As we told you last week, the parent who wants Gilbert Hernadez’s Palomar removed from a high school library in Rio Rancho, New Mexico is appealing the decision of a review committee that voted to retain the book on shelves. Now Albuquerque-area news station KOAT, which originally broke the story with a biased and sensational report back in February, is back with another one-sided segment that transparently attempts to turn public sentiment against the book.
As in KOAT’s previous story, the only person that reporter Laura Thoren spoke to on camera for the latest report was Catrenna Lopez, the parent who says that Palomar promotes prostitution, child abuse, and child pornography. (KOAT has spelled her name Catreena in both reports, but it is Catrenna, which might speak to the station’s reporting prowess.) Thoren’s voiceover says that Lopez’s 14-year-old son checked out Palomar from the library “thinking it was a comic book.” That is a correct assumption, but apparently Thoren and/or KOAT producers think that it couldn’t possibly be a comic book due to the content, which she describes as “cartoon characters engaging in sex acts and…child abuse — images we couldn’t show on television.”
KOAT also seems puzzled by Rio Rancho Public Schools’ laudable decision to follow the challenge policy. Says Thoren: “But despite those complaints [from Lopez] and despite those graphic images, a committee was formed and determined the book meets certain standards and should stay in the high school’s library.”
Towards the end of the report, KOAT again gave Lopez free rein to give viewers her unchallenged assessment of the book:
Palomar is not just all about the sexual scenes or anything else like that, there’s also the promotion of prostitution and the promotion of child abuse and the promotion of child pornography and pedophilia. Really? Do we really want something like that?
Obviously, the book is not something that Lopez wants for herself or her son, but it’s anyone’s guess why she thinks that means no other Rio Rancho High School students should be allowed to read it (or why she fails to see that the material is not child pornography)! Lopez tells KOAT she has not been told when her appeal of the review committee’s decision will be considered, but we suspect it may at least come up for discussion at the school board meeting next Monday. Stay tuned!
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Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.