Patterico's Pontifications

5/9/2015

Big Media Eagerly Leaps at Bogus Story About Chlamydia Outbreak at Texas Abstinence-Only School

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:47 pm



The story swept Big Media this past week — and how could it not? The stupidity of those absurd West Texans, and the predictable and ironically horrific results . . . well, it was a story tailor-made for our betters in Big Media, and they lapped it up:

The Washington Post: Texas high school with chlamydia outbreak has abstinence-only sex ed

ABCNews: Chlamydia Outbreak Hits Texas High School With No Sex Ed

TIME: Chlamydia Outbreak Hits Texas High School With Abstinence-Only Sex-Ed Program

Amanda Marcotte at Slate: One in 15 Students at a West Texas High School Has Chlamydia

People Magazine: Chlamydia Outbreak at Texas High School with Abstinence-Only Sex-Ed Program

N.Y. Daily News: Chlamydia outbreak hits abstinence-only Texas high school, making officials rethink sex ed

AOL.com: An ‘abstinence-only’ Texas high school has chlamydia outbreak

Only one major blogger seemed to express skepticism: Instapundit. But aside from him, even “conservative” sites were not immune:

The Daily Caller: This Texas High School Is CRAWLING WITH VENEREAL DISEASE

There’s just one problem: the story was bogus.

A previously reported group of chlamydia cases at a West Texas high school is much smaller than initially thought, according to the state health department.

Reports of 20 confirmed cases among the 300 or so students at Crane High School drew national headlines this week and were largely based on comments and a letter sent by the small school district’s superintendent. On Thursday, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services said there have only been three confirmed cases in the county and those were not necessarily students.

What’s more, the news of only three confirmed cases in the county was known to local media on May 6. Yet several of the pieces above — such as the ones in the Washington Post and TIME — were published later, on May 7.

They should have known better — and if the story contradicted their innate prejudices, they would have checked.

Instead, they published crap, with a side helping of snark.

Christian publications are publishing the corrected story, but that’s about it. I don’t see a single correction appended to any of the stories linked above.

They had their agenda, and they weren’t going to let facts get in the way.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has now “clarified” the story since the publication of my post last night:

Clarification: The original version of this story quoting Texas media said 20 cases had been reported in the school, and did not reflect the superintendent’s latest comments saying there were eight this year in the county as a whole, not necessarily all in the school.

That’s all year. There are three or possibly four confirmed cases in the county right now. That’s out of a county of about 5000 people.

55 Responses to “Big Media Eagerly Leaps at Bogus Story About Chlamydia Outbreak at Texas Abstinence-Only School”

  1. I was immediately skeptical, but I’m just a lowly blogger.

    Myiq2xu (0ddb17)

  2. Of course there will be no retractions or corrections. They never admit error when the “error” feeds their prejudice. Hypocrites!

    Bill M (906260)

  3. There’s just one problem: the story was bogus.

    There is actually more than just one problem.

    Abstinence only education fails in comparison to what?

    I’m sure I could find some blue state school that teaches “safe sex” where the chlamydia outbreak is worse. Which is of course racist code-word of me, and I preemptively denounce myself.

    But continuing on to the evidence, or lack thereof, even if the facts of the story had proven true how do the figures compare to the liberal alternative?

    Steve57 (e468ba)

  4. Here is another place that corrected the story:
    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/chlamydia-outbreak-west-texas-high-school-6240944.php

    and the school itself is largely responsible for the wrong news reporting.

    as for outbreak rate, I think Boston has the highest rate among US cities, and they have loads of sex-ed.

    seeRpea (81fcfe)

  5. I have always heard that abstinence-only education has “been shown” to be less effective than sex education that includes other means of avoiding STIs or pregnancy.

    And I have always asked those who tell me this, if they can tell me what percentage of students who were taught about condoms went on to not use them, and if those students are included in the “effectiveness of condoms” statistics.

    I have never received an answer. But it’s apples-to-oranges comparison. The “failures” of abstinence are failures to apply the method. You can’t compare that to someone who uses a condom and it breaks–you have to compare that to someone who chooses not to use a condom at all.

    Abstinence is of course 100% effective for those who practice it. It’s true that lots of people don’t care to practice it but of those lots also choose not to use condoms or other methods.

