In a May 12 post, right-wing blog RedState.com smeared Kevin Jennings as a "pedophile", stating:
Theory 1. Obama isn't comfortable with gays.
I don't know. He has appointed a pedophile as Safe Schools Czar so it's hard to credit that he's uncomfortable around a run of the mill lesbian. On the other hand he has reneged on his pledge to abolish DADT in the military and the African American community, one of his core constituencies, is arguably one of the least gay-friendly demographics in the country. Maybe he's only comfortable with closeted gays. None of this explains why he'd nominate someone who is gay (and my working premise here, as with virtually any dealing with the White House, is that the White House is lying), deny she's gay, and then have a former sweetheart crash a White House party.
RedState linked to a Jim Hoft post on BigGovernment.com, the first of his many pointless "Fistgate" posts, which was quickly discredited by Media Matters last December. Even before that, Media Matters had exclusively debunked media conservatives' claims about the controversy these smears stemmed from.
Why a RedState blogger would, half a year after the smear has been debunked, casually smear Jennings as a pedophile is beyond me. RedState should correct this outrageous and completely false attack.
Led by Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard is waging an interesting little campaign aimed at convincing the public that the military has nothing to do with the military's ban on openly-gay service members. Here's Kristol on May 10:
[I]t is not the military's policy. It is the policy of the U.S. Government, based on legislation passed in 1993 by (a Democratic) Congress, signed into law and implemented by the Clinton administration, legislation and implementation that are currently continued by a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress. It is intellectually wrong and morally cowardly to call this the "military's policy."
Weekly Standard writer John McCormack endorsed that argument in his own May 11 post. And Kristol was back at it today, criticizing Elena Kagan for "blaming of the military for a congressional/presidential policy choice."
The interesting thing about Kristol & Co. insisting that the military itself has nothing to do with the military's anti-gay policies is that they've been insisting for years that civilian policymakers should defer to the military when it comes to adjusting those policies.
Here's Kristol in February:
[T]he repeal is something that Obama campaigned on. He believes in it. But with all due respect to his sincerely held if abstractly formed views on this subject, it would be reckless to require the military to carry out a major sociological change, one contrary to the preferences of a large majority of its members, as it fights two wars.
John McCain's response to Obama's statement was that of a grown-up: "This successful policy has been in effect for over 15 years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels. We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars. At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy."
John McCormack, also in February:
A couple of interesting nuggets on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in that Quinnipiac poll noted earlier: Although 57% of registered voters say they favor repealing the law banning gays openly serving in the military, voters are evenly split when asked, "Do you think heterosexual military personnel should be required to share quarters with gay personnel or not?"
Perhaps more important is the poll's finding that "military households" are evenly split on the question of repealing DADT: 48% oppose repeal, 47% favor repeal. Presumably households include the responses of members of the military as well as their spouses. It would be interesting to poll just active members of the military.
There have been many reports about the momentum behind DADT repeal, but there's no indication there are 60 votes in the Senate or 218 votes in the House to repeal the law. And the top Marine's stance against repeal should carry a lot of weight with those on the fence.
And another Weekly Standard writer, James Bowman, under the header "Don't Change 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'":
The left has nothing better to offer than riding roughshod over the opinions of the majority of servicemen--58 percent in the latest Military Times poll--and repealing the law.
Well, you get the point. According to Kristol and his Weekly Standard pals, we must all defer to (what they portray as) the military's preference when it comes to allowing gays to serve -- but, at the same time, we mustn't attribute that policy to the military.
And while they're at it, Kristol et al insist on accusing Kagan of "discriminating against the military." What they mean by that is that Kagan briefly ended the military's exemption from Harvard's anti-discrimination policy. It's an impressively audacious bit of spin to twist holding the military to the same policy as all other employers into discriminating against the military. Then again, Kristol is an impressively dishonest fellow.
