Right-wing media figures, led by Fox News, have launched a campaign against the Girl Scouts accusing the group of indoctrinating young girls into liberal politics. The accusation has been propped up by misleading claims, ludicrous oversimplifications, and frequently repeated myths about the organization, which focuses on empowering girls.
Fact: Girl Scouts of America Is Not Affiliated With Planned Parenthood
Girl Scouts Of America: “No, Girl Scouts Of The USA Does Not Have A Relationship With Planned Parenthood.” The myth that the Girl Scouts of America are affiliated with Planned Parenthood has been so persistent that the organization responded to the accusation on its website, explicitly stating that it has no relationship with Planned Parenthood and responding to “numerous Internet stories and blogs that were factually inaccurate and troubling” that attempted to manufacture a connection:
Q: Does GSUSA have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?
A: No, Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Q: Did GSUSA distribute a Planned Parenthood brochure at a United Nations event?
A: No, we did not. In 2010, GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Our participation in that conference was the subject of numerous Internet stories and blogs that were factually inaccurate and troubling. Girl Scouts had no knowledge of the brochure in question and played no role in distributing it. [Girl Scouts of America, accessed 2/24/14]
Myth: The Girl Scouts Of America Promote Left-Leaning Politics
Fox’s Elisabeth Hasselback Asks If Girl Scouts Of America Are “Trying To Convince America’s Girls To Lean Left.” On the February 24 edition of Fox News’Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked if Girl Scouts of America is “trying to convince America’s girls to lean left” by supporting Democratic politicians. Hasselbeck interviewed Penny Nance from the conservative group Concerned Women for America, introducing the interview by claiming “this isn’t the non-political Girl Scouts that a lot of parents were promised.” [Fox News,Fox & Friends, 2/24/14
Fact: The Girl Scouts Of America Have Connections To Both Political Parties
Daily Beast: Conservative Critics “Have Completely Overlooked The Group’s Connections To The Republican Party.” In a Daily Beast article about the conservative-led boycott of Girl Scout cookies, Emily Shire pointed out that critics of the Scouts have based their accusations on selectively highlighting prominent liberal women who are affiliated with the organization and ignoring that the Scouts also have “connections to the Republican Party and conservative politicians”:
Meanwhile, what the pro-lifers fail to mention is that they have completely overlooked the group’s connections to the Republican Party and conservative politicians. The organization’s list of famous alumni includes Elizabeth Dole, Laura Bush, and Nancy Kassebaum, a Republican and the first woman elected to the Senate without her husband previously holding a Congressional seat.
The Girl Scouts also runs Troop Capitol Hill, a bipartisan organization of former and honorary Girl Scout politicians. It is currently chaired by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX), and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). [The Daily Beast, 2/7/14]
Wash. Post’s McCartney: All First Ladies Are Honorary Presidents Of Girl Scouts, Including Republicans. In a February 22, 2012, post, Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney responded to an Indiana politician’s claim that Michelle Obama serving as honorary president of the organization was indicative of the Girl Scouts’ politics by noting that Republican first ladies have also been honorary presidents:
Another over-the-top critic is Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris (R), who achieved instant notoriety Saturday for a letter condemning the Girl Scouts as a “radicalized” organization that promotes homosexuality. He said he was putting his two daughters in American Heritage Girls.
Here is my favorite line from Morris’s letter: “The fact that the Honorary President of Girl Scouts of America is Michelle Obama, and the Obamas are radically pro-abortion . . . should give each of us reason to pause.”
Every first lady since Edith Wilson in 1917 has been honorary president of the Girl Scouts. That includes Republicans Mamie Eisenhower, Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush. [Washington Post, 2/22/12]