National Review Online turned to a researcher with a history of dubious scholarship and inflammatory racial theories to defend the University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus' deeply flawed study attacking same-sex parenting. The researcher, Jason Richwine, resigned from the Heritage Foundation after it came to light that he had written that new Latino immigrants are likely to have "low-IQ children."
In a November 18 blog post for NRO, Richwine depicted Regnerus as the victim of a left-wing conspiracy, citing a recent court order to release records concerning the 2012 publication of Regnerus' study, which purported to find that children raised by same-sex parents fare worse than those raised by heterosexual parents. Experts strongly condemned the study, citing its methodological flaws. Regnerus didn't compare children of married same-sex parents to those of married straight parents, and he failed to establish a causal relationship between same-sex parenting and negative outcomes for children.
Most damning was the revelation that the rabidly anti-LGBT Witherspoon Institute funded and helped plan the study. Given that Regnerus' research has figured prominently in anti-equality debates around the world, the call for greater transparency on the study's funding and design is understandable. That's what spurred the recent court order.
Ignoring those concerns, Richwine argued that those holding Regnerus accountable have embarked on a "witch hunt" (emphasis added):
Modern-day America is civilized in that, while we conduct plenty of witch hunts, we do at least stop right before the burning-at-the-stake part. That's progress! But it's not much consolation for Mark Regnerus, whose scholarly research questioning same-sex parenting has drawn a seemingly unprecedented level of ire from left-wing activists and their academic allies.
Jennifer Marshall and I detail here the furious reaction that Regnerus sparked, but suffice to say that it involved hysterical condemnations in the press, a frivolous "scientific misconduct" investigation conducted at the behest of a blogger (!), emotion-laden joint statements, evidence-free accusations of corruption on the part of the journal, and more.
Now the journal's editor will have his e-mails scrutinized for the slightest inappropriate thought. The point of all of this, of course, is to scare away scholars from conducting research that the Left doesn't like. This isn't a free-speech issue in the strict sense that the government is threatening to throw Regnerus in jail (or burn him at the stake), but the effect is the same: the silencing of unpopular ideas.
It's telling that rather engage with the substantive issues raised by the blogger (!) who flagged Witherspoon's role in shaping Regnerus' study, Richwine simply asserted -- falsely -- that critics' arguments were "evidence-free."
From the November 18 edition of Fox News' The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson:
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Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby argued that LGBT workers don't need the protections afforded by the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), falsely asserting that the free market already provides an adequate check on workplace discrimination.
In his November 17 column, Jacoby noted that many Fortune 500 companies and prominent business leaders including Apple CEO Tim Cook have spoken out against LGBT employment discrimination. Reprising a common argument against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Jacoby contended that businesses should be free to decide whether to discriminate against LGBT people. In Jacoby's view, the fact that many businesses don't do so is sufficient to obviate the need for ENDA (emphasis added):
APPLE CEO Tim Cook, writing recently in The Wall Street Journal, urged Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would make it illegal under federal law for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Prejudice, Cook insisted, is bad for business. Indeed it is -- as defenders of free markets have pointed out for years, irrational discrimination tends to reduce an employer's profits. Far from strengthening the case for a new federal law, however, it seems to me that Cook's observation cuts the other way.
Thanks to the changes already produced by the marketplace, a significant addition to the Civil Rights Act is superfluous. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the influential gay-rights organization and a prominent supporter of ENDA, nearly 90 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 have explicitly banned employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. As of April, only about 60 companies on Fortune's list had not yet formally adopted such policies, and very few have actually voted against doing so.
Clearly there has been a sea change in the way Americans have come to think about employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. It would be surprising if that change weren't reflected on payday -- and sure enough, that's what the data show. Economists Geoffrey Clarke and Purvi Sevak, in a study just published in the journal Economic Letters, note that gay men in the 1980s and early 1990s had less earning power than straight men of comparable age, race, and education. By the mid-1990s that "gay wage penalty" had disappeared; in the years since 2000 it has turned into a wage premium. As far back as 2002, for example, gay men were outearning their nongay peers by 2.45 percent.
Is it logical to conclude from all this that the American workplace is so poisoned with bigotry against gays and lesbians that only a drastic change in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can end the oppression? Or would it be fairer to say that the vast majority of American workers have no desire to see colleagues hired or fired because of their sexual orientation -- and that the vast majority of US companies have no interest in letting sexual orientation become an issue? For years opinion surveys have documented near-universal support for gay rights in the workplace. The market is doing what markets have always sought to do: break down unreasonable discrimination by making it unhealthy for a business's bottom line.
