Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Some on Dallas News staff "aren't interested" in correcting false media impressions about YFZ raid

Among the Dallas News editorial board members, Sharon Grigsby has been the only consistent voice questioning the state's actions in the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup. Reacting to news that CPS has been wrong so far regarding the age or pregnancy status of all the "disputed" mothers, she writes today on DMN's Opinion blog that "Some on our staff have said they aren't interested in my continued posts on this topic." I replied in the comments that this observation:

confirms my sense that the MSM is less interested in focusing on information that's not full of salacious accusations against weirdo polygamists. God forbid y'all actually report the truth instead of whatever phony accusation CPS ginned up that day.

Pretty amazing that your colleagues would admit it, though. The facts on which they based their opinions were invalid, but they don't want to revisit their conclusions. I'm asking myself "Why?", but can't come up with a single good reason offhand besides some sort of religious bigotry. What else could possibly explain journalists' callous indifference to truth?

What do you think? Why does the mainstream media appear so prepared to trumpet lascivious allegations against the residents of the YFZ Ranch, but don't seem equally concerned when those charges routinely fall through?


Anonymous said...

I tried leaving a comment on the Dallas News blog, but it keeps on giving me internal server errors (among others) so I'll leave it here instead:

- - - - - -
I agree with the author of this post and every comment on this post. Keep up the good fight.

I'm not FLDS – heck, I OPPOSE mainstream Mormonism on intellectual honesty / religious hucksterism / "theological" grounds (I oppose every other theology too: to me, it's a subject about nothing or at least the unknowable) – I'm hardly a poster child for their faith.

But the right to their faith and due protection of the law? I passionately support these.

By the way, your comments limited to 30 words — thirty! — preference is laughable. Even YouTube allows 500.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping up the posts on YZF. There aren't nearly enough of them!

To answer your question, I don't think primary motivation is religious bigotry, rather the MSM reflect peoples' attitudes of a deep romanticising of children and that "innocence" which is irretrievably lost with the experiences and challenges of adulthood. I cannot think of another explanation why particularly Anglo societies have embraced any policy effort no matter how ill-conceived, any abridgement of fundamental civil rights no matter how drastic, any injustice no matter how punitive as long as they are cloaked "to protect our children". To achieve this aim absolutely, everybody is a potential suspect, must be presumed guilty and must be prosecuted and punished severely. Even at the cost of greater harm to the children.
Add our guilt-ridden obsession with sex into the mix and the train takes off into the distance, unstoppable. The tracks left behind riddled with the remains.

I'm afraid none of us will live long enough to see us look back in shame. We let all this happen?

Anonymous said...

The MSM editors are either religious bigots or they believe their readers are.

They want to sell papers and they want to continue to get information from their Government sources.

They dare not question CPS's facts or motives for fear of real economic harm.

We are a capitalist society after all. In addition, with the advent of birth control, there are fewer children so I guess it follows that the few we have need more protection.

Besides, it keeps a lot of folks employed and a lot of other folks smug about their own self righteousness!

kbp said...


More children?
"Jessop said he does not know whether there are children at the 1,700-acre property, which includes 19 separate residential buildings. If there are, they would have arrived with parents who came to comfort relatives in the wake of the April raid, he said."

or not?

"Rod Parker, a sect spokesman, said CPS officials told Willie Jessop that an informant claimed there are five children at the ranch, including a boy who has Down's syndrome... The timing of the account was unclear and it could be weeks old..."

No problem. Just take them and work out the ID's in a couple months, no harm!

kbp said...

Do a google news search on "flds or yfz or eldorado" and you get 3 of the initial 4 hits noting the CPS looking for more children.

The top 10 headlines lines should be telling of all the lies CPS has been caught in red handed the past 2 days straight.

Sometimes I wonder, with all the lock 'em up shows going on and the push to pre-judge all suspects as guilty, if there is a subconscious relief for most through assigning blame to others.

If reporters are caught printing lies, few even act like they owe an explanation for such today, much less feel shame or lose pride in themselves.

Gadfly said...

Scott, here’s my professional take (I’m a suburban Dallas weekly editor) as adapted for my blog.

