Local elementary-school video in left-right tug of war

An excerpt from video shot at a February 19, 2009, PTA program at Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School is touching off debate on local and national media outlets. The video shows a part of the program, in which students were paying tribute to various American leaders throughout history, where students mention President Barack Obama and go on to chant slogans from his campaign.

Critics are charging that the performance was “Obama indoctrination,” while school officials say the video is taken out of context and being used for political purposes.

Click on the image below to watch the video.


Additional resources as the story spreads:

• An article in today’s Asheville Citizen-Times gives an overview of local reactions.

• A letter defending the performance from Buncombe County Schools’ director of communications.

• Click on the image below to see discussion of the video from right-leaning Fox News Network.


• The CBS News blog Political Hotsheet covers the story here.

• And here’s an analysis from the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters for America.

— Jon Elliston, managing editor


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About Jon Elliston
Former Mountain Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston is the senior editor at WNC magazine.

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28 thoughts on “Local elementary-school video in left-right tug of war

  1. Asheville Dweller

    Lol that is sad that the MX had to point out Fox was right leaning. Be funny if the AC-T pointed out the MX as being left leaning.

    Its one of those things you just know right? Fox is Right Leaning as most of the other network news is Left leaning?

  2. Jeff

    What problem, exactly is it, that you have with this country uniting together to fix it’s various problems and move forward? What can you have against “HOPE!”?? What more positive message can you tell a little kid than “Yes we can!”?? (Or more personally “YES YOU CAN!”??

    If you’re against inspiring a child to hope and try to proceed, my friend, you’re in a sorry situation indeed.

    I personally don’t think you should play Whack-A-Mole with children’s ideas or hopes or ambitions for a better life.

    Hate to say it, but “WILL SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?”

  3. JWTJr

    This one is being blown way out of context and proportion. Seems to be the world we are living in. Both sides taking a sound bite out of context and contriving what they want out of it.

  4. JWTJr

    Jeff – I hope you are snarking.

    The whole show was 26 minutes long with quotes from many presidents. It wasn’t about ‘the children’ and ‘hope’.

  5. Rob Close

    most networks are left leaning? sure.
    fox is right leaning? how about right slanted.

    big idiots can’t find any other news, so they stooped this low. and once again, the news in it’s full context makes a fox story seem stupid.

  6. JWTJr

    Rob – Fox doesn’t lean any more right than MSNBC, CNN, CBS lean to the left. That’s a 3 to 1 ratio at the very least. You want 100% left?

  7. Matt Mercy


    For some Context:

    Children Singing Praises To Adolf Hitler.


    Obama, Bush, Nixon: I don’t care who it is, having school children praising their names is servile and it’s not what Americans do.

    History has shown us – with tens of millions slaughtered in the last century – what typically happens with this type of cult-like behavior.

  8. 9-volt

    I remember reciting speaches of presidents in grade school. I remember dressing up as famous figures in American history. I don’t see this as much different. Like it or not, the first black president is a significant moment in our nation’s history.

    It’s a real shame America is at the point where it is turning on itself with hatred and fear.

  9. hello

    if the only reason that Obama’a praises are being “sung” are because he is black, then there is definately a problem here. His place in history should be based on policies, etc. not skin color, or campaign promises. it’s too early in his administration to know his significance other that a racial one.

  10. 9-volt

    Hello – agreed, however, as much as i wish his skin color didn’t matter, it is naive to think it doesn’t have significane relative to the history of the US.

  11. Piffy!

    it is just coincidence that white men have always been president. no racism in play at all.

  12. JWTJr

    Racism exists in every country and every culture. Not just the US. Pffy – your asian roots included.

  13. Piffy!

    from the ashevegas post above: [b]”I have enjoyed Rush Limbaugh’s opinionated program for years and have never had a greater emotional response to anything he has said (that I have heard) than I did on the day I heard what he called my child. We teach our children not call names at those with differences, but that is exactly what he feels entitled to do. My child does not have a “head full of mush” and if you ask her, she will tell you she does not like Obama either. I think the only one with the head full of mush, is the one without the common decency to research what he airs on national radio waves.”[/b]

    So, she Listen’s to Rush, but she doesnt think he has the “common decency to research what he airs on national radio waves”? Um, ma’am. Thats every show he has ever done. You just start paying attention?

  14. chops

    Regarding media slant, it seems that the right-leaning outlets (FOX, etc.) are actually less reliable, or deliberately deceiving, or both.



    I know it’s an old issue, but the media aspect is still relevant, I think. Or it might not be the media – maybe FOX viewers are just bigger idiots. Or maybe conservatives are more gullible.

    By the way, print media is lookin’ pretty good in this study…

  15. hal

    The point of these rituals that the government seems to be putting children through almost sounds like nothing more than a pep talk. Or maybe it’s trying to establish their faith in the US govt. I don’t know. They’ll see the truth soon enough.

  16. Piffy!

    [b]Essentially yes. Campaigns cost money and there is a very direct correlation on money spent and winning.[/b]

    sooooo, he didnt ‘lose’ because he didnt get enough votes, but because he was too principled to spend money on his campaign?

    Does this mean he has NEVER spent money on a campaign, or is this a new stance for this election, after the primaries?

  17. Piffy!

    [b]The point of these rituals that the government seems to be putting children through almost sounds like nothing more than a pep talk. Or maybe it’s trying to establish their faith in the US govt. I don’t know. They’ll see the truth soon enough. [/b]

    I know! what next, a “Pledge of Allegiance”?

  18. hal

    nice job taking what i said out of context. i never said it was good or bad either. sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

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