Newest Wingnut Fad: Obama Decrees That 3 X 4 = 11
Fire up the Debunk-O-Matic 5000 and get ready to start sending your wingnut co-workers to snopes.com, folks!Fox & Friends and the American Patriarchy Association's Bryan Fischer are among several conservative outlets pitching a selectively edited video that appears to show Illinois school official Amanda August saying that under the Common Core standards, it won't matter whether a student thinks three times four equals eleven or twelve, as long as the student can explain why they came up with their answer. Fox & Friends showed a clip of August saying just this much:
Even if they said, '3 x 4 was 11,' if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer really in words and in oral explanations, and they showed it in the picture but they just got the final number wrong, we're really more focusing on the how.
Steve Doocy mocked the clip, saying, "if you can explain it to the teacher...you get credit!" and co-host Anna Kooiman decried it as part of the "wussification of America [where] everybody gets a trophy ... what happens if the child becomes a doctor and decides to operate on the wrong knee?" Pretty shocking stuff, and just more evidence that liberal teachers are throwing standards out the window!
Oh, except that in the full clip, August also said that kids need to get correct answers. Twice. Right before and right after the excerpt that Fox showed.
In the full clip, August discusses different methods for getting to the answer and says that kids should get the right answer regardless of the method. Then there's the bit about going to eleven, and then, after a question, a clarification that if a kid does get a wrong answer, teachers would correct it and show the kid how to get the right answer.
To their credit, The Blaze reports the story accurately, and actually provides a slightly more complete explanation of August's comments than either Media Matters or RightWingWatch, both of which include August's answer to the question about correcting the error, but not the introductory explanation of the different methods by which children might get to the answer. (Fat lot of good it does -- the commenters immediately decry the discussion of process as liberal claptrap and political correctness; 3 X 4 = 12 because it just DOES, OK?)
So, kids, our lesson for today: If you selectively edit a video to make someone seem to be saying the exact opposite of what they actually said, you will be richly rewarded in the rightwing media.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.