Fox’s Last Day (Hopefully) Of Smearing CA’s FAIR Education Act
July 15, 2011 6:41 pm ET by Carlos Maza
On Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 48, the FAIR Education Act, into law. The new law requires California public schools to teach students about the historical contributions of gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans. The law also prohibits school teachers from using materials that disparage LGBT Americans solely on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Fox News -- with its endless campaign of promoting the “gay indoctrination” myth -- has spent the last several months campaigning against the bill. Previous Fox segments have:
- Called LGBT history “irrelevant”
- Claimed the bill would teach students they can have “more than one gender or no gender at all”
- Accused the bill of teaching children lies and “propaganda” about gay people
- Called the bill a “shocking lesson plan”
- Wondered if public schools should tell students “why it’s okay to be gay”
Once the FAIR Education Act was finally signed into law, Fox decided to take a few final swipes at the measure before moving on to its next anti-LGBT horror story.
Fox hosts routinely promoted anti-gay talking points by exclusively citing “critics” of the bill.
During the July 14 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, host Shannon Bream promoted the claim that including LGBT history into California’s curriculum was “sexual brainwashing”:
During the July 15 edition of Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson referenced “family groups” that claim the measure would “expose kids to material that their parents don’t want them to hear just yet”:
Over at the Fox Business Network, the story wasn’t much different. During Friday’s edition of Varney & Company, host Stuart Varney was intent on smearing the measure:
Kudos to guest Tracy Byrnes for pointing out the ridiculousness of Varney’s objections. Unfortunately, the Fox host would not be deterred from his carrying out his misinformation campaign. Here’s a quick fact check:
Varney’s Claim: California can’t afford new books.
Reality: New books won’t be required until at least 2015 due to the budget crisis.
Varney’s Claim: The law requires a “special provision” for “women, Native Americans, Latinos, blacks.”
Fact: Those groups are already included in the state’s list of groups that can’t be excluded from history classes. The bill only adds LGBT people and people with disabilities to that list.
Varney’s Claim: Students won’t know “what followed what.”
Fact: History books include dates of significant events.
Of course, Fox’s coverage of an LGBT issue wouldn’t be complete without inviting at least one member of the Family Research Council (FRC) on the air. The FRC has been designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which makes it a perfect Fox News resource for anti-LGBT commentary.
During the July 15 edition of Fox’s America’s Newsroom, host Alisyn Camerota invited FRC’s Peter Sprigg to discuss the bill.
You may remember Sprigg from his earlier work, including recommending exporting gays and lesbians out of the United States, attempting to link homosexuality to pedophilia, and supporting “criminal sanctions” against those who engage in “gay behavior.”
In other words, he’s a sure thing when it comes to getting anti-LGBT misinformation on national television:
As expected, Sprigg rattles off the same right-wing talking points you would hear about any effort to reduce anti-LGBT bullying in school. After all, Sprigg has previously argued that the “most effective way” to reduce anti-LGBT bullying is to have kids stop being gay. Seriously.
And so concludes Fox’s “fair and balanced” coverage of one of the most significant pieces of pro-LGBT legislation to be adopted in recent history.
UPDATE: Later in the day, a Fox News host called the FAIR Education Act "brainwashing" while a Fox Business Network guest joked that one would have to "turn [historical figures] over" to determine if they were gay.