Alert Glenn Beck! The Other ‘Indoctrination’ Of America’s Schoolchildren

Quick, someone notify Glenn Beck.How Christian Were the Founders?‘ has been the most emailed article on the NYT.com since Saturday morning. Far from being the title of a Tea Party pamphlet, the Times Magazine’s long cover story looks into the rewriting of the American social sciences curriculum courtesy of some (rather extreme) members of the Texas State Board of Education, and/or the rewriting of history, depending.

Last year hyperbolic accusations that school boards were trying to “indoctrinate” students with pro-Obama views flew around the news cycle after it was revealed there was plan afoot to encourage schoolchildren to write letters about themselves about what they could do to help President Obama (gasp!). For a while there “who is indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren” turned into a favorite headline of the right. For all the ridiculousness that came out of those concerns, the actual answer to the question — perhaps Fox just hasn’t got around to exposing it yet — appears to be the Texas State Board of Education. This is what is called the real deal.

Following the appeals from the public, the members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative, submitted their own proposed changes to the new social-studies curriculum guidelines, whose adoption was the subject of all the attention — guidelines that will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next 10 years. Gail Lowe — who publishes a twice-a-week newspaper when she is not grappling with divisive education issues — is the official chairwoman, but the meeting was dominated by another member. Don McLeroy, a small, vigorous man with a shiny pate and bristling mustache, proposed amendment after amendment on social issues to the document that teams of professional educators had drawn up over 12 months, in what would have to be described as a single-handed display of archconservative political strong-arming.

McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands.

Finally, the board considered an amendment to require students to evaluate the contributions of significant Americans. The names proposed included Thurgood Marshall, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy. All passed muster except Kennedy, who was voted down.

Worried yet? Well this part may really make your head spin (or not). It’s a bit how I imagine things to be should Glenn Beck ever be put in charge of the nation’s education system.

The one thing that underlies the entire program of the nation’s Christian conservative activists is, naturally, religion. But it isn’t merely the case that their Christian orientation shapes their opinions on gay marriage, abortion and government spending. More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions. When they proclaim that the United States is a “Christian nation,” they are not referring to the percentage of the population that ticks a certain box in a survey or census but to the country’s roots and the intent of the founders.

The answer to the question “How Christian Were the Founders” is both a lot and a little, something which readers of the Constitution have probably already sussed out for themselves. The article goes to some lengths to point out that of course the Founders were influenced by religion — both the good and the bad aspects: “In fact, the founders were rooted in Christianity — they were inheritors of the entire European Christian tradition — and at the same time they were steeped in an Enlightenment rationalism that was, if not opposed to religion, determined to establish separate spheres for faith and reason.” We will have to see whether Fox News will cover this latest “indoctrination” debacle; that said, I wouldn’t be shocked to discover that Glenn Beck had a Founders documentary in the works.

Related:
How Christian Were the Founders? [NYT]
Your Moment of Glenn: Meghan McCain Is ‘A Useful Idiot’ [Mediaite]
Inherit the Wind [Wikipedia]


Rachel Maddow Spars With Glenn Beck Over Bill Nye And Climate Change

On Friday’s episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, the host took a few minutes to politely disagree with Glenn Beck’s views on global warming, including his refuting of Maddow’s guest Bill Nye the Science Guy. “Next up, a correction,” Maddow explained, motioning with her hand to indicate that Beck’s radio show is increasingly cuckoo.

“Who has claimed that this snow storm is proof that global warming doesn’t exist?” Beck asked after mocking Nye with interjections of “Oh boy” and “Seriously?” on his radio show. “Who’s claimed that? Dude, you have… a lot,” Maddow responded before playing two clips of Beck laughing about global warming, including a joke that the snow is also burying Al Gore’s global warming theory. “Who has claimed that?” Maddow repeated, playing a similar clip of Sean Hannity.

“It is one thing to be outrageously wrong about facts and science, but the price of that is getting made fun of for it and getting called out on it — boom! — by Bill Nye the Science Guy,” Maddow concluded.

Check out the clip below:


Fox & Friends: Would ObamaCare Cover Bill Clinton’s Heart Stents?

