Seven months ago, TheBlaze broke a fascinating story about liberal bias embedded in an official Girl Scouts of the USA book. The workbook, entitled, “MEdia,” educates young girls in grades six through eight about “media misinformation.” As you may recall, “MEdia” instructed young people to go to Media Matters’ web site (a leftist group) to clear up “urban legends.” Considering the overtly political nature of the organization being referenced and touted, this was clearly concerning. Now, seven months later, it seems the Girl Scouts are still selling the book and, thus, promoting Media Matters.
Before getting into the new details, let’s begin by revisiting what, exactly, the Media Matters reference instructs readers to do on page 25 of the book. Under the headline, “Consider the Source,” the text encourages girls to go to the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America web site to clear up any mistruths they might encounter. It reads:
The Internet is a breeding ground for “urban legends,” which are false stories told as if true. Next time you receive a txt or e-mail about something that seems unbelievable, confirm it before you spread it.
The fact-checking site snopes.com investigates everything from urban legends to “news” articles and posts its findings. Media Matters for America (http://mediamatters.org/) gets the word out about media misinformation.
While some — including the author of the book — have seemingly tried to diminish the seriousness of this inclusion (writer Wendy Thomas Russell claims she did not put the Media Matters mention in “MEdia” and that it must have been added at some point later in the editing process). She also claimed she would have never inserted the organization due to its overt bias, although Russell said in the wake of the scandal that she found the “whole ordeal highly entertaining.”
The original story and the follow-up were brought to us, exclusively, by Christy Volanski, a concerned parent and a former Girl Scouts leader. Her daughter, Sydney, a 15-year-old who served as a Girl Scout for eight years, left the organization in 2010 after she found that it embraces some controversial stances. Now, Sydney co-edits “Speak Now: Girl Scouts Website,” which provides plenty of other examples of what some may see as liberal bias.
Back in December, Christy sent people out to purchase separate copies of the book earlier this month in Western Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jacksonville, Florida, Houston, Texas, and St. Louis, Missouri. In every instance, the version containing Media Matters was still on shelves. When asked about whether a new printed version was on the way, no one working at the stores where the books were purchased seemed to know anything about such a development.
Fast-forward seven months to July 2012. Christy, again, rallied her troops to head out to Girl Scouts’ stores, where — to her surprise — she claims not much has changed. While two stores were selling updated copies of the “MEdia” book — a new version that has removed the Media Matters reference — she says the majority were still selling and promoting the old version.
Christy’s team went out, in person, to five separate bookstores in Miami, Florida, Plattesville, Wisconsin, Dalton, Georgia, Washington, D.C. and Saint Louis, Missouri. Additionally, a sixth book was ordered from Girl Scouts National Headquarters in New York. In the end, four out of the six books startlingly still featured an unchanged page 25 that urged young readers to use Media Matters’ web site. Only two locations — the National Headquarters and the Girl Scouts Eastern Missouri — sold new copies of the book, Christy reports.
The Girl Scouts previously said that they would change the text in a reprint, but they never addressed those books that are still being promoted on bookshelves. In an e-mail to TheBlaze on Monday, Michelle Tomkins, a spokesperson for the organization, said, “I know the changes were made in reprints in the fall of 2011.” Tomkins said she is looking into the reprint timeline — something TheBlaze is waiting to hear more about.
Below, see a current version of the new page 25, as published on the organization’s web site. It shows that the Media Matters reference, at least in the new reprint, has, indeed, been removed:
Considering that Christy’s compatriots found current Media Matters books still on shelves, the issue has yet been fully rectified. It’s possible that the organization is looking to cut costs and to sell the old version of the book before ordering new copies, but, if this is the case, one wonders why labels aren’t being promoted at all Girl Scouts stores to be placed over the Media Matters mentions (this is a work-around that the organization sometimes uses to hide controversial content). Tomkins did say that stickers were created, but Christy claims that none were offered at the stores that were still selling the old version of the book.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Christy told The Blaze. “They have not made sure that this information is not being given to young girls.”
It seems Media Matters is still — even after a media uproar — being treated as a source to correct “misinformation.”
Update: Tomkins sent the following statement to TheBlaze following publication of this story:
Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members, and we update our materials on a regular basis. As a result of this process, a corrected page was posted online in January, which councils could use to sticker any books they had in the shop. The girl book went into reprint in May and 5,000 copies — with the correction — were delivered in July.