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For Better or for a Couple of Months

From The Scrapbook

Nov 14, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 09 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Or rather, the “fact checkers.” The Scrapbook has a hard time telling the difference these days. Glenn Kessler, author of the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, gave Cain “four Pinocchios” for stating (accurately) that Sanger “did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born.” 

Kessler defended and downplayed Sanger’s statements in support of eugenics. His sourcing leaned so heavily on Planned Parenthood it wouldn’t be surprising if they dictated the response to him. Kessler even called Sanger​—​we’re not making this up​—​a “racial pioneer” for her work with black organizations in the early 20th century. Of course, Kessler doesn’t mention that many of the black leaders she worked with at the time, such as W.E.B. DuBois, were eugenicists themselves. 

It further goes unsaid that Sanger tried to realize her birth control ambitions by speaking to that other hearty band of racial pioneers, the Ku Klux Klan. As Planned Parenthood would have us believe, Sanger was really a uniter, not a divider. 

At the very least, Margaret Sanger still has the power to bring the liberal media together, if only to shore up the façade that Planned Parenthood has the best of intentions. In addition to Kessler, Factcheck.org and PolitiFact also seized on Cain’s comments with equally mind-bending sophistry. 

Here are some facts that almost no one in the major media saw fit to raise in relation to Herman Cain’s comments. According to the Centers for Disease Control, black women get 40 percent of the nation’s abortions even though they comprise only 13 percent of the population. Fully 60 percent of all black pregnancies in New York City last year ended in abortion. Whether the media want to confront it or not, there are dramatically fewer black Americans thanks to the legacy of Margaret Sanger.

Mac the Knife

Mac McGarry has been a fixture in Washington, D.C., households for 50 years. A television announcer on the local NBC affiliate, McGarry took a job hosting the Saturday morning quiz show It’s Academic in 1961. He hasn’t looked back. It’s Academic, in which teams from local high schools answer trivia questions for scholarship money, is reportedly the oldest such program on the tube. Actress Sandra Bullock, Washington Post CEO Donald Graham, and sportswriter Tom Boswell​—​not to mention The Scrapbook’s colleague Matthew Continetti​—​have all made appearances. Last week it was announced that the show will go on, but without McGarry. At 85, he’s decided to retire.

We wish it weren’t so. McGarry was conservative in demeanor and effect. He wasn’t flashy. His game show emphasized the importance of knowledge and learning. Nor were the questions mere “trivia.” Ranging from history to literature to art to science to mathematics, they challenged talented high school students to discover the breadth and depth of the Western tradition in a way the students might not always have done in the classroom. 

The festive atmosphere, with a studio audience, cheerleaders, and school bands, allowed bookworms and science geeks to experience something like the thrill of varsity sports competition. McGarry set a standard for excellence that his successor, local radio anchor Hillary Howard, will have to work hard to meet. We’ll miss him.

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