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Op-Ed: Establishment Media Reveals Its Own Rotten Core in Failed Attack Against DeSantis

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The establishment media is as dutiful a servant as the god of the new age — Progress, of course — could ask for. It has its orders, and it follows them. It exists to tell us that old ideas are stupid and even dangerous and that the people who have them are, too.

In the course of their duties, outlets like The Associated Press are required to antagonize politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. They have to say left when DeSantis says right and up when he says down. Simple.

But the god of the new age is a demanding master, and sometimes even the most faithful servant is hard-pressed to carry out his duties.

This time Progress may have asked too much. This time the AP was given a herculean task: to assail the unassailable, to attack an obvious position that no reasonable person could oppose. It couldn’t refuse. It has a job to do, after all.

DeSantis recently signed a bill promoting the involvement of parents in their children’s education and banning schools from teaching students in kindergarten through third grade about sexual orientation and “gender identity.”

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The AP knew what it had to do. It had to somehow make the case that, yes, young children should be catechized in the bizarre gender theories currently in vogue among the Twitter-verified crowd and, yes, parents should be left in the dark as to what goes on in their kids’ classrooms.

So two chosen writers — Kimberlee Kruesi and Karena Phan — rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

How could they possibly go about their task? Well, how about by just making up a reason why people support the Florida law and then attacking that made-up reason? That would be much easier than arguing against the law itself.

“Yes, that could work,” they said to each other. “We’ll claim that conservatives think progressive educators and LGBT activists want to sexually abuse kids. There!” They had their headline: “‘Grooming’: The ubiquitous buzzword in LGBTQ school debate.”

No, Kruesi and Phan admitted, DeSantis never uttered the word “groom” in relation to the law. But you know who did? His press secretary! Hmm, who else? A country music singer? That’ll have to do.

“In Tennessee, country music singer John Rich testified in front of lawmakers that school librarians who defend controversial books about gender identity and featuring LGBTQ characters ‘groom’ children to become desensitized to sexual abuse and pornography.”

Better do a quick search on Facebook to see who else has used the word. A school choice blog? Well, alright.

“An Oklahoma school choice advocacy blog, Choice Remarks, shared an article on its Facebook page alleging that public schools are sexualizing children. ‘Groomers are gonna groom,’ the group declared in comments accompanying the article.”

Might as well search Twitter, too. It would look silly to cite random accounts so just use the passive voice. No, don’t provide any links or anything. Your readers will take your word for it.

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“When the New York State Education Department tweeted a book recommendation of Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir,’ the agency was attacked online as providing ‘pornographic’ material to children, as well as ‘grooming’ and ‘preying’ on them.”

But Kruesi and Phan still had to pretend to be horrified by parental rights laws like Florida’s. They called them “another volley in the country’s ongoing culture wars, during which conservative lawmakers also have opposed the teaching of ‘critical race theory’ and proposed bills requiring schools to post all course materials online so parents can review them.” No, anything but that!

What’s next? The tried and true tactic of getting “experts” to act as the AP’s mouthpiece. If it’s in quotes it still counts as news.

“The use of the term [grooming] is an attempt to distort the goal of teachers ‘who are being intentional about expressing their acceptance of LGBTQ people, or perhaps sharing their own stories … so that all students can know that they have representation within the school,’ said Casey Pick, a senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides support services for LGBTQ youth.”

Remember, Pick is talking about students in kindergarten through third grade. Here’s what she said, translated from HR-speak into plain English: “Teachers should talk up the LGBT movement and maybe delve into their own sex lives because there could be gay or transgender 5-year-olds in their class. Yes, it’s great for 5-year-olds to be thinking about sex, you prude.”

Some more expert insight:

“Catherine Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel at Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., said conservative groups are capitalizing on the fear of unknown materials, books and discussion taking place inside classrooms to propel measures that would place more ‘surveillance’ on teachers, librarians and other educators.”

As Sen. Lindsey Graham recently put it, “Good!

Oh, Kruesi and Phan, can’t forget to throw in a jab at religion and associate this law with the “white nationalist movement.” That’ll be easy enough.

“The current trend to limit the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity echoes similar campaigns of the 1970s in which far-right religious groups characterized people who identified as LGBTQ as trying to ‘convert children,’ said Sophie Bjork-James, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who researches the U.S.-based religious right and the white nationalist movement.”

Alright, how else can the AP assure readers that progressives do not have a prurient interest in children? How about with a quote from a “nonprofit that promotes adolescent sexual health and rights”?

“Brittany McBride, associate director of sexuality education at Advocates for Youth, a nonprofit that promotes adolescent sexual health and rights, sees a coordinated effort to create discomfort in school districts across the country, the result of which is to limit the education that students can receive.

‘Adult discomfort has always seemed to take the priority over the rights and responsibility as a society to provide our young people with the information that they deserve,’ McBride said.”

What are “adolescent sexual rights”? (Wait, don’t tell me — access to free contraceptives and abortion?) It bears repeating a second time: We are talking about kids in kindergarten through third grade.

The AP doth protest too much. “The people who want to teach kindergarteners about sex are definitely NOT creeps in ANY way! Are you crazy? How could you even think that?”

So did Kruesi and Phan accomplish their task? Sure — they took their obligatory stand against DeSantis and anyone who thinks public schools should not be teaching small children about homosexuality and transgenderism behind their parents’ backs.

They toiled and contorted and stretched and offered this article up to their god. But did he accept the sacrifice?

I can only imagine Progress sneered at them and told them to get back to work. DeSantis will be signing more bills soon and holding more news conferences. Old ideas aren’t going to mock themselves, you know.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Maria Speckhard is a graduate of Hillsdale College.




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