What We Are Up Against
Anti-Gay Voices of 2008:
Bill O'Reilly (Host, The O'Reilly Factor, FOX News Channel)
Bill O'Reilly, who frequently appears on GLAAD's monthly "Best and Worst of National News," led a one-sided and inaccurate discussion of marriage equality on May 15 with Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly, who compared marriage for same-sex couples with polygamy and incest. Earlier this year, O'Reilly said Americans don't want to see "homosexual behavior legitimized" in reference to Whoopi Goldberg briefly kissing Katy Perry on The View on July 31, and he criticized Heinz for a TV commercial that included a kiss between two men on June 20. Most recently on December 10, he referred to the staff of the Los Angeles Times as "pinheads" for endorsing the Day Without a Gay protest against Proposition 8.
California's Yes on Proposition 8 Campaign
The Yes on Proposition 8 campaign filled the airwaves with deliberately misleading commercials about Proposition 8, which eliminated the right to marry for loving and committed same-sex couples in California. The ads relied on scare tactics and spread inflammatory lies, including that the defeat of Proposition 8 would mean changes in schools and churches. These ads used misinformation to shape public opinion and helped sway voters to pass the discriminatory ban, in spite of various legal experts and mainstream media outlets uniformly denouncing the dishonest approach.
Greg Gutfeld (Host, Red Eye, FOX News Channel)
FOX News Channel's late-night show Red Eye continued to feature sophomoric jabs at LGBT people. On May 20, host Greg Gutfeld and his guests grossly misrepresented serious medical concerns faced by transgender youth and laughed as one of his guests referred to transition as "turning a hole into a pole." Then Gutfeld criticized Ellen DeGeneres for announcing her upcoming wedding, saying Ellen should "shut the hell up about it." In his September 17 blog, Gutfeld ranted about diplomats saying, "These bloated bureaucrats would learn more in two days ducking for cover in Liberia, than two weeks trying to pick up transvestite hookers in Times Square."
James Dobson (Founder, Focus on the Family)
A national media platform gave airtime to an anti-gay activist when James Dobson, founder of anti-gay organization Focus on the Family, appeared on an episode of CNN Headline News and made false claims about Proposition 8, including that if the proposition failed, there would be a "spate of lawsuit against churches" and "all textbooks would have to be republished" and "everything in schools will change." The Museum of Broadcast Communications chose to honor Dobson by inducting Focus on the Family into the Radio Hall of Fame, despite his history of anti-gay rhetoric and lies. GLAAD produced a viral video to raise awareness of Dobson's attacks on the LGBT community and released a Call to Action against the Museum for honoring Dobson's lies and distortions aimed to hurt and marginalize LGBT people.
Jim Quinn (Host, The War Room With Quinn & Rose, Clear
During the November 6 broadcast of the nationally syndicated radio program The War Room with Quinn & Rose, co-host Jim Quinn made highly offensive and ignorant statements including "[G]ay marriage doesn't produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn't have – or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us." Despite numerous complaints from GLAAD's Call to Action, Clear Channel refused to issue an apology and has not disciplined Quinn for his disgusting and unacceptable remarks.
John Gibson (Host, The John Gibson Show, FOX News Radio)
Fox News Radio Host John Gibson was responsible for making made several tasteless, juvenile anti-gay jokes on his program. GLAAD first issued a Call to Action after he mocked the passing of actor Heath Ledger by making anti-gay jokes about his role in Brokeback Mountain on Fox News Radio's The John Gibson Show. As a result of the response by GLAAD's members, Gibson apologized for these remarks, but continued using anti-gay jokes on May 2. During a clip of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who is openly gay, Gibson cut to an audio clip of someone saying, "Oh, lesbians! Yummy!"
