KHOW guest host Brauchler: "[T]he Navy are the light-in-the-loafers service"

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630 KHOW-AM guest co-host George Brauchler asked on the July 6 Caplis & Silverman Show whether being gay in the Navy is "like putting a kid in a candy shop" and later described his "inappropriate and funny" remark as "insinuat[ing]" that "the Navy are the light-in-the-loafers service." Furthermore, Brauchler misrepresented the results of a poll to suggest that most U.S. service members oppose allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

During a July 6 discussion about gays in the military with guest Jason Knight, an openly gay former naval petty officer and current communications associate for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Caplis & Silverman Show guest co-host George Brauchler followed guest co-host Darren McKee's question about "the worst thing in the world about being gay in the Navy" by asking, "It's like putting a kid in a candy shop, isn't it?" Brauchler later stated that he was "insinuat[ing]" that "the Navy are the light-in-the-loafers service."

Additionally, Brauchler distorted a 2006 Zogby International poll that, according to McKee, found that in a "survey of military personnel who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan, three-quarters said they're comfortable interacting with gays and lesbians." Brauchler acknowledged that "75 percent of them said, 'Hey, I feel comfortable working around gays,' " but went on to claim that the "same group when they were asked this question: Do you agree or disagree with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military? -- 26 percent agreed. Twenty-six percent. So, that's the true numbers here."

While the Zogby poll did show that 26 percent of respondents either "agree[d]" or "strongly agree[d]" "with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military," Brauchler did not mention that 32 percent of respondents said they were "neutral" on that question and 5 percent said they were "not sure." Thirty-seven percent of military personnel either "disagree[d]" or "strongly disagree[d]" with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

As Colorado Media Matters previously noted, the Zogby poll was conducted October 24-26, 2006, and released in December. According to the poll's Executive Summary:

Three-quarters of those surveyed stated that they felt comfortable around gays and lesbians and four-in-five (78%) noted that they would join the military regardless of their open inclusion.

From the July 6 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show, with guest hosts George Brauchler and Darren McKee:

MCKEE: I'm trying to think of what could possibly be bad, by the way, of serving with a gay person in the military. These are all the arguments that I hear: You wouldn't want to be in the foxhole; you have to trust people. Did the rest of your, the, the people you were with, did they trust you?

KNIGHT: Of course. Of course.

MCKEE: Right, so what's the worst thing in the world about being gay in the Navy?

BRAUCHLER: It's like --

KNIGHT: I mean, I can't -- there isn't --

BRAUCHLER: It's like putting a kid in a candy shop, isn't it?

[McKee laughs and claps]

KNIGHT: -- I mean, obviously you're going to have your, your troublemakers on either side. But, I mean, it's just, it's ridiculous this, you know, that they're, that this is even going on.

MCKEE: Well, see, that -- George just tried to say this sly little thing there. He said it's like putting a kid in the candy shop. And you're insinuating with that little joke there, George --

BRAUCHLER: I, I was being inappropriate and funny.

MCKEE: But, but that's, see, I think that's the mentality, that, that all of a sudden, you know, oh, this is what's going to happen.

BRAUCHLER: No.

MCKEE: So people like Jason are going to be starting hitting on his fellow soldiers.

BRAUCHLER: No, that's not my insinuation. Anybody in the Army and the Marines know exactly what my insinuation was, and that is that the Navy are the light-in-the-loafers service. [McKee laughs] That's not a reference to you, Jason. That's a -- and you, Jason, you've heard that too. You, you have your, you have --

MCKEE: What are you talking about, George?

BRAUCHLER: Hang on, Darren. Jason, you have --

KNIGHT: Wow.

BRAUCHLER: -- you have your digs on the Army and the Marines, I'm sure. I mean, just like every inter-service rivalry exists, that was my sort of attempt at humor.

[...]

MCKEE: Well, to -- talking about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, in the, in the Post today, in the op-ed piece, [reading] a 2006 Zogby survey, survey of military personnel who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan, three-quarters said they're comfortable interacting with gays and lesbians; only 5 percent say they are "very uncomfortable." And isn't that the root of the basis of the foundation of "don't ask, don't tell," is that you wouldn't feel confident serving with your, with your fellow soldiers?

BRAUCHLER: It's funny you bring that, that poll up, Darren, because so did General, I think it was [U.S. Army Gen. Peter] Schoomaker, who wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times back in January of this year, quoting it as well. I actually went ahead and did something the press apparently didn't want to do, and that's pull the actual Zogby International poll. And what you find is it's one of the misquoted, one of the most misquoted and mischaracterized polls you could find. Yes, 75 percent of them said, "Hey, I feel comfortable working around gays." But that same group when they were asked this question: Do you agree or disagree with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military? -- 26 percent agreed. Twenty-six percent. So, that's the true numbers here. And if you look at this, the breakdown, it doesn't just go by political party. Democrats, only one in three Democrats.

MCKEE: These are, these are, these are military members?

BRAUCHLER: These are the same members --

MCKEE: Right.

BRAUCHLER: -- you quoted as saying 75 percent say they feel comfortable working around them. Only one in four said that they think they ought to be allowed to serve openly.

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