On O'Reilly, Caplis lied about Daily Camera covering Boulder High panel; O'Reilly falsely claimed "no public outcry" locally
Research ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
Discussing the controversy over a panel discussion on teens, sex, and drugs held in April at Boulder High School, Dan Caplis of 630 KHOW-AM falsely asserted on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor that the Boulder Daily Camera "still refuses to fully report the facts." In fact, the newspaper first reported on the panel on April 11 and subsequently has published numerous items regarding the ensuing firestorm. Also, O'Reilly baselessly claimed that "there has been no public outcry in Boulder over the controversy."
Appearing for the second time in two weeks on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 630 KHOW-AM co-host Dan Caplis falsely asserted on the May 31 show that "the Boulder Daily Camera still refuses to fully report the facts" of what panelists said during a controversial April 10 Conference on World Affairs (CWA) discussion about sex and drugs held at Boulder High School. In doing so, Caplis ignored the fact that the newspaper first broke the story about the panel in April and has published in print and on its website numerous items related to it.
Additionally, host Bill O'Reilly baselessly claimed on May 29 that "there has been no public outcry in Boulder over the controversy," despite the fact that Caplis himself had told O'Reilly during a May 18 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor that "a lot of parents at Boulder High" had been calling in to Caplis' radio show to "say they're not going to stand for this."
O'Reilly asserted that panelists at the event, which was sponsored by the University of Colorado, condoned casual sex and the use of illegal drugs. Caplis' May 31 statement echoed comments he made during his May 18 appearance on O'Reilly's show, when he similarly accused the Daily Camera of committing "a disservice to that community" for having "completely ignored" the Boulder High School controversy.
The Daily Camera noted on May 31, in response to Caplis' baseless accusation, "The Camera broke the [CWA] story and has had several prominent articles about the panel discussion and its fallout." The newspaper also reported that O'Reilly called school officials "villains" for allowing the panel discussion, titled "STDs: Sex, Teens, and Drugs," to be held at Boulder High. Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Board of Education president Helayne Jones and Boulder High School principal Bud Jenkins contacted the police after being "ambushed" and followed by reporters and a camera crew from O'Reilly's show, according to the article.
As the Daily Camera reported on April 11, well before Caplis' May 18 O'Reilly Factor appearance, "An audience -- mostly made up of teenagers -- filled the school's auditorium Tuesday for an afternoon panel called 'STDs: Sex, Teens and Drugs.' The discussion on pot, hangovers and sex was far from an after-school special." The article continued:
One student criticized the panelists for what she saw as a blasé attitude about sex and a disregard for abstinence.
"I'm extremely offended," the girl said. "This discussion has been one-sided."
Additionally, after breaking the story on April 11, the Camera on May 10 published a front-page article about the controversial panel discussion -- eight days before Caplis first claimed on The O'Reilly Factor that the newspaper "completely ignored" the story. According to that article:
Boulder High sophomore Daphne White was so offended by a discussion extolling sex and drugs at her school that she went to the microphone to give what she knew was an unpopular view.
She chastised the Conference on World Affairs panelists at the April session for a one-sided discussion that discredited religious views and abstinence, saying they shouldn't send those kinds of messages to teens.
"The panel discussion was a completely irresponsible and dangerous invitation to Boulder High students to have sex and take drugs," she told the Boulder Valley school board at its Tuesday meeting.
School board members agreed it was inappropriate and asked the district to investigate. It's possible the panels will no longer be allowed at Boulder High.
"This was a huge mistake," said school board President Helayne Jones.
Moreover, the Daily Camera also published a guest op-ed; an editorial; a public statement by the panel's sponsor, CWA; a public response to the CWA statement by the family of the Boulder High student who was offended by the panel discussion; and a letter to the editor regarding the issue -- all prior to Caplis' May 18 appearance on O'Reilly's show. Since then, the Daily Camera has published other articles, letters to the editor, and editorials about the ensuing controversy.
Caplis' May 31 assertion -- that the Daily Camera "still refuses to fully report the facts. They still haven't done a story that just lays out for the folks what these unqualified sex-and-drug clowns actually told the kids" -- is equally baseless. Since at least May 10, the Daily Camera has consistently directed its readers -- both online and in print -- to full recordings of the panel discussion available online. Moreover, the newspaper has reported the following excerpts from the panel's presentation:
- A teenage girl at Boulder High School took the microphone and asked the Conference on World Affairs panelists in her school's auditorium a sex question.
It wasn't for her, she said. She was asking for someone else.
"Would you have sex with someone you liked? But say he doesn't love you?"
- "I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately," said panelist Joel Becker, the psychology professor. (May 10, May 12, May 18)
- [A Boulder High School sophomore's] mother read excerpts at a school board meeting of panelists talking about the difficulty of maintaining an erection while using condoms, the naturalness of experimenting with same-sex relationships and the benefits of legalizing drugs. (May 31)
On his May 29 show, after playing selected audio clips of the panel discussion, O'Reilly announced that "the three people responsible for the outrage are superintendent George Garcia, school board president Helayne Jones, and principal Bud Jenkins. Since none of them would address the issue with us, Factor producer Jesse Watters visited them, beginning with Garcia, who put a statement on his website that said the discussion you just heard was appropriate." O'Reilly then played footage of Watters' ambush interviews of Garcia getting into his car, Jones driving into her home garage, and Jenkins apparently arriving at work. The Daily Camera reported on May 31 that Jones had to call police to make O'Reilly's reporters leave her property, and Jenkins "requested a police escort last week to get in the building after reporting being followed by a Fox camera crew."
As Colorado Media Matters noted, O'Reilly used a similar tactic on April 9 when he had his producer, Porter Berry, trail Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow to a Denver parking lot to conduct an ambush interview.
Later in the May 29 show, O'Reilly called the Boulder administrators "[c]owards" and declared, "Now, this is one of the worst things I've ever seen." He further asserted, "It epitomizes what happens when secular progressives take over" and "[i]t's interesting to note that there has been no public outcry in Boulder over the controversy. Many parents seem content to have their kids encouraged to take drugs and have indiscriminate sex. So the people of Boulder are really getting what they want."
However, on the May 18 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Caplis told O'Reilly, "[O]nce we started playing the tape, which was a couple of days ago, I have, I have heard more outrage than I've heard on air in the last 16 years; more outrage than I've heard since the O.J. Simpson verdict." Caplis further noted that outraged Boulder High parents have called his radio show, saying, "We've heard from a lot of parents at Boulder High who say they're not going to stand for this. And, and, Bill, I think this goes across party lines. These experts came in to undermine and contradict everything most parents at that school are trying to teach their kids about sex and drugs." Caplis added, "I believe that a lot of those parents are ready to fight back."
Further contradicting O'Reilly's claim that "there has been no public outcry in Boulder" over the panel discussion, the Daily Camera on May 26 published a letter from a Boulder resident who said, "I can't believe the superintendent or anyone else is attempting to defend" the illegal use of drugs, which one panelist allegedly encouraged.
Finally, on his May 30 broadcast, O'Reilly asked Fox News contributor Dennis Miller to comment on the Boulder High controversy. Miller said, "If I was a parent I'd walk down there and punch somebody in the nose." O'Reilly agreed, saying, "Yeah, you and I, if we lived in Boulder and our kids were in that school, I think probably woulda rumbled."
As the Daily Camera reported on May 31, school board president "Jones and others have received e-mails about the CWA talk, some of which contain 'graphic threats,' she said." The newspaper also noted that "[o]ne e-mail, sent to the Camera as well as Garcia, mentions torture and murder as options a 'distraught parent' might choose for punishment or revenge against him."
From the May 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: It is hard to believe that in America today you can have a town as out of control as Boulder. You know about the Midyette baby; took 14 months to get an indictment on a murder case there. You know about JonBenet Ramsey. And now we have Boulder High School. But it doesn't seem that the residents of Boulder care if their high school tells their kids to go out and have sex of all kinds at all age and to use narcotics. They simply don't care in Boulder. Am I wrong?
CAPLIS: Well, Bill, this is going to be a good test of that. I think it's still too early to tell, and here's why: Once we started playing the tape, which was a couple of days ago, I have, I have heard more outrage than I've heard on air in the last 16 years; more outrage than I've heard since the O.J. Simpson verdict. We've heard from a lot of parents at Boulder High who say they're not going to stand for this. And, and, Bill, I think this goes across party lines. These experts came in to undermine and contradict everything most parents at that school are trying to teach their kids about sex and drugs. And, and I believe that a lot of those parents are ready to fight back. But we'll find out in the next few days.
O'REILLY: All right. Who are the villains here? Joel Becker is an L.A.-based psychiatrist. He was on a panel. He's a villain. Andee Gerhardt, a community engagement leader with Ernst & Young in New York City. Antonio Sacre, another L.A.-based performing artist. These people have no credentials, outside of Becker. But I -- the principal of the school is the villain. Who is he, and why is he still have his job?
CAPLIS: Well, well, Bill, I, I agree with you on that because, first of all, this panel was provided to Boulder High by the World Affairs Conference at CU. And, and I think they made a big mistake in sending these unqualified people over. But once that panel began -- and you know, you've heard the tape -- within five minutes every administrator, every teacher in that auditorium knew this was wrong.
O'REILLY: You bet.
CAPLIS: They knew this panel was telling kids to do drugs and have sex and experiment with all sorts of things. And they should have taken those kids and got 'em out of the auditorium.
O'REILLY: You bet. They should have been stopped immediately. But it's the, it's the leadership of the school, and that is the principal. So, so far-- who is the principal? Do you know who the principal is?
CAPLIS: You know, I don't know his name, Bill, but I --
O'REILLY: All right. We're gonna, we're gonna find out. He's the guy that has to go. And Boulder school superintendent George Garcia, he's gotta be held accountable for this. How's it been -- you know, the, the Colorado media -- very liberal -- have they covered this at all? The Denver Post -- extremely liberal -- Rocky Mountain News, Boulder Camera. Have they covered it?
CAPLIS: You know, it's fascinating; the Camera has completely ignored it.
O'REILLY: Ah -- I'm shocked.
CAPLIS: The Rocky Mountain News has followed -- right. Exactly. And, and it's such a disservice to that community. The Rocky Mountain News has followed it, and followed it well. The Post did one small story. But, amazingly, the TV stations have done virtually nothing with it.
O'REILLY: The tele -- the local te -- and, you know, I used to work for Channel 7 in Denver.
O'REILLY: I would've been all over that thing.
From the May 29 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Now, the three people responsible for the outrage are superintendent George Garcia, school board president Helayne Jones, and principal Bud Jenkins. Since none of them would address the issue with us, Factor producer Jesse Watters visited them, beginning with Garcia, who put a statement on his website that said the discussion you just heard was appropriate.
[begin video clip]
WATTERS: [unintelligible] We just wanted to talk to you about that panel that came to the school.
WATTERS: I mean, some of the panelists said, I quote, "I encourage you to have sex. I encourage you to do drugs." Do you think that was appropriate?
GARCIA: I think I gave a public statement, and you can get it on our website.
WATTERS: But do you think that was appropriate?
GARCIA: Excuse me. Excuse me.
WATTERS: Sir, you're a public official. Your salary is paid for by the taxpayers.
GARCIA: Hey, would you --
WATTERS: Sir, can you -- you really think that's appropriate to tell kids to do drugs, to take narcotics?
GARCIA: You can read my statement on the website.
[end video clip]
O'REILLY: Then we found Doctor Jones.
[begin video clip]
WATTERS: The panelists said that it feels better to have sex without a condom. Do you agree with that? Do you think that's appropriate? The panelists said that if they had any Ecstasy right now he'd do some Ecstasy.
JONES: [unintelligible] I suggest that you listen to the tape and report what the panel has actually said. The Board stands by the superintendent. And now I will ask you to leave my private property or I will call the police.
WATTERS: He said that he encouraged the use of sex and drugs. Do you think that's appropriate to encourage kids to use narcotics and have casual sex?
[end video clip]
O'REILLY: And finally, principal Jenkins.
[begin video clip]
WATTERS: Principal Jenkins, do you think it's appropriate for this panelist --
VOICE OFF CAMERA: You guys need to head up on the sidewalk.
WATTERS: -- to say that people should be doing hash in California? Do you really think that that's appropriate for a panelist to say that they're encouraging same-sex sexual relationships?
VOICES OFF CAMERA: On the sidewalk, on the sidewalk.
WATTERS: Do you think that's appropriate?
VOICES OFF CAMERA: On the sidewalk. Thank you.
WATTERS: Yes or no, principal?
[end video clip]
O'REILLY: Cowards. Now, this is one of the worst things I've ever seen. It epitomizes what happens when secular progressives take over. The SP movement now runs things in Seattle; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco-Oakland; Boulder; Madison, Wisconsin; and the entire state of Vermont. It's interesting to note that there has been no public outcry in Boulder over the controversy. Many parents seem content to have their kids encouraged to take drugs and have indiscriminate sex. So the people of Boulder are really getting what they want. An unbelievably permissive public school run by cowards who will not explain the benefit of forcing young people to sit through an exposition like that. The Rocky Mountain News editorialized that Boulder High School officials, quote, "have incited recklessness." And that newspaper is correct. Meantime, the very liberal Denver Post has had little to say on the matter. But I say this: Secular progressive movement is dangerous, especially to children. The people who recommended drugs and unrestrained sex to the kids are being invited back to Boulder High School next year. What a pathetic scenario. But unless the good folks rise up against this kind of thing and fire the villains, we'll be seeing more of it, not only in Boulder but all across America.
From the May 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: You live in a very liberal place: Los Angeles, Southern California. And then last night we had the Boulder, Colorado, high school assembly where the three pinheads came on and told the kids to use Ecstasy, have homosexual sex as well as every other kind of sex, don't really use a condom because it's too hard to put on, and if you want some pot, we'll tell you how to get it. This is in a mandatory high school assembly. What say you?
MILLER: If I was a parent I'd walk down there and punch somebody in the nose. I mean, that's reprehensible to me. I don't care if it's Boulder. I don't care if everybody's, you know, like a aging hipster there. Is there anything sadder than them floating these guys in from L.A. to act like they're cool in front of high school kids? The guy saying, calling a prescription a "scrip," and he's got all that hip lingo down. You know something, this is like the guy who comes back to college the year after he graduates and hangs out around the keg so he can hit on undergrads. It's sad. You're adults now. If you want to lead that life, fine. Nobody wants to get in your way. Go do the libertarian thing. These are kids. They don't know better. They look up at you and they're told that you know something about it. You're talking about unprotected sex. If I was a parent, I'd pop somebody in the snout. I'm sorry. Enough's enough.
O'REILLY: Yeah, you and I, if we lived in Boulder and our kids were in that school, I think probably woulda rumbled. We probably --
MILLER: Well --
O'REILLY: -- woulda come home and, and, and, you know, the only thing I could do is chase those three pinheads around Boulder. But isn't it hard to believe in America in 2007 that this is happening? I mean, I'm just astounded.
MILLER: Well, I'm more astounded if what you said is correct. Have they been invited back --
MILLER: -- for next year?
O'REILLY: They've been inv -- but it's gonna be an optional assembly. They're not going to force the kids to go. But they've been invited back. They -- this Boulder outfit has no remorse at all, Miller. No remorse, just like you. No remorse where anything you ever say.
From the May 31 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Joining us now from Denver, radio talk show host Dan Caplis, who has been covering the story on KHOW. Is this building in Colorado? Is it, is it, is something going to happen to these three administrators who actually inviting these people back again next year?
CAPLIS: Well, Bill it is building, in large part because of you. And thank you for that, because here's what we see: Every time somebody hears this tape, they get mad about it. And, and you've done a great job of gettin' it out there. But the problem is this: In Boulder -- and I lived there for 20 years -- most people get their local news from the Boulder Daily Camera, and the Boulder Daily Camera still refuses to fully report the facts. They still haven't done a story that just lays out for the folks what these unqualified sex-and-drug clowns actually told the kids, so --
O'REILLY: But do you really think even if they did the, the SPs [secular progressives] in Boulder would care? I mean, look at the Midyette case. The Boulder Camera didn't carry that. Baby dead, 14 months before the parents are indicted, and they're indicted for child abuse, not murder. Camera ignored the story. But, but the state of Colorado is interesting -- and, and, and you guys at KHOW, you go all over the state -- you gotta struggle there now. Used to be when I lived there, it was a traditional state, somewhat conservative. Now, big, big liberal influence. And, you know, secular progressives, they don't have a problem with telling kids to use illegal drugs or have indiscriminate sex. They don't have a problem with it.
CAPLIS: You're right. And this is classic culture-war stuff, but traditional values, I say, I think, are still there across party lines with most parents, including in Boulder. Most parents don't want their kids being told to do drugs, have indiscriminate sex -- "By the way, a condom won't make it as good." They don't want their kids told that. So I do believe --
O'REILLY: Well, how come they're not doing anything about it, Dan? This is a month old, this story. I mean, more than a month.
CAPLIS: Two reasons, Bill. One is, most still haven't been told. Not by the school. You know that. You've seen the reports. The school won't tell 'em what their kids were actually told. The Daily Camera won't tell 'em. So we're gonna do everything in our power, no matter what it takes, to make sure they find it out. You're doing a great job with that, but I think at the end of the day people will take action, and we're gonna help 'em do that.
O'REILLY: How about the governor? I mean, is he -- we called his office and they -- no commenting, and this and that and the other thing. You know, if Owens were still governor, I'm sure he would have weighed in on this. But the new governor, a Democrat, doesn't seem to care.
CAPLIS: Yeah, you know, you, you're dead-on right about Bill Owens. He would have stood up on this. Bill Ritter, we're still waiting to see. But, hey, he hasn't come on our show either. But it, it's ironic, our state law revolves around abstinence; sex ed has to be based on abstinence first and foremost, so you think the governor would step up. But total silence at this point.