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Sunday, April 24, 2022
MRC Loves Hurling 'Grooming' Smear To Defend Fla. Law
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center absolutely hated that the Florida "Parent's Rights In Education" bill was dubbed by its opponents as the "don't say gay" bill. Kevin Tober, for instance, huffed in a March 28 post that is was "mislabeling" to use that term "despite the fact that not only does the word gay not appear anywhere in the text of the legislation but it doesn’t prevent children from using the word." (The bill does not outline where, exactly, use of the word is permitted.) By contrast, the MRC went overboard in labeling the bill an "anti-grooming" bill despite the fact that the word "grooming" also appears nowhere in the bill -- which not only ramped up its use of the smear that it had embraced in previous months but also seems to put the lie to its bashing of the "don't say gay" terminology.

Kathleen Krumhansl called the bill an "anti-grooming law" in the headline of her March 13 post, complaining that one Telemundo host "fell for calling the bill 'Don´t Say Gay'" and that other hosts "chose to go along with has been aptly decried as the grooming of the youngest in a subject they cannot fully comprehend: sexuality and gender."

Matt Philbin served up his own weird definition of the bill in a March 17 post: "Dishonestly dubbed by the media the 'Don’t Say Gay' bill, the legislation would ban FLA teachers discussing or teaching sexuality to children five to eight years-old. This is some sort of gay rights outrage. Apparently grooming is a First Amendment right." Philbin huffed a March 22 post that Disney is being "bullied by lefty employees for not more forcefully endorsing the sexual grooming of grade schoolers" and whined that the bill was "dishonestly dubbed by media lefties the 'Don’t say Gay' bill."

John Simmons called it an "anti-grooming bill" in a March 23 post, and Elise Ehrhard called it an "anti-grooming law" in a March 27 post. The next day, in the same post complaining about the "don't say gay" terminology, Tober huffed that bill opponents were using "a familiar leftist media talking point that wanting to protect young children from being sexually groomed is somehow waging a 'culture war.'"

On March 30, Tober got mad that MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle called out the "grooming" smear as used by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw, pointing out that he was trying "to equate the mere acknowledgment of LGBTQ identities to child abuse," labeling Ruhle "unhinged" for doing so. Simmons returned to suggest on April 1 that LGBT people deserve no rights because there aren't enough of them to be concerned about: "School boards everywhere are rising up to combat Florida’s anti-grooming bill. And America fawns over this agenda and its proponents, despite the fact that LGTBQIA+ people make up less than six percent of America’s population."

Tober went on a rant in an April 3 post defending the right-wing culture war against LGBT actvists like him as exhibited by the Florida bill:

On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter opened his show with a bizarre segment complaining about Florida’s anti-child grooming “Parental Rights in Education” law, and defending Disney’s self-destructive turn towards wokeness and in support of sexually indoctrinating their young audience. 

Just as crazy was the chyron that ran on the bottom of the screen which read “LGBTQ Community Latest To Be Caught In Culture War” as if the “LGBTQ community” wasn’t the one who started this whole controversy in the first place, as NewsBusters' Tim Graham prudently pointed out.

Stelter demonized his own country when claiming "there is an ugly history in the United States of portraying gays, lesbians, transgender people as perverts, as predators who are preying on children” while alluding to his favorite target Fox News of the Disney controversies: “when I see some of the coverage in the last week, seems to me they are just repeating an ugly history.” 

Tober never disproved anything Stelter said about the "ugly history" in the country about demonizing LGBT people -- presumably because he knows it's true and that he himself is actively involved in that demonization by pushing the "grooming" smear.

Krumhansl gushed in an April 6 post about "The anti-grooming laws being enacted throughout the nation, and which grant parents the right to educate their young children on the subjects of sex and gender identity-as opposed to teachers at school," then lied that the the bills were not about inciting anti-LGBT hate, insisting that the bills "are not about grownups, or even remotely fostering any kind of hatred; they simply give parents the right to decide when and where to talk to their children about sexual orientation and gender identity."

Tober embraced the right-wing culture war again in an April 14 post, declaring that if the midterm elections are seen as "a choice between Democrats who are 'focused' on the economy that has led to 40-year high inflation, or Republicans who seek to protect children from sexual abuse and grooming, the contest won’t even be close."

The capper on this campaign, though, was an April 6 post by Philbin that not only defended the "grooming" smear, it bizarrely pretended the only coordinated campaign comes from people criticizing the smear, not the people forwarding it:

So it’s more than a little amusing when the left complains it’s being “smeared” over its opposition to the Florida law against talking sex and gender with K-3 students. Woke folk resent being called “groomers.” Just because they deem it imperative that school libraries include dirty books doesn’t mean they’re pedophiles.

Even better is the coincidence of timing with these complaints. Somebody’s press shop woke up to the unpopularity of the progressive position, the talking points started flying and here comes the deluge of outraged takes.


That last question is a hoot: “Why are conservatives so concerned about ‘grooming’?” 

It’s really quite simple: because we can’t imagine any other reason to be upset about not talking sex with kindergartners. For thousands of years parents have gotten through their children’s 9th birthday without uttering “gender-queer” or “pan-sexual.” This is due to a variety of factors, including prepubescent children’s mental and emotional immaturity and the rarity of such disorders. Oh yeah, and because talking about that stuff to tee-ballers is f**cking creepy.

If you’re hopping mad about legislation that enjoys the support of 61% of people (including 55% of Democrats) and simply codifies common-sense and decency, maybe take a step back.

If you feel compelled to discuss sex with someone else’s child, you might be a groomer. Take it from a racist.

Philbin identified no person who was "talking sex with kindergartners" before the law was approved, in florida or anywhere, that would have justified the law's implementation. He was also silent about the right-wing press shop that advised right-wingers like himself to spread the "grooming" smear.

If you're pretending there is no coordinated strategy behind right-wingers suddenly smearing all LGBT people as groomers for simply mentioning the fact that they exist, you might be a homophobic right-wing hack.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 24, 2022 3:15 PM EDT

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