Anonymous said...

Martin correctly points out that:

"Anglo societies have embraced any policy effort no matter how ill-conceived, any abridgement of fundamental civil rights no matter how drastic, any injustice no matter how punitive as long as they are cloaked "to protect our children". To achieve this aim absolutely, everybody is a potential suspect, must be presumed guilty and must be prosecuted and punished severely. Even at the cost of greater harm to the children."

Every justification for the Eldorado raid applies equally to the detentions at Guantanamo. After all, amid all those detainees there are bound to be some real terrorists, including some who may have killed children.

Yet my fellow liberals who rightly rail against the Bush administration for Guantanamo, either stand silent in the face of what's being done to the children of Eldorado or, like Ellen Goodman the Huffington Post, and others, strongly support it.

It proves once again that the quickest way to get my fellow progressives to renounce everything they claim to stand for is to whisper "child abuse" in their ears.

If anything the Eldorado raid is,in some ways worse than Gitmo because, while no children are being mistreated on purpose, they are being mistreated - and they are children. In the end, it is likely that we will destroy some of these childern in order to save them. It also is worse because there is a Third Way: Some of the children may well have needed to be taken from the ranch, but none needed to be taken from her or his mother. Johana Scot, who runs a wonderful Texas group, the Parent Guidance Center ( and I wrote an op ed on this for the Star-Telegram, available here:

My organization also released a report on Texas child welfare in January, 2005, which discussed the role of a prominent state "progressive" in two "foster-care panics" that swept through the state long before Eldorado. It's on the State Reports page of our website, Now he's cheerleader-in-chief for the Eldorado raid.

On behalf of the "family values left" thank you, Grits, for speaking up for these children.

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

Anonymous said...

"Every justification for the Eldorado raid applies equally to the detentions at Guantanamo. After all, amid all those detainees there are bound to be some real terrorists, including some who may have killed children."
— Richard Wexler

Don't be a moron. They are not the same thing at all. Many of the terrorists releaved at Guantanomo have gone to kill again. Many of your countrymen owe your lives to the Bush administration's effective war on terror (not to mention the brave and decent American Forces at Guantanomo from civilian support staff to the lowliest new Marine to the commanding officer). They're winning it, too, and global terrorist attacks are falling worldwide and, heck, they're also winning in Iraq.

You have good points about the FLDS situation, but your trying to compare necessary war measures in detaining enemy combatants found on battlefields to a raid on a religious community's ranch is a stretch.

Farcical, actually.

Anonymous said...

Obvious typo there and my apology. Many of the terrorists retained at Gitmo, I meant to say.

Anonymous said...

Richard, I have your organization's report on Texas open in another window. It is at least 76 pages long; I don't want to look through the entire paper at this early hour. On what page does the discussion about the prominent progressive start?

Anonymous said...

Charles Kiker chiming in:

I see parallels with Iraq. Iraq has WMDs. We've got to protect ourselves. Saddam Hussein is in bed with Al Qaeda. We've got to get him. And the beat goes on. So we got him, and found no WMDs. And we knew all along that he had no ties to Al Qaeda. But Saddam was a bad man, so it's good that we got him even though all the reasons for going to war were based on lies, or, to put it more kindly, "faulty intelligence." And the media hyped up the war before it began, and stuck with it for a long time after it was obvious that it was a faulty case.

Those folks at Eldorado are really wierd. The women dress funny and wear long hair. And they practice polygamy and force their little girls to marry dirty old men. Now we have a call from an anonymous 16year old girl saying she was raped by one of those dirty old men. Let's go get 'em. So we went and got 'em. Turns out the phone call was a hoax. But no matter, some of those little girls might be abused. So the hyped up hoaxed up reason for the raid doesn't matter.

And the media by and large buy in. I heard a reporter on CBS TV talking about the raid just a day or so ago. She mentioned the phone call w/o mentioning the hoax.

Those people are wierd. Some of them might be abusing their children. So it's the right thing to do to "rescue" all of them.

Well, the children are being abused. All 464 or however many of them there are. Removed from their mothers and put into a coliseum and herded off to who knows where. That's child abuse. State sponsored.

