Earlier this week, Megyn Kelly provided some free publicity for a New Hampshire father who was arrested for being disruptive in a school board meeting during which he protested a class reading assignment. William Baer, already a hero in the public school hating, freedom loving tea partysphere, got some more sweet free face time on yesterday's Fox & Friends during one of their public school hating, freedom loving "Trouble With Schools" segment.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck immediately spun the situation as being about a father who just "shows up" at a school board meeting to object to a "risqué" novel "his daughter was forced to read." She showed video of Baer mouthing off about having been cuffed after having violated the rules of the meeting. Hasselbeck introduced Baer who whined about how the "troubling" passages in the book. Despite Hasselbeck's assertion to the contrary, he admitted that his daughter wasn't "forced" to read the book. Just to let you know to whom to stalk and send the death threats, a picture of the school principal was shown next to his name. The chyron utilized the combat imagery so beloved on Fox: "Book Battle, Dad Cuffed After Objecting To Racy Novel." ("Racy?" What century is Fox living in?) He explained how he wanted the passage to be read, at the meeting; but the principal refused citing "context." (Context not an issue for Fox & Friends!)
Baer made claims about a conversation with the principal which, of course, can't be refuted because the principal wasn't there to refute them. The chyron set the propaganda message: "Locked Up for Speaking Out, Baer Arrested For Violating Two Minute Rule" - a lie because Baer interrupted another parent and refused to shut up. Despite the fact that the school will now ask for a parent's permission for their children to read the book, Baer said that he didn't want the book "thrust" on his children and continued to whine about the situation. Hasselbeck said "sure" and spoke of her discomfort reading the "explicit" passage in question. She said it was "definitely unfit for children, uncomfortable, and gross." The school is revamping its policy around the book which will now require parental consent and has apologized for not sending out notices, this year, that the book was a reading assignment (which they have done in the past) but that's not good enough for Fox as the chyron read "Lack of Transparency, Father Upset Over No Notice Sent to Parents."
Elisabeth pushed the now patented Fox persecuted-conservative-first-amendment-rights-violated as the chyron reinforced her words: "Fight for Rights, Did School Board Violate Dad's 1st Amendment Rights?" She asked if Baer thought his "First Amendment rights were null and void there, just completely erased." Baier "totally" agreed and said his legal team will be looking into it. He claimed that the two minute rule had been implemented just before the meeting. Still no mention that he interrupted another speaker. He whined that the message is "school board to the parents, shut up." He continued to whine about the awfulness of the school board and how they "compounded" his First Amendment rights violation by arresting him. Hasselbeck said he is "a good man" for stepping in on behalf of his daughter.
So, in Foxworld, if you oppose "racy" material in textbooks and fight the power of the public school system, you have the First Amendment right to disrupt a meeting - and Fox will be available to promote your noble cause. Who knew?
Also, I must repeat from my last post: Baer was whining about his 1st Amendment rights, while demanding that Picoult’s work be censored over his own sensibilities. Not only that, but he was putting said censorship on the school, and not on any committees that would have a say on Standards in Practices.
You’d think he would have come in having learned something from successful censorship, like Catcher in the Rye.