New federal laws should be a last resort, when there is no other means of solving an urgent national problem. In a country of 300 million people, there will always be occasional incidents of bigotry and unfairness directed at people where they work, but plainly there is no urgent crisis in the treatment of gay and lesbian employees that Congress alone can fix. As it is, 21 states and nearly 200 cities and counties have followed the market's lead and enacted legislation barring employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Washington has more than enough on its plate. It doesn't need to add yet another protected category to the list of groups legally protected from private discrimination. That will only make federal cases out of even more disputes.
The office of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) revoked access to a Senate meeting room for a right-wing confab planning to discuss how American social conservatives can learn from Russia's draconian crackdown on LGBT people. Among the participants slated to speak at the event was Breitbart.com columnist and notorious homophobe Austin Ruse.
BuzzFeed's J. Lester Feder reported on November 14 that Kirk - who supports marriage equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) -- had shut down the planned November 15 "Family Policy Lessons From Other Lands: What Should America Learn?" conference. A Kirk spokesman explained that "Sen. Kirk doesn't affiliate with groups that discriminate."
Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Instiute (C-FAM) and Breitbart.com's go-to anti-gay extremist, lashed out at Kirk, calling him a "coward" and blasting the "shameful" cancellation of the event. But while Ruse and his fellow anti-LGBT activists might be too fringe for the Senate's meeting rooms, he's always welcome to spew his hate at Breitbart.com and conservative websites like The Daily Caller, where he penned a column titled "Putin is not the gay bogeyman." At Breitbart.com, Ruse has been a relentless cheerleader for Matthew Shepard trutherism and supporter of Russia's anti-gay crackdown, which Ruse considers vital to "human rights." In his capacity as C-FAM president, Ruse has worked to block a U.N. treaty on the rights of people with disabilities and supported the former right-wing government of Poland in its effort to fire pro-gay teachers.
Ruse's Breitbart.com column on the "human rights" groups supporting Russia's anti-gay laws touted a joint statement signed by social conservative organizations from around the globe endorsing the Kremlin's crackdown and expressing concern "about the heavy attacks that the Russian Federation is facing" in the wake of the laws' passage. Several of the groups that signed the statement were planning on participating in the now-canceled Senate-sponsored conference. They include the Illinois-based World Congress of Families (WCF), whose spokesman says that the U.S. is "doomed to extinction" thanks to marriage equality. WCF has also worked internationally to defend laws criminalizing homosexuality. The anti-contraception Population Research Institute, another signatory of the pro-Kremlin statement, was also to have been represented at the November 15 event by President Steven Mosher.
The symposium would have been much more than a gathering of figures who wish to "discriminate." Ruse and his anti-LGBT compatriots are enthusiastic backers of vicious laws that have stoked a horrific climate of violence and vigilantism toward gay Russians. If full-throated support for such grievous human rights violations isn't disqualifying at Breitbart.com, what is?
Pat Buchanan made clear that he isn't a fan of Pope Francis, condemning the pontiff for his overtures to the LGBT community and women.
In his November 15 syndicated column, Buchanan - who popularized the notion of a "cultural war" with an inflammatory speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention - accused the pope of "non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the west." Buchanan excoriated the pope "sowing seeds of confusion" for Catholics with his statements that he wouldn't "judge" gay people and that the church had grown too "obsessed" with social issues. Comparing the women's and LGBT movements to the mass slaughter of Mao's Cultural Revolution, Buchanan wrote (emphasis added):
"Pope Francis doesn't want cultural warriors; he doesn't want ideologues," said Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash.:
Yet here is further confirmation His Holiness seeks to move the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.
There is a small problem with neutrality. As Trotsky observed, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." For the church to absent itself from the culture war is to not to end that war, but to lose it.
The cultural revolution preached by Marxist Antonio Gramsci is continuing its "long march" through the institutions of the West and succeeding where the violent revolutions of Lenin and Mao failed. It is effecting a transvaluation of all values. And it is not interested in a truce with the church of Pope Francis, but a triumph over that church which it reviles as the great enemy in its struggle.
Indeed, after decades of culture war waged against Christianity, the Vatican might consider the state of the Faith.
"Who am I to judge," Pope Francis says of homosexuals.
Well, he is pope. And even the lowliest parish priest has to deliver moral judgments in a confessional.