We made note earlier this month of Fox News host Mike Huckabee's interview with College of New Jersey newsmagazine The Perspective in which the former Arkansas Governor drew "parallels between homosexuality" and drug use, incest, and polygamy while also defending his home state's ban on same-sex couples becoming adoptive or foster parents saying, "we should act in the best interest of the children, not in the seeming interest of the adults...children are not puppies."
Now it seems Huckabee may be singing a (slightly) different tune on same-sex couples adopting. As Towleroad notes, Huckabee sat down for an interview with Rosie O'Donnell on the comedian's Sirius radio program:
Says Huckabee: "Well, you know Rosie, again, I think people have to make their own decision about what a family ought to look like and I'm not going to judge you or judge anybody else because I know there are so many loving people who are in same-sex relationships and they have adopted children and they love those kids. I'm not going to judge them. I'm simply not going there."
O'Donnell goes on to say: I haven't mentioned marriage once Mike. I'm mentioning that there are half a million kids in foster care in America. And 99% of them were raised by heterosexual parents. And if there are homosexual people that want to take in and love these discarded children that the state is not raising and taking care of, to have public officials deem homosexuals unworthy of parenting is disastrous for the nation, for equality, and for humanity, and Mike, for Christianity."
By the way, last week a circuit court judge struck down Arkansas' Act 1 which, passed in 2008, banned same-sex couples and single people from adopting in the state.
Think Progress notes that in discussing the story of six gay and lesbian service members who "handcuffed themselves to the White House fence" in protest of the President's slow movement on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), Fox & Friends co-host had this to say (emphasis added):
I want to get your take on something that happened at the White House earlier this week, because, of course the message from the Obama administration is of course they will be the most transparent White House ever and there was this incident where some members of the military, at least dressed up like that, were handcuffing themselves in an area where typically protests happen and the police chased reporters away and basically said they could not cover the event that was happening.
It's just another example of Fox News' love/hate relationship with the LGBT community. Off-air the network offers workplace protections and health care benefits to LGBT employees and their spouses while on-air its hosts and contributors are dismissive and at times downright homophobic towards the community.
In fairness though, we shouldn't really hold Carlson accountable for such a statement. After all, she's not a real journalists, she's just "dressed up like" one.
From the April 23 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the April 23 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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On Tuesday, Glenn Beck hosted Robert George on his Fox News program offering the Princeton University professor an opportunity to articulate the pillars of the anti-LGBT Manhattan Declaration which George co-authored:
The New York Times described the Manhattan Declaration thusly back in November:
Citing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to civil disobedience, 145 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they will not cooperate with laws that they say could be used to compel their institutions to participate in abortions, or to bless or in any way recognize same-sex couples.
The document was written by Mr. Colson; Robert P. George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, who is Catholic; and the Rev. Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School, an evangelical interdenominational school on the campus of Samford University, in Birmingham, Ala.
They convened a meeting of Christian leaders in Manhattan in September to present the document and gather suggestions. The 4,700-word document is called the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience." The New York Times obtained an advance copy.
The document says, "We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other antilife act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent."
The Manhattan Declaration folks appear to have a great deal in common with Beck -- not the least of which is an affinity for citing Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to legitimize their right-wing points of view.
The very next day, viewers of Beck's Fox News show were likely surprised when the host seemed to defend several gay and lesbian service members who hand-cuffed themselves to the White House fence in Lafayette Square Park to protest President Obama's slow movement on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:
Don't jump to any conclusions. Beck hasn't turned over a new leaf in his treatment of the LGBT community. He's just as homophobic as ever.
In fact, Beck only sprang to the defense of these brave men and women because he saw an opening to attack the President and his ominous "government" while simultaneously painting a menacing picture for his robotic followers -- Obama will come after you too!
It should be noted that the White House didn't keep reporters from covering the truly newsworthy protest -- the blame reportedly rests with the U.S. Park Police. Politico's Ben Smith reports:
The U.S. Park Police is taking responsibility for chasing reporters away from the White House as six uniformed members of the armed services were arrested after handcuffing themselves to the White House gate to protest "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" yesterday.
