DeVos and School Choice- The Good, the Bad, the Reality

So I’m hearing a whole lot of back and forth about our new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, and whether or not she’s the savior of our education system or the nail in its coffin. As it turns out, the issue is a lot more complicated than partisan politics. Republicans tend to frame the argument in terms of a free market scenario in which competition breeds better choices. Devos said as much in an interview back in 2001. In the interview she and her husband are asked directly if they want to “destroy our public schools.” She responded, “No, we are for good education, and for having every child have an opportunity for good education…We both believe that competition and choices make everyone better and that ultimately if the system that prevails in the United States prevails today had more competition- there were more choices for people to make freely- that all of the schools would become better as a result.” The thing is, our education system isn’t exactly a free market scenario because- government funding. Democrats see government funded “school choice” as the death knell for public schools because public schools already struggle to perform with the funding that they have. What would they do if funds were to be diverted to private and charter schools? Good question. From the perspective of a parent, everyone wants to have the ability to provide their child with the best education possible and the fact of the matter is some public schools do NOT fit that bill. Where does the complication come in? Government funding. Essentially, this is an issue of privately funded school choice vs government funded school choice and the realities of each.

Let’s look at DeVos and school choice from the liberal perspective. The first thing that really stood out in my research is that the left absolutely HATE Betsy DeVos and the thought of her as Education Secretary. They do have one valid concern which is DeVos’ lack of experience. She has never overseen a public office and now she is over The Dept. of Education with nearly 5,000 employees. She has never worked at a school district, so her experience with education is limited to her perspective as a student and a parent. That being said, DeVos has never attended public school and her children haven’t either. Is this a big deal? According to education analyst Jay P. Greene from the University of Arkansas and Lisa Shell from the Reason Foundation, the Education Secretary really doesn’t have much to do regarding federal funds as they are already pre-committed through funding formulas that aren’t easy to tamper with. What DeVos CAN do is set a broad agenda and a tone, which is really what the left are up in arms about.

Agenda and tone- herein lies the rub. Betsy DeVos is a very outspoken Christian and as such is a proponent of making government funded religiously based school choices available to everyone. This is truly where the left shifts into complete freak out mode. You don’t need to spend much time listening to their point of view to realize that. Here’s a little sampling of their rhetoric:

      1. Gizmoto contributor Rae Paoletta says, “DeVos has repeatedly supported Republicans who have waged war against climate change and evidence-based education. Her family supports the notoriously anti-science evangelical group Focus on the Family, and other fundamentalist Christian organizations. Unsurprisingly, DeVos also supports vouchers that can carry taxpayer dollars to religious schools, which could be teaching creationism. In effect, taxpayers could be sending their children to school where evolution is regarded as—to quote Trump—’fake news’.”

      2. Quoted in the same article is Allie Sherman, a biology teacher from California, “DeVos may try to push some backwards anti-science curriculum, and that’s going to be tough for science teachers in places that already struggle with anti-science culture,” Sherman said. “But I think those of us who really understand and care about science are going to laugh at any attempt to tell us what to do in our classrooms.”

      3. In this Newsweek article entitled “Betsy DeVos is coming for Your Public Schools, two section headings read, “Christs Agent of Renewal” and “Advancing God’s Kingdom”. Dramatic much? The author goes on to use Devos’ quotes out of context to make a faux point.

      4. This article in Politico states, “The Devos family has a long history of supporting anti-gay causes — including donating hundreds of thousands to “Focus on the Family”, a conservative Christian organization that supports so-called conversion therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.

        -This example strikes me as a little Buzzfeed vs Chip and Joanna Gaines if you know what I mean.

I emphasize this point to bring to light a blatant irony. The left wants to determine what is taught at the institutions their tax dollars support. Hmm, what a novel idea! You might think the left would welcome school choice! An excellent opportunity for them to have control over what their children are exposed to. But no, they are opposed on the grounds that their tax dollars would support any institution with a curriculum they disagree with. Which, by the way, Christians have been doing for decades…

Let’s draw another mind boggling comparison. The left just supported a massive Women’s March in which women demanded that the government give them full autonomy over their bodies while also demanding federal funding for these autonomous decisions.

