One effort to pimp a bogus controversy over supposed Muslim control of a non-denominational high school prayer room was not enough for Fox & Friends. So, the day after their first attempt (where neither guest knocked the room) Fox trotted out Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the man behind the poutrage, and made sure to help validate his lies.
Fox friend Ainsley Earhardt began the patented “Trouble with Schools” segment with what appeared to be a lie about how a “Texas high school is under fire for a prayer room that Muslim students, primarily, are using while excluding students of other faiths.”
Cohost Steve Doocy provided credibility: “That’s how it appears.”
FACT CHECK: According to the school district spokesperson, Chris Moore, “All sorts of folks use it [the prayer room]. Muslims pray, Baptists pray, Catholics pray, Buddhists pray, Hindu students pray.”
Doocy reported that Paxton’s office is “stepping in” to say that the “controversial classroom may violate the First Amendment. (Mind you, Paxton is the same guy who once sued to keep a Bible quote in a classroom.)
After introducing Paxton, Doocy asked him to explain the prayer room and “who's using it.”
Paxton responded that his office had - wait for it - “heard rumors that it was primarily used by Muslim students which is fine, but the problem is, you can’t exclusively have one group over the other.” He asserted that his office sent a letter to the school board asking whether the room is inclusive or exclusive and claimed that the school has not responded.
FACT CHECK: Paxton made his initial inquiry via a press release put out on social media on March 17th. The district immediately sent a clarification letter to the AG. (Information available on March 17th, two days before the Fox & Friends interview.) The school department also claimed that they immediately called the AG’s office, but the calls were not returned.
To Earhardt’s question of why he believes the room is exclusionary, Paxton said, again, “just rumors we’ve heard” and “reports from individuals.” He claimed that his office wasn’t making any accusations, but just asking them to clarify their policy. (Nobody mentioned that the prayer room has been in existence for seven years.)
Earhardt’s next question couldn’t have been more leading. She asked if the reports were from those who “had been turned away.” He responded that there were allegations the room “had been set up exclusively for one faith denomination.” Being such a good Christian, he added that having a prayer room is “a great idea” but he wants to “make sure it’s open to all students.”
Doocy chimed in, “That’s the key, it should be accessible to all students.” which, according to the school, it is.
When asked if he had any real evidence of exclusion, Paxton said that all his office wanted was “to clarify” the policy.
Earhardt read a statement from the school and agreed that it was “pretty vague.”
Paxton repeated the claim that he has heard nothing from the school and said that his office wants to see the school’s written policy.
Doocy predicted that Paxton would “hear from them today.” (Even though he already has, but details, details.)
Paxton’s crusade has been labeled “a cheap publicity stunt.” And now, thanks to Fox, it has gotten a national platform for the advancement of its misinformation. The school district is probably getting death threats as we speak...
Watch the lying call and response on Fox & Friends, from Monday, March 20, 2017.
I have a family member who swears she doesn’t watch Faux, but dammit she has the same kind of Islamophobia that Faux preaches. Or maybe all conservatives are like that nowadays. I dunno.
FOX will be the downfall of this great nation.