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PunditFact gives Fox News' Andrea Tantaros a "Pants on Fire" rating

3:16 PM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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Detail of Nathaniel Currier's iconic 1846 lithograph "The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor."

St. Petersburg, Florida - Every now and then, statements are made that are so untrue, PunditFact gives them a "Pants on Fire" rating. A Fox News host's history claim went up in flames.

We may not remember everything we learned in history class, but Andrea Tantaros from Fox News' The Five is attempting to make the argument that most Americans know nothing about our nation's history. 

How Tantaros backed up her thinking, got the attention of PunditFact. Here's what she said:

"If you ask most people, they don't even know why we left England. 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."

PunditFact Editor Aaron Sharockman says they talked with three historical experts who say there is zero truth to her statement.

"There was never a secret. They were raising the tax on tea in 1767 -- the British Parliament -- through a guy named Charles Townshend. [They] decided to raise several taxes including the tax on tea. The idea was to balance England's budget and the colonists didn't like it, because they didn't have any representation in Parliament."

Now fast forward to the Boston Tea Party in 1773.  It had nothing to do with a tax increase on tea. What it really was protesting was lowering the tax... but at the sole benefit of the East India Trading Company.

"Now, the guy who did it, this Charles Townshend guy, what gets more complicated is he didn't die by having his head blown off. He died in England. He had a fever in 1770, three years before the Boston Tea Party," says Sharockman.

Because fact-checkers couldn't find anything true about Tantaros' statement, PunditFact rates it: PANTS ON FIRE.

PunditFact tried to reach out to Tantaros about what she said, but she didn't get back to the fact-checkers. Fox News didn't respond either.

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