Laura Ingraham (Host, The Laura Ingraham Show)
Transgender people were repeatedly used as punching bags by Fox News Channel and guest Laura Ingraham, even as violence and harassment against transgender people continued with disturbing frequency throughout 2008. While guest hosting Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor on February 8, Ingraham interrupted a guest by saying that a transgender conference was "killing the culture." Earlier this year on The O'Reilly Factor, she questioned how parents of a transgender youth "aren't embarrassed" by their child, and most recently, on December 11, she alluded that being gay is a "bad choice" when discussing a Newsweek feature on marriage for same-sex couples.
New York Post
In 2008, the New York Post continued its long history of sensationalistic treatment of LGBT people and issues with two highly problematic headlines. On January 25, the tabloid printed the headline "Evil Lesbian Mom Left Toddler to Die Slow Death: DA," despite the fact that such a gratuitous description would not have been used were the subject straight. Additionally, on February 7, the Post dehumanized the transgender community by publishing the egregious headline "Axis of She-Vil" and sub-headline, "Death to Gays But Free Ops For Irani Trannies."
Pastor Rick Warren
Rick Warren has a history of using the media as a platform to spread divisive anti-gay rhetoric. Warren spread inaccuracies about Proposition 8, saying that it would "prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage" on Dateline. He also participated in a video interview with The Wall Street Journal on December 18 where he said that marriage for gay and lesbian couples was the equivalent of "having a brother and sister be together," "an older guy marrying a child" and "one guy having multiple wives." After President-elect Obama chose Warren to lead the invocation at the Presidential inauguration, GLAAD distributed instances of Warren's anti-gay defamation on glaadBLOG as a resource for journalists and bloggers.
Representative Sally Kern (R-OK)
Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern made headlines in March after telling a group of supporters that "the homosexual agenda is destroying our nation" in a gathering of Republicans outside the Capitol. She went on to say that the gay community is "the death knell in this country" and "the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism." GLAAD provided media training and media outreach support to local Oklahoma groups to ensure that LGBT advocates were included in local media coverage and balanced the harmful effects of such hateful remarks from an elected official.
Sean Delonas (Cartoonist, New York Post)
The New York Post and cartoonist Sean Delonas, who has been the subject of three GLAAD Calls to Action, continued juvenile treatments of LGBT issues in an editorial cartoon that ran after openly gay actor George Takei announced his upcoming marriage to his partner in California. Delonas drew crew members from Star Trek, which Takei appeared on as Sulu, looking on in disbelief as Takei exchanged nuptials with a man. One character was drawn saying "Totally Illogical, Captain." GLAAD placed a Call to Action to demand that the New York Post stop printing such immature items on their editorial pages.
The Manhattan Institute
The Manhattan Institute continued to blame poverty on the poor in 2007, decrying the efficacy of any and all public efforts to address economic hardship (the Manhattan Institute doesn't suffer a similar affliction; they spent more than $12 million in 2006 to get out their message.) Par for the course was a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed by Senior Fellow Steven Malanga, who scoffed at efforts to raise the minimum wage or protect labor rights because "poverty in America results increasingly from the choices that people make, not our economic system's supposed shortcomings."
Along similar lines, Fellow Heather MacDonald deplored calls to expand social services for babies and children as "a pathetic diversion... as if the last 40 years of poverty policy haven't proven the futility of such money sinkholes." Noting that the lowest income Americans are often uneducated, underemployed, and disproportionately include single mothers struggling to raise children on their own, Malanga, MacDonald, and many of the nearly 40 other commentators on the Manhattan Institute payroll offer an uncomplicated prescription: the poor should simply get an education, get a job, and above all, get married. Nothing could be easier.
Competitive Enterprise Institute
After more than 20 years fighting environmental protection and regulation of toxic waste and emissions, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, with the backing of the world's largest oil companies, today devotes some of its $3 million annual operating budget to propagating conspiracy theories about the scientific consensus on global warming. Climate scientists, according to Fellow Steven Milloy, are part of a sinister plot. "Averting planetary disaster is not what global warming alarmism is all about. There are many nefarious agendas driving the global warming controversy, none of them have anything to do with 'saving' the planet."
