Monday, June 8, 2015

Josh Duggar and Hypocrisy

I’m seething after listening to an NPR report (Morning Edition, 8 June 15) on the recent scandal involving Josh Duggar, the 26 year old son of the reality TV family “19 Kids and Counting.” I’ve never seen an episode of the show, but the themes are well-enough known. A Christian family, which avoids birth control (and apparently practices lots of sex), raises a massive brood of children. They are outspoken advocates of “traditional family values” and lend support to conservative political campaigns. Now they are exposed as hypocrites – at least that is what NPR and other media outlets would have us believe.

This much is known and admitted by Josh and the Duggar family. Twelve years ago Josh fondled five sleeping girls, four of which are his sisters. He did this over their clothes while they were sleeping. This become known to the parents who then sought Christian counseling and secured the sleeping girls away from further opportunities to molest. A year later (I don’t know why), they had Josh talk to the police about what he did. He was not convicted of a crime. Now, InTouch magazine heard a rumor about the molestations and obtained his juvenile arrest record through a Freedom of Information request. They then ran story on the incidents. Josh has now lost his job with the Family Research Council and the TV show’s fate is in question.

Mike Huckabee has defended the Duggars and so has Sarah Palin. Rick Santorum has said that he is “sickened” by the story. NPR covered the story by interviewing its own TV critic, who highlighted the Duggar’s hypocrisy while mentioning most of what I outlined above.

From a journalism perspective, their coverage was a colossal failure. The charge of hypocrisy is laughable. Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another, it is not sinlessness accompanying morality. It is not necessary for a person holding morals to be sinless. The Duggars intervened and stopped Josh’s sin. They say it was wrong and Josh says it was wrong. As far was we know, he has not done anything else like this. Hillary Clinton cozied up to Jews to win her New York Senate seat, all the while known privately as an inveterate anti-Semite. That’s hypocrisy.

NPR didn’t mention that the release of the juvenile police records is possibly illegal. Juvenile court records are sealed, because of precisely these kinds of situations. Do we want juvenile bad decisions ruining people’s lives as adults? There may be a loophole in the law which technically allows for the release of the police records and not the court records. This is brazenly unethical because it affords protection for kids convicted of crimes that it doesn’t afford for kids accused of crimes. The police records are never released for that reason.

NPR mentioned Sarah Palin crying hypocrisy at the media, but studiously avoided her reasoning. Media darling Lena Dunham admitted to kissing and touching the naked genitals of her (now lesbian) sister and they went into hysterics when Truth Revolt accused her of sexual abuse. How is it different? The mainstream media has ignored the story or defended Dunham. I think the double standard DOES merit the hypocrisy label.

Other important questions are also completely ignored by NPR. To what extent should a young teen be forced to pay for his wrongdoings into adulthood? Who decides which wrongdoings if the legal system doesn’t? The legal system decided that he WOULDN’T pay for this into adulthood. Who now can say that he should? Apparently a magazine can.

Should disclosures of this type be governed at all by the needs of the victims. Four of the five victims are sisters. Two of the sisters, perhaps speaking for the others, have said that they are more hurt by this public disclosure of a private matter than they were from the actual molestation. Was this disclosure about protecting children or hurting the Duggars?

The Duggars have been excoriated for waiting a year to report to the police. Are we setting the standard that parents must report their minor children for sexual contact with other minors? In all cases? Lena Dunham.

I await the vast trove of disclosures of the childhood sins of prominent liberals. I’m sure I will die waiting.