    And it’s not like those in “abstinence-only” programs are unable to learn anything about other methods, or are even unaware of them.

    Gabriel Hanna (572bb4)

  6. 4. … and they have loads of sex-ed.
    seeRpea (81fcfe) — 5/9/2015 @ 11:20 pm

    Facts ruin the narrative. Get with the program.

    Steve57 (e468ba)

  7. Here is another place that corrected the story:
    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/chlamydia-outbreak-west-texas-high-school-6240944.php

    and the school itself is largely responsible for the wrong news reporting.

    as for outbreak rate, I think Boston has the highest rate among US cities, and they have loads of sex-ed.

    That link is in the post. Click “the story was bogus” in the post and compare.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  8. WaPo has corrected clarified:

    “Clarification: The original version of this story quoting Texas media said 20 cases had been reported in the school, and did not reflect the superintendent’s latest comments saying there were eight this year in the county as a whole, not necessarily all in the school.”

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  9. In related epidemic news:

    http://www.thepiratescove.us/2015/05/07/the-winners-of-todays-climate-change-and-tornadoes-nuttbaggery-are/

    You just had to know that the Cult Of Climastrology would be out in force after yesterdays tornadoes. Not one measure of sympathy, but, plenty of bat guano insanity

    Also, massive tornado clusters are back! The weather is totally normal! No climate change if you can’t say the words, right?

    If you have climate amnesia, then a 51 twister outbreak seems like a lot. You need to forget that in the 1970s three times that happened. 1974 and 77 I believe.

    Liberalism is a religion that requires amnesia on demand. 2 + 2 = 4 was so yesterday.

    Actual facts.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tornadoes/201503

    …Continuing a pattern that has been observed since 2012, 2015 was off to a slow start in terms of observed tornadoes. For the January-March period, according to preliminary counts, there were just 41 tornadoes. This is below the 1991-2010 average of 144. This is also one of the five slowest starts to a tornado year since records began in 1950 and the slowest since 1969.

    Not like actual observable facts will ever get in the way of a good, solid liberal falsehood.

    I mean, narrative.

    Steve57 (e468ba)

  10. Here’s the other bit: do you know how to avoid chlamydia?

    By not having sex. Of any kind.

    That sounds like abstinence to me.

    Like most endemic STDs, it’s not preventable by using condoms, as it’s carried on skin. It is generally asymptomatic.

    http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/chlamydia?page=2

    So, let us assume the original story was true. Then what? Do they think abstinence-only sex ed doesn’t mention all the STDs preventable only by not having sex? I am pretty sure the mainstream sex ed classes probably end up with higher rates of STDs among students, because they get the mistaken impression condoms take care of it all

    meep (1a08c6)

  11. We’ve mentioned this before-
    there is the same dishonesty here as with Global warming, just not as big a controversy in the press:
    http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Promises-Establishment-Betrayed-Developing/dp/1611321123

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  12. if there is anything about this that is “worse”, is the idea that “comprehensive” sex ed takes seriously the option of being abstinent until marriage, or at least until one is adult enough to make responsible life-altering choices, let alone take the responsibility of a potential child

    youth aren’t supposed to drink alcohol until 21, but they can have sex at 13 if its consensual with another 13 year old,
    that’s as logical as letting a 6 year old choose which of 20+ gender options they are,
    oh, yeah, that’s right…

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  13. public school teachers are kind of slutty they like to make sex with their students

    them are the ones what need the abstinence lessons

    the students need to learn more about how to write the sentences and cipher

    happyfeet (831175)

  14. This does beg the question.

    Who pushes abstinence-only sex education?

    The answer of course, is that the founders of this movement were a bunch of pathetic losers who could not get laid, but instead of addressing what is actually wrong with them, they try to convince that this sort of thing is a good thing®™, to try to feel better about themselves, but in the end, they still feel as bad as ever.

    I aswear, these people are just one step away from ending up like Elliot Rodger or Keith Luke.

    And the children who have this “education” know it.

    Michael Ejercito (d9a893)

  15. “Too good to check” and, besides, it’s Texas.

    Twice the fun.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  16. Anyone notice that the same bunch of people who want to teach teens to avoid normal sex also promote full acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism?

    I suspect that these people are heterophobes.

