From the January 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday:
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GLAAD is calling on CNN to "Keep Away From the Anti-Gay Industry," asking supporters to sign a petition to get the network to stop hosting extreme anti-gay activists that spread false and incendiary claims to provide "balance" in discussions that impact the LGBT community. The GLAAD petition highlighted a recent December 21 John King segment which prompted their action:
During that John King segment on the pending repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and its implementation, King featured openly gay former service member Alex Nicholson, alongside [Peter] Sprigg, who is a "senior fellow for policy studies" at the Family Research Council.
Nicholson's qualifications were clear. As an openly gay, former Army intelligence officer, he gave firsthand accounts of how the policy played out in the day-to-day lives of gay and lesbian service members.Sprigg's qualifications, however, came exclusively from his job at the Family Research Council. There, Sprigg has worked to advance some of the most hurtful, dangerous, and demonstrably false notions about the lives of LGBT people that our country has seen in recent years. And yet, by pairing him with Nicholson in this segment, CNN told its millions of viewers that both of these men should be seen as equally valuable to this discussion.
Is it important for the media to take these groups on? Of course it is. But that's not what CNN and other media organizations are doing when it invites these groups to take part in otherwise reasonable discussions. The media is elevating their hurtful messages and attitudes to the level of rational discourse. The media is saying that people like Alexander Nicholson, who can speak to real-life experience and firsthand facts, need to be "balanced" by people like Peter Sprigg, whose claim to fame is arguing that being gay should be outlawed. If CNN wants to interview a gay person who believes being straight should be outlawed, THEN Peter Sprigg would be an acceptable "balance."
CNN and the rest of the media are doing nothing but exposing their viewers to dangerous anti-gay rhetoric when they invite members of these anti-gay groups onto their programming. Starting in 2011, this needs to stop.
GLAAD is not the first group to highlight CNN's habit of hosting anti-gay groups as a balance to discussions of LGBT issues. Media Matters' Jamison Foser also highlighted Sprigg's appearence on CNN and asked why the network would host Sprigg, in light of is previous comments:
Peter Sprigg wants "gay behavior" outlawed and has said he would "much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society." Sprigg's comments played a role in the Southern Poverty Law Center's decision to identify FRC as a "hate group." (Sprigg subsequently apologized for the comment about exporting gays, saying he was guilty of "speaking in a way that did not reflect the standards which the Family Research Council and I embrace" -- but he did not retract the substance of the comment.)
Additionally, columnist Dan Savage appeared on the November 23 edition of CNN Newsroom and criticized the network for hosting activists from the Family Research Council (FRC) like Sprigg, noting that Southern Policy Law Center had just named the FRC a "hate group."
In a post on Red State today, CNN contributor Erick Erickson baselessly speculated that Defense Department budget cuts were related to the repeal of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, and that those cuts would be "detrimental to our national security":
I am not one of those who thinks the Defense budget is sacrosanct and cannot be cut. Even Governor Palin is on record saying we cannot spare the Defense budget from cuts in these times and she, unlike me, has a child in harm's way.
In any event, the Defense Department is out saying it will make cuts to the various branches of the military. Am I the only one who thinks it rather ironic that the two branches in for the biggest cuts are the Army and Marines. They also -- I'm sure it is totally unrelated. totally -- are the two branches of the service that were most vocally opposed to repeal of Don't Ask - Don't Tell.
I guess cutting the Army and Marines will boost diversity. Or something. Good grief.
In fact, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen have publicly supported the budget cuts as necessary, and both men, along with numerous other military officials, have advocated for repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
From the January 6 edition of The Advocate:
Ironically, what many of the president's key advisers had originally tagged as a stumbling block has now become his one pristine win for the progressive base. Tax cuts went to everyone, including the richest segment of our country, in a move that some believe will establish the rates as a permanent fixture that shreds the middle-class fabric of this nation. The opportunity that was health care reform was lost to the lack of a public option. Wall Street reform was a sham in the eyes of many liberals. Key environmental legislation and immigration reform never got off the ground, though the heroic efforts of youth activists put the DREAM Act in play.
In fact, repealing the gay ban marks the one place where Obama didn't compromise the ideals of his progressive base. The question now is whether the lessons of the repeal battle will dawn a new day in the national fight for equality.
Will politicians and especially President Obama and his aides begin to fixate on the upsides of making strides toward equality for all LGBT Americans instead of obsessing about the downsides of battles lost years ago? In history we are taught that nations often prosecute the last war they were in rather than fighting the battle that's unfolding before their very eyes. But great leaders -- those who change the course of history -- are willing to turn away from the tangibles of the past to keep their eyes trained on the potential of an amorphous but illimitable future.
