Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

January 18, 2014

Fact Check: Fox News host flubs Tea Party history

By PunditFact

Fox News co-host Andrea Tantaros scolded Americans for not knowing their history on The Five on Wednesday. She inadvertently provided proof moments later, in the form of … Andrea Tantaros.

Tantaros and other The Five panelists were talking about a new report from the conservative Heritage Foundation, which ranked America only 12th in terms of economic freedom. Tantaros said countries ahead of the United States, like Estonia, are more economically free because they “actually know their history, and they study their history, and they study ours and what we’re doing here.”

Americans, on the other hand, have gotten lazy and complacent, she suggested.

“If you ask most people, they don’t even know why we left England,” she said. “They don’t even know why some guy in Boston got his head blown off because he tried to secretly raise the tax on tea. Most people don’t know that.”

We can’t fact-check what Americans do or do not know. But what’s clear is there appears to be no story of “some guy in Boston” getting “his head blown off because he tried to secretly raise the tax on tea.”

Early American history experts were generally puzzled over what Tantaros was talking about and thought she might have mashed a few Revolutionary War-era stories together. Neither Tantaros nor Fox News responded to our request for clarification.

But our experts were certain on a couple of things:

1. No one secretly tried to raise the tax on tea. In 1767, The British parliament imposed a series of duties on goods being imported to the colonies - including on tea. The laws implementing the tariffs are called the Townshend Acts, after Charles Townshend, who came up with the idea.

Many prominent colonists objected, arguing that under British law colonists could not be taxed without having representation in parliament.

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