Kathy Shaidle

Media Matters defends Kevin Jennings with "scare quote-fu"

Posted on October 2 2009 10:00 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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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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