Fox & Friends recently hosted Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson to bash a California bill that would require inclusion of LGBT history in textbooks. Carlson falsely suggested that the bill wouldn't teach “what actually happened” in history, and asserted the bill would not curb bullying of gay students. In fact, research shows that including LGBT issues in curricula reduces bullying.
Fox Attacks CA Bill As “In The Way” of Educating Children, Part Of “Pro-Gay Agenda”
F&F Refers To Bill With Text Reading: “Lessons In Homosexuality?” Teasing an upcoming segment on a California bill proposing to require schools to teach students about the history of the LGBT movement, co-host Gretchen Carlson said: “Coming up next, a new lesson plan being added to our kids' schools: gay rights? But should it be starting in kindergarten?” The text displayed during Carlson's remarks read: “Lessons In Homosexuality?” [Fox News' Fox & Friends 12/17/10]
Tucker Carlson: The Bill Is “Propaganda” And “Blackmail.” During the December 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy had Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson on to discuss the proposed bill:
STEVE DOOCY: They've tried this out in California before and it has failed. Why now?
TUCKER CARLSON: Look, you don't need to be anti-gay to be against this and you can acknowledge that there is bullying in school including of gay kids. There are two problems with this. One, it's propaganda and two, it's blackmail. The point of history is to teach what happened. Not what you wanted to happen. Not what you hope will happen but what actually happened. In this case, a lawmaker is saying, portray a special -- an interest group in a positive light or kids will be hurt. Hence the blackmail. They are basically saying if you don't do this, kids could die. And that's an outrageous thing to say.
DOOCY: Yeah. The people behind this say that in the history books, there's nothing about the historical significance of gay people. So if somebody was gay, they want that out there.
CARLSON: Right. What I -- what they're saying is the point of history is to raise the self-esteem of students. It's to find yourself in the history book and see the group to which you belong portrayed in a positive light. And again, of course, that's not the point of history. The point of history is to teach you what happened.
CARLSON: It's the -- that's exactly right. It's not to make people feel good about themselves. It's not to achieve social aims. It's to tell the truth about what went before. And that's being subverted by a lawmaker and it's dangerous.
DOOCY: Now, I could see, Tucker, if a person's gayness had historical significance.
CARLSON: Oh, sure.
DOOCY: That should be in there.
CARLSON: Well, of course.
DOOCY: But, to do it this way, it seems unusual. And to -- and then to add the whole thing that if we don't start doing this, kids are going to get beat up, down the, you know, eventually. Does that seem like a stretch to you? [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 12/17/10]
Tucker Carlson: “There Isn't Social Science That Demonstrates That Teaching Children About The Glories Of The Gay Rights Movement Will Reduce Bullying.” From the December 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: Well, I mean, not only is it -- first of all, it's unproven. There isn't social science that demonstrates that teaching children about the glories of the gay rights movement will reduce bullying. That just doesn't -- we don't know that. But more to the point, again, that's not the purpose of school. The purpose of -- it may be the purpose of church, it may something that parents should do, it may be something that civic leaders want to take on, but the purpose of school is to educate children and this not only differs from that aim, it gets in the way of it.
DOOCY: Ultimately it just looks like somebody is trying to put a pro-gay agenda in schools.
CARLSON: Well, it's interest group politics, right. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 12/17/10]
But Bill Would “Teach What Happened” By Including The “Historical Contributions Of Gay People”
CA Bill To Require Schools To Start “Teaching Students Historical LGBT Figures” and “LGBT Equal Rights Movement.” On December 13, California State Senator Mark Leno (D, SF) introduced the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which requires public schools to include historical contributions of the LGBT community by adding “the LGBT community to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups already listed in the state's inclusionary education requirements.” In the accompanying press release, Leno stated of the bill:
“Most textbooks don't include any historical information about the LGBT movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history,” said Senator Leno (D-San Francisco). “Our collective silence on this issue perpetuates negative stereotypes of LGBT people and leads to increased bullying of young people. We can't simultaneously tell youth that it's OK to be yourself and live an honest, open life when we aren't even teaching students about historical LGBT figures or the LGBT equal rights movement.” [State Senator Leno's press release, 12/13/10]
Sac Bee Blog: Bill “Would Require Public School Materials To Include The Historical Contributions Of Gay People.” A December 13 post on The Sacramento Bee blog CapitolAlert stated that the bill “would require public school materials to include the historical contributions of gay people as a way to fight bullying,” and later noted that "[t]he bill's aim is to work information about historical figures and events into materials that are up for regular review and revision by state public school authorities." [CapitolAlert, The Sacramento Bee, 12/13/10]
Research Shows Teaching LGBT History Reduces Bullying And Makes All Students Feel Safer
CA Safe Schools Coalition: “Students Feel Safer At School When LGBT Issues Are Included In The Curriculum” And Report “Less LGBT Bullying At School.” The California Safe Schools Coalition surveyed California students and school administrators in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to determine whether curriculum that includes attention to LGBT people “promote[s] safer school climates.” According to their research, “students who report learning about LGBT issues in school... report fewer mean rumors or lies spread about them, fewer reports of being made fun of because of their looks or the way they talk, and less LGBT bullying at school.” The California Safe Schools Coalition also concluded that not only did more LGBT students feel safer at schools with LGBT issues in the curriculum, but "[m]ore straight students report feeling safe if they learned about LGBT issues." The report concluded:
Finding 1: Individual students feel safer at school when LGBT issues are included in the curriculum; this is true for LGBT students and for their straight peers.
Finding 2: School climates are safer when LGBT issues are part of the curriculum.
Finding 3: Many California school districts already include LGBT issues in the curriculum and many more are interested in doing so. [California Safe Schools Coalition, Safe Schools “LGBT Issues in the Curriculum Promotes School Safety”, 2006]
Tucker Carlson Has History Of Dismissing Gay Rights
Tucker Carlson And His Site Have Repeatedly Mocked And Dismissed Gay Rights Issues. As Media Matters For America has previously documented, Tucker Carlson has a history of dismissing gay rights issues. On the December 8 edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson dismissed assertions that Arabic translators were discharged from the military under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, saying, “spare me,” and calling DADT a “stupid issue.” Additionally, Carlson's website, The Daily Caller, has a history of posting content with anti-gay language. For example, one of the first posts to the site included writer Matt Labash wishing he could “be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow,” and a post in November referred to Rosie O'Donnell as half a man.