In 1897 mark twain cabled a newspaper to set the record straight: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," he quipped. This year, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is trying to get out the same message. Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and other gay activist groups went into action. The Court affirmed the right of the BSA as a private association to exclude avowed homosexuals from leadership. So gay activists began an aggressive campaign to apply economic pressures to the Scouts.According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a Lambda attorney identified three areas of pressure: People resigning from scouting, and parents and organizations withdrawing their support.It appears this effort included feeding disinformation to the public. The New York Times and its syndicated news service spread the falsehoods under the headline "Scouts' Successful Ban on Gays Is Followed by Loss in Support" (Aug. 29). In an earlier article, the Times reported that the financial defections "were minimal." But by the end of August, the newspaper said, government and organizational support had "slipped markedly." The Times article was plagued by vague and misleading numbers ("hundreds of thousands of dollars" withdrawn by Chase Manhattan Bank and Textron Inc.; "dozens of United Ways … cut off money"). And it asserted that as a result of BSA policy many cities were banning the Scouts from using parks and school facilities and that corporations were cutting donations.As it turns out, fewer than a dozen (not "dozens") United Way chapters had withdrawn support. Chase Manhattan Bank announced it was continuing financial support for the Scouts. Textron ...1
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