Fox reports, Fox decides

Pub date February 16, 2007
SectionPolitics Blog

by Amanda Witherell

Last week we ran a story about a comic book called Addicted to War that’s been donated to San Francisco high schools. The book was written by a Johns Hopkins professor named Joel Andreas, and illustrates some of the less understood international conflicts the US has perpetrated. It’s completely unlike anything I studied in high school. (I went to one of the best high schools in the state of New Hampshire, was an honors history student, had 14 Bosnians as my peers when our school district offered them refuge from their war-torn country, and our approved texts barely mentioned the Cold War.)

Since Fox News ran a story about the book, the publisher, Frank Dorrel, has been getting some great mail recently, which he shared with us. One of my personal favorites: “It would [sic] a wonderful thing to see all of you Left Wing San Francisco whackos go up in one big mushroom cloud delivered by one of your terrorist friends. Hell, I would hang a medal on the terrorist bastard who nuked your ass.”

Yes, maybe the kids need more vitriol in the classrooms.

Or maybe not. On Feb. 15, the Lowell High School chapter of Revolution Youth staged an anti-war rally during school hours. Fox News, which already ran a segment questioning the validity of Addicted to War as an educational tool, was there to film the rally and aired the footage while discussing the comic book, seeming to subtly suggest its content was having immediate effects even though students have yet to receive the book. Bryan Ritter, adviser to the school’s newspaper The Lowell, which was also covering the rally, said one student reporter polled 74 other kids at the event on whether they’d heard about the comic book. Two had, and one had found out about it that day from Fox.

Fox’s coverage of the rally is a little tamer and more balanced than the original clip they aired on Feb. 14, which suggested the comic book had “ignited a firestorm.” The only evidence provided of said “firestorm” was a diatribe from Leo Lacayo, vice chair of the local Republican Party. The news anchor made mention that representatives from San Francisco’s School District had declined to appear on the show, but wouldn’t say why. Gentle Blythe, spokesperson for SFUSD, told us it was because “we decided we didn’t want to debate in that forum.”

Dorrel said he’s received 20 PayPal orders for the book as well as some requests for the DVDs he also publishes.