Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kevin Jennings receives an 'apology' for inaccurate murder claim

Apparently my post on the new lie regarding Kevin Jennings - that he advocates murdering people if they call someone a 'faggot' attracted some attention from a few circles- most specifically from the site who wrote the original piece.

The piece came from the site Verum Serum. Via the original headline, it pushed the notion that Jennings did advocate murder. Jennings was actually saying that society is part the blame for school violence because it enhances gender stereotypes and extreme machismo in males.

After I posted my piece, one of the authors of the site accused me of not reading the entire post. The poster claimed the site was not accusing Jennings of murder, but rather unfairly blaming traditional gender roles for school violence. While I lodged disagreement with that assessment, I stuck with the main idea of my post - no matter what Verum Serum meant by what it wrote, opportunistic sites were using the post to claim that Jennings advocates murder.

Finally, one of the posters of Verum Serum sent me this reply:

. . . you're right that some blogs missed the point. Once we caught on to the error, we did try out best to address the confusion.

First we changed the headline of our post which apparently threw some people (with a note retaining the original because we don't "disappear things at VS"). Next, I personally followed backlinks to several blogs and left comments pointing out where necessary that they had misconstrued our meaning and asking for corrections.

We may not have spoken to everyone but our efforts did have an effect. One blogger apologized to me privately this afternoon and corrected a post. A second blogger wrote an entire apology on his own site to both us and Jennings for his misunderstanding. You can see it here.

My point is that this was not a smear or a lie. We were making a serious critique that we believed (and still do) was valid. When that accidentally got muddled beyond our blog, we did our best to correct it. We'll continue to do so. If you see it pop up anywhere, please let us know or direct them to this comment thread or to our site for clarification.

The headline has been changed with a full explanation, but the damage has been done.

For one thing, the Washington Times has already pushed the distortion in a poor attempt to smear Jennings.

And several other conservative blogs have already run with the original "Jennings advocates murder" claim, including Free Republic.

In all honesty, I have a problem Verum Serum's explanation.

The site claims that the original headline ("Killing Someone Who Calls You a Faggot is not Aberrant Behavior...") caused confusion. That may be but I tend to think that the headline was created specifically to cause confusion.

Mission accomplished, Verum Serum.

But still, it's nice that you have corrected yourself. Too bad you had to be caught to do it.

Related post:

New lie lodged against Kevin Jennings - he 'advocates' murder

Bookmark and Share


Dave Mastio said...

Did you even read The Washington Times post you criticize? We posted the full text of the article without comment so readers could decide for themselves exactly what he meant.

JohnVS said...

You're free to believe what you want obviously but for the record we never "pushed" or remotely intended to push the idea that Jennings advocated, endorsed or condoned murder. We quoted him (accurately) and then immediately gave the fuller context, with a link to his entire piece, and our analysis of what he meant. As I explained yesterday it was about his view of gender roles.

If you've read what we wrote then you know that was the point. Continuing to claim some secret motive to mislead people is simply at odds with the facts. The facts are 1) It's not what we said and 2) When others said it we corrected them.

As for your role in this, we posted here because we were sympathetic with your concern about the misunderstanding of what we'd said. However, our effort to set the record straight (as recounted in your comments) was not a result of us getting "caught" by you or anyone else but simply because it was the right thing to do. The headline, the contacting other blogs -- all of that happened before I'd even seen your post. So, sorry but we deserve the credit for that, not you.

That's the truth. Your insistence on doubting our motives despite the evidence is disappointing.

BlackTsunami said...

Let me make these two points:

To Dave, yes I read the article. And I also read the headline which reads - "Attributed to Kevin Jennings: Killing someone who calls you a f****t is not a surprise"

It was an irresponsible headline that implies that Jennings is advocating murder. And based upon the past history of how the Washington Times has distorted this issue, your motives here are highly suspect.

Even if they weren't, again the headline was irresponsible and implies something that isn't true. The article is immaterial if the headline misleads.

To John - I put down my opinion and I stand by it. At the very least, your original headline was inaccurate and thus has led to a lot of bad speculation what Jennings actually said. You have no right to be angry at me when you have admitted that the way you wrote the headline was at fault. Let me reiterate that I think you wrote the headline the way you did to nab readers. In that regard, you did well. If I inferred in any manner that you conspired to intentionally malign Jennings, then I apologize. But the fact of the matter is that you did malign him.

And I don't think you can contact enough blogs to clear up this misunderstanding.

Anonymous said...

a quote from your article:

"I honestly can think of no reasonable explanation for statements such as these from Jennings."

Well its quite simple, he was saying the constant pressure to be 'manly' *which usually involves hating gay people* drives people to do crazy crap. YOU are the only one who could possibly read that as:

"suggest that this sort of violence is a direct consequence of the teaching of traditional gender roles in society"

You actually took "not telling kids they have to be 'manly' and hate faggots or else" and changed it to "Jennings says traditional gender roles lead to violence"

This is a blatant SMEAR piece and its obvious your desperate for any excuse to keep that queer in the closet. And you pretty obviously meant to 'push' the idea that he advocates murder because YOU MADE IT THE TITLE.

BlackTsunami said...

For those reading, that comment by anonymous was directed at John. And anonymous has a point.

