Fox Exploits Bin Laden's Death To Continue Attacks On Education

Fox has exploited the death of Osama bin Laden to attack the “cowardly public school system,” by seizing on a video of American teenagers who appeared unsure about who bin Laden was. As Media Matters has previously documented, Fox routinely finds any excuse to attack teachers, public schools and teachers' unions.

Fox Exploits Bin Laden's Death To Continue Assault On Public Education

Carlson: “Liberals” And “Multiculturalists” In Education To Blame For Kids Appearing Not To Know Who Bin Laden Was. On the May 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson blamed “liberals” and “multiculturalists” for teenagers not knowing who Osama bin Laden was. He further declared that educators were “uncomfortable” teaching students about radical Islam. From Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: This is a trend, this is a theme, unfortunately, in American life--history being deemphasized. But I think in the case of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, there might be another element to it. But, let me just be clear, there are a lot of world historic figures that I think school children ought to know about and don't--

DOOCY: Absloutely

CARLSON: --but in this specific case, it's uncomfortable, I think, for a lot of educators to teach about al-Qaeda and about bin Laden in any detail because it inevitably raises pretty basic questions that are tough to answer. For instance, al-Qaeda claims, bin Laden always claimed that his beliefs stem directly from the literal reading of the Q'uran. Is that true, or is it not? That's a tough question for modern multiculturalists to grapple with because the answer could be yes. And so in some ways, it's easier just to ignore the whole thing or in the words of that -- the one child Fox interviewed, come up with dumb answers like, “Well he just hated the United States.” Well, where did that hatred come from? What were his ideas? Very few classes I'm aware of in this country have grappled with that question which is an important question.

Carlson later claimed that “to get into [bin Laden's] ideology” is “uncomfortable for liberals” because bin Laden's was “fundamentally a religious ideology.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/5/11]

O'Reilly: Our “Cowardly Public School System” Hasn't Taught Students About Bin Laden Because “They're Afraid To Offend Someone.” On the May 6 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly responded to reports that 66 percent of internet searches asking who bin Laden was came from children between the ages of 13 and 17 by claiming “their teachers don't teach them” about bin Laden. O'Reilly claimed teachers are “afraid, they're afraid to offend someone if they say, well you know, these are the bad guys and these are the good guys. United States is good and the Muslim terrorists are bad. Some kid's going to run home and some irate parent's going to come down.” O'Reilly added that teachers “abdicate their responsibility to teach children current events and what's going on in the world because they're afraid. Look, we have a cowardly public school system. I think everybody knows that right now.” After co-host Gretchen Carlson asked if it has “more to do with having to describe what radical Islam is,” O'Reilly again said: “I think they're cowards.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/6/11]

Fox Has A Long History Of Attacking Education and Educators

Huckabee Guest Mancow: Teachers Unions Are “Churning Out Dummies ... On Purpose, Because Dumb People Are Easier To Lead.” On the April 16 edition of Fox News' Huckabee, guest and conservative radio host Mancow Muller claimed teachers unions are “churning out dummies, they're churning out Forrest Gump with no drive. And they're doing it on purpose, because dumb people are easier to lead. I really wonder if it's not a concerted effort to keep our kids stupid.” [Fox News, Huckabee, 4/16/11]

Morris: NYC Is Paying Teachers Who “Are So Incompetent They Are Not Allowed To See Students.” On Fox News, Dick Morris claimed that, while Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was unpopular because of his actions restricting collective bargaining rights, this perception would change once the public learns more about teachers unions. As evidence, Morris falsely claimed that, because of a union contract, New York City has been unable to fire 4,000 teachers who “are so incompetent they are not allowed to see students. They go to rubber rooms every day and read the paper and watch TV and we pay them full salary.” In fact, the “rubber rooms” were closed in NYC with the support of the teachers union. [Fox News' On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, 3/10/11]

Napolitano Attacks Public School Teachers: “What Incentive Is There For Them To Do A Good Job?” On the March 7 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, guest host Andrew Napolitano claimed teachers unions “know that the kids are going to show up in class no matter how poor a job they do. They know the money is going to come from the taxpayers no matter how poor a job they what incentive is there for them to do a god job, to save money, to educate children properly?” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/7/11]

Beck Talks Down To “Those Who Went To Public School.” On the January 26 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck said: “Right now, all of the energy, all the electricity we get, we get 0.6 percent from wind. Point--for those who went to public school, that's less than 1 percent.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/26/11]

Beck: "[A]bolish The Department of Education." On the April 14, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, while detailing his “plan” for the U.S. budget, Beck said: “We need to get control of our schools back to the parents, back to the states. The best way to do this is to abolish the Department of Education. We certainly don't need to be giving them more money. The federal government should only be responsible for the things that the states cannot do.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/14/10]

Beck: Protests Against State Education Cuts Are “An Assault On, I Think, Our Constitution.” On the March 4, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck said that protests being held against, amongst other things, cuts to education, were “an assault on, I think, our constitution.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/4/10]

Hannity: “Isn't The Real Answer Here To Eliminate Public Schools?” From the October 8, 2009, edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: [I]f we want to send our kids to school, there are teachers, there are school districts that think it's appropriate that they can circumvent the values of parents, and they can tell their kids, give them condom demonstrations, talk about issues of homosexuality, they contradict the values of the parents and their religion, and so on and so forth. Isn't the real answer here to eliminate public schools and give parents vouchers, choices, competition. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/8/09]