The first threat is "radical left-wing environmentalists whose goal...is global socialism." Other conspirators include "Europeans [who] now see global warming as a means of hampering U.S. economic competitiveness" and yes, even Wal-Mart, the conservative stalwart, which is scheming to sell compact fluorescent bulbs rather than the cheaper but less efficient incandescent variety. To Milloy, even a modest agenda to address global climate change amounts to a full-scale "recipe for social, political and economic disaster...for everyone, with the possible exception of the misanthropic, back-to-nature socialists among us." A fringe viewpoint? Perhaps, but as a regular contributor to FoxNews.com , Milloy enjoys a wide audience.
The Heritage Foundation
Washington's premier conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, will celebrate its 35th birthday in 2008 (no need for a present -- last year, they declared total assets of over $213 million). But if you imagine that their advancing age has encouraged mature and responsible thinking, think again. This year, Heritage Foundation "expert" and vice president of government relations, Michael Franc, stooped to a true low: comparing the new congressional majority to the terrorist mastermind behind the massacre on 9/11.
"I do not question the patriotism of these lawmakers," Franc avers, but "who would have thought that one of the chief challenges confronting congressional Democrats would be a need to distinguish themselves from Osama bin Laden?" What have Nancy Pelosi and her caucus done that makes it so hard for Franc to tell them apart from the brutal Al Qaeda leader? First, Franc points out that bin Laden opposes the Iraq war and believes that it has endangered America's international reputation. Congressional Democrats have also been heard criticizing the war, noting the international opinion surveys that show a less favorable impression of the U.S. What's more, Franc will have us know, bin Laden criticized capitalism in his latest video, while Senator Harry Reid speaks about the middle class squeeze. Finally, bin Laden thinks global warming is a threat and could ultimately lead to widespread death and displacement and "liberal lawmakers make these points every day." What's the lesson for the man who compares our nation's elected leadership to murderous terrorists? "Liberals need to wean themselves from... excessive rhetoric." We'll be right behind you, Mr. Franc.
Family Research Council
According to their mission statement, The Family Research Council "champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society." But this mainstay of the far religious right isn't talking about just any marriage, or any family. Indeed their $22 million in assets are devoted to promoting a narrow and exclusive definition of both. "Society gives 'benefits' to marriage because marriage gives benefits to society," writes FRC's Peter Sprigg in USA Today, "Therefore, when those who are not married, such as people in homosexual or cohabiting relationships, seek to receive such public benefits, they bear the burden of proof. They must show that such relationships benefit society (not just themselves) in the same way and to the same degree that authentic marriage between a man and a woman does. This is a burden they cannot meet. Only the union of a man and a woman can result in the natural reproduction that is essential literally to continue the human race." Last time we checked, it was all too easy for cohabitating opposite sex couples to engage in "natural reproduction" -- especially as the FRC condemns abortion and contraception.
The Hoover Institution
Founded in 1919 by 31st President-to- be Herbert Hoover, the Hoover Institution has been home to ultraconservatives like Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, enjoying an operating budget well over $38 million in 2007. As long-time advocates of tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations, Hoover has updated and revised its 1985 pitch for regressive taxation, "The Flat Tax."
Their plan calls for a flat tax on personal and corporate incomes that would effectively place a greater burden on America's struggling middle and lower income earners, while significantly lowering the amount paid by individuals and corporations who benefit the most from our economy. Their flat tax at a "low, uniform 19%" would actually raise taxes on the lower and middle classes, while dramatically cutting them for the highest earners. Sadly, it seems that if the Hoover Institution wins its 25 year struggle to raise the taxes of those least able to pay them, the promise of "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage" will yet remain an even more dismal reminder of Hoover's failed public policy.
Employment Policy Institute/ Center for Consumer Freedom/Center for
Rick Berman is quite a guy. Back in 1991, he founded the Employment Policy Institute which to this day doggedly repeats a single point in publications from The New York Times to The San Diego Union-Tribune: raising the minimum wage, instituting a living wage, and requiring employers to put a penny toward employee health care are all guaranteed to destroy jobs and help almost no one. But why content yourself with a single one-note right wing think tank when you can run three of them?
