After Sean Hannity introduced his Fox News show by asking, "Does Kevin Jennings support the group NAMBLA?" Karl Rove falsely claimed that Jennings, a Department of Education official, had engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and gay rights and queering elementary school curricula." Neither Rove nor Hannity provided any evidence that Jennings has ever "support[ed]" -- let alone engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy" of -- NAMBLA, and Rove's suggestion that support for "gay rights" is somehow related to support for NAMBLA is a smear.
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Rove falsely claims Jennings engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy" of NAMBLA
Rove, Hannity provided no evidence in support of false claim that Jennings advocated for NAMBLA. Hannity attempted to link Jennings to NAMBLA during the first two segments of his show, but neither he nor Rove provided any evidence in support of the false claim that Jennings supported or advocated for NAMBLA. Moreover, Rove's effort to link "things like NAMBLA and gay rights" is a smear.
From the October 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: Tonight -- shocking new allegations about President Obama's safe schools czar. Does Kevin Jennings support the group NAMBLA? The FBI agent who infiltrated that organization is here.
HANNITY: What do you make of what we talked about in our last segment? Here we have the safe schools czar, this guy by the name of Kevin Jennings. We talked about his praise of this guy Harry Hay, who is, you know, a guy that supports the group NAMBLA. He praised the guy, looked up to the guy. This guy admitted in his own words that he had counseled a 15-year-old that was having sex with an adult. He didn't report it; he asked the kid if he used a condom.
He said other controversial things. This Queering of Elementary Education book that he writes the foreword to. How does somebody like that, with that background, get appointed by a president of the United States?
ROVE: Well, one of two things happened on this. Either they decided that they deliberately wanted to put a very provocative, very controversial person in a job that -- where his views and his public statements and his actions were likely to unsettle a large amount -- number of Americans, or, once again, that vaunted Obama White House vetting system broke down.
I can't imagine that President Obama lacked the sensitivity to think that somebody who had said the things that Mr. Jennings had said, had done the things that Mr. Jennings had done, had taken the sort of high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and gay rights and queering elementary school curricula -- that the president of the United States would think this was a person that he ought to put in charge of safe schools, and yet he did.
Jennings' praise of gay rights pioneer Hay had nothing to do with NAMBLA
Jennings reportedly said he was inspired by Harry Hay, "who started the first ongoing gay rights groups in America ... the Mattachine Society." Peter LaBarbera, president of a group that seeks to "expos[e] and counter the homosexual activist agenda," published a transcript of Jennings' 1997 remarks at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's mid-Atlantic conference that LaBarbera said was reprinted from The Lambda Report. In that speech, Jennings reportedly said, "One of the people that's always inspired me is Harry Hay, who started the first ongoing gay rights groups in America. In 1948, he tried to get people to join the Mattachine Society." Jennings' remarks include no mentions of NAMBLA.
Hay broadly recognized as gay rights pioneer. Upon Hay's death in October 2002, numerous obituaries (retrieved from Nexis) noted that Hay was a pioneer of the American gay rights movement -- just as Jennings noted in his 1997 speech. The New York Times noted that Hay "founded a secret organization six decades ago that proved to be the catalyst for the American gay rights movement." The Associated Press called Hay "a pioneering activist in the gay rights movement" who founded "the Mattachine Society." The San Francisco Chronicle stated that Hay was "considered by many to be the founder of the modern American gay rights movement." None of the obituaries mentioned NAMBLA.
Hannity's and Rove's efforts to link book foreword written by Jennings to NAMBLA are a smear
Jennings' book foreword decried anti-gay violence, had nothing to do with statutory rape. Jennings wrote the foreword to the 1999 book Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue about Sexualities and Schooling. In the foreword -- which, contrary to Rove's and Hannity's suggestions, had nothing to do with statutory rape -- Jennings called for valuing "every human being as a precious gift" and looked forward to the day when people could "walk down our streets without fear."
Hannity's claim that former student was 15 is false
Former student was 16 -- the MA age of consent -- at the time of his conversation with Jennings. Hannity's assertion that Jennings "didn't report" that a 15-year-old student told him of his involvement with an older man is false. The student was 16, the legal age of consent in Massachusetts, when the conversation occurred 21 years ago.