Even when Fox is reporting on a completely innocuous story, they can't help themselves from lying. Fox & Friends ran a segment hosting one of their most prominent advertisers, the Foundation for a Better Life, and purporting to report "who's behind" the group, they hosted an unobjectionable, heroic woman who is featured in one of their ads. But, she's not "who's behind" the group; indeed, it doesn't even seem that she works for them. In fact, the actual people behind the group are right-wing, religious, anti-gay conservatives.
As any Fox News viewer knows, the Foundation for a Better Life is a pretty prominent advertiser on the network. Their commercials follow a similar pattern, usually a short vignette or montage with little to no dialogue, featuring people demonstrating some sort of positive behavior. Sometimes they will show a student refusing to help his friend cheat, a mother encouraging her son to find the things he's best at, a basketball player coming clean about a bad call that a ref made. The personal favorite for many of us depicts a man remembering the things he loves about his wife and deciding to go back to her, despite the fact that they fought, and she burned his steak dinners for a whole year. Set to country music.
These ads almost invariably end with the ad naming the positive quality displayed in the ad and encouraging you to "pass it on." These include things like honesty, patience, generosity, so on. The fact that the commercials don't ask you to do anything, and the website doesn't ask for money, makes this group unique to say the least. So when this morning's Fox & Friends told us they were going to show us who is behind these somewhat cryptic ads, we were intrigued. But, somehow, the show let us down again.
Co-host Steve Doocy teased the segment by saying: "Straight ahead have you seen these commercials about paying it forward? We wanted to know who makes them and who's the group behind them? We found out. The very cool story behind the message is coming up." While Doocy was speaking, they aired video of the Foundation for a Better Life ad, which depicts a real life story of a high school student with Downs Syndrome being named Prom Queen. Watch:
Yet when they got around to the segment on "who's the group behind" the ads, they hosted a woman named Oral Lee Brown, whose experience with a young girl prompted her to "adopt" an entire class of 23 first graders and put up the money for them all to go to college. On $45,000 per year. Her story is truly amazing and certainly one worthy of national attention. But it has nothing to do with who is "behind" the Foundation for a Better Life. In fact, despite Fox identifying her as a "face" of the organization, Ms. Brown doesn't even appear to work for them; her story is simplyfeatured on one of the group's advertisements.
So who is behind the Foundation for a Better Life?
During World War II it was Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, El Alamein and Okinawa. Then came Korea's Pusan, Inchon and Chosin. In Vietnam it was the Tet Offensive and Battle of Saigon. Thousands of battles followed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now members of Congress have the choice of following the expert military advice offered by the U.S. veterans who gave their life's blood, sweat and tears on those far-flung battlefields -- or Lady Gaga.
Unruh goes on to contrast the American Legion's opposition to repeal with support of repeal from "a pop star."
Of course, Lady Gaga is not alone in offering "expert military advice" in calling for Congress to end the DADT policy; Defense Secretary Robert Gates supports repeal, as does Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; former chairmen Colin Powell and John Shalikashvili; more than 100 other retired generals and admirals; former National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones; and former Defense Secretary and Vice President Dick Cheney.
In other news, WND's list of "high-profile personalities and leaders who have raised questions about Barack Obama's eligibility to occupy the Oval Office" includes noted presidential eligibility expert and Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Luke Scott.
On Monday, in response to Frank Rich's argument that "in establishment Washington … homophobia is at most a misdemeanor" I noted that at the Washington Post, it is not even a misdemeanor. As it turns out, that was too kind: At the Washington Post, homophobia is a job qualification.
The Post's On Faith microsite, which has long promoted the bigoted rantings of homophobes and Muslim-bashers, and endorsed this hateful rhetoric as the mark of "respectful" dialogue by "distinguished" panelists, has now created a new blog, Religious Right Now for Jordan Sekulow.
Sekulow has previously used his status as an On Faith panelist to approvingly quote biblical references to homosexuality as an "abomination" and "unnatural" and "indecent" and "perversion." And to attack Islam and endorse loopy claims about Sharia Law coming to Oklahoma.