The shift in tone ushered in by Pope Francis is merely the latest cultural development to provoke Buchanan's ire. In August, he fondly reminisced about the days of school segregation. Homosexuality, he believes, is "unnatural and immoral," while marriage equality is an "Orwellian absurdity." With LGBT people beginning to win basic legal protections and social recognition, Buchanan pines for the days when that was unthinkable - before society believed "[t]hat all races, religions and ethnic groups are equal," before , as Buchanan puts it, there were too many Jews on the Supreme Court. His model for a better, more "moral" society? Vladimir Putin's Russia.
In the latest sign that it's the go-to news outlet for anti-LGBT bullies, The Daily Caller published an article lashing out at a Massachusetts high school student for objecting to the inclusion of a derogatory definition of "gay" in Apple's Macbook Pro dictionary.
A November 13 article by Daily Caller education editor Eric Owens reported that 15-year-old Becca Gorman wrote a letter of protest to pro-equality Apple CEO Tim Cook after finding that Macbook included a definition of "gay" as "foolish" or "stupid." Gorman, the daughter of lesbian parents, was conducting research for an essay on gay rights. Owens went after the "dictionary-repressing," "censorship loving" teen, baffled that she just couldn't understand that that's what gay means:
A Boston-area high school student is very angry that the dictionary in her Apple Macbook Pro laptop has not suppressed the knowledge that the word "gay" can be used to mean "foolish" or "stupid."
Gorman demanded that Apple change its dictionary, and also sought an apology "to the gay community, a good amount [sic] of your customers."
The incensed student said she got a very rapid response from someone at Apple.
"They said that Apple streams its dictionary from four separate sources so they'd have to figure out how to get it removed, but they were also really surprised," Gorman told WFXT.
It's not clear if Apple has censored or scrubbed the offending meaning of "gay" yet.
Gorman, who swears she is committed to seeing her dictionary-repressing crusade through to the bitter end, said she would accept an addition to the definition that offends her, noting that the meaning is pejorative.
This isn't the first time the rabidly anti-LGBT Owens has targeted a teen for ridicule. Making fun of transgender youth is one of his journalistic hobbyhorses. After transgender homecoming queen Cassidy Lynn Campbell posted an emotional YouTube video describing the transphobic bullying she'd encountered, Owens mocked her "interminable" "Youtube meltdown" - and, for good measure, misgendered Campbell. Earlier, Owens derided the "big fuss" made by California transgender students seeking access to proper facilities and school programs.
Owens has certainly made a name for himself as one of The Daily Caller's biggest practitioners of anti-LGBT cyberbullying, but he hardly stands alone at the website. The Daily Caller has repeatedly published defenses of Russia's anti-gay crackdown, ran a column by a white, non-disabled man claiming to be a black, female "cripple" to criticize California's law guaranteeing access to appropriate facilities for transgender students, and published a column complaining about how boring gay people have become since laws banning gay sex were stricken down and LGBT people won some basic legal rights.
Sensible people might call it cyberbullying, but to Daily Caller writers, publishing crude, boastfully offensive anti-LGBT commentary is simply what makes readers "comfortable."
The Daily Caller published an op-ed written by a white, cisgender, non-disabled man claiming to be a black, female "cripple" in order to mock California's law allowing transgender students to use appropriate restroom facilities.
In a November 13 op-ed titled "I think I'm woman, hear me roar!," author Jim Hughes criticized California's AB1266, a measure that allows transgender students access to facilities and extracurricular teams that correspond to their gender identity. Hughes adopted the typical conservative approach to attacking the measure - claiming that teenage boys will pretend to be transgender in order to sneak into the girls' bathroom. His evidence: he was a "horny 9th grade boy once," too, so he knows what he's talking about.
To drive his point home, Hughes goes so far as to announce that he is now a female and wants all the "perks" that come with being a transgender woman:
Horny 9th-grade boys will now be able to share the gym shower with your daughter, but only if they feel like it. Having been a horny 9th grade boy once, something tells me they will. A lot.
But hey, this is California! The Wild West, early adopter of the counterculture, so you'll get no argument from me. I'm going along for the ride on this one. But before I do, I have to get a few things off my chest. Governor Shingles, if you're reading, it's time for me to come clean - right here, right now:
I am a woman.