    Michael Ejercito (d9a893)

  17. A man went to his doctor for a check-up
    Doctor: “I have good news and bad news.”
    Man: “What’s the bad news?” ”
    Doctor: Your wife has syphillis.”
    Man: “Jeez! What could possibly be good news.”
    Doctor: “She didn’t get it from you.”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  18. what do we want

    abstinence

    when do we want it

    now

    everybody get on board this train’s leaving the station and you don’t wanna be left on the platform with all them fornicators

    happyfeet (831175)

  19. AOL news. I parted ways with AOL along time ago. Actually it was a hostile divorce on their part.

    I enjoyed the chat rooms, and frequented the political issues rooms. There, in what was supposed to be an open forum with no holds barred debate, I said the word ‘penis’ in the context of noting widespread state approved discrimination against men, as in it’s becoming illegal to carry one on your person.
    Apparently this gave some unnamed, Sally Kohn type, pearl clutcher the vapors.

    Next thing you know, I can’t log on to the internet anymore. Then to really stick a thumb in my eye AOL has a designated ‘customer flogging’ rep call me from India to get to the bottom of my transgression.

    Now it’s standard operating procedure. The dirty word is screened automatically on most comment software. Something else that’s screened out with the bathwater, freedom. Freedom of expression is targeted and stolen from the people who need that freedom the most. Encroaching on me from every side.
    AOL’s longest running employee laments the demise of AOL chat. Joe Schober, employee at AOL and its current chief architect never posits why AOL chat died.

    It’s sort of like hearing news the ex-wife passed. The girl was bat guano crazy, but I loved her.
    And now I am forced to say #@$% guano in her obit.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  20. Pat, Many times here I have spilled the banks of what is deemed acceptable discourse on lesser blogs.

    Appreciate the tolerance. Refreshingly different than 95% of conservative blogs, and all of the liberal ones

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  21. Doctor: Your wife has syphillis.”
    Man: “Jeez! What could possibly be good news.”
    Doctor: “She didn’t get it from you.”

    Years ago, my partner saw the wife of a friend with complaints that turned out to be gonorrhea. He called in his friend and started to make a facetious comment but quickly realized the guy had no complaints and tested negative. The wife was bar hopping while the friend was out of town.

    He treated her and never reported it to the health department. They would insist on contact tracing. Also tested both of them for syphilis without letting the guy know what was being done.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  22. Greetings:

    Well, we all need to be thankful for something, and, for me, it’s thank God it wasn’t an AIDS epidemic especially in these confusing days when the new infection rates are ebbing except for the homosexual end of the disease’s demographic spectrum. Maybe, if some of the guys would try the Bruce Jenner alternative things would start to even out.

    11B40 (0f96be)

  23. Michael Ejercito,

    Keith Luke had many problems. On what basis do you think he even had abstinence education, let alone that it caused his problems?

    DRJ (e80d46)

  24. What brought Keith Luke into this thread ?

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  25. Mr. Ejercito is making the bold assertion that sex is a normal sort of thing to do and that telling young people to not have sex will make them weird. He uses hyperboles by saying they’ll turn out like Keith Luke.

    Me personally as a disinterested pikachu I think everyone vastly over-estimates the impact of what a half-literate public school teacherslut does or does not tell kids about sex.

    happyfeet (831175)

  26. Hey, Patterico…a bunch of my scientist friends leaped on this, guffawing, and posting with abandon. It fit Teh Narrative about square ignorant religious Southern people getting shot in their own…foot.

    But I was suspicious, and not about sample size in that study.

    Check it out:

    http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/publications/sexually-transmitted-infections-europe-2011.pdf

    I ask folks to pay attention to increases in STIs in Sweden and Norway, which are not known for, ah, abstinence based teaching to young folks.

    So when I posted it, folks were unhappy with (i) the facts, and (ii) why I went looking for the facts. Once again, I was not popular.

    As we have seen repeatedly these days, folks aren’t interested in the the truth, or even accuracy. It’s all about Teh Narrative. In other words, how you feel about yourself, saying what you say. Sadly.

    P.S. Happy Mothers’ Day to all.

