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CNS Learns To Live With A Republican tried -- and failed miserably -- to destroy Glenn Youngkin as a Republican candidate for Virginia governor, but it ever-so-slowly came around. Plus: Like its Media Research Center parent, CNS hid the full story of a school sexual assault.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 12/20/2021 had trouble warming up to the idea of Glenn Youngkin as a Republican candidate for governor, where it is headquartered. In fact, it started out trying to destroy him in a horribly botched hit job.

CNS commentary editor Rob Shimshock thought he had a great gotcha piece in a Jan. 28 article headlined "Mega-Rich GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Supported Anti-Christian SPLC":

A new Republican entrant to the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race matched donations to several left-wing groups just last year, when he headed a massive private equity firm.

Former Carlyle Group Co-CEO Glenn Youngkin, who has an estimated net worth of $265 million, announced his bid for the office of Virginia governor Wednesday, choosing to run on the Republican side. But he and his fellow co-CEO, Kewsong Lee, offered to match donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), and the NAACP Legal Fund, organizations which have been hostile to conservatives.

But sometime after publication, the walkback happened. An editor's note at the top of the article now states that "This story's headline and lede have been amended to clarify that support for these left-wing groups came from Carlyle Group, the private equity firm Glenn Youngkin headed at the time, and not Youngkin in his personal capacity." The headline is now the more cumbersome "GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Was CEO of Firm That Pledged to Match Donations to SPLC, Which Put Conservative Christian Groups on 'Hate Map'," and the lead paragraph now states that the donations came from "A private equity firm led by a new Republican entrant to the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race."

It's not in the editor's note, but reaction from Youngkin's campaign was also added after publication that actually calls out Shimshock's error:

"This is a false and deceptive smear from political opponents who are scared of Glenn, a conservative outsider and leader from the private sector who can win," Youngkin campaign spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told CNSNews. "Glenn has never donated to the SPLC and does not agree with them. He is a Christian and a conservative who is pro-life and served in his church for years."

Other deceptions, however, remain. In his attack on the SPLC, Shimshock wrote:

The SPLC regularly demonizes conservative groups as "hate" groups, often with dire consequences. Amazon employs the SPLC's "hate group" list to bar Christian, conservative groups like the pro-religious liberty Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) from participating in its AmazonSmile program, preventing the nonprofit from receiving donations consumers can make when completing a purchase. And in 2012, a gunman raided the headquarters of Family Research Council (FRC), shooting the building manager in the arm before getting tackled. The gunman reported finding the FRC on the SPLC's website.

Shimshock omitted the pertinent fact that the SPLC has explained in detail why it considers the ADF and FRC to be "hate groups": they do, in fact, clearly hate LGBT people and fight against them having rights, especially when they conflict with the rights of right-wing Christians like those who run those organizations. And despite Shimshock's implication, the SPLC did not incite Corkins; all he found on the SPLC website was a list of anti-LGBT groups, of which the FRC is undeniably one, and absolutely no direction or exhortation to act.

Despite the CNS hit job, Youngkin eventually became the GOP nominee. And even though Youngkin is running as a Republican in the state CNS (and its Media Research Center parent) is headquartered in, it had trouble embracing him though he's unmistakably Trump-adjacent. In a Sept. 19 article, editor Terry Jeffrey was upset that Youngkin wouldn't go full Texas extremist on abortion:

Glenn Youngkin, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, said in a debate on Friday with Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe that he would not sign an abortion ban like the one enacted in Texas law.

That law bans abortion when a baby has a detectable heartbeat, which occurs at about six weeks.

Youngkin indicated that he would sign a bill that banned abortion when an unborn baby feels pain, which occurs at about 20 weeks.

An Oct. 19 article by Susan Jones was devoted to recounting the eduction policy of Winsome Sears, "the black Republican candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor." Youngkin wasn't even mention until the end, when Jones complained that Youngkin's Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, "is taking every opportunity to tie Youngkin to Trump, who has not campaigned for Youngkin, although Trump did endorse him. Youngkin didn't get an article from Jones on his own education policy until the next day.

With that tepid support for Youngkin, CNS took the passive-aggressive way out: by attacking McAuliffe.

Jeffrey spent his Oct. 6 column attacking McAuliffe for supporting "government schools" even though he attended Catholic schools as a child: "McAuliffe's own parents did not send him to government schools. But now he not only wants to keep other people's children in government schools; he wants to prevent parents from telling those government institutions what they should teach."

Jones served up her own attack on McAuliffe in an Oct. 11 article:

Democrat Terry McAuliffe, hoping to serve a second term as Virginia governor, made it clear on Sunday he's running against Donald Trump, who isn't on the ballot and hasn't actively campaigned for McAuliffe's challenger, Republican Glenn Youngkin.

