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04/13/2010

Because simple verification would have been too MSNBC-like

by Jeremy Hooper

In literally five minutes turnaround time, we were able to email a school principal and get this response back:

We do not—nor have we ever- have any events planned connected with the Day of Silence.
Thank you

But apparently FOX News doesn't have that kind of time on their hands. Because in a new story about a planned Women's History Month event that a pair of New Jersey parents were able to have cancelled at their kids' elementary school, Fox News has both of the parents connecting the now-pulled fashion show with friday's anti-bullying Day of Silence:

A school superintendent in New Jersey says a "misunderstanding" led an elementary school teacher to mandate that all students -- including young boys -- dress as women in a now-canceled fashion show to honor Women's History Month.
...
"My husband and I are very open-minded, but this is a decision for my son to make when he's old enough to understand it," [Janine] Giandomenico said. "I thought it was wrong. I felt like I had to say something."

She said she also found it "very odd" that the event was scheduled to coincide with an anti-bullying "Day of Silence" organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which is encouraging students nationwide to remain mute during classes on Friday to call attention to verbal and physical abuse of gay students.
...
Stacy Bowen, a mother of two young children in Bucks County, Pa., said she contacted the school's principal after seeing Giandomenico's Facebook posts on the matter.

"I was just so outraged," Bowen said. "I find it completely alarming that a school would do this."

Bowen said she also found it "ironic" that the event was scheduled on the "Day of Silence."

N.J. Elementary School Cancels 'Cross-Dressing' Fashion Show After Complaints [FOX News]

This school event had nothing to do with DOS. Not one thing. But these parents (both of whom are extremely conservative, judging by their social networking pages) went ahead and put the idea out there and FOX News published the link without question, leading others to pick up and run with it. Even though there was not even a scintilla of connective evidence other than a shared date. Even though FOX could have easily obtained verification, just as we did. It was easier to just intimate, which of course solidifies the "gays want to indoctrinate your kids" meme that is so popular in certain circles.

So why is this on our radar at all? Well, because it comes less than 24 hours after FOX News ran a complete hit piece against DOS, wherein they let fringe conservatives like Laurie Higgins and Bryan Fischer whip up the idea that the anti-bullying effort is "a waste of tax dollars." When one see that kind of unbalanced piece, and then sees a followup like this disingenuous NJ elementary school connection, one starts to think that there's something other than journalism going on.

***

**UPDATE: Here's a much more fair and balanced report, which doesn't try to connect the event to the Day of Silence:


Parents Outraged Over Kids Cross-Dressing Fashion Show [NBC Philly]

**UPDATE2: Giandomenico actually does not describe herself as conservative, but rather as libertarian:

Giandomenico, a self-described "libertarian," said she had tried to contact her son's teacher about the issue, and claims her concerns were brushed off. She also tried to contact conservative radio hosts Glenn Beck and Michael Smerconish while broadcasting the issue to her nearly 900 Facebook friends.

"The school doesn't get it," she said. "I'm not a right-winger. I'm not a radical, but I believe in the Constitution and I believe in my parental rights."

Were 3rd-grade boys asked to dress as girls? The fashion show is off [Philly]

It should be noted that in this report, Giandomenico does again try to connect DOS to the event. However, the local superintendent shoots that down. You know, because the reporter actually asked him.

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