The Post's announcement of Sekulow's new blog is all the more striking in light of the Post's revelation this morning that fully 70 percent of white evangelicals support allowing gays to serve openly in the military. Jordan Sekulow, whose new blog is supposed to represent the religious right to Post readers (as if that perspective was going unrepresented!) does not.
The new ABC/Washington Post poll about public attitudes towards gays serving in the military contains an interesting data point: Not only do 77 percent of all Americans think gays should be able to serve openly, but 70 percent of white evangelicals agree.
Let me say that again: 70 percent of white evangelicals think gays should be able to serve openly in the military.
This should serve as a lesson for journalists who tend to treat Tony Perkins and Bill Donohue as representative of people of faith: They aren't. The Washington Post, for example, routinely presents Perkins and Donohue (not to mention Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck) as respectable spiritual leaders, omitting mention of their hateful and divisive behavior. The Post poll's finding that an overwhelming majority of even white evangelicals believe gays should be able to serve openly is yet another reminder that bigots like Perkins, Donohue and their ilk are granted a larger and more respectful media platform than is justified by either the merit or popularity of their views.
As I was saying: The Washington Post just loves gay-bashing. Here's WaPo On Faith contributor John Mark Reynolds:
Romantic love is spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical. It is what happens when a woman or man discovers that there are other humans, equally people, but different from self. This other "side" of humanity seems designed to complement our souls.
It is the deepest form of sexism to believe that women or men could be replaced in such a relationship. Whatever the survey says at the moment, men and women complete each other in a unique way.
So, if you're gay (or merely someone who thinks gay relationships are natural and legitimate) you're really guilty of "the deepest form of sexism." Reynolds has previously used the platform granted him by the Post to compare gay rights advocates to racists and to call them "the hateful" and to refer to support for gay rights as "prejudice."
Oh, also, married Jews and Muslims and atheists aren't really married:
There is no real marriage outside the Church of Jesus Christ for this reason: God is the end of marriage, for only an eternal and infinite God can contain the explosive fecundity that can come when the two halves of the Image of God are united and made one. A great reason to become a Christian is that only in Christ's Church can the male and the female find completion in each other.
Good to know.
Looks like New York Times columnist Frank Rich has been reading the Washington Post:
Think anti-gay bullying is just for small-town America? Look at the nation's capital.
The Smithsonian's behavior and the ensuing silence in official Washington are jarring echoes of those days when American political leaders stood by idly as the epidemic raged on.
It still seems an unwritten rule in establishment Washington that homophobia is at most a misdemeanor. By this code, the Smithsonian's surrender is no big deal; let the art world do its little protests. This attitude explains why the ever more absurd excuses concocted by John McCain for almost single-handedly thwarting the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are rarely called out for what they are -- "bigotry disguised as prudence," in the apt phrase of Slate's military affairs columnist, Fred Kaplan. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has been granted serious and sometimes unchallenged credence as a moral arbiter not just by Rupert Murdoch's outlets but by CNN, MSNBC and The [Washington] Post's "On Faith" Web site even as he cites junk science to declare that "homosexuality poses a risk to children" and that being gay leads to being a child molester.
OK, the Washington Post isn't Rich's primary target, but I can't think of a better symbol of Washington's casual acceptance of gay-bashing than a newspaper that routinely grants a platform to anti-bay bigots and publishes anti-gay screeds -- and that regularly publishes and quotes the likes of Bill Donohue railing about purported anti-Catholic bias and bigotry without once noting his own history of anti-gay speech.
Take a look at some examples:
On the December 9, 2010 broadcast of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation, host Michael Savage invited listeners to call in and discuss interactions between fathers and their daughter's first-dates, and took a call from Marcia from New York. Savage hung up on Marcia and went off on a bizarre rant in which he stated that she had "a voice that you know already came out of La Cage aux Folles."
The french farce La Cage aux Folles tells the story of a drag performer and his partner who host a dinner for their son's very conservative future in-laws (The play was later revived for American audiences as The Birdcage).
Savage has a history of homophobic rantings. In 2003, Savage was removed from MSNBC after telling a caller to "get AIDS and die." In 2007 Creative Artist Agency (CAA) decided to stop representing Savage after he attacked Melissa Etheridge for thanking her wife at the Academy Awards and asserted that married gay couples' raising of children amounts to "child abuse" and "makes me want to puke."