What is DeVos championing? The right to governmentally funded school choice with respect to the institution you send your child to be educated and that institution’s right to be privately run. Good grief, if DeVos was a Democrat they would have asked her speak in the time slot between Madonna and Ashley Judd at their march. Hello hypocrisy!! If you’re conservative this may leave you feeling a little uneasy- and it should. That’s your inner logic trying to get your attention.

So what does all this mean? Is school choice bad?? The answer is no. Let’s take a look at charter schools because the left tries to give them a bad name even though they are pretty much an innocent bystander in this whole debacle. This is the header from an actual anti charter school website:

Oh. The. Drama.

Ok, back to reality. Let’s look at how charter schools are similar to public schools:

      1. They take the same state mandated standardized tests

      2. They don’t charge tuition.

      3. Can’t discriminate by race, sex, or disability in their enrollment.

      4. Accountable to the city, state, county, or district that granted their charter.

Here’s how they are different:

      1. Varying leadership, or staff organization structure.

      2. They can be run and operated by a nonprofit Charter Management Organization.

      3. They can be run by private, for profit entities that also provide the school’s curriculum.

      4. They can have an educational philosophy which determines the curriculum and teacher training.

      5. They can hire teachers who are not part of a union and who aren’t credentialed. The latter is something you should DEFINITELY check into with the specific charter school you may be considering. California law requires all charter school teachers to be credentialed.

      6. Typically charter schools allow their teaching staff more leeway regarding their curriculum and teaching style.

How do charter schools stack up against public schools? Well, just like public schools, there are good ones and bad ones. According to this article at greatschools.org , “A 2012 study by the California Charter Schools Association found that charter schools tend to fall on two ends of the spectrum- high performing or low performing- rather than somewhere in the middle. The study shows positive effects are strongest at charter schools serving low-income students than there are high-performing traditional public schools serving low-income students.”

Now we come to the reality of where DeVos gets it WRONG. As a parent, I’m all for being able to choose the school I want to send my child to without having to shell out mega bucks I can’t afford to get them there. As a realist, I know there is always a give and take- you can’t have your cake and eat it to. This is exactly what DeVos is trying to do, and as much as I would love for it to be possible- it just isn’t. As Daren Jonescu puts it in his blog post on the subject, “What kind of ‘private options’ come at public expense? The short and obvious answer: the kind that meet with government approval.” What is the huge problem with our public education system now? The fact that the government has way too much control over it. DeVos’ answer to making private and charter schools affordable for the masses is a voucher system. This excerpt from a Brietbart article sums it up, “School vouchers are the transfer of taxpayer funds from a public school to a private or charter school. Grassroots constitutionalists know that school vouchers as a means to bring about “school choice” are associated with the greatest amount of regulation for the schools that agree to accept them. In some states with voucher systems, the schools that accept these vouchers, have been forced to use the same Common Core standards and have their students take the same Common Core-aligned tests as their counterparts in the public schools. This is done in the name of ‘accountability’ for use of public money. This situation, however, begs the question, “Why bother, then, to move a child from a public school to a private school?” Schools that want to be included on a state’s alternate school option list will have to conform to learning parameters dictated by the current government administration. This is what government intervention in our school system currently looks like:

And this:

‘Sorry, kid…that’s it.’

And this:

Is this what we want to turn our private and charter schools into?

