The Fox News Channel has a series called Legends & Lies, and its second season carries the subtitle The Patriots. The accompanying book by David Fisher has the full title Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Patriots, spotlighting the show’s executive producer and host.
The first episode of the new season, debuting tomorrow night, is titled ”Sam Adams & Paul Revere—The Rebellion Begins.” The network says it “tells the story behind the ‘Sons of Liberty,’ who start the fight for American independence leading to the infamous historic Boston Massacre.”
In the short preview for the series, you can hear O’Reilly narrate how Dr. Joseph Warren “enlists militiaman Patrick Dawes and three others to join Revere.”
Now I would have thought this show was meant to dispel legends and lies, not spread new misinformation. Dr. Warren sent William Dawes out of Boston with the same message as Paul Revere. I have no idea what “three others” O’Reilly might refer to. (There were other alarm riders in the countryside, but Dr. Warren had no contact with them. Dr. Samuel Prescott spent some time riding with Revere and Dawes, but that was their improvisation, not Warren’s plan.)
Errors on such easily researched facts don’t bode well for the Fox News treatment of Samuel Adams.
But things could be worse. This fall Fox’s entertainment channel will air a situation comedy titled Making History. It shows two Massachusetts college professors traveling back to 1775, one to find a girlfriend and the other to keep history running right. One man is bearded, which should scare children in 1775, but no one notices. The other man is a history professor, yet doesn’t stop to think that being black will limit his influence in a slave-owning society. I’ve seen a preview of this one, too, and it’s so bad I won’t even link to it.
But it could make Legends and Lies: The Patriots look better.