Yet in the course of his 12-minute interview with CNN's "State of the Union," McAuliffe mentioned Trump's name 18 times -- so often, in fact, that host Dana Bash joked, "I'm glad I have two cups here, so I can keep drinking when you mention Donald Trump's name."

McAuliffe said several times that he's "running against a Donald Trump wannabee." He accused his opponent Youngkin of wanting to do a "Donald Trump-Betsy DeVos education system," whatever that is.

Um, isn't it a reporter's job to explain what terms mean instead of blithely dismissing things by saying, "whatever that is"? Jones clearly sucks at her job.

In another Oct. 11 article, Jones tried to make a big deal out of McAuliffe endorsing representative government, which Republicans tell us is the greatest form of government by insisting that we're a republic and not a democracy:

"I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach," Democrat Terry McAuliffe said in his last debate with his Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. The two men are running a tight race for Virginia governor.

On Sunday, CNN's Dana Bash noted that McAuliffe is "getting pummeled" for the remark: "So, the question is -- the fact that you are getting pummeled by Republicans, who say it shows that you don't think parents should have a say in their children's education. So, my question is, do you think parents should have a say in their children's education?"

"Of course," McAuliffe said. "And they do. First of all, they get to elect school boards, and if you don't like them, then you get rid of them. But let's talk education," he said, changing the subject and talking about his "very serious plan" to invest $2 billion to raise teacher pay, provide universal broadband and educate at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds.

CNS even published a published an Oct. 14 column by R. Emmett Tyrrell calling McAuliffe a liar for calling out (in 2007) the factually dubious Clinton scandal-mongering Tyrrell's American Spectator magazine churned out in the 1990s.

As the Nov. 2 election approached, CNS did ramp up enthusiasm for the race. It published an Oct. 22 commentary by its favorite loopy rabbi, Aryeh Spero, giving Youngkin a pass on accusations of anti-Semitism for invoking the the alleged spectre of George Soros in a speech because Soros is a Jew conservatives are allowed to hate, insisting that "those who point to Soros do so not because he is Jewish but because he is Soros, Soros being the most high-profile and effective opponent today of American traditional values." Spero didn't mention that Soros critics have a bad habit of using anti-Semitic stereotypes to attack him (like CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, did in depicting Soros as a "puppet master") or that attacks on Soros tend to be central to anti-Semitic attacks on Jews.

In a Nov. 1 article, Craig Bannister touted how Youngkin praised a rally-goer's T-shirt stating "I do not co-parent with government" and pushed his right-wing narratives:

“Terry McAuliffe wants to put government between parents and their children,” Republican Glenn Youngkin said at a campaign rally Sunday, warning of his Democrat [sic] opponent in Virginia’s race for governor ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

Youngkin issued the warning as Virginia school boards, such as that in Loudoun County, seek to silence parents who object to the imposition of liberal ideologies – such as transgender school bathrooms and the teaching of Critical Race Theory – upon their children.

The same day, Megan Williams echoed the talking point, transcribing a Youngkin appearance on the Fox News show of CNS' favorite right-wing radio host, Mark Levin, invoking Martin Luther King Jr. and declaring that he will "ban" critical race theory on his first day as governor.

Another Nov. 1 article, by Melanie Arter, pushed an anti-McAuliffe, anti-Democratic narrative: "Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher predicted Sunday that if former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, (D) loses the governor’s race to Republican Youngkin, it will be 'catastrophic' for Democrats, because the last time a Democrat lost Virginia, they lose 60 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives."

The only article CNS published the day of the election was a piece by Patrick Goodenough quoting President Biden stating that the race wasn't a referendum on his policies. When Youngkin ended up winning, however, CNS was absolutely effusive in its praise (and its bashing of McAuliffe), devoting more articles to reaction to the results over the next couple of days than it did before the election itself:

An anonymous CNS writer took yet another Biden-is-senile shot in a Nov. 4 article:

When President Joe Biden was asked at a press conference on Wednesday “how much responsibility” he took for the bad results the Democratic Party saw in Tuesday’s election, Biden responded that he had called Virginia’s defeated Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe “to congratulate him.”

The article later appended an editor's note to rub that talking point in further: "This story has been updated to note that President Biden's claim that "no governor in Virginia has ever won when he is of the...same party as the sitting president" is incorrect. When McAuliffe was elected governor of Virginia in 2013, Democrat Barack Obama was the sitting president."

