Jon Stewart and The Textbook (Ghost) Writer

Last week on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart talked with David Barton, a historian and the founder of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage. The interview was really interesting and they covered a lot of political and constitutional hot topics but the part that I found most interesting was when Barton talked about writing history and social studies textbooks.

Apparently, Barton is quite a controversial figure especially because of his right-wing involvement in the government and his association to conservative religious politics. He doesn’t seem like too far out of the mold of right-wingers but he does play a large part in the education of kids in many states across the country by writing history textbooks and he is very proud of that but the funny thing is that he does not want his name on any of the textbooks he writes. So essentially he is a ghost writer because he doesn’t want people to know who their kids are getting their supposedly “true” account of history from.

All controversy aside, I thought it was really interesting to think about the who, how, and why of textbook writing and the pros and cons of revealing the writer(s). I feel like in textbooks, especially history ones, we should be getting the unbiased account of the subject in the same way we are supposed to get that from the news. We all know the media is anything but unbiased and I am starting to realize how our textbooks fit right in there too. So maybe if you want to change people’s views you should get into the textbook business and rewrite history?

Here’s the link to the video. The whole thing is on the




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