Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis at the American Family Association (AFA), praised Fox News for its "very friendly" coverage of his organization, which has been designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On the October 15 edition of American Family Radio's Focal Point, Fischer lauded the network for providing Fox News Radio reporter and hate group mouthpiece Todd Starnes a "very friendly venue" to attack a military training session on domestic hate groups, including the AFA:
The appellate attorney who represented an accomplice in the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard assailed author Stephen Jimenez's book suggesting that Shepard's murder was fueled by meth, not anti-gay hate.
In a statement provided to Equality Matters, attorney Tim Newcomb - whom Jimenez lists as a source in The Book of Matt - responded to Jimenez's claim in a recent interview that Newcomb's criticism of the book is invalid because Newcomb was an appellate attorney and not involved in the Shepard case from the beginning. As a longtime resident of Laramie, the small college town where Shepard was brutally murdered, Newcomb said in his statement that unlike Jimenez, he has a long-standing familiarity with the tight-knight community:
Unlike the author, who visited Laramie from New York a year and a half [after Shepard's murder], I was an attorney living in Laramie, and had been for several years, when Matthew was murdered. I mention that only because Laramie has few people and we tend to know of each other. Hidden truths behind notorious crimes are as rare as windless winters.
Moreover, as the appellate attorney for Russell Henderson, Aaron McKinney's accomplice in Shepard's killing, Newcomb dealt with one of Jimenez's apparent sources, who claimed to know the "hidden truths" in the murder. In his statement, Newcomb described how -- like many of Jimenez's other sources -- this man put forth multiple shifting stories, including the theory that Shepard's murder wasn't motivated by homophobia:
An op-ed in the conservative Washington Times assailed the campaign for transgender equality, lamenting that "you no longer need lady bits to be a lady" and asserting that the LGBT movement is part of a broader left-wing effort to "dismantle" Western civilization.
In an October 9 column, the Media Research Center's Matt Philbin complained that it's becoming increasingly unacceptable to misidentify transgender individuals. According to Philbin, the notion that we should respect a person's gender identity is emblematic of a larger leftist cult of identity:
My privilege invalidates my perspective on how you identify.
If you had to read that sentence twice and maybe are still unsure what it means, you're woefully unfamiliar with contemporary liberal-speak. You see, "identify" and "privilege" are terms with great currency on the left these days. They are also two sides of the same magic coin, minted to instantly quash dissent and silence argument.
This became abundantly clear recently when I made the mistake of commenting on Twitter about the latest 6-year-old "Princess Boy" news story. My crime, according to the liberals I offended, was declining to call a boy a girl. I'm rather a stickler for reality, and because the child was a biological boy, to my benighted thinking, the male pronouns still applied.
First, that matter of "identifying": In 2013, you no longer need lady bits to be a lady. You need only "identify" as one -- reality be darned. In modern America, you can't earn a living the way you want to, or build on your own property if it impacts the habitat of the spotted slug. But call yourself a halibut, and you can self-righteously demand the world cover you in beurre blanc and serve you with a dry white.
How you identify is sovereign. If Bradley Manning says he's Chelsea, then, by golly, the world is expected to send gender-warming gifts with a C embroidered on them. (Would his and hers hand towels be inappropriate?) We're all expected to choose sides in Manning's argument with biology, and make no mistake: Biology is in the wrong. Anyone with the temerity to point out the empress has no womb is a bigot.
Woe unto the pronoun refusenik who happens to be a straight, white guy. As my possibly straight and definitely white Twitter interlocutors so damningly pointed out, I am guilty as charged. Told to "check my privilege," my instinctual response was to suggest they check their bong. In their eyes, I am a creature of privilege. My skin color and reproductive organs -- and how I use them -- have imparted it. White privilege makes my perspective invalid and my opinion unwelcome, as long as I'm disagreeing with liberals.
This charge of privilege amounts to a simple statement: You had your time, white guy. You built this civilization. You're going to sit quietly while we dismantle it. So "check your privilege" and shut up. [emphasis added]
The Daily Caller dismissed as "re-education camp" a University of Mississippi forum to address anti-gay hate speech in the wake of an incident of homophobic harassment, running an image from the film A Clockwork Orange to accompany the story.
During an October 1 performance at Ole Miss of The Laramie Project, a play about Matthew Shepard's murder, a group of football players disrupted the play by shouting "fag" and other homophobic epithets. According to The Daily Mississippian, the players were attending the performance to fulfill a theater credit. In response to the incident, the pro-LGBT campus organization Allies will host an "educational dialogue session," which everyone present at the October 1 performance will attend.
