According to the worldview of the mainstream press, there are really two kinds of people in the world - normal people who hold normal views, and conservatives, who hold abnormal views. There's a front-page story in Today's Boston Globe that demonstrates this, yet again. The news story ("State to push abstinence in schools") addresses a plan proposed by the Romney administration to utilize federal funds for an abstinence-only plan in certain schools where there are believed to be higher levels of sexual activity. <1--break-->
The Romney administration plans to introduce a new abstinence education program in Massachusetts schools beginning next month, the state's most aggressive effort yet to use a controversial method of teaching Bay State teenagers about sex.
Right off the bat, first sentence, we find out that the method is controversial. And reading the piece, you discover that it's controversial because...well, apparently, because it's being pushed by conservatives.
Like abortion and gay rights, sex education -- and abstinence specifically -- is an important social issue to conservatives around the country, whom Romney would have to court if he runs for president in 2008. But the administration's decision promises to revive a fight in Massachusetts over how to teach sex education.
If there's a fight over "how to teach sex education," who are the participants? Conservatives are mentioned. No one else. Apparently the other side is non-ideological. Ladies and gentleman, this is a textbook example of lying by telling a piece of the truth. Is it debatable that, to the extent there is a "fight...over how to teach sex education" in this country, it was started not by the conservatives, who were happy not to have it in the schools, but by liberals? But there aren't any liberals, not in the Boston Globe's world-view.
And there's more. The funds would be used, according to Romney's spokesman, "in addition to comprehensive sex education programs already in place," but the article appears, after running the quote, to ignore it completely.
Opponents of abstinence-only programs say they have no problem with teaching abstinence -- in fact, many believe it should be the primary message of any sex education program. But they say any program that teaches only abstinence is putting teens at risk. "The problem here is not the abstinence, it's the only," said Angus McQuilken, director of public relations and governmental affairs for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, a leading provider of comprehensive sex education in the public schools. "We're doing them a disservice if we deny them medically accurate information about how to protect themselves."
Didn't they just say that that's not what's happening? If the new programs are in addition to the current programs, why do we need the scary quotes? Particularly, what probative value do the scary quotes have when they come from an organization that profits from teenagers who don't exercise abstinence only? Let's remember that teenagers who aren't sexually active provide no business for Planned Parenthood. One could easily see them as a party with a vested interest in the outcome. But no, to the Globe they're just a non-partisan "leading provider of comprehensive sex education in the public schools." And they have more scare quotes, from a (surprise, surprise) Democratic state legislator.
"Of course it puts them at risk," said state Representative Alice K. Wolf, a Cambridge Democrat who sits on the Legislature's Joint Committee on Education. "It could be misleading. It could be incomplete. And in the end, if the kids are not going to [get comprehensive sex education], then they are ignorant and they are at severe risk of health issues as well as pregnancies."
The Globe did not bother, again, to point out that the Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Programs are being used in addition to the comprehensive plans already in place.
...opponents cite a 2004 congressional report released by US Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat, which found that many federally funded abstinence programs provide teenagers with distorted, misleading, and incorrect information about sex, pregnancy, and contraception.
If there are any reports which found that many "comprehensive sex education programs" also resulted in "distorted, misleading, and incorrect information about sex, pregnancy, and contraception," they weren't mentioned...
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