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

Fox News diveristy in the face of a Star Tribune op-ed columnist’s campaign.
By David Brauer

[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:

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“…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.

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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.