The school movie. What a glorious thing it was to a student eager to avoid real work. The lights were dimmed, and nothing was expected from us except to gaze at a screen. (Later, we understood that lazy teachers liked movies for the same reason.)
But at least the films we saw conveyed good information, unlike so much of the leftist drivel that is marketed to our kids today. I remember in particular the films about American aid to the Third World. I recall those huge white sacks of grain with "gift of the USA" printed on the sides. And the faces of the starving children (Biafra was the starvation current when I was in elementary school), as their bowls were filled with nutritious food. You wondered whether it was too late for those hollow-cheeked, haunted faces.
Silly me. I was proud of the United States for trying to help those people in distant lands. I did not have the benefit of the tendentious, anti-American claptrap that is routinely served up in American schools today.
In my new book, "Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help, and the Rest of Us," I quote Professor C. Sheldon Thorne, who said: "By the time students emerge from 12 years of public education, they are exquisitely sensitive to every nuance of racism, sexism and imperialism in American history. ... Most of my U.S. history students have it all figured out before they step into the classroom: America is rotten to the core."
Paging through The New York Times yesterday, I came upon just the same sort of spin in a news story about world food aid. "U.S. Cutting Food Aid That Is Aimed at Self-Sufficiency" announced the headline. Reading on, one learns that, "In one of the first signs of the effects of the ever tightening federal budget, in the past two months the Bush administration has reduced its contributions to global food aid programs aimed at helping millions of people climb out of poverty." Nowhere in this page 3 article does the New York Times reporter Elizabeth Becker place these cutbacks in context.
The Times does not tell readers that the United States is the world's largest food aid donor by far. In 2004, the United States provided $826,469,172 -- almost a billion dollars -- to the United Nations World Food Program. The next largest donor, the European Union, contributed $187,102,068. This, despite the fact that the European Union has a total population of 453 million, compared with the USA's 281 million, and a gross domestic product that is larger than that of the United States.