The First Rule For Interviewing An Anti-Gay “Hate Group”

On CBS' Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer accurately identified one of his guests as the president of an anti-gay “hate group,” providing his audience with valuable context often missing from mainstream media interviews with anti-LGBT extremists. 

On the April 26 edition of Face the Nation, Schieffer invited Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), and Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, to discuss this week's Supreme Court arguments over marriage equality. Scheiffer began the interview by noting that Perkins' group has been labeled an anti-gay “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC):

SCHIEFFER: I'm going to start with probably the most vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and that is Tony Perkins. He is the president of the Family Research Council. And, Mister Perkins, I'm going to say this to you upfront. You and your group have been so strong in coming out against this-- and against gay marriage that the Southern Poverty Law Center has branded the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group. We have been inundated by people who say we should not even let you appear because they, in their view, quote, “You don't speak for Christians.” Do you think you have taken this too far?

Schieffer's comments came following pressure from groups like Faithful America, which launched a petition asking CBS to “Cancel Tony Perkins.” Perkins, who has called pedophilia a "homosexual problem" and believes gay people are trying to "recruit" kids into a “lifestyle” of “perversion,” “doesn't speak for Christians,” the group wrote.

FRC has been listed as an anti-gay “hate group” since 2010 thanks to its promotion of extreme and damaging myths about the LGBT community. But the “hate group” label is almost never mentioned by networks that choose to treat FRC like a seriously policy organization on national television. During the 2012 GOP primary, when Perkins was a regular fixture on cable news, Perkins was never identified as a “hate group” leader:

If news networks choose to invite “hate groups” like FRC on national television to attack LGBT equality, they need to at least make sure viewers know who they're dealing with. Properly identifying “hate groups” is essential to giving audiences the context they need to understand anti-LGBT commentary, and it should be standard practice for media outlets.