On Fox & Friends, an emergency heart procedure for an ex-president is a perfect opportunity for an ultra-partisan hypothetical situation: “If the Democrats’ health care reform had gone through would President Clinton have received the stents?” The two stents the former president was given on Thursday provided a jumping off point for a highly convoluted (and perhaps insensitive?) undermining of health care reform plans, the stimulus package and Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag.

“Let’s say he’s not the president…he’s just a middle aged man who needs an emergency operation. Would he have got those stents?” they asked during a segment titled “Prescription for Truth.” The reasoning bordered on incomprehensible and the answer was a vague maybe not, though it was based on a study in the Wall Street Journal. “I’m not going to make a determination — I’m not a doctor,” but let’s just say socialists aren’t that down with timeliness when it comes to heart procedures. Hypothetically.

Here’s the clip:


Bret Baier And Shepard Smith’s Demo Viewers Top Competition’s Total Viewers

Cable news ratings, February 11, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly sometimes have A25-54 demographic averages that beat CNN, MSNBC and HLN in total viewers during their respective hours. But Thursday night, Bret Baier and Shepard Smith, at 6 and 7pmET respectively, achieved the same thing. It was a rare occurrence for those two hard news hours.

• The top non-FNC cable news show was Nancy Grace’s HLN show at 8pmET in the demo and Keith Olbermann’s 8pmET MSNBC show in total viewers.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Breaking/Beck

573/692

Blitzer

160

Matthews

118

Prime

132

6 pm Baier

574

Blitzer

129

Ed Show

73

Prime

118

7 pm Shep

617

Blitzer

141

Matthews

102

Issues

151

8 pm O’Reilly

1128

Brown

154

Olbermann

246

Grace

274

9 pm Hannity

721

King

199

Maddow

175

Behar

131

10 pm Greta

467

Cooper

157

Olbermann

178

Grace

154

11 pm O’Reilly

500

Cooper

110

Maddow

116

Showbiz

106

TOTAL DAY 495 130 113 162
PRIME TIME 773 170 200 183
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Breaking/Beck

2296/2623

Blitzer

604

Matthews

542

Prime

246

6 pm Baier

2254

Blitzer

563

Ed Show

448

Prime

206

7 pm Shep

2151

Blitzer

500

Matthews

525

Issues

410

8 pm O’Reilly

4132

Brown

790

Olbermann

1052

Grace

878

9 pm Hannity

2852

King

931

Maddow

783

Behar

614

10 pm Greta

1887

Cooper

583

Olbermann

549

Grace

421

11 pm O’Reilly

1713

Cooper

375

Maddow

323

Showbiz

258

TOTAL DAY 1770 483 401 351
PRIME TIME 2960 768 794 628
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Who Is Driving Obama’s Socialist Agenda? Fox News

On last night’s O’Reilly Factor, the “Talking Points Memo” was all about socialism in America today, which was followed by an interview between host Bill O’Reilly and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. During the back in forth, O’Reilly revealed that he himself did not “think President Obama was a socialist”; a comment which rang hollow given the previous five minutes of his program were dedicated to “socialism” in America under this administration. Turns out that no other cable news channel discusses socialism more than Fox News, and its not really close.

By using the television database TVEyes (a content partner of Mediaite’s) we searched how many times the words “socialist’ and “socialism” were used on-air in the last three months. Since this database is comprised of close-captioned transcripts created by human transcribers, it isn’t perfect. Still the results are instructive.

Not surprisingly Fox News leads the pack with 468 total mentions of “socialism” or “socialist.” MSNBC comes in second, totally 266, and CNN a paltry third place at 94 total mentions. A significant, though not exponential difference, until you consider the vast difference in ratings. If one considers that Fox News prime time often triples the average viewers of its rivals, one should amplify this difference by a factor of three.

A good example of that narrative is best expressed by O’Reilly’s talking points memo last night:



For a guy that doesn’t think that Obama is a socialist, O’Reilly provides a lot of airtime dedicated to the fear of socialism in our country. Turns out that this is not an anomaly — no other cable news channel discusses the concept of socialism more than Fox News, and its not really even close.

