Back in April, I wrote about News Corp and Fox News' love/hate relationship with the LGBT community:
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.
A review of Fox News' employment practices however, reveals a network at odds with its own homophobic public image.
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."
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.
Evidence of this love/hate relationship couldn't be clearer of late, especially for those watching the right-wing network in the days following Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
As Media Matters noted this week:
- FoxNews.com did not note that Walker was nominated as a federal judge by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. But in reports on Judge Susan Bolton's decision to block portions of the Arizona immigration law, it did note that President Clinton nominated Bolton.
- FoxNews.com hosted a post on the Fox Forum by Gerard V. Bradley that questioned Walker's "fitness to preside" because he is purportedly in a stable same-sex relationship.*
- As The Daily Show's Jon Stewart pointed out, Fox News host Neil Cavuto claimed the decision would be costly because same-sex couples would be entitled to spousal benefits if married while Fox News contributor Sarah Palin appearing on Hannity (who hadn't read the ruling) attacked the "third branch of government" for striking down the proposition.
What must the LGBT employees at News Corp and Fox News think of their employer's attacks on the landmark, detailed, 136 page ruling?
To be fair, you may be looking for the "love" part of the "love/hate" relationship in this particular story. It should be noted that Margaret Hoover -- a Fox News contributor and the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover – is on the advisory board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which spearheaded the legal challenge against Proposition 8 leading to this decision.
Read the entire ruling after the jump.
* edited for accuracy.