Jim Hoft falsely claimed that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings "Personally Pushed Books That Encouraged Children to Meet Adults at Gay Bars For Sex," citing anti-gay "hate group" Mass Resistance's falsehood that a book Jennings recommended to high school and college students "encourage[s] teens to, among other things, go to gay bars and have sex with adults to see if they like it." Media Matters for America has reviewed the book, compiled all references to gay bars, and determined that the book at no point encourages teens to "go to gay bars and have sex with adults"; in fact, a majority of the youth testimonials included in the book that mention gay bars refer to them negatively.
Conservative media figures, including Rush Limbaugh and Jim Hoft, have suggested that the recent escape of three prisoners from the privately managed Tri-County Detention Center in Illinois demonstrates that Guantánamo detainees should not be moved to Illinois' Thomson Correctional Center, as the Obama administration has proposed. But federal officials have stated their intention to enhance the Thomson facility's security to levels exceeding that of the Supermax prison in Colorado, which currently holds numerous terrorists and from which there has never been an escape; moreover, a 2001 Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) study found that privately managed prisons have higher escape rates than federal prisons.
Echoing a press release from the conservative and ExxonMobil-funded National Center for Public Policy Research, several right-wing media figures, including Sean Hannity and the Fox Nation, have baselessly asserted that the CIA has "diverted" intelligence resources to climate change. In fact, federal officials have reportedly said that the program, which allows the scientific community to gather data from CIA equipment, "has little or no impact on regular intelligence gathering."
On the January 3 edition of Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume commented that his "message" to Tiger Woods -- who Hume mentioned is "said to be a Buddhist" -- would be to "turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world." Since then, several conservative commentators have endorsed Hume's remarks or defended them from criticism.
From Jim Hoft's January 3 Gateway Pundit post, headlined "After Passenger Saves Plane From Terrorist Bombing- New Rules Require Heroic Passengers to Stay Seated During Last Hour of Flight":
It's an Obama World... Up is down, big is small, losing jobs is creating or saving jobs, and heroes are asked to be seated.
Yesterday, Jasper Schuringa, a video director and producer from Amsterdam, told CNN how he helped the cabin crew to subdue Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old who reportedly ignited a small explosive device on board the plane Friday as it prepared to land in Detroit.
In response to this courageous act of heroism, the Obama Administration enacted new policies today. The new rules will force heroic passengers to stay in their seats for the final hour of their flight before landing.
Taking a cue from Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, several conservative media outlets have reported on three ornaments on the White House Christmas tree depicting President Obama's face superimposed on Mount Rushmore, Mao Zedong, and Hedda Lettuce. Despite the suggestion that those three Christmas tree ornaments (out of hundreds) indicated a "political statement" by the White House, according to the first lady's office, the tree was decorated by community groups, and the White House was unaware of those specific ornaments.
From a December 20 post by Gateway Pundit titled, "DC cop brings gun to snowball fight (video)":
Barack Obama gave his marching orders this year:
Obama: "They Bring a Knife...We Bring a Gun"
Obama to His Followers: "Get in Their Faces!"
Obama on ACORN Mobs: "I don't want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I'm angry!"
Obama To His Mercenary Army: "Hit Back Twice As Hard"
It looks like some people took him seriously.
A DC cop pulled a gun at a snowball fight in Washington DC yesterday.
Right-wing blogs Gateway Pundit and Say Anything recently seized on an Associated Press article which reported that 20 states facing budget strains have cut back on free cancer screenings, such as mammograms, to claim that the declines followed recommendations made by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in November. In fact, as the AP article made clear, this statistic came from an American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network survey, which was conducted from July 2008 to April 2009, months before the USPSTF issued its recommendation.
Yesterday, we pointed out that Fox News' unofficial gay-baiter Maxim Lott had followed up on his false allegations against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings - which resulted in a humiliating retraction - with a new smear piece.
In an article headlined "Obama's Safe Schools Czar Tied to Lewd Readings for 7th Graders," Lott reported that Jennings "is under fresh attack after it was revealed that the pro-gay group he formerly headed recommends books his critics say are pornographic." Lott buried the group's disclaimer that those books recommended for grades 7-12 "contain mature themes" and the recommendation that "adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability," grossly distorted the contents of those books, and at least two of the "critics" he cited are anti-gay bigots.
In short, he did an atrocious job. But hey, if there's anything we've learned over the past months, it's that there's a market for smears of Jennings; no matter how dubious, the right-wing fever swamp will run with it.
And so, Gateway Pundit - who's been channeling Jennings smears from the anti-gay "hate group" MassResistance for the past few weeks -- quickly picked it up:
And, of course, it's currently the top story on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com:
Oh, by the way, neither Hoft nor BigGovernment are acknowledging that Lott actually debunks one of the false smears they pushed - that "fisting kits" were distributed at a 2001 GLSEN event. According to Lott, "The kit was actually for making a "dental dam" -- designed to prevent STD transmission during oral sex." Which, of course, was pretty obvious, given that the kit reportedly consisted of "a single plastic glove, a package of K-Y lubricant," and instructions titled "How to Make a Dental Dam From a Latex Glove."
Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft is again attempting to link Department of Education official Kevin Jennings to a workshop for high school students which included explicit discussions of sex that took place at a 2000 GLSEN/Boston conference. Hoft's new "Explosive" claim is that a Massachusetts teacher who "wanted to remain anonymous out of safety considerations for herself and her family" claims "that there is 'no way' that Obama's Safe School Czar did not know about the pornographic and sexually explicit material that was presented and discussed at the conference." Of course, neither Hoft nor the anonymous teacher provide any actual evidence that Jennings knew the specific explicit content that would be discussed at that workshop When Jennings was made aware after the fact, he reportedly criticized it.
In his latest smear of Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft wrote that Jennings' "Teen Conference Literature Pushed Anal S*x in Parks With Strangers," citing a booklet that he claims "children who attended Kevin Jennnings' GLSEN 2005 Conference also left with."
Right-wing media outlets have relied on false or misleading claims by MassResistance, a Massachusetts-based anti-gay group, in advancing several recent attacks on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings. The founder of MassResistance -- a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a "hate group" -- reportedly denied that gays and lesbians were a target of the Holocaust and has compared the gay rights movement to the Nazis. The organization has also called on parents to keep their children home from school during an event promoting awareness of, and opposition to, anti-gay bullying and has stated that suicide prevention programs for gay and lesbian youth have no "legitimate medical or psychological basis."
The anti-gay right's newest line of attack on Department of Education staffer Kevin Jennings is that he "knew" in advance about the content of a seminar held at his organization's 2000 conference, in which two Massachusetts Department of Education employees engaged in explicit discussion of sexual practices with a teen audience. But the evidence those right-wing sources are hanging their hats on is extremely thin - even for them.
WorldNetDaily and Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft are both claiming that one of those instructors is on the record stating that Jennings knew. Both are pointing to a blog post by the anti-gay hate group MassResistance which states, "Of course Jennings and the Massachusetts Department of Education knew beforehand what the 'sexuality educators' would discuss with children at the 'fisting' workshop. The instructor Margot Abels said so herself."
But the statements MassResistance cites Abels reportedly making only indicate that her immediate supervisors in the Department of Education were aware of her work - not Jennings or other GLSEN officials. MassResistance emphasizes Rod Dreher's Weekly Standard report that "Abels fumed to the press that the education department had known perfectly well what she had been doing for years and hadn't cared until the tapes had surfaced." They also point to a report in the conservative Mass News, which states that Abels told the LGBT newspaper Bay Windows that "she had the support of state officials during her seven years at the state Department of Education," and quoted her statement that "Maybe David Driscoll [Commissioner of Education] didn't always know everything that we did, but certainly our supervisors did."
So no, Abels hadn't "said so herself" that Jennings "knew beforehand" the contents of her workshop.
The other piece of "evidence" MassResistance and their allies in the right-wing blogosphere are pointing is as follows:
Jennings, after all, worked hand in hand with the Mass. Department of Education from the beginning, as co-chair of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth education committee, which set up the statewide program, "Safe Schools for Gay and Lesbian Students" in the DOE. That is the program the fisting workshop instructors worked for.
In fact, as the bio on Jennings' website indicates, he left that commission years before the 2000 conference. Unless these people are alleging some massive conspiracy in which Jennings plotted out the details of the workshop discussion years in advance (and I suppose we can't really rule out that sort of logic from them), this line of reasoning falls apart pretty quickly.
For that matter, even if Jennings had been aware of the general contents of Abels' presentation (and there's no actual evidence to that effect), that still wouldn't in any way support the argument that he was aware of the specific discussion the right-wing finds so offensive before it happens. What we're left with is still that Department of Education officials held the seminar at GLSEN's conference, Jennings criticized them, and they were fired or resigned.
In short, the right is dredging up a ten-year-old instance that was widely reported at the time, and using innuendo and faulty logic to try to smear Jennings with it. But I guess we couldn't have expected any less.
After hackers reportedly stole emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), word of the criminal breach and use of the emails to attempt to undermine the overwhelming consensus on global warming moved from the blogs of climate-change skeptics, where links to the emails were originally posted by anonymous commenters, to foreign media outlets and right-wing political blogs. Media Matters for America tracks the story's movement across the Internet, which took less than two days and culminated in a call by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) for an investigation into "the IPCC and on the United Nations on the way that they cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled."
The Gateway Pundit blog falsely suggested that the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, a group founded and formerly headed by Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, had distributed to children an explicit safe-sex booklet. In fact, a community health group -- not GLSEN itself -- reportedly said that it had mistakenly "left about 10 copies" of the booklet on an informational table it rented at a 2005 GLSEN conference at Brookline High School in Massachusetts; the group reportedly apologized for doing so; GLSEN stated that if it had known the booklets had been at the conference, it would have demanded they be removed; and the Brookline school superintendent reportedly said he believed no students had actually taken the book.