Two things cause me to suspect that DeVos is in fact a part of the establishment “swamp” when it comes to education. The first is her backing of Common Core. Don’t be fooled by her recent claims that she isn’t a common core supporter. According to Michelle Malkin in this article for the Daily Caller DeVos is, “…a woman every last grassroots activist in Michigan knows was not just mouthing words of support for Common Core, but funding the main state non-profit organization that was pushing it on them.” American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins had this to say about DeVos’ denouncing of Common Core, “ Though, upon her nomination, DeVos quickly dismissed any notion that she has been supportive of Common Core, her statement that she calls for ‘high standards’ and ‘accountability’ are ‘sleight of hand’ words that describe the unpopular nationalized standards.” Indeed, DeVos supports what is effectively the “rebranded” version of Common Core. The second sign is the fact that DeVos’ has expressed the desire to implement the massive Every Student Succeeds Act (the just as boondoggledy successor of the boondoggle No Child Left Behind) Jane Robbins had this to say, “[ESSA] enshrines the progressive-education agenda of national standards, workforce development, competency-based education (the modern term for discredited outcome-based education), digital training, government preschool, and non-academic ‘social emotional learning.’” These are the chief factors that lead me to believe DeVos is what I would consider to be an establishment Republican when it comes to her push for government funded school choice.

What does that mean? When it comes to DeVos herself, she may truly want to make school choice (and religious school choice) a reality for those who currently cannot afford it- which is commendable. However, she is attempting to accomplish this by effectively maintaining or increasing the role of government in our already ailing education system. That may work out well for us now, while we have a pro-Christian Education Secretary and President of the US, but what about when we don’t? By taking private and charter school education under the wing of the federal government, DeVos opens the door for even these school options to be wrested from our control. Democrats and Establishment Republicans are two doors to the same room. Both want a larger government, they just disagree about how to run it.

So, sometimes being a realist really stinks. I mean, I can’t jump on the government funded school choice bandwagon, which at this point excludes me from being able to take advantage of a private or charter option that I would love to be able to provide for my kids. The optimist in me, however, sees this as an opportunity. An opportunity to fight for my children to receive the kind of education I want them to have- in public school. And if I’m fighting for my kids, then the underprivileged kids in my zip code benefit as well. I can do that by being an activist in the fight against governmental overreach in the public education system and lobbying to reform how our schools are run. Dale Rogers, a teacher in Michigan with 32 years experience who achieved National Board Certification for Career and Technical Education in 2007, wrote an article detailing how we need to revolutionize our education system that I think a lot of us can get behind. Here are some of the high points in his article entitled “Run Schools Like Businesses? Sure. Here’s How.”:

      1. Utilize the intern model used by the medical profession by having quality internships for new teachers.

      2. Redesigning a school calendar that recognizes the quality benefits of time for teachers to plan and evaluate student work.

      3. Develop techniques for education that aren’t built on a foundation of standardized curriculum developed by 10 elite men in the 1890’s.

      4. Not placing blame on the workforce (teachers) who are only responsible for 15% of the problems where the system designed by management (politicians) is responsible for 85% of the unintended consequences.

Rogers goes on to stress three important points that education reform currently overlooks:

      1. Quality goes down when ranking people.

      2. Cramming facts into students’ heads is not learning.

      3. People talk about getting rid of deadwood (bad teachers), but there are only two explanations of why the dead wood exists: A. You hired dead wood in the first place, or, B. you hired live wood, and then you killed it.

I’m definitely no education expert, but if our aim is reform, this seems like an excellent place to start.

What in the World Happened Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?

What in the world happened between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2? Well, that’s the million dollar question. Arguments about this very question create a rift among some Christians in many cases, sadly too severe to bridge. Let’s talk about the three schools of thought: Gap Theory, Day Age Theory, and Young Earth Creationism. Now of course, among these three are several variations of beliefs; since I’m not trying to write a book here, we’ll be general. Disclaimer before we begin: I do have a very strong view on this particular topic which will be totally obvious, but for me this causes no rift between myself and those who hold to different opinions- I’m more of a “agree to disagree and move on” kind of girl.

First we’ll talk about Gap Theory. To be fair, I will use the same source for my definition of each theory- wikipedia. Wikipedia defines Gap Theory as the form of old earth creationism that posits the the six- yom (yom is the Hebrew word for day) creation period, as described in the book of Genesis, involved six literal 24 hour days (light being “day” and dark “night” as God specified), but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and second verses of Genesis, which the theory states explains many scientific observations, including the age of the earth. This view holds that God created a fully functional earth with all animals, including the dinosaurs and other creatures we know only from the fossil record. Then, “something” happened to destroy the earth completely (some say the fall of Satan to earth) so that the planet became without form and void. At this point, God started all over again, recreating the earth in its paradise form as further described in Genesis.