Sure, when I look down in the shower each morning I see a penis, my doctor gave me a prostate exam at my physical last month, I have a Y chromosome, and you can hang a trench coat off my adam's apple, but since when is science relevant? This is California! If ignoring basic biology is good enough for a confused seven year-old shouldn't it be good enough for me? I am woman, hear me roar! Naturally, I expect all the perks of my newfound sex - or gender - or identity - or whatever the Democrats are calling it this week: The ability to ogle women in the locker room, the occasional mani-pedi, and a kick-ass spot as second baseperson on the girl's softball team. And lets not forget the discounted small business loans, the free child care, free birth control, and my WIC benefits.
Conservative media figures are touting a far-right coalition's sensationalist claim that the U.S. military is rife with anti-Christian hostility, ignoring the lack of evidence to substantiate the charge and allowing anti-LGBT hate groups to drive coverage of the issue.
Restore Military Religious Freedom (RMRF) - a coalition of right-wing organizations including Liberty Counsel, the Heritage Foundation, and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-designated hate groups the Family Research Council (FRC) and American Family Association (AFA) - is leading the charge with this bogus claim. In early November, RMRF released a video featuring interviews with current service members making sweeping statements about the alleged anti-Christian bias permeating the armed forces. The video listed a few examples of apparent attacks on religious liberty in the military, but those examples don't withstand scrutiny.
Hinting at the real motives behind the RMRF's effort, the video includes a soldier complaining about the new wave of "tolerance" sweeping the military - a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy. For years, the organizations behind RMRF have crusaded against open service by gay and lesbian soldiers, often using vitriolic language. Depicting the armed forces as anti-Christian has been central to the right's attack on the post-DADT military.
Anti-LGBT hate groups decided long ago that their ultimate solution must be the end of open service, but it was a solution in search of a problem. In its Christian persecution narrative, social conservatives have managed to manufacture that problem, despite that it consists of made-up anti-LGBT horror stories. Right-wing media are happy to take the hate groups' bait.
On the November 11 edition of Fox & Friends, FRC President Tony Perkins sat down with co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade to promote RMRF's campaign. While he didn't cite a single example of anti-Christian retaliation by the military, Perkins asserted that "all evidence would suggest" that the Obama administration is "on a search-and-destroy mission as it pertains to religious liberty." Hasselbeck didn't ask Perkins to back up his claim, but she did make sure viewers knew about RMRF's website:
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly continued a pattern of transphobic commentary when he said that bringing a 12-year old boy to Hooters was comparable to allowing transgender students to use appropriate locker rooms or restrooms -- a right that O'Reilly believes will be exploited by mischievous adolescents who want to spy on the opposite sex -- noting the difference between bringing a 12 year old to Hooters and allowing a "guy who thinks he's a girl" into a women's locker room is that Hooters has chicken wings.
On the November 12 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, the eponymous host opened a segment with a story about a middle school football coach who made the controversial decision to bring his 12-15 year old players to a Hooters restaurant to celebrate a win. When liberal contributor Alan Colmes expressed opposition to bringing children of that age to Hooters, O'Reilly inexplicably began comparing the Hooters trip to allowing transgendered students into the locker rooms and school bathrooms that comport with their gender identity.
O'Reilly was incredulous after Colmes rejected the comparison, saying, "The transsexual in the locker room, in the bathroom, and all of that, you're fine with that. But you won't take the kid to Hooters." He then prescribed his "way to deal with" transgendered students, saying, "The way to deal with it is basically, look, if you're born a boy you stay in the boys locker room," but once "you're an adult you can go where you want."
Fox News' Shannon Bream and Megyn Kelly continued the network's general defense of anti-gay discrimination in separate reports on a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling concerning a photographer who was sued after refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Bream omitted critical context from the court's decision while Kelly pondered its slippery-slope implications, tactics in keeping with Fox's history of inaccurate and offensive reporting on the case.
In August, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Elane Huguenin -- owner of Elane Photography -- violated New Mexico's anti-discrimination law when she refused to photograph the commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple. Huguenin filed an appeal of the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court last week.
In the eyes of Special Report's Bret Baier, the central issue for the Court to consider in the case is "whether you must check your religious values at the door when you open a business," as he stated on the November 12 program. He then aired a package regarding the case by correspondent Shannon Bream, who did not explain the constitutional basis for the court's ruling, but instead cited only the concurring opinion's general reference to "the legal rights" of the same-sex couple.
The segment heavily featured the Huguenins' attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior counsel Jordan Lorence. Lorence accused the court of dictating that "once you agree to enter the workplace, the marketplace, you surrender all your constitutional rights."