JohnVS said...


So your story has changed now. You didn't "infer" that our headline was sensational to grab readers, as you're claiming now, what you said was:

"I tend to think that the headline was created specifically to cause confusion. Mission accomplished, Verum Serum."

In other words you think we did this intentionally to "cause confusion."

For someone so concerned about maligning others, you don't seem that concerned about maligning us. You've posted this accusation on two different blogs, but your revisionist, non-apology gets buried here in the comments. When are you going to correct the record?

BlackTsunami said...

You are right about one thing - it was a non-apology on my part.

Did your site write the headline to intentionally cause confusion or nab readers? Personally I think both can apply and thank you for catching that thereby giving me the chance to clarify.

I also think you trying to play a game of distraction by raising a fuss over minor points. The fact of the matter is that your headline was irresponsible. It created a false image of Jennings that continues to be played on various blogs. You seem to think "well we corrected it on our blog" as if that helps. It doesn't. It's purely a "cover your ass" dodge on your part. You have broken open a dam and instead of arguing with me, you need to hold back the flood of lies told about Jennings that your post with its headline helped to create.

Anonymous said...

"And so what’s even more outrageous than the statements above is that Jennings’ sympathies seem to be with the young men who shot and murdered their fellow students. Because they were “just doing what we have taught them to do” in response to being called a “faggot”."

He NEVER said he sympathized with them. He said they went nuts because of the constant pressure to live up to the definition of 'manly'. YOU say he 'sympathizes' with murderers, which is like saying anyone who claims columbine happened because of bullying isn't condemning bullying, they're 'sympathizing' with murderers.

If your article is a lie why should anyone believe you about the title?

BlackTsunami said...

Hi anonymous,

thanks for your defense of Jennings. But could you clarify who you are talking to so folks don't think your comments are directed at my post ;p

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I've been drinking. So I'm amazed that last one even came out legible. That's my excuse, now what excuse does Verum Serum have for posting lies?

BlackTsunami said...

First they tried to say I read what was written the wrong way. Then when I pointed out how other sites were distorting what they said, they said the other sites had misinterpreted their piece because of the headline. I say horsefeathers.

JohnVS said...


You calling me a liar isn't a "minor point" in my book.

Your shifting arguments do matter and so does your semi-apology, which was so sincere that it lasted all of one comment.

So I guess the bottom line is I don't see any point in arguing with someone who has already decided I'm a liar. Obviously that goes for Anonymous too.

For the record, our story didn't change and we never lied about Jennings to anyone including you. We quoted Jennings accurately and analyzed his statement seriously. A few blogs misunderstood (many others got it right, btw). We did our best to set the record straight with those that missed our point. That the truth. I'll leave it at that.

BlackTsunami said...

As well you should leave it because you are digging the hole deeper. Speaking of anonymous, though, I noticed how you didn't address his/her assessment of your piece.

That says a lot.

JohnVS said...

Anonymous said:

he was saying the constant pressure to be 'manly' *which usually involves hating gay people* drives people to do crazy crap.

I agree. Manhood = hatred = violence. That's exactly what he was saying. I don't believe most Americans would agree with him on that. In fact I'm pretty sure most Americans do not equate manhood with gay hatred and shooting sprees. But as you say, Jennings does.

And, no, he was not saying (as Anonymous claims) that people who did this were "nuts." On the contrary, he specifically said it was "not aberrant" behavior to shoot someone who called you a slur.

That's the reason we headlined his statement as we did originally. His claim (in context) seemed extreme to us (and still does). Obviously you can differ, but I'm confident a majority of Americans would be surprised to learn that the "safe schools czar" considers (or at least did at the time he wrote this) manhood the chief threat to our schools.

As for me digging, are you serious? You've changed your story, conceded I probably didn't intend to lie, offered a fake apology, retracted the apology and tried to change the subject in the space of four or five comments. You think I'm the one digging here, BT?

BlackTsunami said...

For someone who is saying "I'll leave it at that," you sure aren't "leaving it at that."

I said you wrote the headline the way it was to specifically cause confusion and to gain readers. And I think you accomplished it both regards.

The fact that you will not let this situation rest (even though you said that you would) says a lot about your behavior.

You continue to try and convalute the situation; which is you wrote a bad headline which implied that Jennings advocated murder. This awful implication was picked up by several blogs and sites. Since that time you have tried rather badly to cover your ass and you keep throwing silly bombs at me trying to make it seem that I'm the guilty party here when it was your irresponsible writing that got you into this situation in the first place.

I think I've been clear on that point since the beginning. If your feelings are hurt because you felt I unfairly attacked you or called you a liar then you really need to get over it.

If you were really concerned with being accurate then you would spend more time trying to put out the brushfire your post with its headline started rather than whining at me.

Anonymous said...

John: he was totally saying any manhood at all was bad, just like the people who say women shouldn't be obsessed with looking like a barbie doll are blaming traditional gender roles for women. Oh wait, that's dumb as hell!
No one would EVER say someone wanting us to stop drilling the idea of 'femininity' into girls to the point were they despise themselves for liking sports or not wearing dresses "thinks traditional gender roles are bad".

Well, unless it was a lesbian saying this. then you and the other bigots would be leaping on it.