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Why Do The New York Times And Other Media “Rightwash” The AFA and NOM’s Hate Speech?

The New Civil Rights Movement‘s David Badash is slamming The New York Times for neglecting to mention that the American Family Association is a Southern Law Poverty Center-certified hate group in an article Erik Eckholm published about the AFA today. Mr. Eckholm’s brushes aways the SLPC by calling them “liberal critics”, but his the article does mention that the AFA’s spokesman Bryan Fisher has said that all Nazis were gay, that Muslims should never get citizenship, and that welfare recipients “rut like rabbits.”

But why do mainstream media organizations continue to legitimize hate group leaders like Fisher and Tony Perkins by covering them without mentioning their SLPC hate group designation in the first place? Is it out of laziness? A sensationalist grab for ratings? A desire to placate their conservative financiers? Truth Wins Out‘s Wayne Bensen has some thoughts:

His entire column, entitled “Journalists Must Stop ‘Rightwashing’ Reality” is worth reading, but here’s the heart of it:

I’m willing to bet that the well educated NPR reporter and producers knew that science says that “ex-gay” therapy is hokum. Yet, thanks to the Foxification of news, professional journalists eschew truth and accuracy for the false God of “balance.”

It seems to me that too many news reporters appear terrified of the fire breathing right and will compromise their professional standards to avoid their wrath. It was always a problem, but the timidity has only intensified since the rogue Teabaggers spooked members of Congress and the press over healthcare reform at town hall meetings. Now, it seems much of the cowed media bends over backwards to appease “conservative correctness,” even if they know that they are helping to promulgate known falsehoods…

It seems [New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof] conveniently forgot how evangelicals played a key role in bringing America the nightmare of George W. Bush. It appears that Kristof hasn’t watched the GOP presidential debates either, where the candidates desperately compete for the evangelical vote by disavowing science and reality…

Instead of licking the boots of evangelicals, why doesn’t Kristof … ask these evangelicals why their overseas missions sometimes bring us legislation like the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda?

The truth is, it’s much easier for journalists to “Rightwash,” than ask the tough questions that would engender a vicious conservative backlash.

We’ve asked the question here at Queerty as well and it astounds us that almost no television journalists covering Marcus Bachmann’s ex-gay clinic and discussing the National Organization for Marriage have ever brought up the American Psychological Association’s debunking of “ex-gay therapy.” So what’s really going on and how can we force news outlets to have a higher standard instead of just passing off far right talking points as news?

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Aug 4, 2011
Tagged: , ,

  • 25 Comments
    • Cam
      Cam

      Because every single time they report something accurately they are accused of being biased and liberal. So now they whitewash everything because they would rather cover up than report the truth and have one crazy person claim that reporting the truth means they are biased.

      It’s a clever game and the papers fell for it.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The crustybastard
      The crustybastard

      There used to be regulations that prohibited the concentration of media ownership.

      As in other industries, those regulations were attacked by corporations, politicians rushed to accommodate those corporations, deregulation ensued, ownership was promptly consolidated through mergers, buyouts and bankruptcies permitting those few politically connected megacorporations the leverage to increase prices, cut services, and destroy the unions thereby eliminating most good jobs (and most of the good workers.)

      Neither politicians nor corporations benefit from a strong, diligent Fourth Estate. That’s why they worked so closely to destroy it, why current American media thinks “unbiased” means “uncritical,” and why there are 400 channels of programs like “Hillbilly Handfishing.”

      Aug 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thom Watson
      Thom Watson

      “Mr. Eckholm’s brushes aways the SLPC by calling them “liberal critics”, but his the article does mention that the AFA’s spokesman Bryan Fisher has said that all Nazis were gay…”

      That not only doesn’t mitigate the original statement in my opinion, but makes it worse, because Eckholm calls that theory by Fischer, which not just says that all Nazis were gay but that they were “homosexual thugs”, merely a “disputed” one. Respected historians agree that this “theory” is not “disputed,” but completely discredited and a lie. For Eckholm to even hint that it might be valid, because it’s in dispute, is sloppy journalism at a minimum, and unconscionable.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jewed Law
      Jewed Law

      Huh? Seriously? The media is slanted to the RIGHT? Wow. Has anyone here ever READ the NY Times? Ever? If you folks have truly convinced yourselves of something so conspicuously untrue—that the NY Times and the media in general are openly conservative organizations—then, well, there just isn’t any hope for rational discussion with you. You’ll convince yourselves that the sky is green and the grass is blue and start the name-calling against anyone who disagrees with you. Again: wow.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Armand
      Armand

      We know The New York Times (NYT) will soon become fish wrap.

      I mean really, NYT worked 14 months developing a paywall that cannot help a sinking ship as its subscribers drop like flies at bad disco ball.

      Goodbye NYT, parochial beacon of pseudo intellectuals and radical Muslim sympathizers.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Armand
      Armand

      We know The New York Times (NYT) will soon become fish wrap.

      I mean really, NYT worked 14 months developing a paywall that cannot help a sinking ship as its subscribers drop like flies at a bad disco ball.

      Goodbye NYT, parochial beacon of pseudo intellectuals and radical Muslim sympathizers.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LOL
      LOL

      The New York Times, “renowned” for journalism, referred to gay people as “perverts” and “deviants” in its news stories well into the seventies (and occasionally afterwards, well into the 1980s). I wouldn’t expect them to understand why a hate group is a hate group, when they’ve been so adept at hate themselves over the years.

