ABC's Slanted Sex Education Lesson
by L. Brent Bozell III
December 30, 1999
Our hallowed TV anchors often present the latest public-policy research with some very partisan guidelines. Receive a liberal study. Promote the liberal study. Project the liberals as nonpartisan and extremely knowledgeable. Keep that impression going by allowing no conservative experts to question their conclusions or their agendas.
The liberal Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is affiliated with the nation's largest abortion provider (Planned Parenthood), recently released studies that worried that abstinence-only sex education is now used in a third of public schools and the trend is growing, thanks to abstinence education funds from Congress. On ABC's Web site, reporter Shawna Vogel began with this loaded sentence: "Two new studies on sex education in public schools suggest that as many as one-third of the schools are shortchanging students by offering abstinence-only programs with no information about contraception." Why would ABC News be upset about "shortchanging" someone by offering incomplete information? They leave out conservative information all the time.
Think how simple it would have been to give this story a balanced introduction. Keep that biased sentence if you wish, then add: "But pro-family organizations reject that charge, suggesting it's more liberal claptrap."
The study's authors had no mission of balance. The reports are militantly leftist and ABC was going to endorse them. A modern liberal activist study would not be complete without the suggestion that conservatism kills. How did ABC see it? Check out the story subheadline: "Life-Threatening Omission?" Sex-education activist Debra Haffner told ABC, "Our children are being denied life-saving information that their parents want for them."
An objective report would follow Haffner's strident liberalism with a conservative decrying school teachers putting condoms on bananas. Or that in the age of AIDS, abstinence doesn't kill, promiscuity does. Perhaps an objective reporter would have noticed the rate of contraceptive failure, and wondered about whether teachers suggesting condoms create "safe sex" are guilty of false advertising. Certainly, a conservative would suggest that the vast majority of deaths resulting from teenage sex occur from abortions. ABC's Web site article included five propagandists for "comprehensive" sex education (including an 11-year-old girl) and only a brief comment from a spokesman for the National Abstinence Clearinghouse.
ABC had the same approach on television during "World News Tonight." Peter Jennings sounded like a fatalist Phil Donahue: "A majority of public schools in America teach some form of sex education. But in many of these classrooms, the only education students are getting is that sex should be avoided. Is that realistic in the 1990s?"
The sentinels of sophistication believe every kid should be taught about "safe sex" because there's no way you can prevent teenagers from having sex. If that's true, then Peter Jennings should promote the virtues of "safe smoking" for kids, since so many are going to do it anyway. By this logic, every student should also be taught safe shooting, since according to the networks, every school is a heartbeat away from a massacre.
Reporter James Walker larded his report with the same sex-ed sermonizers. James Wagoner of a group calling itself "Advocates for Youth" provided the silence-equals-death line about abstinence education: "In terms of this overall policy, it's not just naive or misguided. I really do believe it's irresponsible and dangerous in the era of AIDS." Using a tried-and-true liberal media dodge, Walker failed to let conservatives speak for themselves, and merely put words in their mouth at the end: "But conservatives counter that America's teenage birth and abortion rates are going down and say what is needed is even more abstinence education bolstered by moral education about the sanctity of marriage."
Walker didn't spend any time wondering about the other sexual information teenagers are exposed to outside of the classroom. Peter Jennings didn't turn around and wonder whether some teenagers are having sex because their favorite characters on ABC's prime-time schedule do it, talk about it, make it cool. Wouldn't that have made for an interesting soundbite using liberal slippery-slope logic: "ABC kills"?
This latest sex-education salvo proves once again that the liberals believe no one should be allowed inside a school to present a message based on traditional morality. Instead, all students should become faithful devotees of the Church of the Invincible Condom. Drivel about religious values is okay at church, maybe even at the dinner table. But for goodness sakes, don't bring that foolishness to school.
American liberals yearn to have our society emulate European countries, which they claim have better statistics on teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and abortions. What they really mean is America should emulate European attitudes, which aren't poisoned by these repressive religious hangups about teenage children getting it on.
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