Right-Wing Media Machine Closes Out 2011 With Attacks On Girl Scouts Of America

The right-wing media closed out 2011 by attacking the Girl Scouts of America for, in the words of Glenn Beck website The Blaze, publishing a book that “refers young readers to Media Matters for America as one of the primary sources for debunking lies and deceit.” Fox News led the charge, devoting more than 15 minutes over two days and three programs to the GSA's “liberal ideology,” including its purported ties to Planned Parenthood.

Beck Website: “Girl Scouts Book Refers Readers To Liberal Group Media Matters”

The Blaze: Media Matters Reference Is “A Form Of Misinformation, Bias -- Potentially Even Indoctrination.” On December 27, Glenn Beck website The Blaze reported:

In 2010, the Girl Scouts of the USA published a book called “MEdia.” The publication, designed for girls in grades six through eight, is a guide that apparently offers insight into how young people should process and understand the media messages surrounding them.

Considering the pervasive nature of popular media, this seems like a viable tool. However, there's a problem -- the book refers young readers to Media Matters for America as one of the primary sources for debunking lies and deceit. [...]

The Blaze called the Girl Scouts on Dec. 13 to ask about the book. Spokesperson Michelle Tompkins seemed very familiar with the controversy over the inclusion of Media Matters and said that the organization is re-printing the book this month.

During a follow-up call, Tompkins pledged to answer some e-mail questions we sent over. These particular questions sought answers about how Media Matters came to be placed in the book, who wrote the page that the reference appears on and what group, if any, will replace Media Matters once the new publications are released. To date, we have received no response despite a follow-up voicemail and e-mails.

This story was originally brought to us by Christy Volanski, a concerned parent and a former Girl Scouts leader. Her daughter, Sydney, a 15-year-old who served as a Girl Scout for eight years, left the organization in 2010 after she found that it embraces some controversial stances. Now, Sydney co-edits "Speak Now: Girl Scouts Website," which provides plenty of other examples of what some may see as liberal bias.

Perhaps the Girl Scouts staffers were too busy to respond to us, but considering the fact that the Media Matters reference is, in itself, a form of misinformation, bias -- potentially even indoctrination -- we assumed that the book would no longer be on the market. But we were wrong. [TheBlaze.com, 12/27/11]

Fox News Trumpets Story, Highlights MMFA's “Agenda” To “Destroy Fox News”

Fox & Friends Hosts Attack Media Matters' “Agenda”; Criticize GSA For “Steering Kids The Wrong Way,” Alleged “Liberal Bias.” In a December 28 segment, Fox & Friends hosts criticized GSA for giving “bad information” by not directing girls to a “non-partisan, objective group,” and suggested the Scouts have a “liberal bias” because “the Girl Scouts printed materials refer girls to planned important hood and other pro-abortion groups”:

ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): The controversial part is they direct girls to Media Matters. Well Media Matters is the group that you've probably heard about on this program that is not nonpartisan. In fact they have an agenda and one of their stated agendas is to destroy Fox News. So the fact that the Girl Scouts are being directed in this guide to sort through the media to Media Matters is very curious because there are nonpartisan, objective groups that also do fact checking that they could have been directed to instead of Media Matters.

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Right, and it is curious they would direct people, young kids to Media Matters, which is funded in part by George Soros, and you know his history. The publication The Blaze which is also a blog contacted the Girl Scouts and said, “Did you know you are sending kids over to Media Matters which is a lefty blog out there?” And they go, “yeah, we know. And by the way, we are going to reprint the book.” Well, will that be in the new book? That blog, the Blaze, has not heard an answer whether or not that bad information about a site that is clearly with an agenda is going to be in the new book because it's steering kids the wrong way. [...]

DOOCY: And this came to the attention of some people because a 15-year-old Girl Scout had been doing some research and she realized there were a number of different agenda items that she felt that showed a liberal bias to the Girl Scouts. And so she started her own blog, and one of the things on her thing, according to her, is did you know the girl scouts printed materials, refer girls to Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups? So in the course of doing her research, she found the Media Matters thing and the rest is history. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/28/11]

Fox & Friends Hosts Say It Is “Laughable” To Call Media Matters “Fair,” Attack GSA's “Lefty Point Of View.” From a second December 28 Fox & Friends segment:

CLAYTON MORRIS (CO-HOST): The book is called “MEdia” and it's handed out to those group of girls from I think the sixth grade up to eighth grade age range and it sends them to Media Matters, the website Media Matters, to get more information about lies, they say, or distortions that may be out there in the Media. Turns out, we know one of the most recent campaigns was going after Fox News Channel. It's also money coming from George Soros and others. So the notion that this is a--

DOOCY: Fair.