Through his Center for Consumer Freedom, Berman argues against schools banning junk food and laws requiring restaurant menus to list calorie content. Through the highly abrasive Center for Union Facts, he runs newspaper ads attacking the labor movement and asserting that union leaders -- in general -- embezzle their members' dues money. His editorials, meanwhile, deride labor as a "perpetual money machine" and sound the warning that facilitating the process for employees to choose union representation could strengthen unions. And then? "Stronger unions use their greater financial strength to push the activist, liberal agenda that will elect more union-friendly legislators." They might even try to raise the minimum wage.
The libertarian Cato Institute has always toed a consistent line: America would be better off without most of the laws, regulations, and public goods we have today. The privatization of everything from schools to Social Security is part of the plan. Accordingly, Michael F. Cannon, Cato's director of Health Policy, wants you to trust free markets with your life. Cannon advocates cutting the public safety net out of health care altogether. He makes the case against "conservatives [who] have been seduced into thinking we can achieve universal coverage in a free-market way," arguing that "a free market would not provide health insurance to all; some people are uninsurable. .." And with that, Cannon is off organizing the "Anti-Universal Coverage Club." That's the last we'll hear from him about the "uninsurables" -- mostly very sick people with expensive medical conditions, who certainly cannot afford to pay for the care they need out-of-pocket -- because those of us who think that sick people ought to have access to medical care are "lefties and rent-seeking weasels." But Cannon needn't worry: while millions of Americans are still without adequate health coverage, and medical expenses are a leading contributor to personal bankruptcy, they're not feeling the squeeze at Cato, which declared assets of well over $22 million last year.
American Enterprise Institute
Observers from across the political spectrum have noted that a college education is out of reach for the majority of Americans. Most people have the soaring cost of tuition in mind when they say this. But Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve and now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (2006 net assets: $69 million), is talking about IQ. While experts on human intelligence are still debating the worth of IQ tests, with some arguing that the tests only measure the ability to take the test itself, Murray is eager to stake the educational future of America on it. To his mind, IQ tests prove that most Americans are too stupid for college. "It makes sense for only about 15 percent of the population -- 25 percent, if one stretches it -- to get a college education. And yet more than 45 percent of recent high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges... Government policy contributes to the problem by making college scholarships and loans too easy to get." You heard it from American Enterprise first, ladies and Gentlemen: too many Americans are getting a college degree. Let's get to work cutting those lousy scholarships.
Peter LaBarbera - You just know that our friend Peter was
going to snag at least one award. Of all of Porno Petey's exploits in 2008, one
Earlier this year, there was a small break out of staph infections amongst a group of gay men in San Francisco. Rather than waiting for the entire story to come out, members of the religious right (especially LaBarbera) claimed that this infection (MRSA) proved that homosexuality is a so-called “dangerous lifestyle.” LaBarbera in general tried to link MRSA to the early days of the AIDS crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control quickly said that based on the information, the MRSA infection had nothing to do with the lgbt orientation. In an attempt to backtrack from earlier statements, LaBarbera claimed that “gay activists” were falsely accusing him of calling MRSA a “new gay plague.”
But no one accused him of this. LaBarbera was playing a game of semantics to cover up his jumping the gun. However, judge for yourself after reading LaBarbera’s original claim:
Is this not an eerie reminder of the initial stories 25 years ago about AIDS -- then called GRID (Gay-Related Immunodeficiency Disease)? It is unfathomable that after that plague, disease specialists and the media are now surprised at the correlation of new infections with homosexual behavior;Wake up, medical and political establishment: homosexual behavior is unhealthy -- no matter how many secular sermons you preach against "homophobia. " Due to liberal political correctness, which treats aberrant -- even deadly -- behaviors as a "civil right," we as a society don't seem to have learned much from the AIDS pandemic.
