventiveness.” Having both Bell and Edison was seen as redundant. So, as he did yesterday, when he claimed that Thomas Jefferson was still in the curriculum, LaJeunesse, today, didn’t tell the whole truth – just the cherry picked part that fit the narrative.

He reviewed what is being discussed at the hearing today and it should be a biggie with an analysis of the meaning of “church and state,” eugenics, and (how’s this for partisanship) “evaluate the efforts of the United Nations to undermine US sovereignty including a gun ban and the redistribution of American wealth” (WTF!), the problems with social security, eminent domain, and “the problems with affirmative action.” LaJeunesse said “some want to delay, you guys, not gonna happen.” Naturally, the “some” (educators) weren’t defined. But once again, the emphasis was what the evil libruls were supposedly trying to remove. LaJeunesse connected the “mess” to the issues that the right wing is objecting to with no mention of the conservative changes which have sparked opposition - not just in Texas but on a national level. The fact that Christmas, Bell, and Einstein are still in the curriculum, was obfuscated by the propaganda message which was that this “mess” is the fault of the liberal, anti-Christian agenda which seeks to corrupt our youth. Pretty slick.

Update: One of those seeking a delay is former former Bush Secretary of Education, Rod Paige.