Much is left to be done. Transgender individuals especially are at risk of chronic unemployment without a means of recourse for wrongful termination. Gay binational couples are still torn apart by the cruelty of a system that fails to view their families as legal entities. And simply put, our nation's laws continue to value the humanity of certain citizens and debase that of others according to the expressions of their love. [The Advocate, 1/6/11]
Eleveld is departing The Advocate to become editor of Equality Matters, Media Matters' new war room for LGBT equality.
From the January 5 broadcast of Talk Radio Networks' Savage Nation:
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At this point, I have to assume that the WoldNetDaily crew all made a New Years resolution to pay more attention to all the voices in their heads, no matter how contradictory and divorced from reality.
Here, WND employs a classic "you know who else was gay? Hitler!" line of argument as part of their ongoing campaign against gays:
You ever see those television commercials for some utterly useless gimmick that ends with "Not sold in any store!" and think to yourself "yeah, that's because they couldn't get any stores to stock their lousy product"? That's how you should think about the phrase "WorldNetDaily Exclusive": Nobody else is willing to peddle this garbage.
Anyway, WND editor Joseph Farah endorses the Gay Nazi Cult theory, and adds in a healthy dose of paranoia for good measure:
This is a deeply disturbing book," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who recently added a new 4th edition of the book to the WND Superstore. Perhaps not until very recently, with the mandating of open homosexuality in the military and the widespread promotion of same-sex marriage, could Americans have been expected to see the relevance of this remarkable work to their own society. We say, 'never again.' But do we mean it? Do we even understand what actually happened? I didn't – until I read this book."
The nonsense about "the mandating of open homosexuality in the military" is just kind of funny for the clumsiness with which it tries to redefine reality: Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal allows gays to serve openly in the military; it doesn't require that all members of the military be gay. But the rest of the paragraph is something else entirely. Farah subtly shifts from the already-absurd contention that the Nazis were a "homosexual, pagan cult" to the suggestion that gays are Nazis, and that we may therefore see a repeat of Nazi Germany in our "own society." There's nothing funny about that; it's just deranged.
Up next, WND continues its assault on CPAC, the annual conference at which far-right lunatics and hustlers peddled their Clinton-is-a-murderer crazytalk in the 1990s and where Ann Coulter goes when she wants to engage in a little gay-bashing in front of an appreciative audience. You'd think CPAC would be WND's kind of party, but it isn't. WND hates CPAC, because although CPAC is the kind of gathering where people laugh along as Ann Coulter calls someone a "faggot," it isn't the kind of gathering where there are bouncers at the door making sure no gays get in. To the crackpots at WorldNetDaily, who consider gays worse than the KKK and the Nazis a gay pagan cult, CPAC's refusal to ban gays from the event means the conference has abandoned conservatism. (Note, however, that WND is cool with Birchers and Birthers attending CPAC. Just no gays, please.)
Anyway, having repeatedly denounced CPAC for being too friendly to gays (i.e., not barring the door against them), WND now peddles the suggestion that CPAC "has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is working to bring America under Saudi-style Shariah law."
So, let me get this straight: CPAC has been taken over by gay-friendly advocates of Sharia law? Uh … right.
From ABC News' Topline, accessed January 3:
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Continuing its tradition of anti-gay rhetoric, The Washington Times has responded to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by publishing numerous homophobic editorials and op-eds.
In a December 30 Washington Times editorial, Jeffrey Kuhner wrote that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is "an act of national suicide," claiming that it is "one of the most revolutionary and damaging acts ever done to a core American institution" and that it will "decimate the greatest fighting force on earth, undermining unit cohesion, morale and discipline - the lifeblood of a successful military."
From Kuhner's op-ed:
Moreover, Mr. Obama - again with GOP help - succeeded in getting "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) repealed, enabling homosexuals to serve openly in the military. This is one of the most revolutionary and damaging acts ever done to a core American institution. It will decimate the greatest fighting force on earth, undermining unit cohesion, morale and discipline - the lifeblood of a successful military. It is an act of national suicide.
In a January 2 editorial, The Washington Times again baselessly fearmongered over the repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," claiming that "[h]aving openly homosexual troops will be devastating to morale in the armed forces, and in practice the new policy's implementation will lead to the establishment of a privileged homosexual protected class with ramifications that will reach beyond military service."
