Too Good To Check – Amanda Marcotte Spreads Chlamydia Hoax


Amanda Marcotte at Slate:

One in 15 Students at a West Texas High School Has Chlamydia

When you’re on the high school speech-and-debate team in rural West Texas, you spend a lot of time on weekends napping in school buses in front of other small-town high schools. For me, one of those was Crane High School, where I wiled away many hours playing card games while waiting for my round. From San Antonio Express-News:

Officials with the Crane Independent School District are meeting to discuss their sex education program after nearly two dozen cases of Chlamydia were reported among the high school student body.

KOSA-TV reported the Crane Independent School District sent a letter to parents last week regarding 20 cases of chlamydia among the Crane High School student population, which totals about 300 students.

News West 9 spoke with some parents in the area who expressed shock and horror at the situation. “I mean I have a kid, honestly I don’t want my kid growing up in an area where nasty stuff like that happens,” Edward Martinez told the station.

People often express shock when things like this happen, but having grown up in the area, this is literally the least surprising thing ever to me. The combination of a repressive culture and a small population where everyone is up in everyone else’s business all the time makes it hard for people— especially teenagers—to take necessary precautions against disease transmission: getting tested, communicating openly with partners, obtaining condoms.

The area’s repressive attitudes toward sex are illustrated in the school’s sex education program, which takes up three days in the fall semester and, of course, is focused on abstinence. Raw Story reports that in 2012, the School Health Advisory Committee recommended a program titled Worth the Wait for that three-day course; the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States pointed out that Worth the Wait discourages condom use by suggesting they’re just going to fail you anyway.

What a bunch of dumb ass redneck bible-thumping holy rollers!

Only one problem. It isn’t true.

State says only three chlamydia cases in entire county of West Texas high school

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.


This is kinda like the Rolling Stone Rape Hoax. A story that was too good to check went viral because the media failed to do basic journalism. John Cole over at Buffoon Juice fell for it too.

That’s because the lie matched a preferred narrative – religious conservatives are ignorant and stupid.

Will all the media outlets that reported the story publish retractions? Or will they just let the lie stand?

I’m not holding my breath.

Money quote from Marcotte:

While the future of sex ed in Crane is up in the air, there is one thing I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt: The rumor mill at this high school is churning about who infected who, and where, and when.

I’m sure everybody is having a good laugh now.


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37 Responses to Too Good To Check – Amanda Marcotte Spreads Chlamydia Hoax

  1. lyn says:

    Stupid in, stupid out. Down with clay-media.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I will SEE that 😀 Though the Rusty from Christmas Vacation was Johnny Galecki from Big Bang, would make a better Griswold spawn than Ed Helms, imho.

    • elliesmom says:

      Has Hollywood completely run out of new ideas?

    • 1539days says:

      The original Rusty was Anthony Michael Hall. He would have been good, too. Ed Helms is a little overexposed.

      It’s pretty freaking random that Thor is in the movie.

    • 49erDweet says:

      That is sooooo sweet. Actually we had “rain” here today. LOL. Well, it wasn’t “rain” per se, it was “mist”, but it’s all good.
      Had a long drought item from ED today, who’s ensconced in the SoCal colorado desert. The Salton Sea is apparently being deliberately starved of agricultural irrigation drainage water and dried up.
      It’s not a natural sea…Google it…..but drying it up, even a little, is gonna not be good. In the late 50’s used to help with storm rescue’s on it in a patrol boat. Seems weird, but desert storms can come up in just a few minutes and if from the wrong direction would often stir up 8-12 foot crests on 45-60 mph wind-driven waves. Other days it was like a huge swimming pool.

  2. elliesmom says:

    Sex education in school is a good thing for kids who don’t have well-informed parents or parents who are comfortable talking to their kids about sex. Being uninformed is not a good thing. But just like kids who don’t have parents who read to them are at a disadvantage, kids whose parents leave all sex ed up to the school are at a disadvantage, too. Whatever your values are about sexual behavior, no one is going to pass them down to your kids better than you can. Which can fall either way depending on how a school chooses to teach sex ed.

    • votermom says:

      elliesmom, I have a dress question. Any tips for pinning / quick repairing a dress that is too big on top ( the sleeves slide off ). It’s for younger kid. Dress looks like this (but diff color)

      • Lulu says:

        Pin to her bra straps. Dresses used to come with little ribbons that slipped under bra/slip straps and snapped to the dress. A small safety pin will do just as well and keep the strap up that is looser than the bra or slip strap.

        • votermom says:

          It’s a bit too loose in front too. I think I have to sew some tucks on back or at the top of the shoulders.

          • Lulu says:

            Without seeing your daughter in the dress it sounds like the shoulder seams are possibly at the wrong angle. Shoulder seams are very individual. Some people have no slope to their shoulders (my daughter and I) and others have the more natural looking downward slope. It is a hard to fit area and affects the neckline and arm scythe.With the dress on, pinch out the excess fabric until the fabric lays flat and pin it. Then see where the fabric goes to a seam. That is where it can be taken in.

      • swanspirit says:

        Do you know how to do darts? I would do them in the back one on either side , or try and take in the side seams if there are any, also you can put a tuck in the straps.