Despite Fox's suggestion otherwise, this case does not concern religious freedom. The court held that because Elane Photography chooses to offer services to the public, it is engaged in commercial conduct that can be regulated by the state, and so it must comply with the state's Human Rights Act. Just as these businesses may not discriminate based on race or gender, it is likewise a violation to discriminate based on sexual orientation:
We conclude that a commercial photography business that offers its services to the public, thereby increasing its visibility to potential clients, is subject to the antidiscrimination provisions of the NMHRA and must serve same-sex couples on the same basis that it serves opposite-sex couples. Therefore, when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.
The purpose of the NMHRA is to ensure that businesses offering services to the general public do not discriminate against protected classes of people, and the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that the First Amendment permits such regulation by state. Businesses that choose to be public accommodations must comply with the NMHRA, although such businesses retain their First Amendment rights to express their religious or political beliefs. They may, for example, post a disclaimer on their website or in their studio advertising that they oppose same-sex marriage but that they comply with applicable anti-discrimination laws.
In the latest sign that it considers transgender youth acceptable targets for ridicule, The Daily Caller mocked a California law guaranteeing transgender students access to proper facilities and programs as a "choose-your-own bathroom law" designed to placate confused students.
On November 12, The Daily Caller published an article by education editor Eric Owens, who noted that the right-wing coalition fighting to repeal the law recently announced that it had gathered enough signatures to put the law up to a vote in November 2014. Owens made clear where he stood on the law (emphasis added):
If the state deems that at least 505,000 of the 620,000 submitted signatures are valid, the law -- commonly known as Assembly Bill 1266 -- will no longer be implemented on Jan. 1. Instead, the issue will appear on a November 2014 ballot.
California voters would then decide if students with penises should use bathrooms and locker rooms designated for males and students with vaginas should use restrooms designated for females, or if those places should be free-for-alls based on how students say they feel.
Supporters of the choose-your-own bathroom law insist that allowing students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that don't match their genitalia is a vital civil rights issue. They also say it's necessary to prevent bullying.
Owens appears to have something of an obsession with transgender students' genitalia. In a September article making fun of bullied transgender homecoming queen Cassidy Lynn Campbell, Owens couldn't resist noting Campbell's "various male appendages." Earlier in September, he reported that a Pennsylvania high school had disqualified transgender student Kasey Caron as a homecoming king candidate "because [Caron] apparently still has a vagina."
At any rate, Owens' description of the California law is characteristically off-base. School districts that have implemented similar policies state that they've seen no instances of misconduct and experienced "nothing but positive results." The only reported instance of bathroom harassment was actually fabricated by the anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute. Claims that boys will be sneaking into girls' locker rooms are based on nothing more than statements from right-wing talking heads like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Greg Gutfeld that they themselves would do so.
Meanwhile, Owens' insinuation that you never know how students will "feel" from one day to the next shows that he simply doesn't understand gender identity, which the American Academy of Pediatrics says is typically established by about the age of four. But who needs expert opinion when it's so much easier to make transphobic remarks?
Continuing its misinformation campaign against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which bans workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, The Washington Times published a column falsely asserting that the legislation would trigger a wave of lawsuits, impose quotas, and lead to the criminalization of conservative religious denominations.
In a November 10 column for the Times, American Civil Rights Union senior fellow Robert Knight blasted ENDA as a bill that would "expand government and repeal the Bible":
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act doesn't say that directly, but its core meaning is that employers -- and their employees -- must accommodate every sexual expression under the sun or face federal prosecution and nuisance lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union.
House Speaker John A. Boehner said the bill would not reach the House floor. People who believe in the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly, not to mention what's left of property rights, had better hope he keeps his promise. This is about so much more than the threat of "frivolous lawsuits."
Even if you're not persuaded by moral arguments, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a massive expansion of federal power and a gift to trial attorneys, who are among the largest donors to the Democratic Party.
In reality, no serious observer expects ENDA to spur a rash of lawsuits. A study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examining states with LGBT workplace protections demonstrated that only a tiny fraction of states' employment discrimination complaints were based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Over a five-year period, less than five percent of California's discrimination complaints were from LGBT workers. In Colorado - which tracked sexual orientation- and gender identity-based complaints separately -- only 5.5 percent of employment discrimination complaints were based on sexual orientation, and a mere 0.29 percent were based on gender identity. In Iowa, the respective figures were 3.6 percent and 0.6 percent. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects ENDA to increase complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by a modest five percent.