From the Times editorial:
The politically wounded president enjoyed two last-minute victories when the lame-duck Congress flew to his rescue by ratifying the New START nuclear-arms treaty and repealing the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military. These were only victories for Mr. Obama on the domestic political scene. The START agreement will weaken the U.S. nuclear deterrent and hamper future missile-defense deployments. Having openly homosexual troops will be devastating to morale in the armed forces, and in practice the new policy's implementation will lead to the establishment of a privileged homosexual protected class with ramifications that will reach beyond military service.
Following the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, Equality Matters finds that most countries to legalize same-sex marriage first allowed gays soldiers to serve openly. Of the nine countries that allow same-sex marriage and have a standing military, eight of them first allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in their militaries.
In light of legislation repealing the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, Equality Matters reviews achievements in civil rights laws that were accomplished during the 19 years between racial integration of the military and the Supreme Court decision striking down laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Amid these groundbreaking legal changes, Martin Luther King warned that that there were still challenges to overcome in the fight for equal rights.
Townhall columnist Star Parker has an impressively unhinged reaction to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:
Homosexual behavior is unacceptable by these moral standards.
President Obama said that repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell "will strengthen our national security."
I cannot think of anything more dangerous to our national security and the ongoing strength of our nation than the collapse of our sense that there are objective rights and wrongs.
Really? The single greatest threat to national security and the strength of the nation is the existence of some openly gay Marines? That's the best news I've heard all day.
Among the most controversial reactions to the landmark repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a recent column at WorldNetDaily by Joseph Farah, in which he essentially urged soldiers and those interested in becoming soldiers not to serve in the U.S. Military.
"As much as I respect and admire the U.S. military as an institution, I would find myself actively encouraging men and women to leave - in droves," Farah, who oversees the well-read site, wrote in the column posted December 17 before the repeal occurred.
"If the U.S. military is going to be transformed into just another tool of twisted social engineering, rather than a force designed to defend America's national security interests, dedicated, brave and upstanding young men and women should no longer participate of their own free will," Farah added. "It's just that simple. Let the politicians cobble together a military of social deviants if they think they can."
The column drew several critical responses from those in the news business and those who follow military and gay rights issues, ranging from one who called it "irresponsible" to another describing it as "disgusting bigotry."
Mike Triplett, vice president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and top blogger on the group's website, blasted Farah's column.
"It is clearly, incredibly irresponsible. This is a good example of the kind of irresponsible commentary that goes on so often in the conservative press," he said. "It is unfortunate that there is so much irrational vindictive inside the conservative press and that it gets linked to by conservative bloggers and legitimate press. That is of greater concern, they are linked by more legitimate people."
Ashwin Madia, an Iraq War veteran and interim chairman of VoteVets.org, stated in an e-mail response to the column:
"It's disappointing to hear someone demand that brave American men and women stop serving their country because of his blind hatred for a particular group of people. Fortunately, those who have served in today's military - including leadership from every branch - are rightfully confident that every survey of service members is correct and this repeal will have little effect on recruitment, retention, and readiness."
He also added, "...the disgusting bigotry of Mr. Farah makes very clear who has rightfully earned the title of 'social deviant.'"
Col. Dave Lapan, a U.S. Department of Defense public affairs officer, dismissed Farah's column.
"We see editorials and opinions all the time and people are free to have opinions," Lapan said. "I would suspect that most people in the military are serving for other reasons and wouldn't listen to that type of admonition for people.
"The military is, if nothing else, a meritocracy, people advance because they are good at what they do, regardless of where they grew up or what gender they are or what racial group they grew up with."
Lapan added: "Historically, when other militaries have made this change, those who reported that the change would cause them to either leave the service or not join the service severely overestimated what actually happened in practice. Very small numbers actually followed through on that."
Jarrod Chlapowski, field and development director of Service Members United -- the largest gay and lesbian troop organization - said predictions of military problems are unfounded.
"They made much more dire predictions about white soldiers leaving the military during the integration of African-Americans in the military and it did not occur," said Chlapowski, an Army veteran who served from 2000 to 2005.
He said reactions like Farah's are not a surprise, but hardly the majority viewpoint: "We won our biggest gay rights victory yet and this is what you will see. Yes, the media should not be advocating something that is clearly wrong and incorrect, but it is an opinion column and he is entitled to it. The implementation of the repeal will be the best education in that regard, it will demonstrate that it is not an issue. We are at a point where we are not arguing for repeal, it is actually happening."
From the December 23 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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