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Glenn Beck’s Resident “Historian,” David Barton, Edits Or Uses Wikipedia To Promote Historical Lie?

Reported by Priscilla - July 8, 2010 -

In his quest to provide “real” history, to “real” Americans (not liberals, union members, Muslims, Democrats, gays), Glenn Beck has taken on board, as an adjunct “professor,” David Barton. Beck obviously considers Barton a credible historian; but he has also been described as a “Polemical historical revisionist.” Barton has been trying to push a very conservative version of evangelical Christianity into the Texas public school curriculum and based on the recent Texas Board of Education hearings, he appears to have achieved some success with their new plan to “rehabilitate” Commie hunter Republican Senator Joe McCarthy. His “skewed scholarship” has been embraced by the Christian right wing and now by Glenn Beck who, like Barton, wants God put back into the public schools – something made very difficult as a result of SCOTUS decisions reviled by Beck and Barton. But Barton is being given Beck’s “Imprimatur” and carte blanche to spread his bizarro world US "history" which is essentially the kind of dreck that was prevalent in the good old days of segregated schools and sanitized social studies curriculums brought to us by white Christians whose idealized vision of America is now being touted by Barton whose grasp of “facts” is questionable. But here’s the thing – is Barton using material from Wikipedia or is he writing it? Inquiring minds want to know.

News Hounds Alex provided us with a great summary of Barton in a thread about Mike Huckabee's right wing Christian pals. His founding of the radical Christian “Wallbuilders” and palling around with Neo-Nazis are mentioned. (Not real Nazis like those in the Obama administration, right Beck?) Barton doesn’t have a degree in history, but rather a degree in Religious Education from Oral Roberts University and an honorary PhD from Pensacola Christian College. But that doesn’t stop him from presenting a view that America is a “Christian Nation” and that the Founders were devout, evangelical Christians. His positions have been refuted by historical researchers and mainstream historians one of whom is a Baptist Minister; but that doesn’t bother Beck who only briefly attended college. His work is described as “propaganda masquerading as history” which makes it a perfect fit for Glenn Beck and Fox News where propaganda is masqueraded as news.

Last week, Barton appeared with Beck in a show about women in the Revolution. At one point he spoke about Phillis Wheatley, a slave who lived in Boston and who became a poet. Barton said this about Wheatley: “She was bought by the Wheatley family and adopted her as a daughter. She became a daughter… a lot of Christian families would adopt slaves, buy them from slaves to make them part of the family and to keep them from going into slavery.” Now check out Wikipedia: “Wheatley and his wife Susanna adopted her as their daughter to keep her from becoming a slave. This was common in Christian families of the time who were anti-slavery.” First of all, there is no citation as to a primary source for the Wiki entry. In checking a number of academic sources, I can find no validation for the claim that Christian families “adopted” slaves to “keep them from going into slavery.” (that makes no sense). But second, there is nothing in the reality based record to suggest that Wheatley, a remarkable person, was “adopted” by the Wheatley family. Rather, “In 1761 Phillis was purchased as a personal slave in Boston by Susannah Wheatley, wife of tailor John Wheatley.” Additionally, “Phillis's place was designated by her white world, and she was virtually cut off from her own people, but she was definitely still a slave, although a privileged one.” She was finally freed after Mrs. Wheatley’s death in 1774.

Comment: David Barton – master of not just revisionist history but fake history tailored to fit into his vision of what American was and what it should be. And is Barton’s description of Wheatley, which matches Wikipedia, just a coincidence? But if this is the content of courses at Glenn Beck U, a “degree” from said “school” won’t be worth too much! We don’t need no education….