Fox, Schools and the Anti-Muslim Campaign

The Texas State Board of Education debate over social studies curriculum standards last spring drew unprecedented coverage from the national media, most of it reasonably balanced. The exception was coverage from Fox News, including commentator Tucker Carlson. Carlson and his Fox colleagues made so many false and misleading statements on-air about the debate that we lost count. Even the Texas Education Agency issued a press release sharply criticizing Fox’s distorted coverage. The coverage was so biased that Fox aired a photograph of Kathy Miller — Texas Freedom Network’s president — and two other critics of the state board under the heading “Textbook Troublemakers.” Fair and balanced? What a joke.

Among the most absurd charges aired on Fox was that “multicultural groups” were distorting public school curricula around the country by undermining Christianity and promoting Islam instead. Well, Carlson is at it again.

The latest Fox diatribe started with Fox & Friends show host Clayton Morris. According to Fox monitor News Hounds, Morris cited an unnamed former Texas State Board of Education member who supposedly claims “there’s increasing evidence that textbooks are biased against American culture, especially in matters of religion where the Islamic faith receives praise and the Christian faith is attacked.” Moving quickly from this unsupported, absurd assertion, Morris asked Carlson if this “support of Islam over Christianity is pretty overt.” Tucker promptly agreed, citing quotes from two anti-Muslim organizations that have no credibility among respected religious or academic scholars.

Look. The notion that a major publisher would sacrifice its reputation and revenue by writing religiously or ideologically biased textbooks — particularly textbooks with an anti-Christian bias — defies all reason. Can these critics identify a school district in the United States — much less, one in Texas — that would buy such textbooks? Of course not.

The spike in rhetorical and political attacks on Islam and the religious freedom of Muslim Americans is ugly and alarming. Moreover, the common story lines and talking points in these attacks suggest there is coordination of some kind going on. As a national network, Fox clearly is playing a role in disseminating some of the misinformation. In any case, warning signs are flashing about the threat to religious freedom in America today. One hopes responsible leaders aren’t too blind to see them.

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8 Comments

  1. Cytocop CT(ASCP)
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Once again, the whiney Religious Wrong moans and groans about a so-called “war against Christianity” yet fails to produce one piece of supporting evidence; the latest complaint being that of Faux Noise described above. This strategy of theirs is working with the uneducated public (which seems to be the majority). But it is so old it’s boring, and you’d think even a knuckle-dragger would start to catch on by now. But Noooooooo!!!

    They fail to admit that that warring is actually taking place amongst THEMSELVES. The RWNJ (right-wing nut jobs) hate Catholics, declaring them devil-worshippers or something. And that failure on their part is more evidence of their deceit.

    Yes, Beverly, it’s true about atheists. Anyone can run for office (even we Jews). However, I’d like to see how far an atheist candidate would get. Probably not more than 5 minutes after announcing his/her campaign, the howls of protest would be so great.

    Oliver Stone is a genius film-maker. However, I wouldn’t take his films at face value as being historically accurate. He has a talent for mixing fantasy and fact (kind of like Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart”). Good movies, bad history.

    That myth about Jews kidnapping Christian children to use their blood to make matzohs dates back to the Dark Ages. Anti-Jewish or anti-Israel Arabs picked up on it and have changed it to be relevant to them, stating that it’s ARAB kids that Jews kidnap and for the same purpose.

    The war on terror will never be won, and that phrase “war on terror” should be consigned to the trash can. War on terror is like calling WWII the “war on blitzkrieg” or the “war on kamikazes.” Terror is a strategy, not an ideology. The only way to deal with this problem is to find a better way to deal with it, and the U.S. military has said there is no military solution to terror. Acknowledging that would be a good start.

    The trouble with Arabic, Farsi, Pashtun, etc speakers in U.S. intelligence is that a lot of them were homosexuals and so had to be sacked. Far be it that a GAY should save us from an attack eh? Better we had been attacked. That’s what the Religious Wrong would say.

  2. TXatheist
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I think the right lies about this so if christianity is questioned they can complain. I mean we wouldn’t dare want to teach the bible in school and have it taught as completely false say by an atheist teacher would we? When it’s taught as literature you don’t bother explaining how the flood, ark, 2 or 7 of every kind of animal on the ark, talking serpents, talking burning bushes, men rising from their grave or stuff is completely ridiculous. No, we have to tip toe and say that some believe and some don’t. That’s more than neutral, that’s not being honest about good ol’ fashioned plagiarized mythology. Oh, and I”m no fan of muhammad either. He was a pedophile with Aisha.