    Simon Jester (420b6d)

  27. STIs in Sweden and Norway

    there’s loads of muslims in those countries and euro-muslims are really big on getting a lil sumpin sumpin on the side

    if you ask me it’s all very rape culture over there

    here’s a song about Rotterdam, which looks kinda like Rotherham if you squint just so

    the whole place is pickled
    the people are pickles for sure

    yes yes

    happyfeet (831175)

  28. Now it’s standard operating procedure. The dirty word is screened automatically on most comment software.

    I have had a comment “moderated” for the word “Heck”. Not here, but it happened.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  29. The heck you say? Not doubting it. Just felt the urge to say, “What the heck?”

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  30. UPDATE: The Washington Post has now “clarified” the story since the publication of my post last night:

    Clarification: The original version of this story quoting Texas media said 20 cases had been reported in the school, and did not reflect the superintendent’s latest comments saying there were eight this year in the county as a whole, not necessarily all in the school.

    Nope, just three, but you’re getting closer.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  31. jeff bezos has more money than sense is the takeaway here

    or hair for that matter

    happyfeet (831175)

  32. 26. …So when I posted it, folks were unhappy with (i) the facts, and (ii) why I went looking for the facts. Once again, I was not popular…

    Simon Jester (420b6d) — 5/10/2015 @ 10:02 am

    Facts are racist, misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, patriarchal, imperialistic, and oppress all races and genders that aren’t white heterosexual males. Who are also raping Gaia with their eyes, minds, and fossil fuels.

    Only a h8r goes looking for facts. It means you don’t have absolute blind faith in the one true religion.

    Steve57 (e468ba)

  33. Memo to the MSM: You can file that story under C for “confirmation bias.” Not that that will make you clean up your act, of course.

    M. Scott Eiland (8d3966)

  34. speaking of Big Media

    National Soros Radio is heading into some seriously nauseating territory lately

    Tempted To Eat Your Baby’s Table Scraps? You’re Not Alone

    Dan Pashman of WNYC’s The Sporkful podcast weighs in on the benefits of eating kids’ leftovers. “Graham crackers are better after they’ve been gummed by my younger daughter,” he says.

    brb i have to barf

    happyfeet (831175)

  35. Layers and layers of fact checkers and editors in the LHMFM, we have.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/07/20/details-about-colorado-shooter-emerge-as-abc-apologizes-for-false-tea-party-reporting/

    …Meanwhile, ABC’s Brian Ross was focused this morning, not on the man who perpetrated the shooting, but on the first Jim Holmes he could find in the Denver area with a Tea Party connection. His reporting is so bad as to suggest he simply Googled “Jim Holmes + Tea Party + Denver,” and George Stephanopoulos accepted his report credulously. Nate Silver, a statistics specialist who writes on politics at the New York Times, estimated there are may be 25 Jim Holmeses in the Denver area…

    As Dan Rather put it about his phony TANG memo, it’s fake but accurate.

    If you just know it’s true because, just because, because we know what those people are like, who needs to check facts.

    Say the people who also tell us it’s wrong to stereotype Muslims.

    Steve57 (e468ba)

  36. youth aren’t supposed to drink alcohol until 21, but they can have sex at 13 if its consensual with another 13 year old,
    that’s as logical as letting a 6 year old choose which of 20+ gender options they are,
    oh, yeah, that’s right…

    P.J. O’Rourke used to joke that we should emulate the liberal sex-ed curriculum with weapons education. Schoolkids would be taught how to safely load, fire, clean, and store their weapons. They would also be taught that not shooting is an option, but all sensible people know that abstaining from weapons isn’t realistic in this modern day and age.

    JVW (8278a3)

  37. I have changed the UPDATE as follows:

    UPDATE: The Washington Post has now “clarified” the story since the publication of my post last night:

    Clarification: The original version of this story quoting Texas media said 20 cases had been reported in the school, and did not reflect the superintendent’s latest comments saying there were eight this year in the county as a whole, not necessarily all in the school.

    That’s all year. There are three or possibly four confirmed cases in the county right now. That’s out of a county of about 5000 people.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  38. IMO this story is important to the media because it fits the narrative that religious/moral red state Americans are dumb, destructive, and anti-science. That’s why the media will take its time in making corrections, if any, or they will treat it as a “fake but accurate” story.

