The Austin American-Statesman has published a list of PolitiFact Texas articles that drew the most reader interest in 2010. Number Five on the list is a piece early in the year about Fox News co-anchor Gretchen Carlson telling viewers that the Texas State Board of Education was considering the removal of Christmas and the Constitution from social studies textbooks. PolitiFact rated that claim as a Pants on Fire lie. And it was.
TFN Insider reported about the grossly inaccurate and biased coverage Fox News gave to the state board’s debate over new social studies curriculum standards. In fact, Fox’s coverage was so riddled with mistruths that the Texas Education Agency — headed by an appointee of Republican Gov. Rick Perry — issued a sharply worded press release criticizing the network’s “reporting.” The so-called “fair and balanced” network even aired a graphic labeling Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller a “textbook troublemaker.”
Truth is, Fox News practically became an active participant — and propaganda tool — in right-wing efforts to politicize classrooms very early in the social studies debate. In July 2009, two of the network’s “news” personalities reported essentially as fact a laundry list of distortions about how school textbooks cover topics ranging from Christianity to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Far-right pressure groups used those absurd charges to raise money and skew the social studies debate in Texas.
So we thought it was worth reminding TFN Insider readers that independent sources like PolitiFact are also showing how Fox News has misled viewers, helping activists on the far right hijack the public school curriculum to promote a divisive political agenda. TFN’s Just Educate campaign is working to protect classrooms from political agendas by reforming the State Board of Education. Please help by joining that campaign today.