WE CONTINUE to explore Sarah Palin’s record on the “evolution vs. creationism” issue, and also the library censorship, book-banning issue which recently surfaced.
So far, these matters have revealed less about Governor Palin than they have about the media. We’ve learned that the media will grab onto any allegation, even if it’s swiftly debunked, and repeat it forever. Is this malice, laziness, or a happy coincidence of the two? You decide, gentle reader.
Meanwhile, this morning’s Anchorage Daily News gives us this nifty item: Social conservative. The article is sub-titled: “Americans should understand what Palin is offering.”
In his second paragraph, the un-named reporter lists the social issues on which Sarah has allegedly taken extreme positions (bold added for emphasis):
She opposes abortion rights. She favors the teaching of creationism. She preaches abstinence-only sex education. She is open to the possibility of banning books from public libraries. She opposes gay marriage. She personally opposes benefits for gay partners of public employees.
There’s something odd here — we count six items listed in that paragraph, and four of them are about sex. Maybe we’re out of step, but the only issues we’ve been watching are the other two — teaching creationism and book banning, and it appears to us that the reporter got those wrong. Visit FactCheck.org and see for yourself: Sliming Palin — False Internet claims and rumors fly about McCain’s running mate.
Therefore we’re not confident about the rest of this reporter’s list, but we haven’t looked into those issues. It’s interesting, however, that the reporter doesn’t worry about taxes, guns or the environment (pipelines, drilling, etc.) where Palin has a record. Perhaps he only listed the “social issues” that affect him personally? Who knows? Anyway, we find his list of concerns to be strangely selective.
Moving on with the article:
The big question is what she would do about these personal beliefs if she is elected vice president.
Yes, that is the issue. Let’s skip over the reporter’s intense focus on the life-style stuff and get to what he says about creationism and book-banning:
The question of teaching creation science in schools arose during a debate on public TV station KAKM in 2006. Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution.
“Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.”
In a later interview, Palin said she would not push the state Board of Education to add creation-based alternatives to evolution to required curriculum. But, she said, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate.”
We’re surprised. The reporter told both sides of the story. Well, he left out Sarah’s total lack of interference with science education. There’s also the embarrassing fact that — contrary to what the reporter claimed at the start of his article — Sarah doesn’t “favor the teaching of creationism.” But we can’t expect such an incredibly complicated matter to be accurately reported, can we? Okay, let’s move on to book-banning:
Evidence of Palin’s views is not conclusive. But as Wasilla mayor in 1996, Palin asked the city librarian troubling questions. Her hometown paper, the Frontiersman, reported that year that Palin had asked the librarian three times whether she would agree to censor library books if the need arose.
No specific books were mentioned. Palin at the time said her questions were rhetorical, and about a department head “understanding and following administration agendas.”
A few months later, Palin sent the librarian a letter telling her she was going to be fired. But after public support made it clear residents supported the librarian, Palin changed her mind.
We’ve previously reported, and FactCheck.org (link above) confirms that there’s even less substance to the book-banning charges, but maybe the news travels slowly in Anchorage. Or perhaps the reporter’s mind is so occupied with the social issues that he accidentally allowed the book-banning innuendo linger.
This is the article’s final line:
Sarah Palin’s social views fall to the right of the American mainstream.
Presumably, Sarah can’t count on much support from the Anchorage Daily News. Somehow she became governor despite their opposition, so we assume she’ll soldier on.
[Our related articles are here: Sarah Palin & Creationism.]
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