    Facts matter, but the media doesn’t want us to care about facts.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  39. Even the Washington Post has admitted that abstinence-based sex education may work but how schools teach sex ed isn’t the point. Each city, county or regional school district should be able to decide issues like this, since what works in Crane may not work in Los Angeles. But the obvious fact is that abstinence-based sex ed has worked in Crane, because 8 out of 5,000 (or 160 per 100,000 population) is well below the state and national average chlamydia rates.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  40. i’m so glad i have The State to help me not get the chlamydias on my peepee

    abstinence?

    hell yeah abstinence

    check me out i’m clean as a whistle

    happyfeet (831175)

  41. yes Chatworth Osborne’s publication has a bad habit of picking up half digested rumors, on this score, remember the assault on the Huntress’s family,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  42. narrative seems to be the only thing that matters,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  43. I’ve said it before, but sometimes reminders are helpful to ground oneself in the midst of the lunacy:
    Paul, of Simon and Garfunkel-
    “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”
    Paul, of Tarsus-
    “People will have itching ears and will find teachers to tell them what they want to hear”

    Projection, projection, projection. Take the time to confirm both sides of a story?
    Not so much.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  44. IMO this story is important to the media because it fits the narrative that religious/moral red state Americans are dumb, destructive, and anti-science. That’s why the media will take its time in making corrections, if any, or they will treat it as a “fake but accurate” story.

    Facts matter, but the media doesn’t want us to care about facts.

    Here is a fact. The only people who advocate abstinence-only education are those who can not get laid, and only because they want to make themselves feel better.

    Here is another fact. These same people also push homosexual perversion in our public schools.

    This leads me to conclude that they are motivated by a deep-seated animus against normal sex, an animus that developed because they are so pathetic they could not get laid.

    Michael Ejercito (d9a893)

  45. here is another fact
    you are wrong

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  46. the people I know who want “abstinence primarily” education generally are opposed to the encouragement of homosexuality
    they think that sexual activity of the heterosexual nature is great, wonderful, powerful, and something God made and said was very good
    but like dynamite, giving it to an immature teenager who doesn’t want to bother taking out the trash,
    is not such a good idea

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  47. Michael,

    I live in West Texas and I guarantee that people here believe in abstinence-based sex ed because it promotes marriage and fidelity, and avoids unwed mothers.

    So we have three viewpoints from three people living in three different parts of the country. I think that proves my point — that different parts of the country should be able to make the rules that work for them.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  48. Michael, I feel sorry for you.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  49. I live in West Texas and I guarantee that people here believe in abstinence-based sex ed because it promotes marriage and fidelity, and avoids unwed mothers.

    The promoters, on the other hand are just jealous that everyone else is getting laid and they are not.

    Michael Ejercito (d9a893)

  50. Michael’s thinkings on this subject reveal a wariness on his part i think about giving America’s abysmal public schools *any* role in teaching sex stuff to children

    and i tend to agree in the main if not on all of the particulars

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  51. here is another fact
    you are wrong

    I echo what MD and DRJ said.

    Also, people with Capitalized initials should be listened to. That is all.

    JD (3b5483)

  52. I sorta kinda agree with Mr. Ejercito on this one

    HF (831175)

  53. I have a heck of an itch…. Christians!!!
    Nevermind that woman (I think) that I met down by the railroad tracks

    steveg (fed1c9)

  54. You know what else doesn’t fit the narrative (and is thus ignored)? Sex is not the only vector for chlamydia:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8536467
    “We conclude that a fomite, such as a nonporous plastic surface, may serve as a potential vector for the transmission of chlamydial infection to the eye, especially under humid conditions.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10748893
    Eyes of young children are considered to be the main reservoir of Chlamydia trachomatis, the causative agent of trachoma. (In Gambia, but the point is non-sexual transmission mechaninsms)

    http://www.atsu.edu/faculty/chamberlain/website/lects/rickett.htm#ch
    Subgroup A organisms primarily infect the mucous membranes of the eye or the genitourinary tract of humans. Subgroup B organisms, although primarily parasites of birds, can be transmitted to man where they cause a lung infection.

    http://www.medicalecology.org/water/trachoma/trachoma.htm
    The disease is endemic in 48 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australasia [see Fig. 1], and is most prevalent in poor, rural communities with lower standards of hygiene and sanitation.2 The WHO currently estimates that 6 million people are blind due to trachoma, and that an additional 146 million people have active forms of the disease.

    Even a knuckle-dragging engineer can look stuff up!

    Jimmy don\'t play that (69f12d)


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