Anatomy Of A Lie

Steve King's letter to the president for asking Kevin Jennings to work for him repeats the debunked claim that Jennings counseled a 15-year-old to use a condom if he had sex with another man. Here's the letter:

Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings' self-described history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man. Mr. Jennings' only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the "safe schools" czar when his record demonstrates a willingness to overlook the sexual abuse of a child.

But we now know that a) the boy was 16 years old, i.e. of legal age at the time; b) that he never had sex with anyone; and c) that he has nothing but good things to say about Jennings in retrospect (and at the time). Perhaps the advice was wrong, as Kevin (a friend and political sparring partner of mine since our Harvard days together), has himself suggested. But to send a letter to the president that repeats what is clearly untrue strikes me as a classic part of the usual strategy of trying to accuse gay people of child-abuse. And King knew the charge was untrue, because we know Greg Sargent told his office, and even Fox News corrected its smear.