The first question that comes to my mind is: why would we need to re- interpret these verses to mean anything other than what they literally seem to mean in the first place? Well, Gap Theory became popular near the end of the 18th and first half of the 19th century because of the then, newly established science of geology which had declared that, based on their findings, the only interpretation of the evidence pointed to an old earth- a very old earth. This meant that the earth was far older than the common interpretations of Genesis and the Bible-based flood theology allowed. So, some theologians of that time, in an effort to reconcile the Bible to the authority of science, introduced Gap Theory as a compromise so that the two could not contradict each other. Take this very telling quote from the Scofield Study Bible regarding why the gap theory is necessary, “Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with Genesis cosmogony remains.” The theory was popularized in 1814 by Thomas Chalmers, who was a very well respected professor of theology in Scotland. The theory really picked up steam when this “second creative act” (recreation of a previously existing destroyed earth) was discussed prominently in the reference notes for Genesis in the influential 1917 Scofield Reference Bible. In 1954, the evangelical theologian Bernard Ramm wrote in his book The Christian View of Science and Scripture, “The gap theory has become the standard interpretation throughout hyper-othodoxy, appearing in an endless stream of books, booklets, Bible studies, and periodical articles. In fact, it has become so sacrosanct with some that to question it is equivalent to tampering with Sacred Scripture or to manifest modernistic leanings.”

So we have the “why” of the compromise, now let’s discuss the “how”? How in the world did these theologians build a Biblical case for the Gap Theory? The arguments for Gap Theory revolve around compromises regarding the translation of Hebrew words such as: bara (to create vs creating), asah (making vs made over), hayetha (was vs became), and tohu wabohu (empty and formless vs something once in a state of repair, but now ruined). For an in depth explanation of these arguments along with rebuttals you can visit: http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=575 To sum it up succinctly, I’ll submit this information: In 1948, M. Henkel, a graduate student at the Winona Lake School of Theology, wrote a master’s thesis on “Fundamental Christianity and Evolution.” During the course of his research, he polled 20 leading Hebrew scholars in the United States, and asked each of them if there were any exegetical (a fancy word that means interpretation of religious text) evidence that would allow for a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. They unanimously replied- No! (Henkel, 1950, p. 49, n. 30) Of course, there is still the glaring issue which is that the Gap Theory creates a gigantic theological problem regarding Romans 5:12 where it is made clear that death entered the world through sin and sin through Adam. Gap theory requires an entire primitive creation where death was rampant before the introduction of sin through Adam. Any effort to remedy this problem can only be addressed with non-Biblically supported speculation (from what I’ve seen).

On to the second argument- Day Age Theory. According to wikipedia, this theory holds that the six days referred to in the Genesis account of creation are not ordinary 24 hour days, but are much longer periods (of thousands or millions of years). In this way the Genesis account is reconciled with the scientifically accepted age of the earth. The arguments for this theory revolve around the meaning of the Hebrew word “yom”. Proponents of this theory point out that “yom” can have a number of meanings: 24 hour period, long age, etc. They often cite Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8. To apply these verses as evidence would be out of context however, as both verses are clearly using simile to show that God is not constrained by the same time parameters as humans are. Back to “yom”, here is the breakdown:

      1. “yom” occurs 2,282 times outside of Genesis 1. It occurs 359 times with a number outside Genesis 1. In all 359 cases, the context clearly shows that a 24 hour day is being referenced.

      2. “yom” occurs 19 times outside of Genesis 1, together with the word “morning” or “evening”. In all 19 cases, a 24 hour day is clearly intended. The words “morning” and “evening” occur together, without “day” 38 times outside of Genesis 1. Each of these occurrences refers to a 24 hour day.

      3. “yom” occurs with the word “night” 53 times outside of Genesis 1. Each of these occurrences refers to a 24 hour day.