  3. David
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Stone is a Jew-hater. I think he is a doctrinaire old-school leftist and is annoyed about the Neocons, the Israeli-Palestinian thing and the fact that if you criticize Israel you’re branded as an anti-Semite.
    He wears his heart on his sleeve and always overstates his case.
    Heaven and Earth would have been a masterpiece if he’d finessed the story a little more.
    Generally, the conventional wisdom is that professed atheists can’t get elected to national office.
    Also, they’re usually vilified by the radical right who are still fighting the “anti-communist” fight.
    Thoughtful adults and educated people are conscious of the intellectual trajectory of faith and doubt over the last several centuries.

  4. Posted August 9, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    trog69, I don’t understand why atheists would be the most hated/mistrusted entity. I’ve no antipathy toward atheists and aside from some funny-mentalists, I’ve never heard of atheists being the target for hatred. I rather doubt that anyone who is associated with TFN would treat atheists with anything other than respect for being fellow human beings.

    It’s strange that people who want religious freedom would go after folks who don’t believe in a God. I can understand bigotry, however, and am sorry that y’all are treated the way you are. Maybe in a couple of thousand years things will get better. My personal feeling is that we’re not going to be around for the next thousand years; someone is bound to get a nuclear war going and we’ll simply die out and hand over the control of the world to roaches.

    That being said, my people represent less than two tenths of the world’s population and we’re sure as hell hated and misunderstood. Oliver Stone recently has come out of the closet as a Jew-hater; he thinks that the Holocaust was no big deal. The old charges against us are leaking out of the world of the rodents. If mere men could kill their god, their deity couldn’t have much power. Last Ramadan the old canard about us using gentile children’s blood to make our matzo was aired over Arab TV. It’s odd that they would charge us with that when we are commanded by our laws not to drink blood.

    Why anyone would mistrust an atheist is beyond my ability to comprehend; I’m truly sorry to hear about the situation y’all are in. Take care!

  5. trog69
    Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Beverly, while I agree and sympathize with your plight, we atheists are the most hated/mistrusted entity in the US, bar none.

  6. Posted August 7, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Rupert Murdoch is an honest man. No, I’m not being faceious. When he is asked whether or not his “news” IS news, he says, “No, it’s all about making money with entertainment.” He also owns NewsMax, which carries the same hate propaganda. What I can’t understand is why the FCC permits hate radio to continue. The so-called “they’re taking away” Christmas that STARTED on FOX. So they create a small problem and then scream their heads off about something they dreamed about.

    They have a fit over people challenging Christianity that cause a non-Christian like me wonder WHICH Christianity is being picked on. After all, there are over 240 “brands” of Christianity. The Southern Baptists were formed because the Northern Baptists hated slavery and the Southern Baptists broke off because they supported slavery and they both used their bibles to “prove” the good and evil of slavery.

    The Muslims have considerably fewer sects, but most Americans haven’t the foggiest idea of what Islam is, they just know what the hate vendors tell them and NOBODY does that than Faux Snooze.

    My faith doesn’t proselytize, so our 0.2% of the world’s religions is probably is not likely to change much. The six million of our people who were enslaved then murdered will not soon be replaced. Yet, even though we’re not 1.0% we’re the single most picked on religion. There is no logical reason for Jew-hate, yet we’re number one when it comes to having people hating us. C’mon, folks. the world’s population is predicted to be 7,000,000,ooo. The number of Jews world wide is 0.2% of that number meaning that more people are gay than are Jewish. (About 10% people world-wide are gay). Most of the world hasn’t the slightest idea of what Judaism means or why gay people are how they are…and don’t WANT to know.

    Bottom line: Ignorance is becoming the “religion” of America and FOX thinks it is the only church that tells the truth.

  7. David
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    There are a couple of parts to this:
    There are the efforts of Christian fascists to regard any resistance of any group to their narrow ideology as “anti-Christian” persecution.
    There is just plain ignorance and bigotry.
    There is the effort of Fox/ the GOP, etc. to milk “wedge issues” for all they’re worth.
    There is the effort of Neocons to perpetuate the “war on terror” by hyping paranoia on both sides.
    If we are going to win “the war on terror”, we are going to have to understand the Muslim world. We are going to have to have channels of understanding with moderate elements of Islam. We are going to need more speakers of Arabic, Farsi, etc.
    This country is in peril until we send Rupert Murdoch packing.

  8. trog69
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    “In any case, warning signs are flashing about the threat to religious freedom in America today. One hopes responsible leaders aren’t too blind to see them.”

    Or, being “responsible” leaders, they hold such a minority position that no one will listen, since there’s no money/ideology in it.

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