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.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell:
- Quick Fact: Perkins advances myth that DADT repeal could hurt morale, unit cohesion, readiness
- Dennis Miller asks if Dr. Marc Lamont Hill's pink tie is a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell situation"
- Discussing DADT, Thomas claims NYT a "wholly owned subsidiary of the gay rights movement"
- Quick Fact: Wash. Times, Fox News' North advance claim that repealing DADT is a harmful "social experiment"
- O'Reilly on Don't Ask Don't Tell: "It's not about anti-gay. It's about being comfortable in the barracks"
- Hoover calls O'Reilly's fear-mongering over same-sex slippery slope "totally disingenuous"
- O'Reilly slams op-ed by MMFA's Frisch, declares his "married a duck" comments "a satirical jest"
- Beck uses toys to explain slippery slope from same-sex marriage to polyamorous marriage
- Slippery Dope: O'Reilly, others on Fox News warn of "triads" with legalization of same-sex marriage
- O'Reilly's Ark: Gay marriage could lead to goat, duck, dolphin, and turtle marriage
- Fox & Friends wants to know "what about Americans who want to marry multiple partners at the same time?"
- Hoover slams O'Reilly for suggesting that if same-sex marriage is legalized, "polygamy is then going to run rampant"
- Fox & Friends' Carlson suggests support of same-sex marriage is due to "being politically correct"
- Beck falsely claimed Iowa marriage ruling "is actually about going into churches"
- Discussing gay marriage ruling in Iowa, Beck says, "I believe this case is actually about going into churches, and going in and attacking churches and saying, 'You can't teach anything else' "
- O'Reilly, Miller falsely suggested Obama supported Prop 8
- Cameron falsely suggested that polls show most Americans support amending U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage
- Despite claiming gay marriage is "not a big issue" to him, O'Reilly issued a smorgasbord of gay marriage misinformation
- Hume asserted that gay marriage amendment divides Democrats, failed to mention even deeper Republican split
- On Fox, Gary Bauer claimed Americans think constitutional ban on gay marriage "is important"; polling shows otherwise
- Fox's Baier, Wash. Post's Birnbaum falsely claim that all states passing referendums banning gay marriage in 2004 voted for Bush
- O'Reilly falsely claimed Bush "is against" amendment banning same-sex marriage, mischaracterized McCain's position on issue
- Fox let Gaffney advance hate crimes falsehood: "This has to do with, ultimately, our freedom of speech in this country"
- O'Reilly characterizes Rep. Baldwin's statement that amendment is "unnecessary" and "inflammatory" as not wanting "the law to automatically eliminate pedophile protection"
- Fox's Henneberg repeats right-wing myth that hate crimes bill could gag ministers
- Fox News contributor goes off on anti-gay rant
- Carlson, who has said he assaulted man who "bothered" him in restroom, discusses "violence based on sexual orientation"
- Discussing "very important story," O'Reilly asks, "I can't figure out how they know the penguins are gay... Do they wear tight t-shirts?"
- Hannity criticized gay Episcopal bishop for "partisan hatred," but called partisan Rev. Falwell a "very dear friend"
- On O'Reilly Factor, Miller ridiculed transgender man, child he gave birth to
- Gingrich: "[T]here is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us"
- On Fox, MRC's Graham criticized MSNBC for "adding this lesbian Air America radio host, Rachel Maddow" to its lineup
- In discussion of DeGeneres' marriage announcement, Fox News host Gutfeld equated "public exhortations of love" with talking about bowel movements
- O'Reilly guest Rudov "fear[s] ... the long-term consequences for children" of "promoting" "homosexual lifestyle"
- O'Reilly on transgender man's pregnancy: "[I]magine a poor kid getting born into that family"
- UPDATED: Gibson addresses controversy over his comments on death of actor Heath Ledger
- O'Reilly, still not relaxing "on all this gay stuff," took issue with IL high school seniors voting lesbians "Cutest Couple"
- Bill "everybody's got to relax on all this gay stuff" O'Reilly keeps talking about J.K. Rowling's gay wizard
- O'Reilly noted poll on effect of gay rights groups' endorsements, but not that he had been wrong about results
- O'Reilly claimed poll shows most Americans "won't vote" for candidate endorsed by "a gay rights group"
- O'Reilly: "[T]housands" of gays in one place "can be confusing to children"
- O'Reilly: To "cluster" gays near children is "insane" and "inappropriate"
- Fox hosted Lowry, Mattera to defend, downplay Coulter's homophobic slur
- O'Reilly: Gays not "being persecuted" in Mexico; in Cancún, Acapulco, and Puerto Vallarta, "there's gay everything"
- O'Reilly logic: If kids of gay parents were equally healthy, why wouldn't eating cupcakes cause pregnancy?
- Conservatives who criticized Kerry's "invasion" of Mary Cheney's "privacy" in 2004 now question Cheney pregnancy
North asked why Dean hadn't denounced anti-gay protesters at soldiers' funerals
- O'Reilly claimed, Malkin agreed that CA proposal to teach LGBT history would prevent teachers from "say[ing] bad things about Jeffrey Dahmer" because he was "a gay cannibal"
- O'Reilly proclaimed St. Patrick's Day a "secular celebration," one month after disparaging Irish gays marching in "a parade honoring a saint"
- O'Reilly on ban of Irish lesbian and gay group from NYC St. Patrick's Day parade: "I don't want these people intruding on a parade where little children are ... watching"
- Fox at the Oscars: Homosexuality among the "darker themes this year"
- Conservatives quick to opine on Brokeback Mountain's "agenda," slow to actually see film
- The porpoise-driven wife: O'Reilly links same-sex marriage to UK woman who "married" dolphin
- Tammy Bruce discusses "gay Gestapo" that "ultimately smears every gay person"
- Three months after humiliating retraction, Fox gay-baiter Maxim Lott has a new smear
- Endorsing the Manhattan Declaration, Coulter compares "cultural crisis" to Holocaust, slavery
- Hannity lauds GOP fruits of his smear campaign against Jennings
- Yet another falsehood-based smear of Jennings on Hannity: Jennings "indoctrinat[ing]" kids about homosexuality
- Hannity and "Great American" panelists fearmonger about Jennings "indoctrinating" children, "promoting homosexuality"
- EXCLUSIVE: Fox News seeks to confirm wildly inaccurate reporting that it's already aired on Jennings controversy; former student seeks Fox News correction
- EXCLUSIVE: Media Matters confirms student at center of Fox fueled Jennings controversy was of legal age
- After FoxNews.com truncated Jennings' quote, Wash. Times, Fox Nation accuse "safe school czar" of "encouraging" statutory rape
Boosting Miss California
- Hemmer claims Miss California was "slammed for her traditional values"
- Fails to grasp the concept: Doocy complains that "gay community" not "tolerant" of Miss California's "opposite marriage" beliefs
- Beck: "Whether it's torture," Miss California, or "global warming, we need to protect the right to speak one's mind freely. Is this America or Soviet Russia?"