The media will catch on after blogs such as this gets the public caught on. Then they will turn. Just like in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason the media doesn't agree with Grits and his stance on Eldorado is because most folks in the world revile pedophilia and even moreso, a religion that couches it's pedophilia in terms of religious doctrine.

If I had to take a guess.

Anonymous said...

Charles Kiker again:

Anonymous 8:06 makes my point very well. Pedophilia is bad. Religion that countenances is bad religion. Therefore the facts in a given case do not matter. But the news media should report the news. The telephone call was a hoax. To talk about the call without reporting the hoax, or even the extreme probability that it was a hoax, is not news. It is propaganda.

BTW, I'm not, and I don't think Grits is, asking the media to agree. Agreeing is not their responsibility. Reporting the news is.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks, Rev. It's pretty surprising, actually, that the hoax doesn't seem to phase raid supporters at all. No specific allegations appear to be required to presume guilt.

And to 8:06: Outside of hyped up blog commenters, no one has alleged "pedophilia," which is sex with pre-pubescent children, not 16 year olds. Until 2005, 16 year old girls in Texas were legally free to marry without parental consent. Will we now portray such marriages post facto as "pedophilia"?

I agree that when the MSM portrays FLDS as some sort of pedophilia cult, it explains the reaction. But what explains the MSM's sudden disinterest when such salacious allegations turn out to be untrue?

Survivalwoman said...

Has Anyone even realistically thought about the effects of forced removal of children from loving homes. Childhood induced PTSD is Hard to Correct , even when they are replaced with in their homes. It Breaks the child personality and causes a sense of insecurity that can extend well into adulthood.


Poor Babies. People So Busy Doing The systems "Macarena" Style Dance.

The State is the one abusing those poor children.

Anonymous said...

Since CPS wants to return to the compound to search for additional children, I guess this would not be a good time to take the kids on a field trip to El Dorado. Seriously, it's time for CPS to really do it right, a LDS friend of mine reminded me of basic Masonic temple building. Under the main temple is the command center, survival bunker and armory. You access it by going to the tower closest to Salt Lake city in the main temple, finding and manipulating the stone with the face of the sunburst, this the ray pointing directly to Salt Lake City. These sunburst's look similar to the 12th sunburst on the Nauvoo Temple. The children however will most likely not be there since it is the most obvious and first place anyone would look. I would go to the tannery and look under the main rendering tank for the stairs to the shelter. The tank can be moved to open the stairway. I heard about a secret passcode, but I have been unable to confirm it.

Anonymous said...

Does Bush care about all the children maimed or killed, or at the least afflicted with PTSD, in Iraq? He doesn't even care about all of our soldiers who suffered the same. "Collateral consequences" is a euphemism that justifies much.

14thdaymom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
14thdaymom said...

If we allow CPS to lie about the facts of the case by calling it "newsworthy" and perpetuate rumors, we are committing child abuse against FLDS children. They are thrown into "normal' society - for the first time - their first taste of 'normalcy' in a place where children are 11 times more likely to be abused than at their natural home? These are children being introduced to society In a place where anger and rage and social workers and doctors and lawyers and psychotropic medications and abuse and lies and faces change and confusion and more abuse and more rage and new foster mothers and new foster fathers and new schools and new kids and danger and fear and confusion fear confusion confusion.... COME ON THESE ARE CHILDREN! I call for a strike against media who perpetuates CPS LIES - for the sake of the children!! - It's Almost Tuesday

14thdaymom said...

Because the swing of every pendulum brings with it potential adverse consequences, it is important to emphasize that in the area of child abuse, as with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes, the state is constrained by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Constitution. The fact that the suspected crime may be heinous – whether it involves children or adults - does not provide cause for the state to ignore the rights of the accused or any other parties. Otherwise, serious injustices may result. Syl.Pt.3,WALLIS v. SPENCER, 202 F.3d 1126(9th Cir. 2000)

kbp said...

Catholic Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer told Catholic teens who received confirmation Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church here that they should respect and pray for their polygamist sect neighbors.

...sect members created a culture of widespread pattern of child sexual abuse and forced "marriages."

"Sadly, they're raised in a culture where they think that is proper," Pfeifer said

Anonymous said...


The Catholic Bishop is also calling FLDS a sect. The more I see this the more it infuriates me. It is a religion, not a sect. Of course you could refer to Catholics as a "sect".

The Catholic Church has nerve even mentioning the "abuse" of children considering their history. Perhaps every Catholic child in the San Angelo area should be in the custody of CPS! We all know there is a proven risk of abuse for Catholic children.

Melanie said...


AP: Appeals court rules Texas had no right to seize hundreds of children from polygamous sect.

Up at and (a radion station)

kbp said...

Helllllllo TBM

What was it you said?

Melanie said...

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) -- The Third Court of Appeals has ruled that Child Protective Services did not have the right to remove children from the Yearning for Zion ranch last month.

The ruling comes as a result of a document filed by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid last month. The TRLA is the largest provider of legal aid in Texas, on behalf of 48 FLDS mothers that TRLA is representing in their child custody cases.

"The way that the courts have ignored the legal rights of these mothers is ridiculous," said TRLA attorney Julie Balovich. "It was about time a court stood up and said that was has been happening to these families is wrong."

In the decision, the Court ruled that CPS failed to provide any evidence that the children were in imminent danger and acted hastily in removing them from their families. According to the Court, "The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the Department's witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger."

TRLA will be holding a press conference in front of the courthouse in San Angelo Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

Anonymous said...

The backlash cometh:

FLDS families fight for custody outside San Angelo courts

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News

ELDORADO, Texas — Child welfare authorities are challenging a San Antonio judge's decision to halt the separation of a mother and her 1-year-old boy taken from the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is seeking an emergency order to stop a hearing scheduled for Friday over the planned separation of Lori Jessop, 25, and her 1-year-old son, Joseph Steed Jessop Jr. They are challenging a judge's decision to issue a temporary restraining order, stopping the separation that was scheduled for May 15, when the boy turned 1.

The judge also had ordered the government agency to disclose the locations of Jessop's other children — Zianna Glo, 4, and Joseph Edson Jessop, 2 — and allow daily visits with them.

"This is a truly shocking development. The writ of habeas corpus is one of the most precious of all legal protections; designed to protect people from illegal restraint by the government," said Rene Haas, a lawyer for the father, Joseph Steed Jessop Sr. "The Texas Constitution says that it can never be suspended. Yet, the department wants to prevent a judge from deciding the legality of the restraint of these children. Absolutely amazing."

kbp said...


That is another example of the group think in this mess.

Walthers changed her mind twice, creating 3 different decisions on the nursing mothers.

The second, that it was to be decided on an individual basis was correct, but I think Walthers saw that CPS had no intention of rendering decisions that would be acceptable, more likely harmful to the babies.

Her 3rd decision was boiler plate and conflicts with individual needs that may be in place.

On Walthers, who i assign much blame, i believe the Appeal Court was upset with her on that UNSIGNED Order For Temporary Custody they were snookered into basing their denial in the first go around with TRLA.

It leaves me curious if Walthers had to decided whther to SIGN that dated Order nad risk facing Fed's if caught, or date it UNSIGNED and hope it passed without notice, worst case creating problems with the state bar (or whatever enity has authority over the conduct of judges).

I have tried forever with various attorneys and reporters to find a copy of the Custody Order to see the date is was signed and create questions about the possible problem it may reveal.

Maybe I am off on a wild goose chase, but I have questions nobody will answer or help with.

Melanie said...

Here's the court decision:

(10 page PDF of the document)

This is only for the families on whose behalf the writ of mandamus was filed, not all of the children taken.

Okay, lawyerly folks, what do you think this portends - or rather, what *should* it mean for the families?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Fred, when I click on the link the story's gone. I know it was there, because when I google search for a couple sentences from your quote, it brings up the deseretnews page, but when I click on that, it's gone.
Wonder what's going on.

I must be naive, but in both this case and in the case of Louisa and Dan Jessop, where a judge ordered CPS to put her little children with her, and to let Lori stay with her 1 year old and see the other children, I find it appalling that CPS still hasn't complied.