Knight proceeded to distinguish other protected categories, like race and sex, from sexual orientation and gender identity, which "no one would know" about if not for employees' "behavior":
Far from ensuring equality, the bill is a radical departure from civil rights laws, whose protected classes stem from immutable characteristics with no moral content, such as skin color, place of birth or sex. The exception is religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment.
What makes "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" different is that these categories are vague, not immutable, and the associated behaviors have moral implications. In fact, behavior defines the groups. Otherwise, unlike race or sex, no one would know.
The Weekly Standard touted Stephen Jimenez's book arguing that Matthew Shepard's 1998 murder wasn't an anti-gay hate crime but the result of a meth deal gone awry -- ignoring overwhelming evidence of his killer's homophobic motives and denunciations of the book from investigators and lawyers involved in the case.
In the November 18 edition of The Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson lauded Jimenez's The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Playing into Jimenez's inflated self-image as a fearless reporter whose commitment to revealing the truth proved consistently "dangerous," Ferguson began the review by marveling that it's a wonder Jimenez "hasn't been burned in effigy, yet, or heckled mercilessly, yet, or denounced, at least by anybody that really matters, as a traitor to the cause. Yet." This sets the stage for a review devoted more to singing Jimenez's praises than to critically evaluating the arguments put forth in The Book of Matt.
Take Ferguson's handling of the book's most shocking claim (emphasis added):
More surprisingly, Jimenez concludes that Shepard's death had nothing to do with homophobia. It was instead the horrific result of a drug deal gone wrong. Indeed, in The Book of Matt, Jimenez offers lots of circumstantial evidence that Shepard and one of his murderers, a violent and drug-addled bit of tumbleweed called Aaron McKinney, were rival dealers in crystal meth. Several named witnesses told Jimenez that the two even had a sexual relationship.
For the most part the conservative press was undeterred by the fact that The Book of Matt, as impressive as it is for the author's tirelessness and courage, is something of a mess. When it comes to gay true-crime investigator-writers, Jimenez is no Truman Capote. He has chosen to tell the story of Shepard's life and death through a first-person account of his own investigations. It is thus not so much a book that tells a story as a book that tells a story about telling a story, a bit like the famous totalitarian mural titled "The Struggle of the Little People to Finish the Mural." This technique plays hell with the chronology, and it's often difficult for the reader to tell which character said what when. The reader's unease is compounded knowing that many of Jimenez's sources are the kind of witnesses usually considered unreliable: meth heads, hustlers, hookers, drunks, various species of trailer trash.
In his defense Jimenez says that if his witnesses seem unreliable, it is only because this is the sort of people Shepard and his murderers associated with. They knew the participants firsthand -- and these are the same witnesses that authorities relied on to get a conviction. For each of his more striking claims Jimenez has been careful to gather multiple sources, usually named. No alert reader can come away from the book still believing the approved story of a shy young man robbed of his life because of his assailants' "fear of the other." The myth that thrilled the progressive heart for 15 years cannot survive Jimenez's accumulation of evidence.
Fox News attempted to paint Gov. Chris Christie as a moderate on social issues, falsely claiming that he had refused to veto legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey.
On the November 10 edition of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Fox News reporter Carl Cameron discussed Gov. Christie's political reputation among conservatives, citing his decision not to veto marriage equality legislation in 2013 as evidence that Christie might not appeal to social conservatives:
The reason Christie didn't veto a marriage equality bill in 2013 is because he had already vetoed it in 2012 despite widespread public support for the measure. Christie cited his personal opposition to marriage equality and was widely criticized for the suggestion that the issue should be put up for a public vote.
Faced with intense criticism for writing a column suggesting that gays have become "totally boring" since winning some basic legal protections, Daily Caller reporter Patrick Howley defended his promotion of old stereotypes about gay culture, stating that such stereotypes "make people feel comfortable."
On November 6, Howley highlighted Senate action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to lament that gay people are no longer the "daring, transgressive" people they were back when gay sex was illegal and homosexuality was considered a mental illness.
Howley waxed nostalgic for the "outlaw" gays of yore who "pranced their corseted, high-heeled bodies around to midnight screenings of great American movies like 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show,' 'Pink Flamingoes,' and 'Mommy Dearest.'" Howley's use of such tropes prompted this Twitter exchange with Atlantic reporter Jordan Weissmann: