In 2010, the Girl Scouts of the USA published a book called "MEdia." The publication, designed for girls in grades six through eight, is a guide that apparently offers insight into how young people should process and understand the media messages surrounding them.
Considering the pervasive nature of popular media, this seems like a viable tool. However, there's a problem -- the book refers young readers to Media Matters for America as one of the primary sources for debunking lies and deceit.
On the surface, "MEdia" seems like it's an excellent resource (and in some ways maybe it is) that encourages self-reflection and skepticism -- two very understandable and useful tenets. But on page 25 of the book, a very curious recommendation is given.
Under the headline, "Consider the Source," text encourages girls to go to the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America 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.
Here's a copy of the page (see the Media Matters reference at the bottom):
Considering Media Matters' far-left attachments and its less-than-objective views, one wonders why the book's authors, Wendy Thomas Russell and Sarah Goodman, would include this as the sole source for getting "the word out about media misinformation."
The Blaze called the Girl Scouts on Dec. 13 to ask about the book. Spokesperson Michelle Tompkins seemed very familiar with the controversy over the inclusion of Media Matters and said that the organization is re-printing the book this month.
During a follow-up call, Tompkins pledged to answer some e-mail questions we sent over. These particular questions sought answers about how Media Matters came to be placed in the book, who wrote the page that the reference appears on and what group, if any, will replace Media Matters once the new publications are released. To date, we have received no response despite a follow-up voicemail and e-mails.
This story was originally brought to us 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.
Perhaps the Girl Scouts staffers were too busy to respond to us, but considering the fact that the Media Matters reference is, in itself, a form of misinformation, bias -- potentially even indoctrination -- we assumed that the book would no longer be on the market. But we were wrong.
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.
Regardless of whether a new version is on its way, the fact that the Girl Scouts know that such an egregious "error" exists and are still selling the books to young people is concerning.
The back of "MEdia" reads, "Tired of not seeing your reality in the media around you? This journey is your chance to put some real ME in media. So get ready to shape media -- for yourself, your community, the world!" But if young and impressionable readers are being sent to a wildly-partisan site like Media Matters, the book's entire premise (i.e. truth) seems moot or even questionable.
The Blaze will be exploring other Girl Scouts literature in the coming weeks and we will keep you informed about the organization's progress on replacing the Media Matters reference in the "MEdia" book.