For parents worrying that their teens are too influenced by liberal ideas like birth control, racism, and "Glee," there's a new glossy magazine in town offering to set them straight. Introducing: "The Conservative Teen."
"Do you have a teenage child or grandchild? Are you concerned about their future and the kind of America they will inherit?" asks publisher William R. Smith on the magazine's website. "The liberal agenda has long dominated our educational institutions, news media, and entertainment industries and so it's imperative we counter by teaching our teen children conservative values."
Not much is known about the publisher, William R. Smith. It's the same name as the man who narrowly won Ohio's 2nd district in the democratic primary earlier this month, backed by the "Victory Ohio Super PAC," which conducted robocalls on his behalf and is not registered with the Federal Elections Committee, but it seems odd that a 61-year-old long-distance trucker in Ohio who ran as a Democrat would suddenly decide to launch a magazine promoting conservative Christian values and Tea Party politics.
Whoever he is, he doesn't seem willing to talk about his new publication. Our calls to publisher's office listed in "The Conservative Teen" went unanswered Tuesday morning; by that afternoon, a recording said that the phone number had been disconnected and its Facebook page (with 288 likes and a series of September 2011 posts linking to Sean Hannity) had been taken down (but is still viewable in Google's cache).
The magazine, which describes itself as "a nationally distributed, quarterly print publication," did not get enough subscribers to print its first issue, the website says, and is currently available at MagCloud.com, a print-on-demand site. The first (and, so far, only) issue features stories contributed by The Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council as well as a few pieces -- like Michael Reagan's essay about his father being the real "first black president" and John Stossel's column about how the government has harmed Native Americans -- that were originally published in 2011 by Fox News. There isn't a single teen-perspective piece in the 52-page publication, which Smith writes was "developed specifically to teach conservative social, political, and economic principles to future generations of American youth."
But while an article breaking down the national debt is interesting, the bulk of "The Conservative Teen" is little more than a tired recitation of the Conservative Christian party platform peppered with plenty of Obama bashing.
There is, as expected, a long article about abstinence ("Why Abstinence Works & How it Can Work for You!") that explains how having even one pre-marital sexual partner can ruin a woman's chances of having
a stable marriage. A full-page photo of a late-term fetus illustrates an anti-abortion article ("Why the Unborn Need our Protection") that urges readers to "fight in solidarity for their younger brothers and sisters" and to "regularly pray for an end to abortion." A piece about media bias ironically warns kids that "writers and producers are trying to influence you every day" while railing at liberals for turning the environment into a religion. And an article entitled "How to Draw Obama" laments that one can't even create funny cartoons about president without people complaining about racism.
There's also a reading list ("Ask your teacher or parent if one of these great titles is okay for your next book report!" the magazine enthuses) that seems geared more for parents than for young teens. Among the suggestions: Newt Gringrich's "A Nation Like No Other," Laura Ingraham's "Of Thee I Zing," David Limbaugh's "Crimes Against Liberty, An Indictment of President Barack Obama," and Erick Stakelbeck's "The Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat."
Left-leaning sites have lampooned the new magazine, but even some Conserative publications aren't too keen about "The Conservative Teen" and its cause.
"This is the wrong way to introduce conservatism to young people," Jordan Bloom wrote in a post at The American Conservative. "Altogether, the magazine suffers from the lack of respect it shows its audience. Smith doesn't see them seeking out the magazine themselves anyway, so why engage them on their own level, why challenge them, or deal with, say, George W. Bush's eight years of dragging conservatism through the mud?"
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