An Experiment in Character Assassination

Alvin McEwen has been doing heroic work combating the relentless stream of lies about Kevin Jennings, especially the allegations that Jennings’ taught “fisting” to a group of children, as Rush Limbaugh claimed yesterday, and that GLSEN was distributing copies of “The Little Black Book,” a directory of gay bars.  

McEwen has repeatedly debunked these claims, in all their forms, pointing out time and again that the incidents underlying the claims involved are being completely misrepresented and that Jennings was never personally involved in any of them.

For instance, the “fisting” allegation stems from a dental dam kit distributed by Planned Parenthood at a GLSEN conference, while the “Black Book” allegation stems from a community health group which accidentally left a few copies on its table at a GLSEN conference, and which no students ever received.

And, from that, the Right has declared Jennings “a raging pervert who taught fisting … to grade school and junior high school students.”

Now let’s try an experiment:

Remember last year when a vendor was selling Obama Waffles at the Values Voter Summit?

Obama Waffles

The Waffle Booth

The Family Research Council quickly issued a statement saying it “strongly condemned the tone and content of the materials” and Focus on the Family pledged to “do everything in its power to prevent another such unacceptable situation in the future.”

Now imagine if we wrote about this incident by claiming “Family Research Council president Tony Perkins peddles racist paraphernalia” or “Focus on the Family’s James Dobson traffics in crude racial stereotypes. ” How do you think FRC, FOF, and others on the Religious Right would react?  

Do you think they’d accuse us of flagrant misrepresentation and baseless character assassination?  If so, they’d be right … and that is exactly what they are doing to Kevin Jennings.