Is Fox Being ‘Fair and Balanced’? Texas Ed. Agency Says No

By Erik W. Robelen — March 11, 2010 1 min read
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Fox News likes to emphasize its commitment to providing “fair and balanced” coverage of the issues, but the Texas Education Agency isn’t impressed.

In an unusual action, the state agency issued a press release yesterday accusing Fox of “inaccurately reporting” on the work under way by the state board of education to revise the state’s social studies standards.

It offers up a series of quotes and assertions from Fox News followed by “The truth.”

Here’s one example: The Texas agency says Fox has indicated that “one of the proposed changes is to start history class in the year 1877.”

“The Truth: Texas has and always will teach U.S. history from the beginning until the present day. U.S. history through Reconstruction is taught in the 8th grade. ...”

The press release also says Fox is reporting that Abraham Lincoln and George Washington have been removed from the textbooks.

“The truth: The standards, not the textbooks, are before the board this week. Lincoln is required to be included in the first and eighth grade history classes, as well as in the U.S. government class. Washington is required to be taught in kindergarten, first grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade.”

To see for yourself how Fox News is reporting the effort, you can check out a news section it has dubbed “The Texas Textbook Wars.”

You can also watch this week’s deliberations by the state board online. The board has a long list of citizens, advocates, legislators, and others who are testifying to share their views. In fact, I saw a Texas mother testify (sorry, couldn’t make out her name) who said she was inspired to come out after seeing reports on none other than Fox News.

In case you’re curious how other news outlets are handling the developments in Texas, here are links to stories by the Associated Press, the New York Times, and the Dallas Morning News.

Here’s a recent blog item I wrote, plus a more detailed story my colleague Mary Ann Zehr wrote up last summer offering a preview.

Image provided by the Library of Congress.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.