In this picture, where is Instapundit’s other hand?
SpongeBob — An editorial Saturday about children’s literature and cartoons erroneously stated that James Dobson of Focus on the Family declared that SpongeBob SquarePants is a homosexual sponge. Instead, in a speech last month, Dobson criticized as pro-homosexual a tolerance video featuring SpongeBob, Big Bird and others.
This was no trivial error. It formed the basis of the entire editorial, which mocked Dobson by snidely citing other “examples” of children’s characters who must be gay — like Bert and Ernie (“longtime roommates, but who really buys those twin beds?”), the Pied Piper (an “obvious pedophile”), and Peppermint Patty (“another one with evident gender issues”). These examples made sense only if Dobson had really claimed that SpongeBob was gay — a claim that Dobson never made.
The editors at The Times are entitled to criticize Dobson and his views, of course. But that criticism is legitimate only when it is based on what Dobson actually said, not what Times editors imagine he said. I’m pleased that the editors have corrected the record, but I’d be happier if they were more careful about making such reckless assertions in the first place.
UPDATE x2: Josh Marshall glibly says:
Recently, I’ve been referring to James Dobson again as a notorious SpongeBob-basher. But it’s now been brought to my attention that there is a subculture of SpongeBob-Dobson-smackdown enthusiasts who are keen on the point that Dobson never directly accused Spongebob of being a homosexual but rather accused him of promoting the gay lifestyle.
O-kay. So I’m part of a “subculture of SpongeBob-Dobson-smackdown enthusiasts.” And here I thought I was just part of a subculture of people who cared about accuracy.
As I have said before, I have never watched Dobson before and I’m not even religious. But I’m bothered by falsehoods in the media, whether the victim is a favorite of mine or not. I’ll let you read Marshall’s post yourself and see if you think he can make the same claim.