A Nov. 11 article by Williams featured former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard calling McAuliffe's loss a “win for all Americans” because Democrats are purportedly trying to divide the country. We've noted CNS' flip-flop on Gabbard, suddenly embracing her because of her newfound support for Donald Trump and hatred of Hillary Clinton, while ignoring her coziness with murderous dictatorial regimes in Russia and Syria.

Youngkin's running mate for lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, got some post-election CNS love too. A Nov. 3 article by Susan Jones touted how "Winsome Sears will become Virginia's first black Republican lieutenant governor" and how she parroted right-wing talking points on Fox News, while an article by Bannister later that day was even gushier:

“I love this country so much, I’m willing to die protecting it,” Republican Virginia Lt. Gov.-Elect Winsome Sears, a Jamaican-born Marine Corps veteran, said Wednesday, introducing a Twitter video, in which she declares her love for America and leads a crowd in chanting “U-S-A!”

CNS helped Sears even less than it did Youngkin, but it wants on her bandwagon too now that she won.

Hyping school assault to help Youngkin

Just as CNS took marching orders from its Media Research Center parent in hyping a narrative regarding a sexual assault that occurred in a Virginia school -- where, of course, Youngkin was running for governor. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman dutifully wrote in an Oct. 14 article:

In May, the 14-year-old daughter of plumber Scott Smith reportedly was raped in the girls’ bathroom at a Loudoun County, Va., public school by a boy wearing a skirt. The boy subsequently was transferred to another Virginia school where he reportedly attacked another female teen last week. All the while, the Loudoun County School Board was pushing a transgender bathroom policy, which it approved in August and has begun implementing.

Yet the major news outlets – ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC – aren’t covering the story, so far. The alleged rapist reportedly is a “gender-fluid individual,” according to Fox News.


As all this was occurring, the school board was enthusiastically supporting making accommodations for transgender students. Finally, in August, despite numerous parents’ objections, the board approved (7-2) a transgender rights policy, which requires teachers to call students by their preferred pronouns. It also mandates renovating the bathrooms in Loudoun County public schools to allow for “gender-inclusive” and “single-user restrooms.”
Chapman also not-so-helpfully added a stock photo of someone in a colorful skirt to illustrate his article, creepily suggesting this was the skirt the assailant wore during the attack. But he censored the fact that -- as even the MRC had to admit -- the alleged assault happened before the school board started discussing transgender rights. And as a loyal MRC employee, he made sure to add that his boss, Brent Bozell, went on Fox Business to whine that a local story wasn't getting national coverage, though he apparently never explained why this story deserved it -- although the unspoken reason was to push culture-war buttons to get a Republican, Glenn Youngkin, elected Virginia governor.

(CNS also devoted a separate article to Bozell's rantings. He's the boss, after all.)

Chapman also censored the full story of the assault: The boy and girl had previously had consensual sex, and the encounter in question began as consensual, with both agreeing to meet in the bathroom for sex, until the girl withdrew consent. It's no less of an assault, but it's much more complicated than Chapman's simplistic, transphobic narrative of "a boy wearing a skirt" randomly assaulting a female student.

Nevertheless, Chapman followed up in an Oct. 26 article:

Given that parents in Loudoun County, Va., were not informed about an alleged sexual assault of a ninth-grade girl in a public school bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt, five former state attorneys general have questioned the inaction of Virginia AG Mark Herring and "called for him to immediately open an investigation."

"The Loudoun County School Superintendent and the School Board chose not to report two sexual assaults to parents," the former attorneys general wrote. "With this failure, the school system places other girls at risk in Loudoun County and broke reporting regulations.”


As the battle between parents and the school board carried on, a 14-year-old girl reportedly was raped in the girls bathroom of Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Va., on May 28 by a male teen wearing a skirt. The teen was later arrested on July 8 and charged with two counts of forcible sodomy.

Again, Chapman refused to tell readers the full truth about the assault and the history behind it.

Meanwhile, Hans Bader tried to inflame things again in his Nov. 8 column in order to peddle hate over transgender rights as expressed through a "wear a skirt to school day":

A skirt-wearing boy in Loudoun County, Va. was recently found guilty of sexual assault in juvenile court for anally raping a girl in a school restroom. Prior to the school board's passage of a transgender bathroom policy, the school superintendent falsely claimed there was no record of sexual assaults in school bathrooms. The superintendent had inaccurately stated, "We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms." But the sexual assault by the skirt-wearing boy had already occurred.

Like Chapman, Bader censored the full story of the assault.

CNS is being less and less like a "news" organization and more and more like a dishonest, partisan right-wing advocacy group. If there ever was a line between CNS and the MRC, it has largely disappeared.

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