In an October 8 article, Daily Caller education editor Eric Owens dubbed the forum a "re-education session." Unable to determine what the big deal was, Owens lampooned the decision to hold the dialogue over audience members "voicing anti-gay slurs and laughing at the wrong times":
A former senior Fox News producer spoke out in support of Russia's anti-gay crackdown at a forum sponsored by the Duma's family committee and conservative religious groups.
Right Wing Watch reported on October 3 that an assemblage of international right-wing activists traveled to Moscow in June to support the Russian government's campaign to restore "traditional values," an effort that gained international visibility after the passage of laws banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" and the adoption of children by same-sex couples and families from LGBT-friendly countries. Among the participants in a roundtable discussion titled "Traditional Values: The Future of the European Peoples" was longtime Fox News employee Jack Hanick:
Russian news reports mention that also present to give the American perspective was a man named Jack Hanick. On his LinkedIn page and in interviews, Hanick describes himself as a founding employee of Fox News, who worked there for 15 years as a news director. Fox News confirmed that Hanick was an employee from 1996 through 2011 where he worked in "a production role dealing with the visual aspects of the show" rather than in any "editorial capacity."
Hanick told the roundtable that God had called on Russia to "stand up for traditional values."
Right Wing Watch further noted that Hanick told a Russian magazine in August that he admired Russia's increasingly theocratic state. The Russian Orthodox Church has often colluded with President Vladimir Putin - and lent crucial support to the country's anti-gay laws - and Hanick thinks the U.S. has a lot to learn from this model.
"In Russia the issue of separation of church and state, obviously, is much less of an issue," Hanick reportedly told the magazine, "and I see this as a positive thing."
Hanick's LinkedIn profile states that as a member of the "start-up Team for the Fox News channel," he took a leading role in developing "the original look and feel of Fox News Channel." While he left the network two years ago, he'd likely be pleased that his erstwhile employer hasn't joined the international outcry against Russia's assault on LGBT people. Even as Russia flagrantly violates essential norms of international human rights law, Fox News has ignored the country's anti-gay crackdown.
Journalist Stephen Jimenez's The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard makes the bombshell claim that illicit drug use, not homophobia, was the central factor in the gay University of Wyoming student's brutal 1998 murder. Shepard truthers in the right-wing media have pounced on the book to assail hate crime legislation and the larger push for LGBT rights. But Jimenez's argument is tainted by its reliance on wild extrapolation, the use of highly questionable and often inconsistent sources, paranoia that critics of his work are engaged in a "cover-up" of politically sensitive truths, and the cavalier dismissal of any evidence that runs contrary to his central thesis.
A year and a half after Shepard's October 1998 murder, Jimenez arrived in Laramie, Wyoming, to research a screenplay on Shepard's life and death. By that point, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson had received life sentences for the killing. There was no federal or Wyoming hate crime law, but media reports and McKinney's use of a "gay panic" defense at trial indicated that anti-gay bias motivated the crime. According to Jimenez, he accepted this version of the story when he arrived in Wyoming in February 2000.
When Jimenez returned to Laramie for a "final research trip" in October 2000, he stumbled upon a letter from an anonymous "Concerned Citizen," addressed to prosecutor Cal Rerucha. The letter expressed disbelief that McKinney had claimed "gay panic" at trial, because "[d]eep down inside, a small part of him really liked some homosexual action." This anonymous letter, Jimenez writes, became the starting point for "a second look at the whole case." "If Aaron McKinney, who reportedly targeted Matthew because he was gay, was not 'straight' himself, what else was going on that October night when he unleashed his rage?" Jimenez asks.
The Tampa Tribune published an article on the Florida Family Association's (FFA) campaign against the cable news network Al Jazeera America, failing to note the FFA's fringe Islamophobic and anti-LGBT views.
Al Jazeera America's journalism has been lauded by media critics, but the network's recent launch triggered a wave of right-wing, Islamophobic backlash. Most notorious among Al Jazeera America's critics is David Caton, head of the FFA, who has launched a crusade to stop corporations from advertising on what he describes as the radical Islamist network.
In a September 22 article, the Tribune reported on Caton and the FFA's campaign:
Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news agency that stoked anti-Muslim emotions in the West a decade ago when it aired taped Osama bin Laden's threats to the United States, is now available to American news consumers and can be seen by Tampa area couch potatoes on the Verizon FiOS cable system.
That doesn't sit well with David Caton, head of the Florida Family Association, which has mounted an email campaign targeting corporations that advertise on the news channel.
He said there are only about eight major American companies advertising on Al Jazeera America.
"When we started, there were about 65," he said. "Our goal right now is to educate corporate America that the channel is there and urge them to stop spending advertising dollars there. We don't want American consumer dollars to go back to Qatar."