I love this quote from an article in Creation Day regarding this issue: “Given this immense contextual evidence, one is tempted to ask somewhat flippantly, ‘What could God have done to emphasize that the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24 hour days?’ Might I suggest that He could have used the Hebrew “yom” together with numbers, morning, evening or night? And that is exactly what He did!”

Here we are at the third, and my (obviously at this point) preferred argument- Young Earth Creationism. Wikipedia defines this theory as the view that the Universe, Earth and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of God less than 10,000 years ago. Its primary adherents are those Christians who subscribe to a literal interpretation of the creation narrative in the Genesis and believe that God created the Earth in six 24 hour literal days. Now that sounds fair enough, right? Pretty unbiased definition in line with the definitions of the other theories, right? IF wikipedia stopped there, but it doesn’t. Wikipedia continues with this jewel: “Since the mid-20th century, young earth creationists- starting with Henry Morris (1918-2006)- have devised and promoted a pseudoscientific explanation called “creation science” as a basis for a religious belief in a supernatural, geologically recent creation. Evidence from numerous scientific disciplines contradicts YEC, showing the age of the universe as 13.8 billion years, the formation of the earth as at least 4.5 billion years ago, and the first appearance of life on Earth as occurring at least 3.5 billion years ago…Young Earth creationism directly contradicts the scientific consensus of the scientific community…As such, young Earth creationism is dismissed by the academic and scientific communities.” Wow! Somebody REALLY does not like creation science! The bias is so extreme and so transparent as to be comical. Why does Young Earth creation science garner such hatred you might ask. Therein lies the transparency of the bias- TIME. It all comes down to time. The other Christian theories compromise by giving the scientific community what it wants and NEEDS in order for their theories (most importantly the theory of evolution) to prove true- time- billions of years of it. Without billions of years, the evolution narrative explodes in a gigantic “Big Bang”, so to speak. This is why the scientific community is willing to overlook obvious major issues with their dating systems and a plethora of other issues- because these flawed systems( proven to be flawed, not speculated to be flawed) provide them with the time necessary for their darling theory of evolution to work. This is why the bias of atheistic, secular science cannot be ignored. This is why they ignore evidence of a young earth and black ball the scientists brave enough to be whistleblowers. After all, without evolution- they might be forced to take a serious look at the Bible.

Here I would like to insert a poll conducted by Harris Interactive in 2009 that demonstrates just how confused we are as Christians when it comes to the Bible and the “infallible” science we’re taught in school. This poll found that 39% of Americans agreed with the statement that “God created the universe, the earth, the sun, moon, stars, plants, animals and the first two people within the past 10,000 years”, yet only 18% of the Americans polled agreed with the statement “The earth is less than 10,000 years old.” Wait, what?? It’s literally almost like we completely separate our Biblical beliefs from our scientific beliefs into two separate, non related boxes. This is not logical. Atheists/agnostics see that this is not logical. Ergo, atheists and agnostics think we’re crazy.

So, are Young Earth creationists loonies with no evidence? Far from it. There is literally SO. MUCH. EVIDENCE. I’m going to list just a few points, but at the bottom of the page I’ll post links to tons of evidence that you can study in depth if you’re interested. I won’t even broach the topic of the flawed dating systems that form the foundation for the billions of years interpretation because that will be a whole blog post to itself, so we’ll just stick with some other compelling arguments.

      1. Population statistics: One of the strongest arguments for a young Earth comes from the field of population kinetics. If evolutionary figures were entered into this formula, with man having lived on the Earth only 1 million years (some evolutionists suggest that man, in one form or another, has been on Earth 2-3 million years), there would be an Earth population of 1 x 105000. That number would be a 1 followed by 5,000 zeros. Using creationist figures, however, the current world population would be approximately 4.34 billion people. Which theory seems to be on target?