MORRIS: Nonpartisan or fair group is laughable.

DOOCY: Absolutely. I mean, it's fair if you're on the left and perhaps that is perhaps the two authors who wrote this particular book have a lefty point of view and maybe they do. But then for them to say, “hey, girls out there, if you want to know what's real, go to this lefty web site,” that's just crazy. There is a story out there that apparently 15-year-old girl last year dropped out of the Girl Scouts because she looked at some of the policies and realized that in her estimation, the Girl Scouts in some ways embrace a lefty point of view, a liberal bias. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/28/11]

For more Fox attacks on Media Matters, click here.

Right-Wing Blogosphere Pick Up Attacks, Promotes Girl Scout Cookie Boycott

CNN Contributor And Big Journalism Editor Loesch Criticizes “Ongoing Moral Decline” Of GSA, Suggests Cookie Boycott. In a December 28 post, Loesch embedded a Fox & Friends segment and stated:

Think twice before buying Girl Scout cookies next year. Fox and Friends discussed how the Girl Scouts of America is now promoting Media Matters, in addition to its affiliation with Planned Parenthood (more). [...]

By promoting Media Matters for America as a credible website, the Girl Scouts are endorsing the site's unethical practices and stances.

The ongoing moral decline of the Girl Scouts has caused an exodus within its ranks and a decline in its formerly popular cookie sales. The absence of such a group has sparked the creation of others to take its place, most notable among them: the American Heritage Girls and the Frontier Girls.

Next year, when the green sashes come by your home and ask you to buy cookies to help support their organization, know why your answer will be “no, thanks.” [BigJournalism.com, 12/28/11]

Jawa Report: “I Guess I've Bought My Last Box Of Thin Mints.” On December 29, Jawa Report reported:

A publication for the Girl Scouts of the USA is promoting the blatantly biased website 'Media Matters' as a source to clear up media disinformation. For those who aren't familiar with 'Media Matters,' the website dedicates all it's resources to misinforming the public about conservative media, especially Fox News.

I guess I've bought my last box of Thin Mints. [The Jawa Report, 12/29/11]

Ace of Spades Highlights “Odd Inclusion” Of Media Matters By GSA. On December 28, Ace of Spades' Ace wrote:

Girl Scouts Now Promoting Media Matters As Reliable Site To Clear Up “Misinformation”

The long march through the institutions.

Media Matters? Honestly?

In 2010, the Girl Scouts of the USA published a book called “MEdia.” The publication, designed for girls in grades six through eight, is a guide that apparently offers insight into how young people should process and understand the media messages surrounding them.

And if you read something that strikes you as dubious, don't just accept it uncritically; make sure you check out an unbiased, straight-shooting source. [...]

The Girl Scouts are aware of this odd inclusion, but are apparently re-printing the book for further distribution -- Media Matters still cited as a legitimate source. [Ace of Spades, 12/28/11, emphasis original]

GSA Announces They Will Remove MMFA Reference In Face Of “Controversy”

Girl Scouts Statement: “Upcoming Reprints” Of Book “Will Not Include Links To Media Matters.” On December 28, right-wing website The Daily Caller reported:

In a statement to The Daily Caller, Girl Scouts of the USA confirmed on Wednesday that its literature will no longer refer scouts to Media Matters For America as a source of information to balance bias in news reporting.

“Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members and we update our materials on a regular basis,” said the statement. “As a result of this process, upcoming reprints of journeys materials will not include links to Media Matters.”

The book in question, titled “MEdia,” currently advises Girl Scouts that “Media Matters for America (http://mediamatters.org) gets the word out about media misinformation." [Daily Caller, 12/28/11]

Fox News Doubles Down With Nearly 12 Minutes Attacking GSA's “Liberal Ideology”

Fox & Friends Hosts “Former Girl Scout” To Attack Media Matters Reference As Example Of “Liberal Ideology” Of Girl Scouts. During the December 29 edition of Fox & Friends, the hosts interviewed Sydney Volansky, the former Girl Scout and co-editor of the website Speak Now: Girl Scouts referenced in The Blaze:

DOOCY: I understand your family and some other families started noticing kind of what you would feel is a liberal agenda in the national Girl Scouts organization, and when you saw that book, it was suggesting if you want to know what's really going on in the media, go to Media Matters, which is clearly a left blog, you said that's just not going to stand, right?

VOLANSKY: Yes. My sister and I started a website to help inform families of the more leftward leanings of Girl Scouts because they promise to be neutral politically and about certain social issues, but when you examine the women they promote and the websites and books that they refer girls to, there is a clear liberal ideology, like with the Media Matters site. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/29/11]

Fox & Friends Amplifies Volansky's Attacks On GSA's Alleged “Lack Of Neutrality,” “Real Motives,” Ties To Planned Parenthood. From the Fox & Friends interview with Volansky:

CAMEROTA: And you were a Girl Scout for eight years, you were a proud Girl Scout. You say it was a huge part of your life. But then because you started seeing these incidents of lack of neutrality you started the website called speaknowgirlscouts.com. What are you trying to accomplish with that?

VOLANSKY: With Speak Now: girl scouts, we are just trying to spread awareness to families because we were so deceived for eight years we were in Girl Scouts. We didn't realize that Girl Scouts was promoting such a liberal ideology. And so we really just want to help families to understand Girl Scouts' real motives and what they are really promoting.

DOOCY: In particular at the national level, we've got a sound bite from 2004, the woman who runs the Girl Scouts, Kathy Cloninger, and here she talks about a special relationship between the national Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.

CLONINGER (VIDEO CLIP): We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.

DOOCY: One of our producers was told that she made a misstatement back then and that there is no relationship between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood. Do you believe that to be true?

VOLANSKY: I don't believe that is true. For one thing that statement has never been formally retracted. So that kind of makes you wonder why she doesn't just say, “Oh, I made a mistake, let me retract that” instead of just having everyone else says it but she never comes out with that, so that's one thing. But also, you look at the sites they are promoting, they send girls to abortion-advocacy websites which will in turn send them to Planned Parenthood, and several years ago they actually had a direct link where they were sending girls directly to Planned Parenthood in a badge called “On Your Own.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/29/11]

Fox & Friends Re-airs Portion Of Volansky Interview, Says She's Exposing “Liberal Agenda” Of GSA. In a second December 29 segment, after re-airing a portion of the Volansky interview, Doocy said:

She got out of the Scouts a while back and then she's been compiling a list of what looks like the liberal agenda of the national Girl Scouts and that's when they found the Media Matters thing. When asked about why is Media Matters, which is clearly a lefty blog, George Soros-funded, left-leaning agenda wise blog, supposed to be the arbiter of media items, a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts of America said, “Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members and we update our materials on a regular basis. As a result of the process, upcoming reprints of journeys” - that's the name of the publication - “the materials will not include links to Media Matters.” However, our young former Scout did say that despite the fact that the Girl Scouts say we're not going to have that, she had friends go out and try to get that book and as it turns out, Media Matters is still in the book, although the Girl Scouts have promised to remove it from future publications.

Doocy also again highlighted GSA's supposed relationship with Planned Parenthood. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/29/11]

The Five Hosts Call Girl Scouts Book “Indoctrination,” Say Media Matters Is A “Biased Left Wing Liberal Rag.” From a discussion of the GSA book on the December 29 edition of The Five:

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE: This is improper, it's indoctrination. It's ridiculous. I don't know what's going on with them. They are trying to pollute minds of young girls. And I'm glad they've been called out on it.

ANDREA TANTAROS: What's Media Matters?

GUILFOYLE: Irrelevant.

TANTAROS: I've never heard of them. [...]

ERIC BOLLING: I have a son but I wouldn't want my daughter to be learning about where to go for media training and media correctness to Media Matters, one of the most biased left wing liberal rags on the planet. So, maybe they should have vetted it a little bit better before they put the manual up - -

TANTAROS: I never heard of them. I don't even know what they are.

GREG GUTFELD: You know, I think this is all part of a merit badge for social justice. Have you seen that? No? All right. Well, if Media Matters had a cookie - I was thinking if Media Matters had a cookie, it would be called bitter nut.

BOLLING: And if they had a drink, it would be called Kool-Aid. [Fox News, The Five, 12/29/11]

Wallace Highlights Report On Special Report. From the December 29 edition of Fox News' Special Report:

CHRIS WALLACE (GUEST HOST): The Girl Scouts say they will no longer recommend the liberal website Media Matters as a good source for fact checking suspected media bias. The Scouts book “MEdia” includes a section called “Consider the Source” devoted to news and urban legends. Quote, “Media Matters for America gets the world out about media misinformation.” But industry blog Mediaite says Media Matters has a, quote, “far left bent that is both transparent and indisputable.” [Fox News, Special Report, 12/29/11]