"That was strictly the U.S. Park Police that screwed up - that has nothing to do with the Secret Service of the White House or the Administration," said Park Police spokesman Sergeant David Schlosser of the incident, which drew complaints from reporters and online speculation about darker motives.
The whole episode is just further proof of Fox News' love/hate relationship with its gay "friends" which I wrote about in greater detail last week.
Earlier this month, I noted the massive ideological disparity in WashingtonPost.com online Q&As over the previous three months -- the Post hosted nine conservatives and only two liberals during that time.
On Friday, the Post added another conservative to the list -- Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg, who discussed his opposition to President Obama's extension of hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners. The Post also hosted a Q&A with a Human Rights Campaign staffer who supported the decision, an all-too-rare attempt at balance from the Post.
But the Post's decision to host Sprigg is alarming nonetheless. See, Peter Sprigg says "gay behavior" should be outlawed. And Sprigg has said "I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society."
It seems safe to assume the Washington Post would not provide a forum to someone who says the practice of Judaism should be outlawed, or that he would prefer to "export blacks from the United States." So why does the Post host anti-gay bigot Peter Sprigg?
Last week we posted a link to Fox News host Mike Huckabee's interview with College of New Jersey newsmagazine The Perspective in which the former Arkansas Governor drew "parallels between homosexuality" and drug use, incest, and polygamy while also defending his home state's ban on same-sex couples becoming adoptive or foster parents saying, "we should act in the best interest of the children, not in the seeming interest of the adults...children are not puppies."
Taking exception to the Fox News personality's spiteful homophobic rhetoric, the Food Network's Hearty Boys -- Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith -- have invited Huckabee over for dinner in their Chicago home.
On Monday, I wrote at length about Fox News' love/hate relationship with its LGBT "friends" noting that "a review of Fox News' employment practices however, reveals a network at odds with its own homophobic public image."
Perhaps if Huckabee breaks bread with McDonagh and Smith they can pick his brain about the very real dichotomy that exists at Fox News between its on-air and off-air treatment of LGBT people.
You may know me from Food Network. My partner, Dan Smith, and I are The Hearty Boys. We're Chicago caterers, restaurateurs, cookbook authors and most importantly, dads. Dan and I have been in a stable, monogamous, loving, positive, nurturing and healthy relationship for 13 years. We were blessed to adopt our son, Nate, at his birth 4 1/2 years ago.
Sir, your comments likening my parenting my son to adopting a pet are beyond hurtful and dangerous. My love, passion and commitment to Nate is not one iota different than what you have for John Mark, David and Sarah. Our son is loved and cared for just as much. He feels just as loved and cared for. He is a happy, well adjusted little guy whom I fiercely love.
Mr. Huckabee, I invite you to spend the evening with us at our home in Chicago next time you come through. You need to understand and see firsthand what a family like ours is like. We are no less a family than yours, and in fact, we are healthier and more stable than most.
Americans are no longer going to sit silent as our families are attacked. And even though I find your comments reprehensible and irresponsible, I will open my home to you and pray that we might help you better understand the damage you could inflict.
Malkin: "[A]ll the bigotry I see is the bigotry against the Boy Scouts"
From the April 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Anyone who has followed Media Matters' coverage of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd knows that we've often taken exception with her work.
As someone who attended Catholic school for nearly a decade, I've been following the current crop of scandals surrounding the Church with great interest. As such, I've been routinely disappointed by those who claim or fail to challenge the claims of others that the ongoing problem of pedophile priests is really about homosexuality in the priesthood.
That is precisely the problem I have with Dowd's most recent column on the issue - an issue she's done an otherwise decent job covering. While she has been routinely critical of the way church officials have responded to the scandal, her latest work allows the previously stated onerous logic - that of her brother's -- to stand unchallenged.
