TUCSON, Ariz. -- A Tucson School Board official is worried for his family's safety after an interview on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." Michael Hicks was defending the decision to get rid of the district's Mexican-American Studies program.
Critics say no matter how "The Daily Show" edited the interview, the issue, and Hick's involvement, is giving Arizona a bad name.
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is known for its sarcastic skewering of politicians and controversial subjects. Monday night it took on the end of the Mexican-American Studies program in Tucson, which led to protests, including one last year.
“The only way to get out from beneath the gringo, which is the white man, is by bloodshed,” Hicks said about the program.
He was asked, too, about observing classes to which he responded, ”I chose not to go to any of their classes. Why even go? Why even go? I based my thoughts on hearsay from others.”
“He based his opinion on hearsay?” Randy Parraz asked rhetorically. “They don't allow that to happen in court.”
Parraz is president of Citizens for a Better Arizona and knows "The Daily Show" isn't a news organization but was shocked at what Hicks said.
“Honestly, this law won't be applied to any other of our courses,” Hicks said. “It was strictly written for one course -- the Mexican-American Studies program.”
The course in Tucson is the only course shut down since a new law about ethnic studies went into effect last January.
The Arizona Department of Education wouldn't go on camera Tuesday, but determined the course broke the new law by being ethnically divisive and designed for students of a certain ethnic background. A judge upheld that decision and the Tucson Unified School District decided not to appeal.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne had this to say last year: “They are teaching them to be disruptive and instead of using the freedom of speech to listen to each other, persuade each other.”
“One of the second largest population centers in our state having this type of image is bad for business," Parraz said.
Hicks issued a statement through the Tucson Unified School District. The full text is below, along with a link to the story on "The Daily Show."
“With all due respect, the Daily Show is a money making satirical show. It is not a news show. They do not present the complete remarks of their guests. They slice and dice footage to serve their need to entertain.
"I went on this show to talk about the Mexican American Studies (MAS) classes. I was mislead by the "reporter" and was told that they were interested in a real interview. It was nothing of the sort.
It is unfortunate that the Daily Show opted to amuse rather than inform.
"And for the record, you can see where they spliced my comments in several areas during this segment. I can assure you that my statements were taken out of context. Many of my answers were altered to suit their agenda.
"What I find more troubling is that there are those who will believe that what they saw on the Daily Show is accurate and complete news.
"These individuals will then most likely base their judgments on inaccurate information designed specifically to support the view of Daily Show producers.
"Real children were being exploited, and the producers of the Daily Show chose to ignore that.”