Who are you going to believe? Me or your own eyes " Award Part 2
Rick Warren - Warren is a classic example of giving some people enough rope to hang themselves. In the furor caused by President-Elect Obama’s selection of him to give the inaugural invocation, Warren tried to blame lgbts for the controversy. In a video message on his church’s webpage, Warren said he never equated same sex relationships to incest or pedophilia. Unfortunately for him, an online interview with Beliefnet.com proved otherwise.
So the question remains were we the ones who gave Warren the rope or was it Obama?
“Now that I’ve got it on my shoe, how do I get it off” Award
The Mormon church - Come on guys, while it is true that you were well within your First Amendment rights, there are consequences for every action done and every word said. In your victory regarding the Proposition 8 vote in California, you did the following:
Jumped into a situation that had absolutely nothing to do with the survival of the Mormon church.
Put up a wad of cash to fund lies about gays forcing children to be “indoctrinated” about homosexuality.
Aligned yourselves with people and groups who think that you are a cult and basically despise you.
Beat up on a group of people who, to my knowledge, have never done you any harm.
And all in the name of God.
The "Height of Hypocrisy" Award
The American Family Association, various religious right groups - After weeks of railing against lgbts for our Proposition 8 protests, after espousing the beliefs about a free nation and people's right to make choices unafraid, after wrapping themselves up in the flag of democracy, the AFA and various religious right groups made a 360 degree turn and called for a boycott against Campbell Soup for ads placed in the Advocate magazine. And the main bone of contention - the ads dared to show a same-sex couple and their child enjoying a bowl of soup.
Now see, I thought we were going to do the soup indoctrination thing after the inauguration.
"If Edward R. Murrow was alive, he would beat the hell out of you" Award
American Family Association' s One News Now - This phony news services makes any of the yellow journalism committed by William Randolph Hearst look like Pulitzer Prize-winning material.
From writing articles telling only one side of the story, to its citing of Paul Cameron and legitimate studies taken out of context, to the hilarious comments section (where the so-called Christian readers of the site repeatedly reveal their abject ignorance and bigotry), if One News Now tells the true "Christian" side of today's cultural issues, then I think Jesus needs to sit some of his followers down for a looooong talk on truth.
Janet Folger Porter - Anti-gay spokesperson Porter finally reached her nadir of nuttiness this year through a column that took an interestingly mind-boggling look into the future of a Hilary Clinton presidency. Apparently in this future, gays have taken over and are working to re-educate her and other “Christians.” Those who will not re-educate will be imprisoned in filthy dungeons.
And here I thought the most we were going to do was strap them down and force them to watch Funny Lady for 24 consecutive hours.
“Exposed for Lying but He Keeps on Trying” Lifetime Achievement Award
Paul Cameron - Despite the fact that he is constantly and consistently exposed for bad research tactics, Cameron continues to spout his discredited anti-gay studies. And what’s more, he is referred to continuously by members of the religious right. This year, Cameron even traveled to Russia and gave a talk at Moscow State University. You gotta admire his chutzpah if not his lack of integrity.
“Is She Our Ally or Enemy” Award
Elaine Donnelly - Donnelly, head of the Center for Military Readiness, gave testimony in front of Congress this year against allowing gays to serve openly in the military She actually did more to make our case than we ever could. She got her behind handed to her for spouting inaccurate anecdotes and horror stories designed to appeal to fears about lgbts. And she gives me an idea; perhaps Paul Cameron should be the next to testify in front of Congress.
"Is He Our Ally or Enemy" Award
George Rekers - Former University of South Carolina professor and Family Research Council board member George Rekers struck a blow for gay adoption this year by testifying against it.
Rekers had testified in defense of Florida's gay adoption ban in November. Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman not only ruled against Florida but said that Rekers' testimony cannot be considered as credible or worthy of forming the basis of public policy.
