In anti-gay attack, AIM falsely asserts “pedophile” Jennings was “teaching 14-year-old boys” about sexual practices

In attacking the media for allegedly insufficient coverage of Obama administration official Kevin Jennings, a blogger for Accuracy in Media, which purports to “set the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage” -- and which has a record of antagonism toward gays -- smeared Jennings as a “pedophile” and falsely claimed that "[v]ideos have surfaced of Jennings teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of 'fisting,' and discussing with them the particulars of oral sex." In fact, Jennings did not conduct that seminar and, in fact, reportedly criticized it when he became aware of its content.

Blogger: Jennings is “President Obama's favorite pedophile,” was “teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of 'fisting,' ” “particulars of oral sex”

From a December 10 AIM blog post by Allie Duzett, “an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia":

While has 108 stories on the Salahis, the site only features one story on the “Safe Schools Czar” of the Obama administration, Kevin Jennings. The article on Jennings, entitled "Kevin Jennings Gets Boost from White House," was written on October 1, 2009. The article defends Jennings, who was selected for the position largely because of his work founding and directing the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a radical gay promotion group.

However, since October 2009, a lot has happened with President Obama's favorite pedophile. Videos have surfaced of Jennings teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of “fisting,” and discussing with them the particulars of oral sex.


Jennings did not conduct, nor did he support, seminar

Seminar conducted by non-GLSEN personnel at GLSEN-sponsored conference. As Media Matters for America has detailed, the controversial session -- one of “over 50 sessions” at the 2000 conference sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), according to Jennings, founder of the group -- was run “by two [Massachusetts] Department of Education AIDS-HIV education specialists and a consultant to the department,” as reported in a May 18, 2000, Boston Herald article retrieved from the Nexis database.

Jennings reportedly “surprised and troubled” by accounts of the session. The May 18 Herald article reported that GLSEN “agreed yesterday that three workshop leaders crossed a line with raunchy content directed at students as young as 14 years old.” In the article, Jennings, who was the executive director of GLSEN at the time, was quoted saying, “We need to make our expectations and guidelines to outside facilitators much more clear because we are surprised and troubled by some of the accounts we've heard.” In a May 18, 2000, Boston Globe article (from Nexis), Jennings criticized the contents of the seminar, saying that “from what I've heard, I have concerns as well” and that sex-education programs “need to be delivered in an age appropriate and sensitive manner.”

Even Gateway Pundit admitted Jennings himself did not conduct the seminar. In support of her claims that Jennings is on tape “teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of 'fisting,' and discussing with them the particulars of oral sex,” Duzett linked to two Gateway Pundit blog posts on the seminar. But while their headlines suggest that Jennings himself is on tape conducting the seminar, Gateway Pundit has noted that the Department of Education staffers, not Jennings himself, are the ones on tape.

AIM's claim that Jennings is a “pedophile” is false

The only purported evidence Duzett cites to support her assertion that Jennings is a “pedophile” is her claim that Jennings was “teaching 14-year-old boys” sexual practices -- as detailed above, a false claim. Further, no allegations of pedophilia have been made against Jennings.

AIM rehashes other discredited smears of Jennings

Duzett repeats attack on GLSEN “reading list for schoolchildren” without noting GLSEN's call for adult guidance. Joining other right-wing figures, Duzett wrote that “a team of 'independent researchers' came forth with a report on a reading list for schoolchildren that Jennings was involved in creating, as the founder and executive director of GLSEN," stating that "[t]hese researchers randomly selected 11 books off Jennings' GLSEN reading list, and what they found left them 'speechless.' " Duzett added, “It should frighten parents in this country to have the man behind this reading list functioning as the nation's 'Safe Schools Czar.' ”

But Duzett failed to note that GLSEN's list of recommended books is accompanied by the following notice in red type: “All BookLink items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content. However, some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes. We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability. The editorial and customer reviews listed at often provide information on mature content.”

Duzett: Wash. Times “merits recognition” for smear-laden attack on Jennings. Duzett wrote: “In the midst of so much willful ignorance on the part of the media, the Washington Times merits recognition: they recently published an op-ed discussing Jennings and his exploits in sex 'education.' " But as Media Matters has detailed, the Washington Times editorial Duzett cites falsely claimed that Jennings encouraged a sexual relationship between a student and adult, attempted to tie Jennings to the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), and falsely suggested that Jennings supported a controversial workshop at the 2000 GLSEN-sponsored event.

AIM has history of antagonism toward gays

Writers for Accuracy in Media have a record of attacks on gays and gay rights:

  • AIM chairman Don Irvine wrote of “the first ever Pride month celebration at the White House”: “Maybe next [President Obama] can repaint the White House a nice shade of pink and hang the rainbow flag in front to show his commitment to the gay cause.” [6/30/09]
  • AIM editor Cliff Kincaid asserted that news organizations should engage in a “Quit Gay Sex” campaign against “the dangerous and addictive homosexual lifestyle,” using as justification for his argument the November “Quit to Live” anti-smoking campaign launched by ABC News after veteran journalist Peter Jennings died of lung cancer. Kincaid argued that news organizations should take up similar campaigns against homosexuality, given that "[l]ife-threatening sexually transmitted diseases among homosexuals are on the increase." [12/14/05]
  • Kincaid claimed that the lagging ratings for the now-defunct MSNBC show The Situation with Tucker Carlson could be blamed on panelist Rachel Maddow, whom he described as “a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man.” [8/1/05]
  • Kincaid wrote that Howard Dean's “success” as a 2004 presidential candidate “will depend on concealing the facts about Dean's homosexual experiment -- and how he has used young people as sexual guinea pigs.” Kincaid repeated a claim that “Dean was a key member of a sophisticated campaign that implemented the homosexual agenda in the state over a period of many years.” [12/10/03]