A Washington Times editorial accused "safe school czar" Kevin Jennings of "encourag[ing]" a relationship that amounted to "statutory rape," by suggesting that his only response to an underage student's revelation that he had sex with what the Times described as an "older man" was to "make sure 'to use a condom.' " In fact, Jennings stated that he hoped the student "knew to use a condom" to protect against STDs; moreover, the FoxNews.com article from which The Washington Times based this claim truncated Jennings' remarks to exclude his statement that he thought to say this because his "best friend had just died of AIDS the week before."
Wash. Times cites Fox News' discovery of audio to accuse Jennings of "encourag[ing]" statutory rape
From the September 28 editorial:
A teacher was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an "older man." At the very least, statutory rape occurred. Fox News reported that the teacher violated a state law requiring that he report the abuse. That former teacher, Kevin Jennings, is President Obama's "safe school czar." It's getting hard to keep track of all of this president's problematic appointments. Clearly, the process for vetting White House employees has broken down.
In this one case in which Mr. Jennings had a real chance to protect a young boy from a sexual predator, he not only failed to do what the law required but actually encouraged the relationship.
According to Mr. Jennings' own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the "older man" in a "bus station bathroom" and was taken to the older man's home that night. When some details about the case became public, Mr. Jennings threatened to sue another teacher who called his failure to report the statutory rape "unethical." Mr. Jennings' defenders asserted that there was no evidence that he was aware the student had sex with the older man.
However, the new audiotape contradicts this claim. In 2000, Mr. Jennings gave a talk to the Iowa chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an advocacy group that promotes homosexuality in schools. On the tape, Mr. Jennings recollected that he told the student to make sure "to use a condom" when he was with the older man. That he actively encouraged the relationship is reinforced by Mr. Jennings' own description in his 1994 book, "One Teacher in 10." In that account, the teacher boasts how he allayed the student's concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old "left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."
The Fox Nation: "Did 'Safe School Czar' Encourage Statutory Rape?" On September 28, the Fox Nation linked to the Times editorial, with the headline: "Did 'Safe School Czar' Encourage Statutory Rape?"
Times editorial mischaracterized what Jennings said about condom use
Jennings said he "hope[d] you knew to use a condom" -- not "make sure 'to use a condom.' " According to audio of Jennings' comments to GLSEN in 2000, he said his "best friend had just died of AIDS the week before," so he said to the student: "You know, I hope you knew to use a condom." From audio of Jennings' statement on WThrockmorton.com:
JENNINGS: And I said, "Brewster, what are you doing in there asleep?" And he said, "Well, I'm tired." And I said, "Well, we all are tired and we all got to school today." And he said, "Well, I was out late last night." And I said, "What were you doing out late on a school night?" And he said, "Well, I was in Boston." Boston was about 45 minutes from Concord. So I said, "What were you doing in Boston on a school night, Brewster?" He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, "Well, I met somebody in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him." High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people. I was a closeted gay teacher, 24 years old, didn't know what to say. Knew I should say something quickly, so I finally -- my best friend had just died of AIDS the week before -- I looked at Brewster and said, "You know, I hope you knew to use a condom." He said to me something I will never forget. He said "Why should I, my life isn't worth saving anyway."
FoxNews.com disappears Jennings' concern about AIDS
FoxNews.com article promoting audio truncated Jennings' concern about AIDS. A September 23 FoxNews.com article linking to audio of Jennings' comments on Throckmorton's website purported to quote Jennings as saying: "I said, 'What were you doing in Boston on a school night, Brewster?' He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, 'Well I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.' High school sophomore, 15 years old' I looked at Brewster and said, 'You know, I hope you knew to use a condom.' " However, Jennings had prefaced his advice about condom use by saying "my best friend had just died of AIDS the week before." The article gave no indication that it edited Jennings' comments in any way. From the September 23 FoxNews.com article:
But a professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, Warren Throckmorton, has produced an audio recording of a speech Jennings gave in 2000 at a GLSEN rally in Iowa, in which Jennings made it clear that he believed the student was sexually active:
"I said, 'What were you doing in Boston on a school night, Brewster?' He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, 'Well I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.' High school sophomore, 15 years old' I looked at Brewster and said, 'You know, I hope you knew to use a condom.'" [Audio is available on the professor's Web site.]
Fox has a history of misleadingly cropping quotes
Chris Wallace repeatedly cropped quotes from a VHA document to falsely suggest that the Obama administration is pressuring veterans to end their lives prematurely. In doing so, Wallace accused assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth of lying about the advice given in the document. In fact, contrary to Wallace's false assertions, the document he referred to does not require doctors to direct veterans to what conservatives have labeled the "Death Book for Veterans." [Fox News Sunday, 8/23/2009]
Fox News presents deceptively cropped six-month-old Biden clip as new. Fox News' Martha MacCallum claimed that "after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend." Fox News then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating: "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." However, Biden did not make those remarks during an "interview" that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. [Live Desk, 3/16/2009]
Fox News on a witch hunt for "czars"
Fox News personalities, led by Glenn Beck, have waged war against what they describe as President Obama's "czars" -- such as former "green jobs czar" Van Jones, Obama science and technology adviser John Holdren, and Cass Sunstein, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs -- by unearthing and criticizing statements the officials had made in the past rather than critiquing their job performance or their credentials for the jobs they hold. Sean Hannity, for example, has declared that "my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other ['czar']."