The Reference in This Girl Scouts Book Started a Media Firestorm More Than Three Years Ago. But What One Parent Just Discovered Might Stun You.

It was back in 2011 that a concerned mother first approached TheBlaze to expose a paragraph inside of a book printed by the Girl Scouts of the USA that encouraged young girls to visit a well-known liberal website to clear up any “media misinformation” they encountered.

Three years later, she says that the controversial directive to use Media Matters for America — a liberal “information center” aimed at “correcting conservative misinformation” — to fact-check the news is still prominently displayed inside copies of the books being sold in some of the organization’s stores, despite intense media coverage over the issue and the Girl Scouts’ claim that they reprinted the book in 2012.

“I am not all that shocked to learn the Girl Scout organization has broken yet another promise made to its members. Sadly, example after example exists of the Girl Scout organization saying one thing and doing another,” Christy Volanski, a former Girl Scouts leader, told TheBlaze. “Considering that this organization claims to ‘build girls of character,’ it is deeply concerning that Girl Scouts USA and its local councils continue to be deceitful with families and supporters.”

A screen shot from the Girl Scouts' "MEdia" book
A screen shot from the Girl Scouts’ “MEdia” book

In was back in December 2011 that TheBlaze first covered Volanski’s concerns over a workbook titled, “MEdia” that was published by the Girl Scouts in 2010 — a publication designed for girls in grades six through eight that offers insight into how young people should process and understand media messaging.

Volanski was stunned at the time to find that the book referred young readers to Media Matters for America as one of the primary sources for debunking lies and deceit, as the organization is known for its overtly partisan — and progressive — stances.

Under the headline, “Consider the Source,” text on page 25 of the book encourages girls to go to the George Soros-funded Media Matters web site to clear up any media misinformation 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.

A representative for the Girl Scouts told TheBlaze back in 2012 that the book was being reprinted, and an online version of the text shows that Media Matters was indeed digitally replaced by Snopes.com, a popular fact-checking website.

“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,” the organization said at the time. “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 [2012] and 5,000 copies — with the correction — were delivered in July.”

A screen shot from the updated version of the Girl Scouts' "MEdia" book
A screen shot from the updated version of the Girl Scouts’ “MEdia” book

But three years later, Volanski said that the organization is still selling the old Media Matters version of “MEdia.” She sent individuals to four different Girl Scouts stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Arkansas, earlier this month, where she said none of the store workers cautioned buyers that there were edits or changes to the book, with the old Media Matters versions still sitting on shelves in all but one case.

One store in Arkansas was selling the book with a sticker over the Media Matters paragraph that instead directed Girl Scouts to Snopes.com. The last time Volanski checked stores back in 2012, two were selling updated versions without the references and four stores were not.

TheBlaze reached out to the Girl Scouts to seek comment about why the controversial reference remains in the book more than three years later, and the organization sent the following response: “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.”

When TheBlaze inquired to ask, more specifically, why a partisan website is given to young kids to help them fact check media messages, the organization skirted the question, responding, “The girl books went into reprint, with corrections, and were promptly delivered.”

The organization ignored a third attempt to ask why, if the new copies were promptly delivered, that the old books referencing Media Matters are still on bookshelves nearly four years later.

In 2012, Wendy Thomas Russell, the book’s author, denied placing the Media Matters reference in the book, saying that she had “no idea” how it happened. She also said that she wouldn’t have included the reference due to the group’s obvious bias. Russell wrote:

So how did Media Matters end up in the book I wrote? The truth is, I have no idea.

My final draft read as follows:

The Internet is a breeding ground for “urban legends,” which are false stories told as if true, and then spread quickly. Next time you receive a txt or a forwarded e-mail about something terrible that happened to someone, try to confirm it. The fact-checking site snopes.com investigates everything from urban legends to “news” articles and posts its findings.

That’s it. Just Snopes.

No offense to Media Matters, but I didn’t even know the group existed until last week. And no offense to the Girl Scouts, but, even if I had known about the group, I never would have included it in the book. Media Matters’ slant isn’t only evident in the content, it’s spelled out in the freaking masthead.

It is still unclear both how the reference made its way into the book — and why it is still on shelves more than three years after the initial controversy.

As TheBlaze previously reported, Volanski is no stranger to critiquing the Girl Scouts, as her daughter Sydney, who served as a Girl Scout for eight years and left the organization in 2010 after she found that it embraces what she believes are controversial stances, co-edits the Speak Now: Girl Scouts Website; it provides examples of what the family sees as liberal bias.

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