You have probably heard about the Colorado high school geography teacher who was suspended after a student recorded and publicized his in-class, anti-Bush rant. (details at Michelle Malkin’s blog )
Some time ago, I served as a missionary in Chile, and in addition to the various blogs and news sources I read regularly online, I also try to keep up with Chilean news through the online edition of La Tercera. La Tercera is one of Chile’s major newspapers.
This morning, the following article about the anti-bush teacher suspension appeared in La Tercera (translation follows original spanish):
Profesor es suspendido por criticar a Bush durante una clase
Un profesor de geografía de Colorado fue suspendido por haber afirmado en clase que hay personas que comparan al Presidente de Estados Unidos George W. Bush con Adolf Hitler.
La frase cuestionada del docente, Jay Bennish, fue grabada en su MP3 por un estudiante, identificado como Sean Allen.
El muchacho lo denunció al director y el profesor fue suspendido, en una medida que provocó hoy el abandono de las clases de parte de miles de estudiantes, a modo de protesta.
El liceo está en Aurora, una comunidad acomodada donde se encuentra el cuartel general de la poco conocida Aerospace Data Facility, la base de escucha de los satélites espía operados por la National Security Agency (NSA), la agencia federal en el centro del escándalo por las escuchas sin mandato ordenadas por la Casa Blanca tras el 11 de septiembre.
El liceo de Aurora, come el de Columbine, saltó a las páginas de los diarios en 1998, cuando dos adolescentes armados provocaron una masacre en la ciudad, matando a cuatro jóvenes y dos mujeres.
While I am by no means a professional translator, here is my translation:
Teacher is suspended for criticizing Bush during class
A geography teacher in Colorado was suspended for having affirmed in class that there are people who compare the President of the United States, George W. Bush, to Adolf Hitler.
The phrase in question, spoken by educator Jay Bennish, was recorded by a student, identified as Sean Allen, on his MP3 player.
The boy denounced him to the director, and the teacher was suspended, which today provoked thousands of students to abandon their classes as a form of protest.
The school is in Aurora, a comfortable community and the principal location of the the little-known Aerospace Data Facility, the listening center for spy satellites operated by the National Security Agency (NSA)—the federal agency at the center of the scandal over warrantless eavesdropping ordered by the White House after the 11th of September.
The school in Aurora follows the school in Columbine, which made news in 1998 when armed adolescents provoked a massacre in the city by killing four teens and two women.
(emphasis in original)
This article in la Tercera distorts the story in ways that make the United States government look sinister and dictatorial.
The headline gives the impression that the teacher was suspended for having merely criticized President Bush. The article fails to mention that the teacher has been suspended while the district investigates whether he violated policy requiring the presentation of opposing points of view.
The transcript of the recorded rant shows the teacher himself making explicit comparisons between Bush and Hitler, whereas the Chilean account says that he only said that there are people who make that comparison.
The article also makes it appear that the student went to the school authorities to “denounce” the teacher, and that the government-run school’s authorities quickly took care of the problem. This makes it sound like Nazi youth, or children in Communist Russia, spying and reporting on their parents and teachers. In reality the student played his recording to his parents. The boy recorded the rant on February 1st. The school didn’t even learn about the incident until the end of February, when it received an email, not from the boy, but from a non-Colorado resident who had read about it online. That same day, apparently, the recording was played on a local radio station which received a copy from the boy’s father, who also complained to the school.
The article embelishes the number of students protesting from between 200-700 (U.S. news sources differ), to “thousands.”
La Tercera then tries to add to the conspiratorial mood by noting that the school is located in a town where the NSA listens to spy satellites, and then takes the opportunity to mention the wiretapping controversy. While the mention of Columbine might help Chileans understand the geographical context of the event better by relating it to one they are already familiar with, it simultaneously invokes the same sensational mood.
If the reporting in la Tercera is representative, brainwashed students record and report their teachers to Bush’s NSA brown-shirt lackeys in school districts across the United States who stand ready to suspend any teacher brave enough to criticize Bush. With this kind of reporting, it is no shock that the international community thinks that the United States is evil and the Bush is like Hitler.
Bush may or may not be wrong in his policies, and he has certainly made some serious mistakes. But he is not Hitler, and his administration is no Nazi regime.