Parkersburg News and Sentinel
February 3, 2024
Op-ed: Stick to facts on fight to protect children
I am writing this in response to the “Reading rainbows” column that was written by Mr. Steven Adams. Mr. Adams has stated there are a number of exemptions that would protect librarians, and through his research, he says has found no librarians or teachers who have been criminally charged, and asked the question “why do this at all?”
The reason to do this is to protect the innocence of our children. There is only one elected official in Wood County that I know of who has actively stood up to protect our children, State Sen. Mike Azinger. Our local law enforcement officials have their hands tied and can’t do anything due to these exemptions, or they just won’t do anything because someone may consider these obscene books “artistic.” HB 4654 is a necessary step that must be taken in order to hold people responsible for allowing our children to be exposed to this pornography.
We do not feel comfortable reading excerpts from these texts at a public forum. It is actually quite uncomfortable and at times embarrassing, but it has to be done in order to make sure our representatives know what is available to our children. To the best of my knowledge, there were no children present in the chamber during these readings. The only children present were the pages when they were coming into the chamber at the conclusion of the hearing.
Mr. Adams has advised us to get involved with our library boards and librarians. He suggested filing challenges and handling this at the local level. We have been attempting to go this route for well over a year. When we voice our concerns, the Parkersburg and Wood County Library only doubles down on their position of making these books available to children.
We have attempted to compromise with the library. We have made them very aware of the fact that we don’t want to ban books or burn books. We only want access restricted from children unless a parent is physically with them to check out the book. What does the library do, they contact the local paper to have hit pieces written about the concerned citizens who have let them know about a concern. We have even told the library at a library board meeting, we prefer to handle this at a local level, but the way they double down on their position they are forcing us to take the matter up with legislation from the state.
Mr. Adams made a blatant false statement in his column, by saying children were present. Myself and a few friends emailed and called Mr. Adams and asked him to retract his statement or to run a correction in the paper explaining there were no children in the chamber during the hearing. Mr. Adams told me he didn’t know for sure whether kids were in the chamber or not. I then let him know it was still a blatantly false statement even though he “didn’t know. Mr. Adams became unprofessional and agitated that he was being challenged and simply said he is trying to cover another committee meeting and the conversation was over and hung the phone up.
It is the responsibility of our media to report facts, it is not the job of the media to tell blatant lies to make a story fit their agenda. Irresponsible reporting such as Mr. Adams has done in his “Reading rainbows” column is one of many reasons why there is a huge lack of trust in the media today and why we have to use terms like “fake news.”