      2. Decay of the Earth’s Magnetic Field: It is now known that the Earth’s magnetic field is decaying faster than any other worldwide geophysical phenomenon. Knowledgeable scientists do not debate the fact of the rapid decrease in the Earth’s magnetic field. A comprehensive government report estimated, in fact, that the magnetic field would be gone by the year A.D. 3991. (I guess they’re going to address this as soon as we get climate change under control) Using complex mathematical equations to try to calculate backwards (employing a known value for the half-life decay rate of the field) presents a very serious problem in the time needed by evolutionists. The problem is that going backward for more than just a few thousand years produces an impossibly large value in the magnetic field, and of the electrically generated heat stored in the Earth’s core. In fact, Thomas G. Barnes, late professor emeritus of physics at the University of Texas at El Paso, calculated the upper limit of this time span to be 10,000 years. Going back any further than this, Barnes concluded, would cause the field to be at such huge values that the Earth could not sustain itself and would rupture and crack.

      3. Polystrate Fossils: To the “man on the street,” one of the most impressive arguments for an ancient Earth is the testimony of sedimentary-rock layers (many of which are thousands of feet thick) strewn around the planet. Scientists (and park rangers) subject us to examples like the Grand Canyon and present their spiel so effectively that—as we observe layer after layer of sedimentary rocks piled one on top of another—the only explanation seems to be that vast amounts of geologic time must have been involved. Each division of the rocks, we are told, represents a time long ago and an ancient world that long since has ceased to exist. Embedded in sedimentary rocks all over the globe are what are known as “polystrate” fossils. Polystrate means “many layers,” and refers to fossils that cut through at least two sedimentary-rock layers. Probably the most widely recognized of the polystrate fossils are tree trunks that extend vertically through two, three, or more sections of rock that supposedly were laid down in epochs covering millions of years. Thus, the entire length of these tree trunks must have been preserved quite quickly, which suggests, then, that the sedimentary layers surrounding them must have been deposited rapidly—possibly (and even likely) during a single catastrophe. As Paul Ackerman has suggested: “They constitute a sort of frozen time clock from the past, indicating that terrible things occurred—not over millions of years but very quickly” (1986, p. 84; see also Morris, 1994, pp. 100-102; Wilson, 1997, 1:37-38). Furthermore, tree trunks are not the only representatives of polystrate fossils. N.A. Rupke was the scientist who first coined the term “polystrate fossils.” After citing numerous examples of such fossils (1973, pp. 152-157), he wrote: “Nowadays, most geologists uphold a uniform process of sedimentation during the earth’s history; but their views are contradicted by plain facts” (p. 157, emp. added).

What it all comes down to in my opinion, is an argument between secular society and Bible believers in which the secular science community has duped Christians into believing that science is infallible (though interestingly and demonstrably ever changing). Christians, in an effort to not appear stupid to secular society, have created elaborate theories for the purpose of compromise by performing olympic level gymnastics in Bible interpretation. I’ll leave you with this quote by Marshall and Sandra Hall in their book, The Truth: God or Evolution?, “It is not easy to overthrow a belief, however absurd and harmful it may be, which your civilization has promulgated as the scientific truth for the better part of a century…Time, as poets and insurance salesmen remind us, is the enemy of life. But time has its friends, too. Without great, incomprehensible, immeasurable stretches of time to fall back on, the evolutionists would be sitting ducks for the barbed queries of even high school students. Time is the evolutionists’ refuge from the slings and arrows of logic, scientific evidence, common sense, and the multiplication table…. The proven uncertainties about scientific dating are a well-kept secret. The average person reading his newspaper or magazine gets the clear impression that dating is a science as exact as the addition of fractions…. Since no one can envision ten thousand years—much less a half-million or a million years—“scientists” can hide behind the two thousand millions of years that they say evolution took, and they can hide there in relative safety. They think.” (1974, pp. 74,69,71,75, emp. in orig.)

