Bill O'Reilly interviewed Romney campaign national finance committee co-chair Frank VanderSloot yesterday and whitewashed VanderSloot's record on LGBT issues. Discussing criticism of VanderSloot's record that appeared on KeepingGOPHonest.com, O'Reilly suggested the Obama campaign engaged in "political terrorism" and "slimed" VanderSloot. But O'Reilly failed to press or even mention the substance of VanderSloot's record on LGBT issues.
VanderSloot told O'Reilly that KeepingGOPHonest.com had "said that I hated gay people and that I was anti-gay." O'Reilly then interjected: "You're anti-gay. So anybody who was buying your product who was gay said I'm not going to buy my products from this guy." VanderSloot responded: "We have a lot of people we work with, who we deal with in the business world that are gay." And O'Reilly responded: "So they basically slimed you. They smeared you." And that is as close as O'Reilly got to confronting VanderSloot with the substance of VanderSloot's anti-LGBT record.
According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, VanderSloot and his company, Melaleuca Inc., launched a billboard campaign in Idaho that attacked Idaho Public Television for airing a documentary called "It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues In Schools." Idaho Public Television said the documentary "chronicle[d] how some public and private schools in several states are dealing with gay issues in the classroom, specifically name-calling and harassment." But VanderSloot's billboards attacked the documentary, asking "Should public television promote the homosexual lifestyle to your children?"
Via Buzzfeed, here is an image of one of the VanderSloot-funded billboards (one that was defaced with the word "YES!" to alter its meaning):
VanderSloot also attacked a reporter who had written that the Mormon Church and Idaho Boy Scout officials were sheltering a known pedophile. VanderSloot printed a full-page newspaper ad that called the reporter a "homosexual." The ad also said:
Much has been said on a local radio station and throughout the community, speculating that the Boy Scout's position of not letting gay men be Scout Leaders, and the LDS Church's position that marriage should be between a man and a woman may have caused Zuckerman to attack the scouts and the LDS Church through his journalism. We think it would be very unfair for anyone to conclude that is what is behind Zuckerman's motives. It would be wrong to do. The only known facts are, that for whatever reason, Zuckerman chose to weave a story that unfairly, and without merit, paints Scout leaders and church leaders to appear unscrupulous, and blame them for the molestation of little children. That too, is wrong and the editors of the Post Register should not have allowed it.
Zuckerman told Rachel Maddow that as a result of the ad, his then-boyfriend lost his job, and Zuckerman himself started getting violent threats:
There was a tremendous impact on me both personally and professionally. Personally, it was really hard when my boyfriend, at the time, came home and said, "I don't have my job anymore. They know I'm gay. They know about my relationship with you. They don't want me there anymore." And it was really hard for him. He actually got sick soon afterwards and was in bed for a month. I didn't know how we were going to pay the bills. It was really hard when people started leaving notes on my doorstep, when somebody kept calling in the middle of the night threatening to rape me with his handgun. That was -- I mean, that was really terrible. And then professionally, it became much harder to do my job because, yes, Idaho Falls was buzzing about my sexual orientation . And, you know, when I tried to talk to people, they would say things like, "Oh, I can't talk to you. You're a homosexual . We don't associate with that."
Zuckerman also said that before the ad was published "I hadn't told anybody on my beat that I'm gay and for good reason, because I was worried they wouldn't talk to me."
But you didn't learn any of that from O'Reilly. He was too busy advancing Fox's agenda of shielding Vandersloot from any criticism.
UPDATE: In 1999, VanderSloot promoted his anti-LGBT message on O'Reilly's own show.
On the August 11, 1999, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, VanderSloot discussed the Idaho Public Television documentary that he was attacking on billboards. According to the Nexis transcript, during the segment VanderSloot asserted that the documentary was using taxpayer money to bring "the homosexual lifestyle into the classroom and introduce it to our children as being normal, right, acceptable, and good an appropriate."
VanderSloot also went on to say the film was "certainly not a documentary. It's propaganda"
VanderSloot further said: "We can teach our children -- and adults, too, for that matter -- to be tolerant of people and to love all people and not to judge them, but we don't have to, in the process, teach them that all behavior is acceptable, especially when it's contrary to the moral standards of our community and nation." He added that "tax dollars should not be used to bring this standard of morality to our children."
And VanderSloot told O'Reilly: "Well, I think we can teach our children not to persecute and to be kind and to be tolerant and not to make fun of kids and not to hate kids -- or adults, for that matter -- without teaching them that the behavior of somebody else is acceptable. We can love people regardless of their behavior or certainly regardless of their parents' behavior."