Remember that fawning Washington Post profile of National Organization for Marriage executive director Brian Brown? The one that omitted facts that make NOM and Brown look bad, and -- despite running more than 2,000 words -- didn't contain a single quote critical of Brown? Well, I just stumbled across something else Washington Post writer Monica Hesse left out.
Hesse's profile opens by drawing an explicit contrast between Brian Brown and people like Pat Robertson and James Dobson:
The nightmares of gay marriage supporters are the Pat Robertsons of the world. The James Dobsons, the John Hagees -- the people who specialize in whipping crowds into frothy frenzies, who say things like Katrina was caused by the gays.
The gay marriage supporters have not met Brian Brown. They should. He might be more worth knowing about.
The thing about the John Hagees and the Pat Robertsons is that some people consider them "fringe." And when they speechify, the people they're most persuasive with are the ones who already believe them.
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.
That set the tone for the profile: Brian Brown isn't like "fringe" activists like Robertson, Hagee, and James Dobson.
A bit later, Hesse makes passing mention of Brown's previous job:
After UCLA he accepted a position with the Family Institute of Connecticut, and worked to prevent the distribution of condoms in schools.
No explanation of what the Family Institute of Connecticut is. Well, guess what? Here's how the Hartford Courant described the group in 2005:
"It now is associated with Focus on the Family, the group headed by the nationally known conservative James Dobson, but the institute's budget of $450,000 comes entirely from individual contributions, Brown said."
Huh. So, Brown's last job was running a group associated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family. Seems like the kind of information that should be included in a profile that portrays Brown as nothing like that nasty James Dobson, doesn't it?
And, given that the profile echoes Brown's argument that he is just interested in preserving the "history" and "tradition" of "the institution of marriage" being "between a man and a woman," doesn't it seem like the Post should have mentioned that Brown opposes even civil unions?
And shouldn't a profile that adopts Brown's portrayal of himself as a friendly guy who doesn't have anything against gay people -- some of his "friends and family" are gay! -- but just wants to limit "marriage" as something between a man and a woman perhaps note that not only does Brown oppose gay marriage, he wants to keep gays out of his church?
Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut -- which led a petition drive for the Defense of Marriage Act -- was also among those marching with Wyatt. Brown said the acceptance of homosexuality in the church marked the destruction of the American family and marriage.
"That radical of a departure from Christian tradition ... warrants a march," Brown said as he wheeled his children, Elizabeth, 3, and Brian, 1, in a stroller. [Hartford Courant, 8/20/03]
And shouldn't a profile that emphasizes how reasonable and sane a person is maybe mention that he opposes cohabitation between men and women?
In the view of some, the increase in cohabitation between men and women is eroding the institution of marriage.
"I think the whole idea that you shack up, and this is how you figure out what you're going to do with your life, that isn't conducive to the type of commitment you need for a lifelong stable relationship," said Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut. [Hartford Courant, 3/13/03]
And shouldn't an article that describes Brown as someone who "takes nothing personally. He means nothing personal. He is never accusatory or belittling. His arguments are based on his understandings of history, not on messages from God that gays caused Hurricane Katrina" maybe acknowledge that Brown has referred to gay marriage as "the largest battle in the culture wars since Roe v. Wade"? [New York Times, 7/6/03]
At this point, you have to wonder whether Monica Hesse did any actual research at all -- or if she just met Brown, found him pleasant, talked to a couple of his buddies, and dashed off her profile.