In a Washington Times op-ed, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins falsely suggested that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" lacks support from military officials and the public. In fact, numerous military officials and an overwhelming majority of Americans support repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
This morning, Fox News' Fox & Friends and CNN's American Morning hosted Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress to promote his website that aims to root out "Grinch" businesses that "shut-out expressions of Christmas."
But what viewers didn't hear about during these appearances was Jeffress' long history of inflammatory attacks on gays, Muslims, Mormons, and Hindus.
As The New York Times reported, in 1998, as a pastor of a church in Wichita Falls, Texas, Jeffress attempted to rid an area public library of books about children with gay parents. The Times reported that Jeffress "compared his effort to proposals to protect children from tobacco advertising, saying homosexuality causes 'the deaths of tens of thousands every year through AIDS.'" The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also reported [accessed via Nexis] that Jeffress called AIDS "a gay disease."
In 2008, Jeffress delivered a sermon at his Dallas church titled, "Why Gay Is Not O.K." The Dallas Morning News reported that, in the sermon, Jeffress "addressed what he called two 'myths' about homosexuality: that prohibitions exist only in the Old Testament, and that Jesus never condemned this behavior."
Jeffress' inflammatory rhetoric hasn't been limited solely to homophobic attacks on gays.
From the December 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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In his syndicated column, Pat Buchanan weighs in on the manufactured controversy over an exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, and it's pretty much what you'd expect: He calls it a "gay sex show" of "the kind of pictures that used to be on French postcards, the possession of which in the 1950s could get you kicked out of high school," adding that "The Smithsonian needs a haircut next year to remind these folks who's boss and that with public funding comes public responsibility."
In the process of his rant, though, Buchanan misquotes what Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik said about it. He writes:
To Post art critic Blake Gopnik, the "show about gay sex" at the gallery is "courageous" and "full of wonderful art. My review of it was a rave."
But Gopnik never called it a "show about gay sex." From the December 1 Post article by Gopnik Buchanan appears to be referring to [italics added]:
Against all odds, the stodgy old National Portrait Gallery has recently become one of the most interesting, daring institutions in Washington. Its 2009 show on Marcel Duchamp's self-portrayal was important, strange and brave. "Hide/Seek," the show about gay love that it opened in October, was crucial -- a first of its kind -- and courageous, as well as being full of wonderful art. My review of it was a rave.
Love and sex are not interchangeable words, and there's no reason to assume, as Buchanan appears to be doing, that it is any different if you put the word "gay" in front of them. Of course, "gay sex" makes the exhibit sound much more prurient than "gay love" does.
It seems Buchanan is too busy being excited about the possibility that Republicans, through this exhibit, "may have just struck the mother lode of that 'waste, fraud and abuse' that the Gipper was always talking about" to get his quotes correct.
Town Hall columnist Bill Murchison writes in opposition to gays being allowed to serve openly in the military, in the process arguing that "Racial integration of the services following World War II was a different kettle of fish." Murchison explains:
For one thing, sex normally outranks race as a self-identifier. For another, black and white units already existed side by side; President Truman, in 1948, merely ordered their merger. A third difference: the country was at peace, and relatively unified, at the time of the merger.
Keep in mind, the "relatively unified" country Murchison is describing was one in which racial segregation existed in both fact and law. The 1948 integration of the military was pre-Brown vs. the Board of Education, pre-Selma, pre-Rosa Parks. In describing a country in which black people could not eat in "white" restaurants or attend "white" schools or use "white" drinking fountains as "relatively unified," Murchison demonstrates that he has no idea what that phrase means -- and may reveal more than he intends about his opposition to gays serving openly in the military.
Since the release of the Pentagon's survey of service members regarding Don't Ask Don't Tell, conservatives have attacked the report as inaccurate, claiming it does not adequately represent veterans, that repeal would require a return to the draft, and that it would censor military chaplains. In fact, veterans are well represented in the survey, most said repeal would not affect their career plans, and existing regulations account for the varying beliefs of military chaplains.
Today's Washington Times editorial, "The New Gay Army on parade," is so well-stuffed with misinformation about the Pentagon's report on the military's ban on openly gay service, that it is best to simply review the piece from front to back. From the editorial, emphasis added:
The Pentagon on Tuesday released a long-awaited report intended to advance a key campaign promise made by then-Sen. Obama to the fringe activist groups that supported his presidential aspirations. Now as commander in chief, President Obama has made it clear to military brass that he expects them to embrace the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) agenda. It should come as no surprise that the release of the military's new "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" survey was carefully orchestrated to accomplish this mission.
Contrary to the Times' suggestion that only "fringe activist groups" support repeal, polling shows widespread public support, including Republican support, and military leaders and notable Republicans who support repeal include Dick Cheney, Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Colin Powell. Moving on. From the editorial:
From the outset, the Pentagon had no interest in eliciting honest responses from the troops about whether the law outlawing homosexual conduct in the ranks should be preserved or repealed. Instead, soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines were addressed in terms implying that repeal is inevitable. The Obama administration leaked selected results to sympathetic media to create the illusion that the troops have no problem stacking the barracks and submarines with homosexuals. The final report's release is a last-ditch effort to provide Democratic members of Congress the cover they need to ram through the law's repeal in the lame-duck session.
As made clear in the report, the survey was never meant to directly ask service members whether or not DADT should be repealed. From page 17 of the report, emphasis added:
To be clear, the Service member survey did not ask the broad question whether Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be repealed. This would, in effect, have been a referendum, and it is not the Department of Defense's practice to make military policy decisions by a referendum of Service members. But, among the 103 questions in the Service member survey and the 44 questions in the spouse survey were numerous opportunities to express, in one way or another, support for or opposition to repeal of the current policy. Among the 72,000 online inbox submissions were numerous expressions both for and against the current policy. If the impact of repeal was predominately negative, that would have revealed itself in the course of our review.
Next, we learn that the survey was somehow skewed to minimize the voice of combat veterans. From the editorial:
It isn't going to work. A closer examination of the headline result shows that 63 percent of respondents live off-base or in civilian housing and consequently answered that a change in policy might not affect them. Those in combat roles - where unit cohesion and trust are life-and-death concerns - gave a different response. About half with combat experience said a change would have a negative or very negative impact in the field or at sea. Among Marine combat troops, two-thirds said combat readiness would suffer.
Perhaps that's why the working group held 51 "information exchange forums" at bases only in the United States, Germany and Japan. Minimizing the views of those serving in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan helped further dilute the potential for a negative response.
While higher percentages of troops with combat experience and those in combat arms unit predict a negative outcome, those distinctions disappear when data is gathered from service members with actual experience in a unit with personnel believed to be gay or lesbian. How many times does this need to be said before it sinks in? From page 6 of the report, emphasis added:
Given that we are in a time of war, the combat arms communities across all Services required special focus and analysis. Though the survey results demonstrate a solid majority of the overall U.S. military who predict mixed, positive or no effect in the event of repeal, these percentages are lower, and the percentage of those who predict negative effects are higher, in combat arms units. For example, in response to question 68a, while the percentage of the overall U.S. military that predicts negative or very negative effects on their unit's ability to "work together to get the job done" is 30%, the percentage is 43% for the Marine Corps, 48% within Army combat arms units, and 58% within Marine combat arms units.
However, while a higher percentage of Service members in warfighting units predict negative effects of repeal, the percentage distinctions between warfighting units and the entire military are almost non-existent when asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with someone believed to be gay. For example, when those in the overall military were asked about the experience of working with someone they believed to be gay or lesbian, 92% stated that their unit's "ability to work together," was "very good, "good" or "neither good nor poor." Meanwhile, in response to the same question, the percentage is 89% for those in Army combat arms units and 84% for those in Marine combat arms units--all very high percentages. Anecdotally, we heard much the same. As one special operations force warfighter told us, "We have a gay guy [in the unit]. He's big, he's mean, and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay."