During his much ballyhooed appearance on The Factor, Jon Stewart was asked what he made of a recent poll that declared Fox News as the must trusted name in news. Stewart said that they were the most passionate and delivered the clearest narrative. Part of that narrative is that though he may not himself be a socialist, Barack Obama’s administration is advocating a socialist agenda that includes redistribution of wealth, government intervention with banks, health care and basically anything else they can get their hands on.

Of course, none of this is news — its opinion. FNC has been clear in drawing a clear line between their opinion and news programming – and the later has been just as dominant over its peers as the opinion shows. As Roger Ailes told Arianna Huffington during This Week, Fox News IS the most trusted name in news.

But there is a reason we pointed out back in last September, that Mr. Ailes is the most powerful political person in America. As Stewart mentioned, no other network has as passionate and consistent delivery of a singular new narrative than Fox News. Perhaps that’s why they are so popular. And powerful.

But I leave it to the best current media critic to sum this up for me, in Jon Stewart’s pushing back on this very issue with Bill O’Reilly:


Dissecting CNN’s Ratings: Exploring Total Viewers Wednesday

Cable news ratings, February 10, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• CNN has a new line-up from 1pm-8pm, while prime time has remained the same for a couple years. Here are a few notes about CNN’s total viewers Wednesday: The top show was Campbell Brown’s at 8pmET, although Larry King and Anderson Cooper sometimes take the top CNN spot. Wednesday, Wolf Blitzer’s new first hour at 5pmET had more viewers than Cooper in prime time, as did Ali Velshi’s first hour at 1pmET.

• The top cable news show was Bill O’Reilly’s in total viewers and the demo, and #2 was Sean Hannity’s in both categories.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

777

Blitzer

 

140

Matthews

 

70

Prime

 

89

6 pm Baier

 

590

Blitzer

 

132

Ed Show

 

111

Prime

 

97

7 pm Shep

 

636

Blitzer

 

158

Matthews

 

153

Issues

 

182

8 pm O’Reilly

 

1055

Brown

 

217

Olbermann

 

299

Grace

 

346

9 pm Hannity

 

790

King

 

174

Maddow

 

242

Behar

 

222

10 pm Greta

 

628

Cooper

 

194

Olbermann

 

183

Grace

 

218

11 pm O’Reilly

 

553

Cooper

 

183

Maddow

 

132

Showbiz

 

187

TOTAL DAY 470 162 115 176
PRIME TIME 829 195 241 247
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

2969

Blitzer

 

718

Matthews

 

591

Prime

 

189

6 pm Baier

 

2791

Blitzer

 

644

Ed Show

 

574

Prime

 

228

7 pm Shep

 

2452

Blitzer

 

633

Matthews

 

641

Issues

 

439

8 pm O’Reilly

 

4177

Brown

 

769

Olbermann

 

1123

Grace

 

1028

9 pm Hannity

 

2811

King

 

756

Maddow

 

884

Behar

 

694

10 pm Greta

 

2377

Cooper

 

664

Olbermann

 

566

Grace

 

453

11 pm O’Reilly

 

1766

Cooper

 

472

Maddow

 

435

Showbiz

 

361

TOTAL DAY 1798 579 439 376
PRIME TIME 3130 730 863 708
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


The Obama Administration Is Not Going To Love O’Reilly’s Blago Interview

The No-Spin Zone has met its match. Bill O’Reilly welcomed disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to The Factor last night to discuss his recent federal indictment for a bevy of corruption charges and, after a few pleasantries, it took one question to send Blagojevich running behind the curtain of his court ordered silence.

O’Reilly opens up with a soft question – “President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago guys – do they have any involvement in the case at all?” – which Blagojevich quotes out of his memoir to answer that yes, they do. But his follow-up, whether he thinks they will be embarrassed by the content of the taped conversations, froze the governor into repeating a series of lawyer-approved catchphrases that dodged the question.

O’Reilly, frustrated, spent the rest of the segment trying to wheedle him out of that corner, but the crafty Governor waited his time out. Unfortunately for him, because his public image is in such shambles that everything he says in public is automatically assumed to be the opposite of true, he just ended up basically incriminating Obama administration officials.

Video below: