Propaganda machine


The left frequently accuses conservatives of running a right wing media machine. But this is a classical example of the psychology of projection. The left itself has long depended on an elaborate array of institutions, agendas, and money dedicated to methodcially promoting certain left wing viewpoints. David Holman, on the American Spectator, points examines a PBS "documentary" hitpiece on abstinance edcuation and its comapnsions in a powerful propaganda machine.

The ACLU last week launched a new website, Take Issue, Take Charge, urging local activists to promote "reproductive freedom" and oppose abstinence education. Also last week the Public Broadcasting Service began airing a "documentary" critical of abstinence education called The Education of Shelby Knox, complete with a companion website touting "safe sex" and the work of anti—abstinence researchers. Shelby Knox, according to PBS's website, is a Southern Baptist girl who becomes "an unlikely advocate" for "comprehensive" sex ed. The ACLU prominently features this PBS movie on its website. Persistent doubters of PBS's liberal bias, please stand up after watching this documentary....

The ACLU's PR campaign reveals the separation of church and state as a means toward the libertine ethos Joycelyn Elders envisions. Take Issue, Take Charge's tag line is "Life, Liberty, and Reproductive Freedom," and its primary blogger, Rachel Hart, is formerly of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project. To the ACLU, sex ed is inseparable from abortion—on—demand and forcing hospitals to provide "reproductive health services."

The anti—abstinence movement is also backed by The Playboy Foundation, a primary contributor to the PBS movie. Another major player to which the ACLU links is the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), which argued in a 2002 release, "In a free democratic society, sex education shouldn't be censored." The NCAC is backed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Catholics for a Free Choice, the Lamda Legal Defense Fund, Gay—Straight Alliance Network, the NOW Legal Fund, the National Education Association, and the Sexuality Information & Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), among others. SIECUS counts among its contributors the Ms. Foundation, the Turner Foundation, and Jane Fonda.

The groups arrayed against abstinence education cite "research" of the shoddiest quality. Take Issue, Take Charge presents four sources as "evidence" against abstinence education: tendentious poll data claiming a majority of American parents support comprehensive sex ed, a Rep. Henry Waxman report, an Advocates for Youth study (tactically renamed from the "Center for Population Options"), and the Bruckner and Bearman study on the results of abstinence education.

In the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers Hannah Bruckner and Peter Bearman claimed, based on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, that adolescents who made virginity pledges are just as likely to have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in adulthood. Even though "consistent pledgers" had a lower STD rate than non—pledgers and "inconsistent pledgers," Bearman and Bruckner reported the difference as not "statistically significant."

The Washington Post gave the study page A3 treatment by star reporter Ceci Connolly upon its release in March. Both the Post and the ACLU have yet to note a Heritage Foundation study reexamining Bearman and Bruckner's numbers and finding that their results were skewed. In a paper presented earlier this month, Heritage researchers Robert Rector and Kirk Johnson argued that "virginity pledging was found to be a better predictor of STD reduction than was condom use" and that virginity pledgers were 25 percent less likely to have an STD as young adults.