As IrishCentral.com's Cahir O'Doherty notes:
In a recent article Dowd also published (without a clarifying comment) outrageously incendiary remarks her brother made stating that the international abuse crisis was due to accepting thousands of 'sexually confused' men into the priesthood.
Even more defamatory, Dowd repeated (again by proxy through her brother) author Michael Rose's paranoid contention that the liberalized rules of Vatican II set up a takeover of seminaries by a so-called Gay Mafia. Heterosexual priests and the orthodox, Rose's book claims, found themselves pushed to the margins by a massive international gay Catholic cabal.
Do the Dowds recognize how toxic this kind of claim is?
Rose's book isn't really known outside of far-right conservative Catholic circles for good reason: you'd have to be bonkers to believe it. In tone and content it's really not far from the language and spirit of the anti-Semitic tracts of the 1930's.
You can only believe that homosexuals are responsible for the crisis in the Church if you believe that homosexuals are indistinguishable from pedophiles. That's a blatantly hateful and ignorant contention, but the Dowds are hunting for scapegoats, not answers.
Does Dowd agree with her brother's sentiment? We get only her cryptic comment that she and her brother "agreed on some things." As O'Doherty correctly notes, Dowd doesn't challenge her brother's views much less respond to them with, you know, actual facts.
Allowing these specious claims to go unchallenged only further entrenches the unfounded bigotry some have against the LGBT community and for that, Dowd should be seeking penance from her readers.
From the April 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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It's no secret that Fox News doesn't live up to its "fair and balanced" slogan, especially when one considers its coverage of the LGBT community. In fact, much of its coverage is openly antagonistic and downright homophobic. On issue after issue of importance, the network, its hosts, anchors, contributors, and guests offer up lies, misinformation, and right-wing spin that only further stigmatizes the gay and lesbian community.
The worst examples of Fox News coverage on LGBT issues can be found after the jump.
A review of Fox News' employment practices however, reveals a network at odds with its own homophobic public image. The dichotomy reminds me a bit of the recently outed state legislator with the staunchly anti-gay voting record.
Republican California State Senator Roy Ashburn was arrested for driving under the influence after reportedly leaving a Sacramento gay bar with an unidentified male passenger. Several days after circumstances surrounding his arrest and personal life spread in the media, Ashburn announced that he was gay and that he would continue to vote against the LGBT community because that's what the constituents from his conservative district would want.
Perhaps Fox News really is taking a page from Ashburn. Just as the California legislator has quietly acknowledged the fact that he's a gay man, News Corp. (and by extension Fox News) has quietly been offering workplace protections and benefits to its gay and lesbian employees.
According to an examination of the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) employer database, News Corp. (Fox News' parent company) has had a policy protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation since at least 2005 and has offered health care benefits to same-sex partners since at least 1999. Time Warner (CNN's parent company) and General Electric (NBC/MSNBC's parent company) offer not only these basic protections to gay and lesbian employees, they appear to go even further.
The HRC's Corporate Equality Index rates Time Warner and General Electric with 100 percent and 80 percent, respectively, while News Corp. has yet to complete the survey that HRC uses to establish its index. News Corp. would give us a better understanding of how it treats LGBT employees on a variety of other important issues by completing the survey, but the media company does deserve credit for at least offering some very basic protections and benefits for gay and lesbian employees.
Lack of a Corporate Equality Index rating notwithstanding, News Corp. has taken its support for LGBT employees a step further by sponsoring the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) which describes itself on its website as "an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues." In fact, the program from the organization's annual conference last fall in Montréal included an ad from News Corp. stating: "The networks of Fox News honor NLGJA for its commitment to fair and balanced reporting. From your friends at Fox News Channel, Fox Business, News Corporation."
Reached for comment over email, NLGJA managing director Michael Tune said, "We try to have as expansive a network as possible in order to reach into every newsroom to accomplish our mission. News Corp. is a major employer of journalists nationwide, and NLGJA has had a very open and supportive dialog with them over the years regarding fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community."