Ironically, this is the same conclusion that Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy White reached in 2005 when Rekers testified in defense of Arkansas's gay adoption ban.
This information enables Rekers to become a two-time award recipient as I now bestow upon him the coveted "Second Verse, Same as the First but the Song Still Sucks" Award.
“Say it loud if you are black and proud but keep that gay *&@ to yourself” Award
To Harry Jackson, Ken Hutcherson, Alveda King, and the rest of the black ministers and spokespeople (this means you too, Crystal Dixon) who spout silly homilies like “don’t equate my skin with your sin” and help propagate the lie that the lgbt orientation and the African-American identity are mutually exclusive.
To all of the black ministers nationwide who knowingly have lgbt of color congregants but will not pursue private one-on-one nonjudgmental conversations with them
To Ebony, Essence, Jet, Emerge and other African-American oriented magazines who write very few articles regarding lgbts of color.
To all of the African-American social organizations who will not even mention lgbts of color.
To all of the African-American oriented television shows (such as House of Payne) who feature no lgbt of color characters.
To all of the African-American motion pictures who feature lgbt of color characters strictly as vehicles for the worst form of comedy.
To BET network for continuing to show Soul Plane almost every month (thereby showcasing the worst stereotypes about lgbts of color).
To all of the civic minded African-American spokespeople and leaders who will not even address the fact that lgbts of color exist.
To all of those in the African-American community who reduce lgbt of color relationships to sexual innuendoes by their patronizing comments like "not caring about who someone sleeps with."
To all of you, thank you for sowing the seeds of inferiority in the minds of lgbts of color and thereby causing them to act in ways that make the HIV rate go up in the African-American community.
And finally . . . .
The Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters Misinformer of the Year Award
Matt Barber - This guy’s entire career as a religious right spokesperson has been a fluke from the beginning. Originally, he was fired from AllState Insurance for anti-gay columns he wrote. Although Barber claimed to have written them on his own time, it was alleged that he used company equipment to do so. Also he did involve the company in his nonsense by listing the fact that he was an employee in his columns.
Barber parlayed that furor into becoming a spokesman for Concerned Women for America, where he scrapped with folks like Wayne Besen and Keith Boykin on coast to coast television, despite often times being in way over his head.
Whether using antiquated arguments against lgbts (citing that old inaccurate line about lgbts engaging in a organized campaign to take over America put forth by the book After the Ball) or constantly reminding everyone about alleged gay sexual intercourse (aiding and abetting LaBarbera on the MRSA debacle), Barber's attacks on the lgbt community have bordered on fanatic and loony.
But one act cements this award for Barber.
In June, he repeated the “gays have short lifespan” lie. In doing so, he cited the 1997 Canadian study with the full knowledge that in 2001 the study’s authors complained about the distortion of their work.
And he attacked the credibility of the authors for daring to complain. He called their words “worthless fluff” and said they were under “tremendous pressure” to refute their original work. Naturally Barber did not elaborate about this “tremendous pressure.”
You get that: a failed insurance salesman-cum- rightwing spokesman attacks the credibility of prominent researchers simply because they complain as to how their work has been distorted.
So in the grand scheme of things, we are talking about going from the Immaculate Conception, calming stormy seas, turning water into wine, healing the sick, and raising the dead to attempting make inaccurate information credible with a stroke of a keyboard.
Christianity hasn't fallen this far since Jan Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting discovered hairpieces.
Barber left Concerned Women for America in late 2008 to be a staff member at the religious right college, Liberty University. But he refuses to let go of the spotlight.
Like a quarterback falling on the football and thereby sealing a Superbowl victory, Barber cemented this award with a recent column comparing lgbts and progressives in general to idol worshippers and child sacrificers of Biblical times.
No need to run the clock out, Matt. At this juncture I doubt anyone can match your silliness.
So that's it. Those are my award winners. And by the way, the award is a huge bronx cheer.
Hey, if I really hated these guys, I would force them to listen to the Osmonds' One Bad Apple.