Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bill O'Reilly vs. My School District

When I saw the words "Plano, Texas" today on Gawker, a web site devoted to torturous daily analysis of the New York media world's navel, I was brought up short. It's difficult to think of two less congruous entities than Plano and Gawker. Turns out it was on there because Bill O'Reilly, who's lately been campaigning against establishments that substitute generic holiday greetings for "Merry Christmas," railed against a Plano school thusly:
In Plano, Texas, a school told students they couldn’t wear red and green because they are Christmas colors. That’s flat-out fascism. If I were a student in Plano, I’d be a walking Christmas tree after that order.
(I love defining anything as "fascism" that could be rightly corrected by becoming a "walking Christmas tree." I'm wearing tinsel -- take that, Mussolini!!)

You might be asking yourself: John, I know you're currently deep in the navel of the New York media industry, but why such interest in this particular story? Well, I'm a proud graduate of Plano Senior High School. (Just like one day, when I'm sanding a boat on a Mexican beach like Tim Robbins at the end of Shawshank, I'll be a proud graduate of the New York media industry.)

Though O'Reilly didn't specify which school he was talking about, the absurdity of the alleged crime unnerved me. Remembering Plano as a strip-mall-infested bore, but home to very good public schools, and certainly not a fascist state (I live in New York, so I know from the misuse of fascism accusations), I was glad to see that several people came forward to correct O'Reilly. In fact, the school had issued no such edict. And just when I was feeling a small swell of pride for the misunderstood South (of course we can wear red and green, y'all!), I came across a blog by a Plano mother who defended the school by sharing this anecdote:
False, false, false! Another Dan Rather blunder. When I picked up my daughter from a Plano ISD school last Friday, many kids were wearing Santa hats. If this statement were true, they would’ve never been able to leave the school wearing them.
Yes, just like Dan Rather. See, he was investigating the President of the United States and his wartime activities, or lack thereof. And Bill O'Reilly mistakenly thought that this woman's daughter, and "many" other kids, weren't wearing Santa hats to school.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dezmond said...

But both made up the stories without properly following up to verify them, and both call themselves newsmen...so the comparison works on a certain level. Saying that Rather actually "investigated" anything is being very generous to Rather.

11:27 AM  

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