You would think that being a super Jesus loving, homo hating Christian, Todd Starnes would make an effort to observe that Commandment which admonishes Christians to not tell tall tales. But that whole "thou shall not lie" thing doesn't seem to be a problem for either Starnes or the "fair & balanced" Fox News which provides him with a platform from which to spew his lies and personal attacks which, in one case, resulted in death threats to those whom he slandered. His latest, uh, misrepresentation is a story about how an evil public school teacher gave a nasty Nation of Islam "handout" to the students - except, of course, that's not true. Sweet mercy!
On October 27th, Starnes ran this big, bold lede on the Fox News website: "School's Nation of Islam handout paints Founding Fathers as racists." He recounts how an irate Tennessee parent told him (rather than the local media?) that her son was given a school "handout" which was done by the Nation of Islam and which said bad things about the presidents on Mt.Rushmore. Starnes deftly got his readers' (!) patriotic juices flowing with this emotional portrayal of the parent's reaction: "She said her jaw dropped when she followed the link to a website that was listed on the handout. Imagine her surprise when up popped the Nation of Islam home page." He then informed his now irate readers that the Nation of Islam, OMG, worships Allah.
After describing the parent's interaction with the school, Starnes then provides the school's "different" version of events. Starnes reports that the school principal told him that the offending "handout" was taken from the teacher's work station without permission and that the paper was not an authorized handout. He then quotes an anti-Common Core parent who, while admitting that this had nothing to do with Common Core, found it troubling that the school wasn't allowing their parents to see this awful material which, she claimed, was distributed to students. Starnes followed up her suspicion with his own comment that he found it "odd" that the students, according to this parent, were "warned" not to take the "hand-out" home.
Starnes, who spoke to the parent of the child three times, credits her with being consistent while accusing the school of providing different versions of the story to both him and the angry parent. He concluded by saying that he found it "hard" to believe that an innocent eight year old would steal material from a teacher's work station and that if it was on the desk, the "good people" of the town "deserve to know how and why a handout from the Nation of Islam ended up on school property."
The school is not happy with Todd Starnes. Starnes claims that the Director of Public Schools, Ed Alexander, expressed surprise that this happened. But according to Alexander, he told Starnes that he couldn't comment until he got more information which suggests that Starnes' quote from Alexander is bogus. After investigating, Alexander called Starnes to tell him that the teacher, in preparing for the lesson on Mt.Rushmore, printed down information from a number of websites on Mt.Rushmore. When she saw the offending material, she discarded it on a table with other discarded material. The student took it, without her permission, and brought it home. It was NOT, as described in Starnes' article, a "handout" and was NOT distributed.There is nothing in Alexander's account which suggest that students were "warned" not to take the material home. (It's a conspiracy!)
After the article went up on the Fox website, Starnes was immediately contacted by the school department. Rather than address the issue, he referred them to Fox media relations which, as of the publication date of the article in the Johnson City Press, had not responded. Alexander, in reacting to Starnes yellow journalism, says that "what was reported (which had been rebutted prior to the airing) was misleading and totally incorrect. I can only think it was shown for its sensational effect. Sadly, regardless of any follow-up report, our system has been defamed."
Whoops, Starnes did it again. But he loves Jesus and hates Allah so it's all good...