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gap_creationism

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c003.html

http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=575

http://www.icr.org/article/meaning-day-genesis/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day-age_creationism

http://creationtoday.org/the-hebrew-yom-taking-one-day-at-a-time/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Earth_creationism

https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=308

Following are a list of links to check out if you are interested in further study:

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/genesis/index.html

https://answersingenesis.org/

http://apologeticspress.org/

Mainstream Media Malfunction

So very many well intentioned people want to embrace our mainstream media as beacons of truth whose journalists bastions of integrity. These people watch the nightly news and assume the stories proclaimed have been researched well with all sources verified. So here, I have posted some of the most notable “fake news’” scandals that have been uncovered from our trusted news sources, not just in the past year, but spanning back a few decades. Come to your own conclusions and please feel free to research each one on your own. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Newsweek’s Flushing the Koran Story: In 2005 Newsweek issued a report asserting that United States prison guards or interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had deliberately damaged a copy of the Quran in order to torment the prison’s Muslim captives. On May 10 and continuing the following week, many violent anti-American protests took place, and in some areas these turned into deadly riots. In Afghanistan, demonstrations that began in the eastern provinces and spread to Kabul were reported to have caused at least seventeen deaths. The UN, as a precautionary measure, withdrew all its foreign staff from Jalalabad, where two of its guest houses were attacked, government buildings and shops were targeted, and the offices of two international aid groups were destroyed. Demonstrations also took place in Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Indonesia, leading to the death of at least 15 people. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, “The report had real consequences, people have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged.” In the May 23 issue, editor Mark Whitaker admitted that its sourcing was suspect and stated, “We regret that we got any part of our story wrong and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst.” On June 3, 2005, a U.S. military investigation by the base commander, Brigadier General Jay Hood, reported four (possibly five) incidents of “mishandling” of the Quran by U.S. personnel at Guantánamo Bay. Hood said his investigation “revealed a consistent, documented policy of respectful handling of the Quran dating back almost two and a half years.” The report laid out the circumstances of these incidents and disciplinary actions taken. It also stressed that such mishandling was rare, and that guards were usually respectful of the Quran, following strict regulations the military laid down for handling the Quran. The Hood report also listed 15 reported incidents of detainees mishandling their own copies of the Quran, including complaints made by other detainees. One of these cases involved a prisoner “attempting to flush a Quran down the toilet and urinating on the Quran.” The statement did not provide any explanation about why the detainees might have abused their own holy books.
  2. CBS “Rathergate”:The Killian documents controversy involved six purported documents critical of President George W. Bush’s service in the Air National Guard in 1972–73. Four of these documents were presented as authentic in a 60 Minutes II broadcast aired by CBS on September 8, 2004, less than two months before the 04′ Presidential election, but it was later found that CBS had failed to authenticate the documents.Subsequently, several typewriter and typographyy experts concluded the documents were blatant forgeries. The purveyor of the documents, Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, claimed to have burned the originals after faxing copies to CBS. CBS News producer Mary Mapes obtained the copied documents from Burkett, a former officer in the Texas Army National Guard, while pursuing a story about the George W. Bush military service controversy. The papers, purportedly made by Bush’s commander, the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, included criticisms of Bush’s service in the Guard during the 1970s. In the 60 Minutes segment, Dan Rather stated: “We are told [the documents] were taken from Lieutenant Colonel Killian’s personal files” and incorrectly asserted that “the material” had been authenticated by experts retained by CBS. CBS fired producer Mary Mapes, several senior news executives were asked to resign, and CBS apologized to viewers.
  3. NBC and CNN George Zimmerman Trayvon Martin 911 tape debacle: Here’s the transcript of the audio NBC played:
    Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
    -Here’s the actual transcript:
    Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
    Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
    Zimmerman: He looks black.NBC News reportedly fired the producer who was involved in the production of the misleading segment.
