Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Laughing At Jim Ogle of WIBW for Falsely Claiming Censorship to Fool the Public

You have to laugh at Jim Ogle, WIBW General Manager, who is misleading his viewers/listeners with false claims of "censorship." In "They're All Going to Laugh at You!," by Jim Ogle, WIBW, 6 February 2009, Jim can be seen claiming that Kansas will become the laughing stock of the nation for "censoring" public library books. The funny thing is, censorship is not involved, yet he mentions it four times in under two minutes, and he is an influential media member. He's flat out misleading Kansans.

The facts are these:
  • the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library already keeps Playboy magazine in a manner that precludes access by children,
  • citizens are requesting the library treat four books in the same fashion as it already treats Playboy,
  • the books are far more explicit than Playboy,
  • no one is trying to remove the books from the library,
  • no one is trying to get the library to do anything different from what it is already doing, and
  • other libraries are already keeping children from accessing the very same books.

Yet there's prominent media member Jim Ogle misleading the public with false claims of "censorship." Then he tells the public, "They're all going to laugh at you!" His goal is to get people to think as he wants them to think, and he's the general manager of a major media outfit! "Leave work early to speak out against an act that will paint Kansas at [sic] backward," he says. What a demagogue.

As Dan Gerstein once wrote, emphasis mine, "The ... elites have convinced themselves that they are taking a stand against cultural tyranny. .... [T]he reality is that it is those who cry "Censorship!" the loudest who are the ones trying to stifle speech and force their moral world-view on others." Source: "Why the Democrats Are Losing the Culture Wars," by Dan Gerstein, Wall Street Journal, 11 April 2005.

Think, Kansans. Don't be fooled by demagogues. Your library is already sequestering Playboy from children. The precedent is already set. Books vastly more explicit than Playboy may be similarly sequestered. If not, Playboy must be made available to children to avoid any double standard.



  1. Not at all surprising. I'm very disappointed however that there isn't an opportunity for balance. For that, Ogle should be ashamed!

  2. Thank you, Anonymous.

    Indeed, Jim Ogle made similar, unchallenged, unbalanced, untrue statements again and again.

    1) "Stop Censorship at Your Local Library," by Jim Ogle, WIBW, 6 February 2009: "If the board votes to put the books behind a counter, then the floodgates will open. Once the Library Board crosses that line of allowing censorship based on content, it will likely face hundreds of requests for books to be hidden behind the desk because one person finds the content objectionable."

    2) "Don't Let the Library Embrace Censorship," by Jim Ogle, WIBW, 29 January 2009 "I don't want other people to decide what either my [sic] or my child reads. That's called censorship. And you cannot do just a little bit of censoring."

  3. Hello Friends!

    This is Jim Ogle-- I'm glad I'm improving your mental health by giving you something to laugh about.

    I would not a couple of things in your efforts:

    1. I have said in each of my editorials that I welcome feedback. Except for a couple of one sentence and one two sentence post, you haven't provided me with any.

    2. I'm happy to put a different viewpoint on my air. Just come and record it.

    3. Playboy is behind the counter at the Topeka Shawnee County Library because it could be stolen, not because it is judged by content.

    4. If you decide policy by a board based on content, that's censorship. Just as if you end the life of a child in the womb is abortion. It doesn't make it illegal, it might not even be wrong (to save the mother's life), but it is still abortion. You can put a nice coat and tie on this one claiming that by putting it behind the counter it isn't censorship. It is still censorship.

    It is interesting to me that while I will identify myself and take opinions that don't agree with my own, the one person who commented here hides. Why is it those who want to censor do that?

    5. You still don't refute by argument that once one person is given the nod to have a book or books altered in how they are handled based on content, the floodgates will open!

    6. You also don't deal with the point I raised about how Kansas was viewed as backward when theocrats attempted to negate science through their theocracy in the teaching of biology. If the board censors those books by "hiding" them behind the counter, then the national media will not only tell that story of censorship, but dredge up the decade old story of the Kansas State School Boards backwardness.

    7. Finally, you called my statements "unbalanced, unchallenged and untrue."

    First, opinion isn't supposed to have balance. News coverage should, but opinion is just that and was labeled as commentary to note the difference.

    Second, I offered and offer the chance to "challenge" them.

    Third, you've never shown my statements to be "untrue."

    Jim Ogle
    General Manager
    WIBW Channels
    work email: jim.ogle@wibw.com
    Twitter: jimogle
    home email: defensman@gmail.com

  4. My apologies-- it appears I typed "not" instead of "note" in the first few sentences.

    Jim Ogle

  5. Jim Ogle,

    I am so happy you responded here. Let me say up front that I give you a lot a credit for having done so. That shows you are interested in debate, and that says a lot about you. So I will now respond, using your same numbering system for convenience.

    1) You said I provided little feedback. I suppose that depends on how one looks at what I said. I don't see much gain for either of us in restating what I already said.

    2) You said you are happy to put another viewpoint on the air and you invited me to record mine. How do I go about doing that? I'm from New Jersey--would anyone in your area care what I say? Would you publish it? Maybe you can link to this blog post and our discussion herein? Has anyone already responded to you so I can link that as well?

    3) You said Playboy is sequestered because it may be stolen. Why? The graphics? Are not the subject books even more graphic? Might they be stolen as well for the same reason? Should they not also be sequestered for the same reason, let alone for age reasons?

