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‘Take the L’: Jesse Watters Fact-Checks ‘The Five’ Co-Host’s Claim Iowa Bill Bans Teaching of Slavery

Ashley Jarrett



There were some awkward moments on Fox News’s “The Five” on Tuesday, as co-hosts squared off against each other over whether a bill introduced in the Iowa legislature actually bans the teaching of slavery in public schools.

The bottom line up front: No, it doesn’t. But that didn’t stop Richard Fowler and Jesse Watters from sparring — pleasantly — over the former’s claim that it did.

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Fowler began by noting he had read several pieces of legislation in various states aimed at banning the teaching of Marxist-based Critical Race Theory, among other harmful curricula that pushes false, divisive narratives, saying they include bans on teaching “sexism, slavery, racial segregation” — before Watters interjected.

“That’s not true,” Watters objected.

“Did you read it?” Fowler asked.

“That is not true,” Watters repeated

“Did you read it?” Fowler pressed again.

“I haven’t read the bill,” Watters admitted, as crosstalk between the two of them continued..

“Ok then,” Fowler said, but Watters went on.

“I will bet that you cannot find anything in the bill that says we will not teach slavery in school in Iowa. I guarantee you, Richard, that they have not prohibited the teaching of slavery in history class in the state of Iowa. I guarantee that’s wrong,” Watters said. “And I say that with no knowledge of the bill.”

Fowler didn’t back down, however, and continued to insist those subjects and slavery were “prohibited from the curriculum.”

“We will find out the truth about the bill in Iowa, and then we will tell you as soon as we find out,” Watters announced as he said he would check it out during the upcoming break.

And he did.

The Daily Caller added:

“The definitive answer is that Iowa Republicans did not – I repeat, did not – submit a bill banning the teaching of slavery in schools in Iowa,” Watters said after declaring a “Fox News Alert” and saying that he had been right and Fowler had been wrong.

Fowler continued to push, saying that the bill did ban the teaching of slavery and sexism — and Watters pointed out that it only banned those topics in employee training scenarios but not in the classroom.

“That’s not what you said. That’s not what you said, Richard,” Watters laughed.

“This is the funniest thing ever,” co-host Greg Gutfeld interjected.

“Teaching slavery is not prohibited in Iowa in this bill,” Watters said, repeating himself.

“Not to mention the fact that the bill — it’s poorly written,” Fowler added again.

“Poorly read, too,” Watters fired back, which drew laughs from the rest of The Five panel

“The bill in question, which appeared to be House File 802, applied to diversity training for employees and would ban lesson plans that asserted the state of Iowa was ‘fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist,” The Daily Caller reported.

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States — mostly red ones — are moving quickly to ban decisive curriculum like the 1619 Project, which has been criticized even by liberals for being factually incorrect, stating that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery, as well as critical race theory, which teaches that white supremacy and white systemic racism pervades all American institutions.

Watch, per outlet:

Formerly an online tech and science reporter at The Sun Online, Ashley stepped up to the mantle of technology reporter at the Daily Telegraph late last year. She writes about everything from drones, web security and cryptocurrency to social media apps, like Facebook and Spotify, and technology brands including Apple and Toshiba.

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