      • swanspirit says:

        Pretty dress!! BTW

      • elliesmom says:

        If the bodice is a little long, you could try tightening up the fit at the shoulders by shortening the shoulder seams. Taking in the side seams under the arms will make the bodice narrower. You can take more in under the arm and taper it to the waist. I’d take it off at the waist and make the criss-cross more “cross”, but that’s a major renovation.

        • votermom says:

          thanks em! I think a real seamstress would take it off at the waist, but I don’t have the skill. I’ll try the shoulders, I think.

      • DeniseVB says:

        I’m not a seamstress, but double stick tape worked well for Jennifer Lopez 😉

  3. Propertius says:

    She’s also too dim to realize that the verb is “while”, not “wile” – and Slate, the first website to pretend to be a magazine apparently can’t afford an editor to catch it.

    Stupid and illiterate is a really bad combination.

  4. 1539days says:

    I think putting on a condom is kind of a learn by doing thing and they won’t have that in classes very soon.

    The media kind of hand waves the effectiveness of sex ed. People break the rules of it all the times and sometimes get VD. You never see that in a sitcom. Last I remember was Friends when Rachel got pregnant by Ross when he was wearing a rubber and Joey was freaked out that they’re only effective 19 out of 20 times.

    • Propertius says:

      Heck, even abstinence failed once.

    • Gram cracker says:

      At my daughter’s high school a woman counselor gave the sex education lectures. The male health teacher, a catholic, couldn’t talk about sex with the students. So he stood in the back of the room with a beet red face as she talked about the use of condoms.

      When one of the boys smirked that the condom she was holding looked too small for him, she pulled it over her fist and all the way up to her elbow while remarking that it was indeed big enough, even for him. Everybody laughed and the young man shut up and sat down.

      • 1539days says:

        Sounds like penis shaming to me.

      • elliesmom says:

        It’s been my experience that woman are more comfortable teaching sex ed than men are. We have to become more aware of how our bodies function younger than men do. We’re used to talking about biological functions, and it’s not in the context of a pleasure machine. Most of sex ed is pure biology, including birth control and stds. If you can teach how plants reproduce, you should be able to teach kids how people do, but a lot of men can’t handle teaching the girls. Give them a room full of boys, and they do better. Women teaching men about sex is nothing new.

  5. DandyTIger says:

    What if you have issues with horses, and your trigger is, well, Trigger?

  6. mothy67 says:

    Has anyone ever watched ABC Family. Those Pretty Little Liars are always shagging. Kids are very exposed to sex from every angle these days. They all have cell phones. Hannah Montana sure brought it home. It is always uncomfortable. I have done some research and consensus seems to be shaming has a far greater negative impact. Don’t put much stock in surveys but they claim children with low exposure to porn have a higher tendancy towards sexual dysfunction. Funny the over protective parent not allowing a kid to play outside might be pushing a kid to explore ver early stuff that in my opinion could wait a few years. I always check with parents before I play a movie. I’d have preferred at 8 she hadn’t seen The Walking Dead but a friends parent thought it was okay. Can’t unring a bell. Thankfully she finds it “over the top” and funny. She checked out Twilight from the library. No sex until the later books. What am I going to do discourage her from reading? The local news is always about teachers and students getting it on.
    I did tell her that if she wants to peruse Twilight she has to read Wuthering Heights. In some ways the Bronte women were far more sexual because of the oppression. Jane Eyre is loaded with frustratio. Heathcliff? If anyone had the answers on how to deal with kids and sex they’d be a billionaire. I think following your gut is the best answer.
    Easy to attack a school with a puritan approach and ignore the teen pregnancy rate in schools with very liberal policies. Kids are going to explore and discover. Knowledge of consequences is all you can do. I don’t care for a light hearted approach but I had a teen mom and everyone of nieces and nephews is a bastard so what do I know.

  7. mothy67 says:

    Never thought about this before but I wonder what the effects of finding stuff online by yourself versus the stone age when someone found a mag and everyone went to the woods to look. It was a shared experience. Right of passage for most boys. Do girls do something similar? I shut off WiFi and take phones when one little girl comes over because she looks up adult pics of Adam Levine. I informed her mother and she didn’t think it was a big deal. She comes over two days a week after school because her mother works late. They have no frienship beyond that. Annoying because I trust the pup. She is extremely mature and makes good decisions. She told me about the pictures. Now I have to shut down my Wifi because I have no idea what this child might look at. She could look at other kids and then It could come back on me. Her mother finds it funny I hear a woman not seeing the potential consequences. Allowing a child to possess porn has to be a felony i am comforted by brat coming to me about it but I would have had no idea she was doing it on my connection. I would have been arrested if she went to a minor site. The cluelessness of the response astounds me. School ends in a month and in the fall baby girl and I are taking archery together and she has piano the other day so no more baby sitting. The archery is not cheap but it was the only sport I was good at as a kid. I really enjoy it the silence and the focus. I also have mental illness about college applications. Archery stands out. I tried to make her go to Africa and feed Aids babiesbut they are not currently accepting 3rd graders. I think that is ageist or homophobic or islamaphobic or something.

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