Caton and many Americans recall when, as U.S. forces hunted bin Laden, Al Jazeera aired tapes of the al-Qaida leader vowing violence on America and the West. That painted Al Jazeera for many as the voice of radical Islam. Since then, the news gathering agency has expanded across the globe, garnering journalism awards for its in-depth reporting.
Caton shrugged that off, saying the content of the news programs make no difference. He says the organization still is tied to radical Muslim organizations.
"If they played Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoons 24 hours a day," he said, "our consumer dollars will still be sent to Qatar." [emphasis added]
Social conservatives will descend on Washington, D.C., next month for the Values Voters Summit (VVS), an annual convocation put on by an assemblage of anti-LGBT groups that will prominently feature high-profile right-wing media figures.
Sponsored by organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA) - both Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-designated hate groups - VVS got its start in 2006. As in the past, this year's gathering promises to feature leading opponents of equality for women and LGBT people. Several confirmed speakers will be familiar faces to consumers of right-wing media:
Among the right-wing media personalities slated to speak at the conference:
Right-wing anti-gay advocate Austin Ruse is becoming the face of Breitbart.com's LGBT coverage, using his perch at the website to smear slain Wyoming student Matthew Shepard and tout Russia's horrific anti-gay legislation.
Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), has a lengthy history of rabid anti-LGBT bigotry. As GLAAD notes, Ruse believes all countries should pass laws stigmatizing homosexuality in order to "help society to teach what is good." Ruse asserts that affirming that LGBT people exist and should have rights amounts to sexual "indoctrination." Further, Ruse claims that LGBT teen suicides are caused not by bullying and social stigma, but by the LGBT movement's "ideology" and gay sex itself.
Breitbart.com can apparently think of no better figure to comment on LGBT issues. Ruse's first piece for the website made the transparently ridiculous claim that "human rights groups" supported Russia's laws banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" and the adoption of Russian children by couples from LGBT-friendly countries. Ruse previously defended the Kremlin's anti-LGBT crackdown at The Daily Caller, where he lauded Russia's effort to "resist ... the political movement to regularize and even celebrate" homosexuality.
Ruse's latest hobbyhorse is Matthew Shepard trutherism, which he has pushed in two Breitbart pieces in as many weeks. Right-wing media outlets have seized on the publication of a new book claiming that the gay Wyoming college student's 1998 murder was the result of a drug deal gone awry, not anti-gay bias. Describing Shepard as a "winsome young homosexual," "achingly handsome," "slight of frame," and "delicately chiseled," Ruse has blasted "Matthew Shepard Inc." for promoting the "lie" that homophobia contributed to his murder.
In a September 14 column for Breitbart, Ruse denounced the "gay hagiography" that fed the "Mathew [sic] Shepard industry":
Media outlets are mischaracterizing legislation that licenses anti-LGBT discrimination as a bill that protects fundamental religious and personal freedoms.
Under the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (MARFA), drafted by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and co-sponsored by 60 House members, the federal government could not take any "adverse action" against individuals who oppose same-sex marriage or premarital sex on religious grounds. The legislation effectively subsidizes anti-gay discrimination. In a statement, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) noted that religious liberty enjoys robust constitutional and statutory protection, but that MARFA would radically reinterpret the concept to allow federal employees and recipients of federal funds to deny services to LGBT people:
"Every American understands the importance of protecting the rights of people of faith to hold and express their beliefs, including about the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legislative Director Allison Herwitt. "But our Constitution and laws already strongly safeguard that liberty. The purpose of the legislation introduced today is simply to let federal employees, contractors and grantees refuse to do their jobs or fulfill the terms of their taxpayer-funded contracts because they have a particular religious view about certain lawfully-married couples - and then to sue the federal government for damages if they don't get their way."
For example, if passed, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would permit a federal worker processing tax returns, approving visa applications or reviewing Social Security applications to walk away from their responsibilities whenever a same-sex couple's paperwork appeared on his or her desk. It would also allow a federally-funded homeless shelter or substance abuse treatment program to turn away LGBT people. Despite the cosponsors claims, there is no evidence that federal programs have or would discriminate against individuals because of their religious beliefs about marriage. Protections against discrimination based on religious belief are explicitly and robustly provided under the First Amendment and federal nondiscrimination statutes. [emphasis added]
Freedom to Marry added that the legislation would also permit businesses to deny leave to employees who wished to care for a same-sex spouse. The libertarian-leaning Volokh Conspiracy blog argued that MARFA is likely unconstitutional, as it privileges religious views in opposition to same-sex marriage and pre-marital sex over other religious views - a stark violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.