    4) You defined censorship as "policy by a board based on content." Do you really believe that or would you care to restate your definition? If you stand by your definition, do you realize your view obviates US Supreme Court decisions, various laws, local standards, and common sense policy? How can any of those standards be following if no one can make a decision "based on content"? You don't think all those standards should be tossed aside because people would have to base a decision on the very subject matter of those standards, do you? You do see the difference between selection and censorship, right? And libraries are often formed by some legal instrument that defines what content is acceptable and sometimes what is not in a public library. Shall such local laws be tossed aside under your definition of "censorship"? What is the local law citation and text that created that particular library?

    4A) You said I hid my identity and that I want to censor. In the email I sent you and others, including the library, you did see that I listed my name, address, web links, and even telephone number, right? You could even call me right now. And I am not seeking to censor. Rather, I want to see communities make informed decisions, not ones based on misinformation like repeated false claims of censorship.

    5) You said I did not address your floodgates argument. Correct. But only for the sake of brevity. Your floodgates argument is silly. It's a common argument, one the ALA itself advances, but it's a logical fallacy, so I won't address it further, except to say the Wall Street Journal recently made fun of the ALA's false slippery slope arguments.

    6) You said I did not address your argument about Kansas being made to look backwards. You are correct. I did not address that directly. Indirectly, however, since no censorship is taking place, no one should be writing stories about your community being the laughing stock of the nation. Besides, other communities sequester the same books for basically the same reasons. Now is it possible someone will claim Kansas is backwards for keeping children from sexually inappropriate material like communities do nationwide and like the US Supreme Court supports? Of course that's possible. After all, you are making false claims of censorship and implying it's just as silly as that decade-old religion incident that in reality is hardly related. But should the community not do what's right for fear people who are wrong might make them look bad? I suppose that's up to the community. Besides, your community's potential actions to shuck the yoke of the ALA and act to enforce its own interests may make your community a national model, not a laughing stock. Did you ever think of that?

    7) You objected to my saying your statements were unbalanced, unchallenged, and untrue. Yes, opinion doesn't necessarily have to have balance, but you have a position of power and authority and you have produced three videos, all one-sided, with no response from anyone, so far as I can tell. What's not unbalanced about that? Where are the challenges, other than mine? And as to untrue, your definition of censorship is untrue. Your comparison of the current situation to the one a decade ago is untrue. Your claim of floodgates opening is untrue.

    I have spoken with some of the authors of the books in question. That's on my blog. They think their material, if I recall correctly, has no age limits. Should that be the standard that's applied in your community? Doesn't your community get to decide its own standard? Doesn't the community have the right and power to act to protect its own citizens, including children? Isn't that exactly why you seem to go out of your way to mislead your community, so you can get your community to think the way you want, so they will think they are making informed decisions when in reality they are really misinformed? I'm happy you urged them to go to the public meeting on the topic, but did you have to mislead them first?

    If an adult has to ask to view one of the sequestered books, as opposed to merely pulling it off a shelf or coffee table, exactly what are you afraid of?

    Thank you. I hope our conversation benefits those who read or view our comments. I look forward to your responses.

    Dan Kleinman
    Chatham, NJ 07928
    This blog post's URL: http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2009/02/laughing-at-jim-ogle-of-wibw-for.html

  6. I wanted to make a few points of clarification. First, the request to have 4 books reviewed for different placement in the library was not made by one woman. Kansans for Common Sense Policy is a local Shawnee County grassroots group that had 4 of its members make a presentation to the TSCPL board in November of 2007. Those requests were accompnied by over 1400 signatures. Those signatures covered all faiths, political and educational backgrounds. So for anyone to continue to state that "one woman" is making a request shows ignorance or intentional disregard for the facts.

    Second, The Topeka Shawnee County library restricts the access to Playboy magagazine because of content. I would know because I worked on the legislation in 2001 that led to them finally changing their policy from allowing 13 year olds checking it out to requiring 18 year olds with age verification. The legislature made it quite clear that the "affirmative defense" clause would be removed if the library did not change their policy. Because the policy was changed, Rep. Becky Hutchins and myself no longer persued the "affirmative defense" clause legislation. If Mr. Ogle wants proof he can contact James Carlson at the Cap Journal who did the research.

    I would also note that I have instilled in my children to always base decision on what is right not on the responses of others. It is a sad day in the Topeka community when media outlets are encouraging community boards to not stand on principle but rather cower to individuals that threaten, intimidate, and mislead.

    I am hopeful that our local board will base their decision on facts rather than ill-informed rhetoric.

  7. Jim,

    Will you please respond not only to me but also to what "KFCSP" said? I'm from out-of-state. What is the truth, Jim?

    Thank you.

  8. Apparently, Jim's propaganda did not fool enough people:

    "Access Restricted to Four Sex-Related Library Books," by Ben Bauman, KTKA 49 ABC, 19 February 2009.

    I predict the ACLU will sue and lose. This will make this case an example for library boards nationwide that local communities should control library boards, not the ALA.

    Children nationwide may receive protection from harm previously untapped by locals thinking the ALA is authoritative. It is not. This case further proves that.

  9. The general manager of WIBW-TV is calling people who disagree with the evolution-only policy of our state board "theocrats"? The only people I've ever seen call us that are people you find on far-left blogs like the Daily Kos.

    I have to say I've been purposefully not watching WIBW news and this solidified that. I don't mind disagreement and rational discussion, but I've found that people who use the term "theocrat" will never discuss any issue fairly or accurately. I don't trust that news station anymore.

  10. Thanks, Anonymous. Because of you I found the following:

    "Kansas Library Restricts Access to Sexuality Books (Updated)," by Hybridity, DailyKos.com, 21 February 2009.

    I love the poll. You'll see why.


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