Tune added, "NLGJA's Rapid Response Task Force was created to respond to coverage of the LGBT community that is not fair and accurate. When we reach out to a news provider, it is often with the help of our member employees or other contacts within a company." He continued, "Often the relationship we have built with a company through its support of NLGJA makes it easier to work together."
I sought out Fox News' Brian Lewis, executive vice president of corporate communications, and Irena Briganti, senior vice president of media relations, last week for comment on the conflict between the network's public posturing against LGBT equality and its support for LGBT employees, but I've not yet received a response.
Just as Sen. Ashburn plans to continue his history of voting against the LGBT community to appease the homophobic conservative district he serves, News Corp. (and by extension Fox News) shows no signs of pulling back on the homophobic red meat it has fed its public -- the conservative audience that drives its ratings.
That ultimately is what's truly sad about News Corp.'s relationship with its LGBT "friends." The media company gives its employees decent protections and benefits while making the lives of the very same employees more difficult in the long-run by broadcasting homophobia and misinformation that harden anti-LGBT views and slow the movement for full equality under the law.
On Wednesday we noted that GLAAD was calling for CNN to be held accountable for hosting so-called "ex-gay" activist Richard Cohen who, despite his permanent expulsion from the American Counseling Association in 2002 for "numerous violations of its rules, including those dealing with client welfare, dual relationships with clients and counselors, and advertising" was also promoted on a CNN blog post as an "expert in the field of sexual reorientation."
Well, yesterday Phillips responded to the controversy surrounding the segment noting that Cohen "was not the most appropriate guest to have on" before scolding those who sent her "vicious emails" about the segment and articulating her "unswerving support for all communities in the battle for human rights, including gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals."
PHILLIPS: Richard Cohen was not the most appropriate guest to have on, but it is a decision that we made and the result of that is our continued discussion today. That is what journalism is all about. And we will continue to do our best to discuss gay and lesbian issues in a fair way on this program. I wish that all of you knew my heart. And as a journalist with a long track record of covering gay and lesbian issues, I wish that those of you who sent me vicious emails watched my newscast more often because if they did, my guess is they would not have been so quick to send such hateful messages. They don't know my record and my unswerving support for all communities in the battle for human rights, including gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. And to make it perfectly clear, I love debating issues. It evokes passion but if we cannot treat each other in a civil manner, even when we disagree, then we will never move forward and have a world where all people are treated with the respect that they deserve.
From the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's April 7 "call to action" email:
In an attempt to discuss efforts to repeal an outdated law in California requiring the State Department of Mental Health to conduct research into the "causes" and "cures" of being gay, CNN's took the irresponsible step of allowing the unlicensed, widely discredited, so-called "ex-gay" activist Richard Cohen onto the network's airwaves to promote the idea that gay people can be turned straight. CNN Host Kyra Phillips paired Cohen with California Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal to discuss the matter. Lowenthal is working to repeal the archaic California Law. Phillips began the conversation by asking this highly offensive question: "Homosexuality, Is it a problem in need of a cure?"
While the segment tried to give the appearance of "balance," the airtime afforded the disreputable Cohen to tout "healing" gay people, coupled with a lack of information about the harms caused by such practices is unacceptable. As GLAAD has noted in our publication, Unmasking So-Called Ex-Gay Activists, "The nation's leading medical and mental health authorities have uniformly dismissed the idea that being gay is something to be 'treated.'" www.glaad.org/Page.aspx?pid=419
But even with this information widely available to media professionals, CNN's Phillips failed to bring this to light while questioning Cohen. CNN's graphics even described Cohen as a "Psychotherapist, educator and expert in the field of sexual reorientation." Phillips and CNN also failed to note that Cohen was permanently expelled in 2002 from the American Counseling Association, for multiple violations of the ethical code.