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Faux News, who has been stirring up a feeding frenzy of national misinformation on the Helena School health curriculum update, which includes the supposedly controversial items of teaching tolerance and safety and preventing teen pregnancy (all at appropriate ages). The local county health department has a nice set of facts on the reasons this curriculum update is necessary.

Fox News which has been spreading outright lies calling it "sex ed for kindergarteners,"  did even more disservice to Helena residents when they sent a national reporter to foment controversy and outrage around last night’s school board meeting.

Sources who attended the meeting reported that Fox News set up cameras at the hearing location five hours early (in the spot reserved for the public comment moderator) and refused to give up the spot when this was pointed out to them.

The Harry Potter book-burning types then began to play for the Fox News cameras.  First, sources say that trustee Trevor Wilkerson decided to use the agenda time reserved for trustee questions to members of the curriculum committee into a media stunt for Fox News. Even though the school board chair told him he was out of order, Wilkerson called for the audience to raise their hands (and their professionally printed, pre-made opposition signs and comment cards) if they were against against  the curriculum.

It was pretty obvious to those attending that he wanted to help the Fox News cameras to get their shot, and it was a waste of time for all in attendance.

The national misinformation campaign spearheaded by Fox News seems also to be ginning up angry comments from people all over the US who who don’t have accurate information, and have no business commenting on Helena’s schools.  This wastes our local taxpayer dollars by forcing local school staff to wade through the angry comments of people who don't live or pay taxes here.   It takes away the time they need to be spending trying to take as much public input as possible from local Helena residents.  

The school board had to hire security for the hearing, and local police showed up to manage the crowd outside.  One school official, who did not want to be named because of fear of threats and violence, sent along this message from an angry, misinformed caller quoting from the Fox News headlines which came in on caller ID from an out-of-state phone number: (turn down your speaker volume if you are listening at work. It contains explicit language.)

It's only going to get worse for folks in Helena if they keep this up.  And the right wing nut jobs at Fox News are showing no signs of slowing down.

Originally posted to Montana Cowgirl on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 11:58 AM PDT.

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