If CNN Invites Richard Cohen Back On The Air, It’ll Cement Its Irresponsibility. And GLAAD’s

We agree with CNN’s Kyra Phillips: The vicious hate mail sent her way had absolutely no place in the argument to convince CNN to stop inviting ex-gay leaders like Richard Cohen (and hate leaders like Bill Donohue) on its airwaves. That’s also where we agree with GLAAD, which issued its standard follow up missive after Phillips addressed the outcry on the network yesterday. But, hmmm, that’s probably where our agreement with Jarrett Barrios & Co. ends.

Once again proving its lack of conviction, GLAAD effectively lets Phillips and CNN off the hook for even inviting people like Cohen on the air — with no promise to actually re-evaluate its standards on who it will give platforms to.

In its statement, GLAAD writes:

GLAAD thanks Kyra Phillips and CNN for listening to community concerns and acknowledging, “Richard Cohen was not the most appropriate guest to have on.” We also appreciate the follow-up interview with Clinton Anderson of the American Psychological Association, a qualified expert in his field.

[…] We also want to acknowledge Phillips’ past reporting on LGBT issues. Her coverage of Lt. Col Victor Fehrenbach, who was dismissed from military service under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was nominated for a 2010 GLAAD Award for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment.

Our Call to Action regarding Phillips’ coverage of Richard Cohen, and CNN’s initial missteps in addressing the issue, does not take away from Phillips’ fair, accurate and inclusive reporting in the past. We appreciate what she said today during her broadcast and look forward to working with her as a resource on future segments.

But what about the prospect of unfair and inaccurate reporting in the future? Of course, we can’t criticize a cable network for frauds it has yet to commit. Except CNN is failing to commit to refuse further contributions from folks like Cohen, who are promoting terribly unhealthy and destructive practices that have been widely discredited.

Unless Phillips introduces further segments with Cohen and his ilk with a disclaimer — “Our next guest has zero credibility, should be not taken seriously, and parental discretion is advised” — then you can conclude her reflection on this week’s events didn’t go far enough, and GLAAD’s efforts failed.