The Kids Post section in the Washington Post is designed, in theory, to be a fun and educational way to get young children interested in current events and exposed to the issues of the day, ostensibly understanding more than one side of any issue.
But in practice the section can give kids a one-sided presentation that gives only half the story. Such was the case with today's article, "Girl Scouts have a bright idea," which lauded an effort by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital to have each of its 63,000 members to "replace one regular light bulb with an energy-saving bulb," namely the compact fluorescent CFLs bulbs that "use about 75 percent less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs."
The article closed by quoting Girl Scout Madison Harris saying she feels "like I'm really saving the environment by just doing simple things."
Of course, environmental policy is never that quite cut-and-dried, yet nowhere in her 10-paragraph article did reporter Margaret Webb Pressler inform kids that CFLs, far from being an easy energy-reducing Earth-saving fix, actually pose potential environmental and health hazards, particularly in homes with small children or pregnant women.
What's more, this is hardly news to the mainstream media. Here's how NPR, hardly a right-wing news outlet, noted the mercury problem in a February 2007 story: