Once again, Fox News shows that they can’t even be bothered to do the most rudimentary bit of research. Not one, but two of their shows spewed the same incorrect misinformation about a college course on the literature of 9/11. All because a freshman blogger lied about it.
The College Fix is a conservative blog written by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) freshman. The August 28 review of “ENGL 72: Literature of 9/11,” taught by associate professor Neel Ahuja, is decidedly skewed. Though the syllabus and schedule have a long list of material the course covers, The College Fix chose to only review the list of books in the syllabus. These include Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers and Poems from Guantánamo. The College Fix asserts that…
“None of the readings assigned in the freshman seminar present the Sept. 11 attacks from the perspective of those who died or from American families who lost loved ones.”
Fox News got hold of this and ran with it. Even though a simple Internet search would have shown that this assertion is incorrect. But Fox never lets facts get in the way of a good “scandal.” Fox & Friends‘ Elizabeth Hasselbeck repeated the claim, even interviewing a man who lost a family member in the 9/11 attack:
“Students at one of the top universities in the country will learn about the September 11th attacks through the eyes of the terrorists, instead of the victims. A UNC-Chapel Hill’s freshman seminar class, ‘Literature of 9/11,’ sympathizes with the terrorists who sparked the national tragedy, presenting America as imperialistic. Some of the required reading includes poetry by Guantanamo Bay detainees, but nothing at all from the perspective of September 11th victims or their families.”
We can’t expect Elizabeth to do her own research, but the show’s news director or producer should have done their due diligence… wait a minute. We’re talking about Fox “News.” What was I thinking?
The refrain was taken up on Outnumbered, where Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery and her merry band of dimwits went after Poems from Guantánamo. Saying that it would “make a great lining for the bottom of my parrot’s cage,” Kennedy and her gang proceeded to attack Professor Ahuja. (Sidenote: If Kennedy really does have a parrot, I find that deliciously ironic):
“I think we should offer a thousand dollars to the first student who takes this class from Professor Neel Ahuja and actually disagrees with him, and we’ll see what kind of a grade they get. Because I guarantee you–
Right, because he will shut down debate, that professor. Yeah.”
They think they know exactly what kind of teacher Ahuja is, but they don’t have all the information on the course because — say it with me — they didn’t do their research. If they had, they would know that the course really does present a diverse array of literature concerning 9/11. Not only from critics of American policy before and after the attacks, but from survivors and their families. Photographs, the “9/11 Commission Report” and films are also part of the course. It sounds like a genuinely well-rounded literary view of the attacks, but it’s taught by a professor with a foreign-sounding name so, to Fox, it must be suspect. Ahuja, incidentally, was born in Kansas.
Fox isn’t a news channel. It is, by its own admission, “entertainment.” The people they entertain have their own prejudices and fears reflected to them by paid liars. Research is a dirty word there, its anathema to their duty as the PR arm of the Republican party. The people they hire to deliver the “entertainment” know their job and will misrepresent, mislead and lie to do it.
Here’s the dumbfest on Outnumbered:
Featured image via Media Matters video screen capture