Sunday, March 20, 2005

Having It Both Ways

It's been an interesting weekend, I guess you'd say. The CRC coming-out party yesterday was really ... something. CNN last night had a fair and even-handed story on the MCPS sex-ed controversy, with balanced quotes from our side and Recall. They had to squeeze it in between breaking stories on the Schiavo case, but they did get it on the air.

Then this morning the Washington Post and the Washington Times switched with one another, kinda like naughty twins going to one another's classes. Looks like The Post attended the Recall bash and read the CRC fliers, but didn't bother to check their facts or get any other points of view. Well, they'll be getting some letters to the editor. They've been ignoring this story so far, and they needed to do some homework.

The Times, on the other hand, covered the story quite fairly. As you know, that newspaper tends to express the conservative voice, and we have not always felt that we have been portrayed fairly there. But I got the feeling yesterday that the pitch of the rhetoric may have frightened that reporter a little bit. Like, OK, you don't think kids should be taught all that much about sex in school. OK, you think the family should handle those responsibilities. OK, you are uncomfortable with all this "gay" stuff and would rather not have your kids asking you a bunch of questions about it. OK, that's fair, people can be conservative on these issues, we can discuss that and come to an agreement.

But what happened yesterday was not that. It wasn't about conservative values, and certainly not about a health curriculum at all. It was about hatred, and the desire of the Christian right (I don't have a better term for them) to dominate America politically. I do not want to bring up this concept capriciously, but I think we can fairly say that the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum yesterday put on a clinic on fascism. Self-righteous, we-wanna-take-over-the-world fascism.

And I think it was too much, even, for the Times.

The Post story was surprisingly poor. They followed the CRC's script by leading with the condom video, and quoted the few comments that were made about condom use (oddly, CRC supporters are against 'em). There were errors in their one-sided story, and a kind of bias that, well, it's kind of surprising, that's all. I subscribe to The Post, I look it over every morning, and it's a little strange to see an event, and then see how they portray it. Did they go to the meeting? They had some quotes, so they must have. You don't know if this is biased reporting or just lazy reporting, I'll grant that it was just lazy and amateurish, and not intentionally biased. Here's the story: Montgomery Parents View Sex-Ed Video.

The Times was more thorough. Usually they make the cucumber sound silly, for instance, and this time they played it straight.

The Times had a couple of very revealing quotes, down near the bottom.
Mr. Dwyer, who opposes the curriculum, said yesterday he himself was "spreading the hate of homosexual activists ... and the fear of what is going to happen if we don't do something about it."

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum members distanced themselves from such statements.

"We do not go to the extremes that some of the speakers went to," said Steve Fisher, a group spokesman.

Said Mrs. Turner: "This was not about promoting hate or intolerance. We want the school system to know ... we want our values recognized as well." Sex-education classes attract parental opposition

Someone commented, this is like saying you're against affirmative action, and inviting the Ku Klux Klan to speak at your meeting -- and then acting surprised when they make racist statements.

No, listen, before the meeting I went on the web and looked up all the speakers, and it was very clear what they were going to say. They said what they always say.

They hate gay people and want the religious right to "take back" America.

The CRC "leadership team" (as they kept calling themselves yesterday) must be embarrassed today by how stupid they look. They look like they didn't really mean for these speakers to get so intense. But they invited them. They want you to believe that CRC doesn't "go to the extremes." But they invited these guys, and their audience loved it -- no hush fell over the room, you might say, when extreme statements were made. They object when we characterize them as extremists -- but they are extremists. There was nothing mainstream about yesterday's performance.

Mrs. Turner told the paper "This was not about promoting hate or intolerance," but that's exactly what it was about. It was planned that way, the speakers they invited guaranteed it.


Blogger andrear said...

The CRC administrator told me they would put up the Wash TIMES Story- they only had up the Post- so much nicer to them- when we put up the Post story. I am waiting for them to do something honest-and put up the Times story.


March 20, 2005 6:29 PM  

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