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Fox's Stossel surprisingly unmoved by O'Reilly's Kersten crusade

[Note: A correction to this item is here.]

Complaining about Katherine Kersten is like yelling at clouds, but her latest anti-U blast is once again getting unusual play from a usual suspect.

Via City Pages’ Hart Van Denburg, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly picked up Kersten’s claim that the U’s College of Education will brainwash students into understanding diversity, chewing it over with new hire and ex-ABC newsman John Stossel.

But Hart buried the most remarkable thing about the discussion: much of it was actually reasonable. Sure, O’Reilly equates diversity training with “tell[ing] your students America’s a terrible place.” But here’s Stossel’s response:

“...I don't know that they're doing this. It's one of the best ed schools in the country. Are you telling me when you were a teacher that you or some of your colleagues might not have been helped by a cultural sensitivity course? Some Asian cultures, it's impolite to look an adult in the eye. So if the kid is looking down, the teacher may think he's not paying attention when he's just being polite. That stuff's good to know.”

Stossel, a loud and proud libertarian, does criticize the “government monopoly on K-12 education” (kids at Cretin-Derham Hall or Minnehaha Academy might disagree) and teacher-certification standards. But when O’Reilly says:

“... the fact remains is that there's indoctrination taking place now all across the United States, and it’s left-wing indoctrination. And surely as a libertarian, you can't support a left-wing indoctrination taking place. And that's what's going on in America's public schools by and large.”

Stossel replies, “87 percent of the teachers are white. Almost half the kids are not white anymore. Some training wouldn't hurt.”

O’Reilly:Training about what?”

Stossel: “Training about how races may be different, how kids from other cultures may learn differently.”

Talk about letting hot air out of the balloon!

Kersten, of course, is unwilling to expose her thesis to doubters. Her initial Nov. 22 column didn’t feature any response from the U. In a second column three weeks later she waited until one of the final paragraphs to include U spokesman Dan Wolter’s note that the teacher training ideas (clearly labeled “draft, for discussion uses”) is still “a dynamic process.”

But Kersten didn’t even get that quote herself. Instead, it came via Fox News. That’s right; Fox picked up the phone when Kersten, who initiated the charges, apparently wouldn’t ... twice. Perhaps the U wouldn't respond, but I can't believe KK would let that non-response go unmentioned.

I guess I should wait and see if Kersten responds elsewhere and let you know what someone else says she says. Naw, I'll give her a call and let you know.

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Comments (6)

The important point is that Kersten's work shines a much needed spotlight on the activities of the leftist machine and often results in investigations that stop them cold.

In this case, Katherine has garnered national attention to an issue sorely in need of public scrutiny and remediation.

I must also point out that the thoughtful reader will necessarily come away with a different take from the transcript than the one posited by Brauer.

Stossel is playing the Devil's advocate, but concedes that Kersten is on to something:

STOSSEL: But 87 percent of the teachers are white. Almost half the kids are not white anymore. Some training wouldn't hurt.

O'REILLY: Training about what?

STOSSEL: Training about how races may be different, how kids from other cultures may learn differently.

O'REILLY: OK, I'll cede you that there can be that kind of a presentation. But that's not what this Minnesota thing's about. This is about America's bad, ram it down your students' throat. And you and I know it, Stossel.

STOSSEL: If that's the case, I'm with you.

O'REILLY: All right. You ought to be.

I can understand how the nuance of reasoned debate might be lost on those who turn to people like Keith Olberman or Rachel Maddow as examples, but to suggest the John Stossel might be on-board with the blatant inculcation of leftist group think being contemplated at the U is really too much.

A point I've tried to make, apparently without success, is that just because Katherine Kersten says something, doesn't mean it is wrong.

There are people, other than conservatives, who have misgivings about this TERI business. One of them is a well known academic blogger, Professor Margaret Soltan, who teaches English at George Washington University. It would be difficult to paint her as a flaming conservative.

From her blog:

http://www.margaretsoltan.com/?p=19981

[University of Minnesota Spokesman Makes Things Worse]

"A University of Minnesota task force that proposes one-on-one remedial work with school of education students who fail to adopt mandated political views has attracted a lot of negative attention to that school. All sorts of people have pointed out that this profoundly anti-democratic initiative violates freedom of conscience."

-------------

As usual, the University of Minnesota administration [Dean Quam, President Bruininks...] doesn't seem to want to engage in a dialogue on the matter.

Perhaps this may start happening at the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure meetings in the near future?

Bill Gleason
U of M '73 and faculty member

It's not that Kersten is right wing, it's that she's consistently dishonest. Each and every column is as one-sided as she can make it, especially when she tells you what the other side thinks.

Kersten would be the perfect embodiment of the Fox News opinionator if only she met the physical requirements for women on Fox News.

Stossel is new. Give him a few months before his bosses starting insisting that he rant and rave live EVERY OTHER jorunalism reject on the air at Fox.

TV makes you stupid. FOX TV makes stupid, mean and hateful.

Thank-you, Jeremy, for that thoughtful, intellectually stimulating contribution.

It's true that Conservatives often claim that leftists are "anti-American", but they do not take the time to explain what that means often enough. "Anti-Americanism" isn't refusing to recite the pledge; it's not drawing a Hitler mustache on pictures of the President and it's not throwing groceries at people making speeches you disapprove with.

The "anti-American" streak we detect among many on the left is much more dangerous, and insidious than mere public displays of counter-culture buffoonery and bad manners...it's an attack on every tradition that has ever been shared by the builders of this great Democracy; an attack that includes Democracy itself.

Freedom of conscience. Think about that, while you can still do so without looking over your shoulder.

"The "anti-American" streak we detect among many on the left is much more dangerous, and insidious than mere public displays of counter-culture buffoonery and bad manners...it's an attack on every tradition that has ever been shared by the builders of this great Democracy; an attack that includes Democracy itself."

Damn you values and traditions for always changing with the times! I don't wanna go and I hate those that do!