Monday, January 16, 2006

Don't know much about history

This morning I was driving to the downtown office where I have been freelancing over break. I am punching the dial on the radio, trying to see what Austin channel can hold my attention for more than a minute. I notice one station is doing the news, so I pause for a minute. They are airing the syndicated news from Fox News. The obligatory MLK stories air and there is one about Bush visiting the National Archives to examine the original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. The "journalist" (and I use this term lightly) said that this was the document that led to the Civil War.


For those of you who do not know, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued September, 1862 and went into effect January, 1863. The first battle of Civil War occurred in April, 1861 -- a full 17 months before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Fox News claims to be fair and balanced, but I guess there is a reason the don't claim to be accurate.

Although that was the end of the national news, that wasn't the end of the inaccuracies. This time it was a local reporter, talking about what MLK activities were going on today in Austin. "If he were alive today, it would be Dr. King's 77th birthday."

That's interesting -- Dr. King's birthday just always falls on a Monday. Actually, that's not true. It is always observed on a Monday so we can have a three-day weekend. Dr. King's birthday is actually Jan. 15.

I haven't decided whether I think these mistakes are more funny or more sad. No wonder Americans don't know their history -- their information sources are full of glaring errors.

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