What the WaPo's National Organization for Marriage profile left out

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

On Friday, I noted that the Washington Post devoted more than 2,000 words to a profile of National Organization for Marriage executive director Brian Brown -- without ever once quoting a criticism of Brown or NOM.

That's an appalling omission, but it only scratches the surface. The article was an extended mash note to Brown and his right-wing group, describing them as "rational," "mainstream," "sane," people put upon by shrill opponents who irrationally demonize them.

The Post headline set the tone for the fawning that followed:

Opposing Gay Unions With Sanity & a Smile

NOM Head Moves His Cause to D.C.

Then this:

But this country is not made up of people in the far wings, right or left. This country is made up of a movable middle, reasonable people looking for reasonable arguments to assure them that their feelings have a rational basis.

Brian Brown speaks to these people. He has a master's degree from Oxford, and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA. He shoulders the accusations of bigotry; it's horrible when people say that your life's mission is actually just prejudice. He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.

Gee, isn't Brian Brown just swell? Isn't the National Organization for Marriage just swell? The Washington Post certainly thinks so -- and, though it couldn't find any space for criticism of Brown or NOM, it found room for this:

Bishop Harry Jackson, the Beltsville pastor who has been one of the most vocal gay marriage opponents in the area, sees a happy partnership between his followers and Brown's group. Jackson says Brown and NOM "have a sense of dignity about human beings. They simply believe that marriage between a man and a woman is the best for society. But they're not gay bashers."

Not gay bashers? Have a sense of "dignity about human beings"? Oh, really?

If the Post had the slightest interest in a balanced, fact-based assessment of NOM, that's where they would have included some criticism of the organization, and maybe even some facts that undermine Jackson's warm-and-fuzzy portrayal of the group. But the Post article contained nothing of the kind.

The Post did not, for example, mention that in a 2008 fundraising email, Brown approvingly quoted a description of the Prop 8 campaign as "the Armageddon of the culture war," and also included a quote comparing advocates of gay marriage rights to the devil:

As I close, I wanted to encourage you with a report from a pastors' conference call I had the chance to sit in on last week. With hundreds of pastors on the call, I was inspired by their passion and fervor. The mood was determined, confident, and upbeat.

Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in San Diego told the group of clergy: "One of the dumbest things the devil ever did was attack the institution of marriage." Rev. Jim Franklin from Cornerstone Church in Fresno told the group: "We must be consumed with a holy anger . . . this is the time to fight."

And so we press on. We are in the midst of the biggest fight for marriage our nation has ever seen. But we are confident that with God's help we will prevail. Thank you for standing with us in your prayers, financial contributions, and volunteer efforts.

Nor did the Post mention NOM board member Orson Scott Card, who has a history of rather colorful comments, like referring to homosexuality as a sin.

And like this:

"Only when the father became powerless or absent in the lives of huge numbers of children did we start to realize some of the things people need a father for: laying the groundwork for a sense of moral judgment; praise that is believed so that it can instill genuine self-confidence."

(Really? Mothers are incapable of "laying the groundwork for a sense of moral judgment"? Interesting.)

And this:

The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.

It's that desire for normality, that discontent with perpetual adolescent sexuality, that is at least partly behind this hunger for homosexual "marriage."

And this:

If America becomes a place where the laws of the nation declare that marriage no longer exists -- which is what the Massachusetts decision actually does -- then our allegiance to America will become zero. We will transfer our allegiance to a society that does protect marriage.


And I don't mean that civilized Americans will move. I mean that they'll simply stop regarding the authority of the government as having any legitimacy.

Oh, and this:

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.

But The Washington Post insists NOM are not gay-bashers; no, they are sane and cheerful people just trying to preserve tradition. So the Post left out the bit about the NOM board member who thinks "homosexual behavior" should be illegal. It left out any mention of the NOM board member who announces that "our" allegiance to America will end if gay marriage is legal.

All of that -- the Card quotes, the Brown email -- was easily discovered in about twenty minutes of light Googling.

So how did a 2,000-word hagiography of NOM make it into the Washington Post?

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBTQ
The Washington Post
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