As for the Times' assertion that the location of information exchange forums (IEF) somehow undermines the opinions of troops with combat experience, it is patently, demonstrably, and clearly false, as large populations of troops based in the U.S. are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, using the locations of IEFs as an indication of skewed survey results is absurd: the survey questions were developed after the IEFs. From pages 34-36 of the report, emphasis added:
At the Secretary's direction, IEFs were not conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid interference with the missions there. However, at installations such as Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, Camp Lejeune, and elsewhere, we encountered large numbers of Service members who had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan one or more times, or were preparing to deploy. These Service members shared their perspectives concerning the impact of repeal in combat situations and deployed environments.
The Service member survey was developed by representatives from the Working Group, Westat, the Defense Manpower Data Center, and the Services' survey offices. The survey questions were devised to address each area of the Terms of Reference, as well as additional topics of concern (e.g., privacy) that were identified through our IEFs and other engagements with the forces.
Among the "other engagements with the forces" was an "Online Inbox," an anonymous electronic system by which service members could submit their comments and concerns to the Working Group. From page 35 of the report, emphasis added:
The Working Group established this mechanism to allow all Service members and their families to anonymously express their views to the Working Group through a website accessible with a Common Access Card (CAC). Access to the online inbox was restricted to CAC holders to help ensure that comments were entered only by Service members. The Working Group also encouraged Service members to input comments provided by their family. To ensure the comments we received did not include identifying information (other than rank and Service), the Working Group contracted with the Data Recognition Corporation to redact names, units, and other similar information prior to providing the comments to the Working Group. In all, the Working Group received 72,384 total comments about Don't Ask, Don't Tell via the online inbox, with 98% (70,732) of these comments from Service members. Among Service member comments, 70% were from the enlisted ranks.
So, to review, the IEFs were a method to develop the survey questions, and in doing so the Working Group engaged many troops with combat experience. Any interested service member could anonymously submit questions to the Working Group. Despite all of that, the Times expects you to believe that the Defense Secretary's direction that the IEFs be held only outside of active war zones somehow indicates a vast left-wing gay rights agenda parade within the Department of Defense. Further, nearly 70 percent of respondents had combat experience. From page 162 of the report:
What will the Times say next, that a full one-fourth of service members will leave the force post repeal? From the editorial:
Only 6 percent of troops said repeal would improve either recruitment or morale, and about a quarter said they would leave the military early if the repeal is signed into law.
In contrast, allowing open homosexual conduct would only "benefit" a tiny - but loud - minority. Since 2005, only 1 percent of those booted from the military were kicked out for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rules. It's dangerous to cater to this handful at the expense of hundreds of thousands of troops who, according to the results, would begin planning their exit from the military if the policy were changed. This nation's defenses shouldn't be so weakened.
Are you kidding? This was equally absurd when Oliver North popped up on Fox to claim that repeal would mean a return to the draft. 12.6 percent of surveyed service members answered that they would leave sooner than they had planned. 11.1 percent said they would think about leaving sooner. That adds up 22.7 if every single service member who said they would leave early actually did, and if every person who said they would think about leaving early made the decision to leave early, and then actually did so. Which, historically, does not happen. Despite much stronger resistance to repeal indicated in similar polls among British and Canadian troops, recruitment and retention were not hurt.
It's generally a mistake to expect logical, coherent arguments from people who are 1) Bigots, 2) Ann Coulter or 3) Both, and Coulter's latest column is no exception:
The two biggest stories this week are WikiLeaks' continued publication of classified government documents, which did untold damage to America's national security interests, and the Democrats' fanatical determination to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and allow gays to serve openly in the military.
The mole who allegedly gave WikiLeaks the mountains of secret documents is Pfc. Bradley Manning, Army intelligence analyst and angry gay.
Maybe there's a reason gays have traditionally been kept out of the intelligence services, apart from the fact that closeted gay men are easy to blackmail.
[S]ince you brought up gays in the military, liberals, let's talk about Bradley Manning. He apparently released hundreds of thousands of classified government documents as a result of being a gay man in "an awkward place."
Any discussion of "don't ask, don't tell" should begin with Bradley Manning. Live by the sad anecdote, die by the sad anecdote.
Try to follow the argument: Gays in the military are a security risk because they are easy to blackmail, so we should retain Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which requires gays in the military to remain in the closet, which presumably makes it easier to blackmail them. When you encounter an argument that convoluted, it's a pretty safe bet the writer is ashamed of her real reasons for opposing DADT repeal.