Kevin Richert’s Knee-Pad Journalism
The stenographer for Idaho's education establishment lies and ignores the real issues.
What is going on with Idaho’s sex education curriculum? One will never find out from the knee-pad “journalist” Kevin Richert, who works for Idaho EdNews. Richert is the stenographer for the establishment.
His shilling for the establishment is seen in Idaho’s debates about sex ed in the schools. Anna Miller and Scott Yenor, working through Idaho Freedom Foundation, broke two stories in the Fall. Richert tried to refute both. Since their stories contained ambiguities, scrutiny could have been helpful. Instead, Richert performed his usual knee-pad journalism.
First, they broke the story that North Central Health District (NCHD) hosted sex ed curriculum on its website; that the curriculum included a unit on porn literacy; and that porn literacy was part of a Planned Parenthood-sponsored curriculum called Reducing the Risk (RTR). RTR was implemented by a state agency, but would be selected by local health districts or school districts. It was not clear whether any had done it. What was clear was that NCHD hosted the porn literacy video on its website and that curriculum was made available to health districts and school districts to select. After the story broke, NCHD removed the porn literacy unit.
Richert responded to this argument by saying that there was no porn literacy being taught in the schools. The IFF article never said there was! This is the knee-pad journalism two-step—refute a claim that was never made.
Richert never acknowledged the presence and then removal of the porn literacy video on a government website. He never asked anyone how the links could be there. He asked the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare about sex education. And the spokesman said, Idaho law only allows for abstinence education and then showed Richert with a table of contents that used the word abstinence. He then repeated the Department of Health and Welfare’s talking point verbatim: “(Health and Welfare) provides evidence-based optional sex education curriculum, called Reducing the Risk, for Idaho schools.” Does Reducing the Risk comply with Idaho law? Since the Department said yes, Richert dutifully says yes. He would do better reporting following the links IFF provided in its story.
The second story reveals greater dishonesty. Essentially, IFF answered the question, “what is going on in our schools?” They answered with statistics from a public records request. Reducing the Risk is taught in 14 school districts. About 500-700 students a year. They named the school districts. Miller and Yenor called for pulling out of federal sex ed curriculum.
What did Richert do?
First, he issued a public records request for the public records that Miller and Yenor asked for. They might be lying! Were their numbers wrong? No, he reproduces them.
Richert then engages in the knee-pad journalism two-step. He accuses Miller and Yenor of saying something that they did not say and then refutes that instead of their actual claims.
“The article contains several false or disputed claims,” he writes. How so? He provides bullet-points.
For instance, Miller and Yenor say that students as young as 12 can take RTR. Richert asked Health and Welfare if that is true. It was “unaware of any 12-year-olds” but “high risk” junior high schoolers did take the curriculum. So, yes, 12-year-olds took the curriculum. Who is misleading?
Richert thinks the word “optional” is magical. Since schools must inform parents when sex ed is being taught and what is being taught, no one is side swiped by it, he seems to think. What if schools are vague? Again, Richert might learn something from Miller and Yenor’s Potlach story. There the district was not following the “optional” policy. They have done the journalism Kevin, so you don’t have to!
He says Idaho Health and Welfare just follows good health standards, but Yenor and Miller show that it is following alternative standards called the National Sex Education Standards. Do you know the difference, Kevin?
Miller and Yenor say the curriculum promotes abortion, oral and anal sex and other stuff. They had pictures from the curriculum to prove it. Richert asked Health and Welfare whether the claims were true. Answer: Miller and Yenor were quoting the curriculum’s teacher guide, not “the curriculum.” It might not have been shared with students. However, the Teacher’s Guide is part of the curriculum. Refuting something Miller and Yenor did not say is the knee-pad two-step.
Another question, Why did Potlach school district pull out of RTR curriculum? Richert never asks.
Perhaps there are errors or overstatements in the reporting of Miller and Yenor. One will never find them out from Richert, who is too busy performing the knee-pad two-step and other deceptive journalistic tactics.
One could shoot fish in the barrel all day. Richert’s sins as a journalist are that he believes every word the establishment tells him. He tries to make them look good. And the establishment is not that good. Effectively, Idaho has no education media that is not funded by the establishment to protect the establishment. Thus, our education media, or at least its chief reporter, is corrupt and ill-informed. That is degenerate.