Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center was quick to embrace the case of an alleged sexual assault of a girl in a Virginia high school -- not because it cares about the girl, of course, but because the alleged perpetrator was "a boy in a skirt," which fits the MRC's anti-LGBT narrative, and because it could help get Republican Glenn Youngkin elected Virginia governor. In doing so, the MRC all but censored the full story of the case -- namely, that the students had a history of consensual sex before the assault occurred and that the encounter in question began as consensual sex before the girl withdrew consent -- that complicates the story and blows up the simplistic narrative of a depraved transsexual that the MRC wanted the story to be about.
As the Virginia gubernatorial election drew closer, the MRC tried to stay laser-focused on putting the narrative before facts. Nicholas Fondacaro ranted in an Oct. 28 post:
Thursday was a rough one of the liberal media’s blackout of the heinous and criminal behavior allowed to happen in schools by the liberal Loudoun County School Board. There were more alleged sexual assaults at a middle school involving groping and there was new evidence that Critical Race Theory was being peddled in by the Virginia Department of Education, plus reports of the law enforcement assets the school board wanted to bear against parents. All of it went ignored by the broadcast networks.
In his Oct. 29 column, Tim Graham hyped "actual sexual assaults in the high schools of Loudoun County" and that "a Loudoun County judge ruled the assault occurred," going on to play whataboutism to attack the Associated Press for an early story calling the story around the assault "murky":
A quick search of AP archives in 2018 shows their reporters never used the word “murky” to describe Christine Blasey Ford’s completely unproven charges of sexual assault by a teenaged Brett Kavanaugh. They did report “the conservative jurist's prospects of Senate confirmation remained murky.”
Peoples and his AP team added “Youngkin’s final-days focus on sexual predators in schools, hardly a widespread issue, will test the limits of his suburban outreach,” and “Youngkin’s dark message represents a new front in his monthslong push to repair the Republican Party’s standing in the suburbs” after Trump.
You can guess the AP didn’t describe the Democrats in the Kavanaugh hearings claiming rape was a “dark message” or “hardly a widespread issue.”
You can guess that Graham didn't tell his readers the full story of the assault.
The same day, Geoffrey Dickens cranked out a summary item:
On October 11, The Daily Wire’s Luke Rosiak dropped a bombshell report that exposed how the Loudoun County, Virginia School Board covered up the rape of a 15-year-old girl in the girls’ bathroom at the hands of a boy in a skirt just so they could pass a transgender bathroom policy. It was a horrific case of an out-of-control liberal school board putting their leftist agenda ahead of the safety of students.
Since the story broke, the boy was found guilty by a judge, there have been protests and student walkouts and it’s become a key issue in the closely watched Virginia governor’s race. So how much of their primetime programming has CNN and MSNBC spent on this explosive story?
Just 3 minutes, 8 seconds.
While Fox News aired 1 hour, 44 minutes, 38 seconds on the Loudoun sex assault case, CNN spent zero seconds on it. MSNBC primetime viewers saw just 3 minutes, 8 seconds total on the topic.
Dickens didn't explain why the story justified the nearly two hours of coverage on Fox News, or why he's using that as the benchmark for what other news channels should have done on the story.
Kristine Marsh huffed in a Nov. 1 post:
The media are desperately trying to salvage Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s chances in Virginia’s governor's race, after his alarming comments about parents and education have cost him in the very tight election.
This week, MSNBC went so far as to call Loudoun County Public Schools in VA covering up a sexual assault as a “manufactured” and “made up” controversy.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe the next morning, it wasn’t much better. Co-host Joe Scarborough and New York Times’ columnist Michelle Goldberg mocked the Loudoun County rape case as a “big lie”:
Scarborough complained that the first sexual assault by a boy wearing a skirt in the girls’ room happened before the transgender policy was in place, so any anger over it was inconsequential:
“This was a guy that went in and sexually assaulted a girl. There is no controversial bathroom policy regarding trans students. This is just a controversy that you and your column point out that's just been made-up,” he sneered.
Scarborough insisted again that the school’s transgender policy had nothing to do with the rape. (Does he think that allowing boys into girl’s locker rooms and bathrooms will diminish sexual assaults?)
Marsh didn't tell her readers that the encounter began as consensual, with the boy and girl agreeing to meet in the bathroom -- making it completely irrelevant to any transgender policy the school district is contemplating.
Having achieved its goal with Youngkin's election on Nov. 2, the MRC largely stopped caring about the assualt case, except to cite it in criticizing non-Fox coverage. A Nov. 4 item by Scott Whitlock complained that ABC pointed out the right-wing button-pushing that helped Youngkin win:
The media blame game for Tuesday’s Democratic election losses intensified on Thursday as ABC’s Jon Karl pinned the losses in Virginia on Republicans “exploiting parents's fears” when it came to issues like crime. What, specifically, could Karl be referring to? Perhaps the rape of a young teen by a boy in the girl’s bathroom? Karl didn’t explain and the networks have been hiding the Loudoun, Virginia rape story that galvanized the governor’s race in Virginia.
Like his colleagues, Whitlock hid the full story of the assault from readers.
Graham used his Nov. 10 column to complain that CNN's Brian Stelter pointed out Fox News' obsession with the case and Loudoun County school politics in particular:
Stelter complained about all the “propaganda and grifting” from the right about local school-board issues in Loudoun County, Virginia. He claimed there were more than 400 references to the county on Fox News in 2021. But he never mentioned the sexual assaults in high schools there as an issue. Was that “grifting” to mention? This misses the fact that the left makes national news out of local crimes and controversies all the time. See George Floyd in Minneapolis, or Michael Brown in Ferguson.
There are worlds of difference between those stories, and Graham does not explain why the deaths of George Floyd and Michael Brown should not have received national notice. Nor did Graham admit that Fox and right-wing media glommed onto the Loudoun assault story to exploit their own agendas and get Youngkin elected.
Fondacaro whined the same day:
On Wednesday afternoon, Loudoun County parents, via the organization Fight for Schools, filed their petition to recall their corrupt, radical leftist school board after the members and the superintendent tried to cover up a rape in a girl’s bathroom by a “gender-fluid” boy wearing a skirt. It was the latest development in a county that has garnered national attention; but yet again, the broadcast networks skipped it during their flagship evening newscasts.
NBC can claim the outrage wasn’t genuine all they wanted but clearly, it was as Fox News noted the parents were sticking it to the school board.
Because crowing about how well Fox News is exploiting the tragedy is more important than the tragedy itself.
We've already noted that Kyle Drennen used a Nov. 18 post to complain that NBC essentially did what Fox News did by focusing on issues in a school district in Texas while "it willfully ignored multiple scandals – including two student sexual assaults – rocking the entire Loudoun County, Virginia school system, which had a major impact on the commonwealth’s closely-watched governor’s race." Of course, Drenne would never admit that Fox was exploiting the Loudon situation for political purposes the way he claims NBC was "relentlessly attacking" the Texas school district.
It appears the MRC has little further use for the female victim in the assault as a victim -- only as a partisan tool. Its agenda not only comes before the truth, it comes before basic human decency.