  4. NBC’s Phony Exploding GM Truck: Dateline’s report featured 14 min. of balanced debate, capped by 57 seconds of crash footage that explosively showed how the gas tanks of certain old GM trucks could catch fire in a sideways collision. Following a tip, GM hired detectives, searched 22 junkyards for 18 hours, and found evidence to debunk almost every aspect of the crash sequence. In a devastating press conference, GM showed that the conflagration was rigged, its causes misattributed, its severity overstated, and other facts distorted. Two crucial errors: NBC said the truck’s gas tank had ruptured, yet an X ray showed it hadn’t; NBC consultants set off explosive miniature rockets beneath the truck split seconds before the crash — yet no one told the viewers.
  5. Stephen Glass: The enduring icon of fake news is Stephen Glass, whose fall from grace was chronicled in a major motion picture, Shattered Glass. The truth caught up with him in 1998, when it was discovered a great deal of the content he produced for The New Republic and other publications was wholly or partially falsified. In recent times, Glass has revealed that he repaid The New Republic, Rolling Stone, and Policy Review at least $200,000 for over forty fabricated stories.
  6. The adventures of Brian Williams: Brian Williams’ anchorman career at NBC News came to an end in 2015 after he was accused of lying about taking enemy fire while helicoptering into Iraq in 2003. The accusation came from soldiers who were aboard the helicopter. Williams told the story repeatedly, over a span of years, before he was called out. NBC executives recalled having a great deal of difficulty getting Williams to admit he lied, and offer an unqualified apology. Amazingly, Williams still has a career in broadcast journalism.
  7. Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, CBS: Operation Mockingbird: Operation Mockingbird was allegedly a large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that, beginning in the early 1950s, attempted to manipulate news media for propaganda purposes, and funded student and cultural organizations and magazines as front organizations.. According to writer Deborah Davis, Mockingbird recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network and oversaw the operations of front groups. CIA support of front groups was exposed after a 1967 Ramparts magazine article revealed that the National Student Organization received funding from the CIA. Congressional investigations and reports in the 1970s also revealed Agency connections with journalists and civic groups. Davis writes that Mockingbird was a response to the creation of a Communist front organization, the International Organization of Journalists which “received money from Moscow and controlled reporters on every major newspaper in Europe, disseminating stories that promoted the Communist cause.”However, none of these reports mention an Operation Mockingbird controlling or supporting these activities. Interestingly, a Project Mockingbird is mentioned in the CIA Family Jewels report, compiled in the mid-70s. According to the declassified version of the report released in 2007, Project Mockingbird involved wire-tapping of two American journalists for several months in the early 1960s.
  8. CBS 60 Minutes Lara Logan Reports Fake News Story About Benghazi, Leading to Her Suspension: In 2013, CBS 60 Minutes aired an “eyewitness” report from a security contractor who turned out not to have been present for the events he claims to have witnessed. In an investigation that was in the works for a year, Logan trotted out one “Morgan Jones,” a pseudonym for Dylan Davies, a security contractor who “60 Minutes” said was on the ground for the events of the Benghazi attacks, which claimed the lives for four U.S. personnel. Davies talked about the poor U.S. preparations, the chaos of the night and so on. As it later turned out, Davies wasn’t even around; he’d stayed at his villa. The account that he gave to CBS News differed from what he’d told the FBI. His version of events, such as it was, stemmed from a book that he’d written for a publishing house that’s part of the CBS corporation, a little detail that 60 Minutes had left out of its broadcast.
  9. The Associated Press, Boston Globe, CNN, Fox News: FBI criticized the media for false reports regarding the Boston Marathon Bombers. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013, with the perpetrators still at large, several news sources falsely reported that an arrest had been made. The FBI released a statement scolding the media for its inaccurate and premature reporting on a sensitive terrorism investigation still in progress.
  10. The Daily Mirror’s Piers Morgan Fired From UK Newspaper for Hoaxing Photos of Iraqi Prisoner Abuse: Before he got his cable television show on CNN, Piers Morgan was the editor of The Daily Mirror, one of the UK’s biggest newspapers, which in 2004, published photos of Iraqi prisoners of war being abused by British Army soldiers from the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.When they turned out to be fake news, Piers Morgan was sacked from the publication, not for his editorial slip, but for refusing to apologize for it. BBC’s Nicholas Witchell said it appeared Piers Morgan remained unrepentant right to the end. “According to one report Mr Morgan refused the demand to apologise, was sacked and immediately escorted from the building,” he said.  

    In conclusion, you are welcome to laud these news sources as reliable, but please forgive those of us who aren’t convinced.