Kathy Shaidle

Media Matters' Defense of Kevin Jennings Reeks of Desperation

Posted on October 5 2009 9:00 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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Harry Hay: "Safe Schools Czar" Kevin Jennings' hero

Harry Hay: "Safe Schools Czar" Kevin Jennings' hero

You can almost smell the flop sweat at Media Matters. They’re dancing as fast as they can, to keep new victim-hero, “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings, from getting the hook.

Here’s Media Matters’ latest desperate attempt to steer attention away from Jennings, by playing “shoot the messenger”: “Wash. Times continues to smear Jennings with false claim that he failed to report ‘sexual abuse’ of student.”

Having redeemed itself somewhat by denouncing Roman Polanski and his supporters in no uncertain terms, Media Matters is now minimizing the well-documented fact that after one of his high-school students told him he’d had sex with a stranger whom he’d met at the bus station, Jennings didn’t report the incident to authorities, choosing instead to save it as a favorite anecdote in his many books and speeches.

Media Matters’ new spin on the story is that the boy in question was sixteen years old — the legal age of consent in Massachusetts!

Fine. (I guess.) But the boy’s confession to Jennings could easily be interpreted as cry for help. Even Jennings (admittedly under considerable public pressure) now says, “I can see how I should have handled this situation differently.”

If the boy had told Jennings he was a drunk driver, would Media Matters’ have exclaimed: “So? The kid had a driver’s licence”? (Speaking of which: Media Matters even posts a copy of the student’s actual driver’s licence to prove his age at the time. And yet they make fun of “birthers”…)

For folks who regularly denigrate organized religion, it’s astonishing how often the Left reverts to Jesuitical, legalistic phariseeism when cornered.

Normal people, on the other had, read about the Jennings incident and find it troubling on many levels. Of course, in the Left’s eyes, “normal people” are just future leftists who haven’t had their consciousness sufficiently raised, and who are still hopelessly mired in backward bourgeois morality.

So what, specifically, is Media Matters’ “gotcha” today? It’s that the Washington Times:

also advanced the manufactured link between Jennings and the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) because of Jennings’ past praise of gay rights activist Harry Hay. In fact [… in] the 1997 speech in which Jennings mentioned Hay, Jennings’ praise was of Hay’s work as an early gay rights activist and had nothing to do with NAMBLA.

Media Matters stresses again and again today that the word “NAMBLA” never appears once in Jennings’ speech. And they’re absolutely right.

Yet, to borrow from Trotsky: while Jennings may not be very interested in NAMBLA, NAMBLA was of considerable interest to Harry Hay, according to his heavily footnoted Wikipedia entry :

In the early 1980s, Hay joined other early gay rights activists protesting the exclusion of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) from participation in LGBT social movements, most noticeably pride parades–arguably the most visible signs of LGBT culture–on the grounds that such exclusions constituted a betrayal by the gay community. In 1983, at a New York University forum, sponsored by an on-campus gay organization, he remarked “[I]f the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.” In 1986 Hay was confronted by police when he attempted to march in the Los Angeles pride parade, from which NAMBLA had been banned, with a sign reading “NAMBLA walks with me.” Hay refused to participate in the official 1994 parade in New York City commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots because of its exclusionary policies.

The same leftists who were delighted to indulge in faux outrage and moral posturing over a 2002 speech that Trent Lott delivered on ex-Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday, are now unwilling to “connect the dots” when those involved are on “their” side.

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