Today comes the news that some on the right have thrown a slur at Kevin Jennings which may have scared even them.
From Media Matters comes the news that the right-wing group Accuracy in Media (pardon me for laughing) has thrown a very ugly slur at Jennings. So ugly in fact that the site backtracked like a dancer doing the moonwalk:
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.
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":
Videos? There were no videos of anything! And the claim that Jennings is a pedophile is outrageous. I know a little media law so I am aware of how hard it is for public figures to sue for libel.
But damn. Come on now. Something needs to be done here.
A lot of people have broken down the truth of the matter, but allow me to post what Media Matters further said because the site does it so nicely:
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.
Apparently the rest of the post rehashes the other lies against Jennings, but I won't talk about that because the post is gone.
According to Media Matters, the post has been removed:
Shortly after Media Matters for America posted a research item documenting that an Accuracy in Media blogger had smeared Department of Education official 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," the AIM post was removed from its site without comment.
What other proof is needed that these attacks on Jennings is not about children's safety but eliminating him because he is gay? These folks don't care about children. They do care about the fact that Jennings is an openly gay men.
Look at the evidence:
They have accused him of supporting pedophiles. That wasn't true.
They have accused him of teaching children to "fist." That wasn't true.
They have accused him and GLSEN of trying to get children to read explicit material. That wasn't true.
They have accused him and GLSEN of encouraging children to go to leather bars. That wasn't true.
They have accused him and GLSEN of encouraging children to have public sex in parks with strangers. That wasn't true.
They have accused him of allowing the abuse of an underaged child. That wasn't true.
They even accused him of advocating murder. And that wasn't true.
Now comes this just outrageous lie about videos.
And yet there are still people who claim that Jennings is the bad guy here.
I ask again - what is it going to take for folks to recognize these attacks as a vicious homophobic vendettta?
What's it going to take for people not to give the perpetrators of this vicious smears the time of day?
UPDATE 1 - Fistgate V my foot! Jennings didn't know about the 2000 workshop content beforehand. Yet another lie by Gateway Pundit.
UPDATE 3 - I alluded to this new Gateway Pundit lie in my post. Jennings and GLSEN did not encourage children to have sex with strangers in public parks.