      Just wait another few years… the NYT is dying and won’t be around in much of any form to worry about by then.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Libertarian Larry
      Libertarian Larry

      @Armand: Well said.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      None of Besen’s reasons are correct. Like many with connections to journalism, he is too close to the subject to see correctly.
      This is a well used strategy, an offshoot of the southern strategy, to use us as a wedge issue to frighten the public into voting for fiscally disastrous republicans. It is used by the entire media, left, right, and center, because they are all owned by the same multinationals.
      There’s not much we can do about it as long as we listen to the excuses from Besen and others. Not to be hypercritical. Besen has been excellent on other issues. But on the media, he’s just too close to be objective.
      We first have to see clearly what they are doing. Then we might be able to invent a strategy to counter it. Off hand, I think a PR campaign against the wedge issue media could work.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      There is a gaping hole in the “news” market, that is just begging to be filled. We have lots of news papers and news channels, but there is something missing.

      The new news channel, and/or the new news paper, should be named “TRUE NEWS”.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • :)
      :)

      @Steve:
      Al Jazeera just started airing in NY

      Aug 4, 2011 at 10:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • skzip888
      skzip888

      Nobody reads print anymore except your Grandma, and she has nothing but time to watch televangelists and vote.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DannyB
      DannyB

      Balance is important. Cover both sides.

      Some people say the sun rises in the East.

      But other people say it rises in the West.

      It is important to give both views equal consideration. Fair and balanced. :-)

      Aug 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DannyB
      DannyB

      @skzip888

      Grandma also sends money to the televangelists and whatever candidates the televangelists say that God officially supports.

      Aug 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Abirdwillingtobeitself
      Abirdwillingtobeitself

      I’m glad that Bensen is speaking out about this. News is about accurate reporting, and accuracy requires a definite point of view. We expect “balance” in the court room, which is so often a circus, not in the news room.

      Aug 5, 2011 at 12:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • xander
      xander

      @QUEERTY : Wayne’s last name is BESEN.

      @DannyB. : Sorry to hear about your grandma…There’s often someone like her in so many US families.

      The sun ‘rises’ in the East, however.

      There’s no “two sides” on some issues: the AFA and NOM consistently put out information which is not factual. The Hate Group designation comes not from the opinions per se, but from the lies and falsehoods.

      Aug 5, 2011 at 12:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      There is no such thing as balance. There is right and wrong, love and hate. The AFA is a hate group, we aren’t. Nuff said.

      Aug 5, 2011 at 9:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Timmmeeeyyy!!!`
      Timmmeeeyyy!!!`

      “Yet, thanks to the Foxification of news, professional journalists eschew truth and accuracy for the false God of “balance.”

      The truth does not lie half way between right and wrong.

      Aug 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sad
      Sad

      Please look at how the media has been treating racist, homophobic and antisemitic Pat Buchanan for decades. He and his GOP cohorts have gotten a free pass on their bigotry for years because they represent the GOP elite.

      Buchanan can appear on a Neo-Nazi radio station promoting his book and the next day appear on MSNBC or CNN where he’s treated as a serious, respected conservative.

      It’s all sick.

      Look around at the complete abdication of responsibility over the failed economy. The GOP caused this mess. But they refuse to take responsibility.

      The GOProud idiots are only too happy to defend Ann Coulter, a monstrous bigot who has spouted racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim crap for years. GOProud has no problem being part of party that sees them as second class citizens.

      Aug 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PTBoat
      PTBoat

      @Cam: You are absolutely correct. The sad thing is that the pendulum has swung so far right that these SS type hate groups actually get to be featured as if they are anything but fringe. America has yet to understand that their actions and speech are very similar to those of the neo-nazis and the KKK. Articles, like Times, and radio stories, like NPR’s, only help to further obfuscate the reasons that the SPLC designated them as hate groups along with their brethren.

      Aug 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      Is the SPLC the hate-group-labeler of record?

      Aug 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DannyB
      DannyB

      I hope it was obvious I was sarcastic about fair & balanced. I did put a smiley.

      Aug 6, 2011 at 12:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DannyB
      DannyB

      @xander

      That there are no two sides on some issues was my point.

      That televangelsts lie was another point.

      Aug 6, 2011 at 12:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • xander
      xander

      @DannyB : (23) My fault, not yours….I’m terribly literal at times. And those televangelists know how to fire up those telespectators, like rock stars getting fans in a mad frenzy.
      /\
      I’m still disappointed in NPR’s including the ‘ex-gay’ people on the programme without tough(er) questions on the ethics, success or reality of ‘changing’ orientation.

      Aug 6, 2011 at 1:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Armand
      Armand

      @:): Al Jazeera?

      Are you serious? Al Jazeera promotes fundamentalist Islam (disseminate pictures and videos of Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah, not to mention hate speech toward homosexuals) in arabic in the Middle East.

      However, the english Al Jazeera caters to the Western society by excluding fundamentalist Islam mentalities but under the surface promotes anti-Western feelings.

      I would rather swallow my pride and be caught reading New York Times than watch and listen to Al Jazeera.

      Aug 6, 2011 at 3:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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