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Reporter who first introduced Duggars to the nation ignored myriad red flags

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The bill finally came due for Josh Duggar on Wednesday. More than six months after being convicted of receiving and possessing child sex abuse material, the oldest scion of America’s most infamous babymakers (and unfit parents) was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release. While on supervised release, Duggar will have to register as a sex offender and will not be allowed any unsupervised contact with minors—not even members of his own family. The sentence was not quite as long as I and others hoped, in part because the prosecution and defense agreed to vacate the less-severe possession charge. Nonetheless, it all but assures that Duggar won’t be alone around minors for at least the duration of his own kids’ childhoods.

And yet, the people who are ultimately responsible for Duggar going down the path that resulted in him bearing the well-deserved opprobrium of a felony conviction have, so far, escaped earthly justice. Namely, his so-called parents, Jim Bob and Michelle. For the better part of two decades, they hoodwinked the nation—especially their fellow fundamentalist Christians—into believing that they were heads of a somewhat quirky, if extremely conservative, Christian family. We now know beyond reasonable doubt, and all doubt, that Jim Bob and Michelle covered up their failure to adequately address Josh’s fondling of his sisters and other female acquaintances when he was a teenager.

In 2002 and 2003, we also know that the media had several opportunities to expose the Duggars as the unfit parents who we now know they are—and blew every chance eight ways to Sunday. This includes yet another such opportunity, revealed on Tuesday. The first media coverage of the Duggars came in 2003, via an article in Parents magazine. The author of that article, Andrea Cooper, is now wondering if she bears responsibility for their reality-television rise.

She does indeed bear........

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