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Media Matters defends Kevin Jennings with “scare quote-fu”

October 2, 2009
Kevin Jennings, "Safe Schools Czar"

Kevin Jennings, "Safe Schools Czar"

On the left, using so-called scare quotes has become a favored polemical trick. You know what I mean: they put quotation marks around words or phrases, either to denote sarcasm and cynicism, or to engender doubt about a concept’s value and accuracy.

Scare quotes are a kind of hipster secret handshake — a shorthand way of saying, “Of course, superior people like you and I ‘get’ how self-evidently silly XYZ is…” To normal folks, it’s a tiresome tactic that wore out whatever welcome it had, around the time Douglas Coupland published his third novel.

Now Media Matters is at it again, with a new post on their site: “Conservative media unleash anti-gay rhetoric in attacks on Jennings”

“Jennings” being Kevin Jennings, the Obama administration‘s “safe schools czar.” Recently, FOX News reported that:

President Obama’s “safe schools czar” is a former schoolteacher who has advocated promoting homosexuality in schools, written about his past drug abuse, expressed his contempt for religion and detailed an incident in which he did not report an underage student who told him he was having sex with older men.

(…)

Jennings was appointed to the position largely because of his longtime record of working to end bullying and discrimination in schools. In 1990, as a teacher in Massachusetts, he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which now has over 40 chapters at schools nationwide.

During the incident regarding the underage student (who confessed that he’d had sex with a strange man he’d met at the bus station) Jenning’s only concern seemed to be whether or not a condom had been used during the encounter. We know this because, although the incident occurred twenty-one years ago, Jennings has related the story as a major turning point in his life, in two books, and in many speeches, including the one recorded below:

“In their attacks on Jennings,” says Media Matters today, “numerous conservative media figures have resorted to thinly veiled homophobic appeals to paint Jennings, who is gay, as a ‘radical’ ‘gay activist’ with an ‘agenda’ of ‘promoting homosexuality in schools,’ and have misrepresented or distorted Jennings’ previous comments about religion and tolerance.”

See what I mean about scare quotes?

Now let’s see: if Kevin Jennings cannot accurately be described as a “gay activist,” I don’t know who can. My first clue was that he founded an activist organization twenty years ago with the word “gay” in its name.

But is Jennings a “radical”? Well, some people would say, based upon their sincerely held religious, moral and political convictions that, by definition, any “gay activist” is a “radical” one.

However, let’s stick to the more serious accusation about Jennings and his group “promoting homosexuality in schools.” Let’s look at one program sponsored by GLSEN. Readers can decide for themselves if the word “promoting” is or is not accurate.

At this point, credit is due to Pamela Geller and a handful of other bloggers, who’ve been posting information about Kevin Jennings and GLSEN for a long time. (WARNING: in its entirety, the post below contains sexually explicit language which may be disturbing):

The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is a national homosexual activist group targeting children in the public schools. Its founder, Kevin Jennings, was recently appointed to a high position in U. S. Department of Education by Barack Obama. GLSEN is part of the tax-supported Massachusetts Commission on Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Youth. (In fact, GLSEN’s membership in that commission is mandated by law!)

On March 25, 2000, GLSEN put on a conference called “TeachOut” for kids across and public school teachers across Massachusetts. This conference was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education.

At this conference children as young as 12 years old were taught by state employees how to engage in various extremely dangerous (and disgusting) homosexual sex acts.

Again: the rest of that blog post contains sexually graphic language.

I’ll let Ann Coulter have the last word. In the segment below, she calls Jennings “another Bill Ayers” (who, besides being a terrorist, is also an educator), and then suggests that “Obama make Roman Polanski the safe schools czar [instead], which would satisfy the Hollywood Left“:

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16 Comments
  1. October 2, 2009 10:09 am

    Is there no end in sight to the radicals in this Administrtion?

    What fools we were to vote (not me, BTW)for a radical.

    How could we expect anything different?

  2. Revnant Dream permalink
    October 2, 2009 4:09 pm

    Obama it seems had to drag the swamp of humanity for his “Czars”.
    A more despicable bunch Ive never heard of before. From perverts to tax dogers or out right Communists. Obama never fails to find the lowest mud dwelling denominator in human degeneracy. This will go down as Americas shame as this guy with his merry band of crooks fleece America into penury while stealing every individual Liberty you have. Leaving only a boated Government of entitled sharks you pay for.
    JMO

  3. Lucas North permalink
    October 3, 2009 8:41 am

    This is one of the more inane posts I have ever come across.

    Let me summarize:

    Conservatives say things and Media Matters quotes them. This is a scare tactic, because some people think some of the things these people say are hateful and demonstrably false.

    A person or group isn’t being hateful or homophobic if their intolerance if they think god wants them to be hateful and intolerant. Think Westboro Baptist Church.

    Now, for the voice of reason, let’s all listen to Ann Coulter.

    Talk about a fantasy land. There is such a thing as a rational conservative, hell these days David Frum looks like one.

    You are clearly not someone to take seriously.

    • theblanque permalink
      October 3, 2009 9:38 pm

      Conservatives say things and Media Matters quotes them. This is a scare tactic, because some people think some of the things these people say are hateful and demonstrably false.

      Perhaps you should go back and read what Kathy actually wrote:

      On the left, using so-called scare quotes has become a favored polemical trick. You know what I mean: they put quotation marks around words or phrases, either to denote sarcasm and cynicism, or to engender doubt about a concept’s value and accuracy.

      Did you catch it this time? Scare quote tactics, not scare tactics.

      A person or group isn’t being hateful or homophobic if their intolerance if they think god wants them to be hateful and intolerant. Think Westboro Baptist Church.

      Even if Kathy had made a religious-based argument in the above post, your statement is still irrelevant–because the basis of the complaint against Jennings is not that he’s a homosexual, but 1) he turned a blind eye to a sexually abusive relationship between a man and one of his students, and 2) he has founded a taxpayer funded group that teaches kids how to engage in dangerous sexual activities.

      Mis-representing what Kathy said might work in a verbal debate, with participants who are un-familiar with Kathy’s style and writings–but attempting your little slight-of-hand when what she wrote is only half a page above and available to all to verify? That’s just plain stupid.

  4. Joseph White permalink
    October 3, 2009 8:42 am

    Why the hell are we, the taxpayers funding the ACLU, The GLSEN, and ACORN, among other groups that want to tear us apart?

    I think it’s time to get hold of your rep and senator and tell him that we want to stop funding crackpot groups that waste money trying to destroy our way of life. Point out that you are not getting funding from uncle sam to build your group or business, and if these groups can’t stand on their own, they don’t deserve to be around.

  5. Michael permalink
    October 3, 2009 9:14 am

    Kathy Shaidle, the fact that at the end of your blog post you consider Ann Coulter (of all people) to be the voice of reason in this debate, nullifies your entire post and is one of many reasons not to take your post seriously, esp. bc the person has come forward and says he was of legal age, proved by his drivers’ license and Facebook message to a FoxNews writer:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/200910020029
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/200910020026
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/10/01/education-official-becomes-the-latest-target-for-obama-critics/

    You really need a cure for your Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    • theblanque permalink
      October 3, 2009 9:54 pm

      bc the person has come forward and says he was of legal age, proved by his drivers’ license and Facebook message to a FoxNews writer:

      Right–because he was legal age, Jennings should have not been concerned over one of his students was hooking up with strange men in bus station bathrooms, and shouldn’t have advised the boy to stop engaging in risky sexual behavior.

      That’s the equivalent of saying that because someone is over 21, there should be no worry over binge-drinking, and shouldn’t advise restraint to avoid injury.

  6. October 3, 2009 9:31 am

    What’s wrong with Ann Coulter? Is she a racist, too?

    Your guy is a radical, leftist, ego-maniac, naiev Marxist, power hungry jerk and anyone who doesn’t like the fact that his tired, old, tried and failed ideas, is now a racist, or worse.

    Give me a break.

  7. Black Mamba permalink
    October 3, 2009 9:32 am

    I have one thing to say about these despicable attacks on Kevin Jennings: RACISM!!!!!

    Oh, wait, hang on, no, um, I meant…. HOMOPHOBIA!!!!!!

  8. October 3, 2009 9:37 am

    Aha!

    Another case of ODS!

  9. October 3, 2009 9:39 am

    Hey, that works out well.

    We have an ODD President so those that disagree with him have ODS.

  10. October 3, 2009 5:58 pm

    What should conservatives and other normal people do if we can’t remove Jennings from power or derail polygamy booster Chai Feldblum’s nomination to the EEOC[1]?

    If the MSM, academia, the Dem establishment and enough mid-level GOP operatives are against us, what then?

    [1](see http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17265 )

  11. old white guy permalink
    October 4, 2009 3:29 am

    ya got ta love it. entrenched perverts.

  12. scaramouche permalink
    October 4, 2009 2:12 pm

    Just as there is such a thing as “penis envy,” but only men have it, there is such a thing as “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” but only those who see this all-too-fallible naif as some combination of JFK, Martin Luther King, Denzel Washington and Jesus Christ have it.

Trackbacks

  1. Media Matters’ Defense of Kevin Jennings Reeks of Desperation « NewsReal Blog
  2. Media Matters tries out “scare quote-fu” on Glenn Beck’s Free Press report « NewsReal Blog

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