One-Sided CNN Omits Conservatives From Prop 8, Gay Teen Coverage

CNN continued its one-sided coverage of homosexual issues with two segments on Monday's Newsroom which featured only liberal activists. Anchor Kyra Phillips endorsed the work of Kamora Harrington and her "True Colors" group, which "organizes the largest LGBT youth conference in the country." Correspondent Dan Simon played a sound bite from one of the opponents of Prop 8 without playing any from supporters.

Phillips led her segment with Harrington, which began 38 minutes into the 10 am EST, by hyping the apparently dire situation with homosexual teens: "Gay bullying, gay suicides- they're sad stories that we keep hearing over and over again. But if the anecdotes weren't enough, there is a pair of new studies detailing just how hard it is to grow up gay." After playing a clip from a student discussion group which her guest regularly holds, the anchor turned to her and gave her first hint that she endorsed her organization's work:

PHILLIPS: Well, that's from a home for LGBT teens that I had a chance to visit earlier this year. It's called True Colors, and there, the staff is already practicing what these studies show: acceptance is critical for gay teens. Kamora Herrington is the mentoring program coordinator at True Colors, and Kamora, I had the pleasure to meet so many of your kids: kids that actually have been thrown into foster care because their parents simply don't want them. I mean, it was heartbreaking to hear so many of these stories. So, let's talk about these studies- and you're already way ahead of the game- but these studies that just came out- you know, the role of acceptance and how incredibly crucial that is because of what's happening to our gay teens.

Herrington trumpeted the two studies, one by Kathryn Himmelstein of Yale University and the other by Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University. The Ryan study focused on the apparent need for "accepting family attitudes...towards LGBT children and significantly decreased risk and better overall health in adulthood," and the True Colors coordinator focused on this in her initial answer:

HERRINGTON: Well, I'm incredibly happy that these studies came out. They're- in a way, it kind of seems like a no-brainer, but it really isn't for some people- that if you love and accept your children and can figure out how to love and accept your children, they won't be at greater risk for these evils. But then, the really interesting piece about Caitlin Ryan's research is that a family doesn't have to go all the way to being a fully-accepting PFLAG family that's right there. The family just has to get to a place where they don't abuse and criticize their gay kids, and then, that cuts all of those horribles in half- or at least the chance of the child committing suicide, doing drugs, all those awful things- cuts it in half.

Later in the segment, Herrington made her ideological viewpoint clear after Phillips asked her about how she mentors LGBT teens:

Kyra Phillips, CNN Anchor; & Kamora Herrington, True Colors | NewsBusters.orgPHILLIPS: ...As you bring these kids in that are thinking about violent behavior, suicide, or have already- you know, committed crimes, and now, you've got them in your class, where do you even begin with these kids? When they're not getting it at home, Kamora, what is it that you're doing that's helping them become so much better at life and- you know, their self-esteem? It was incredible the impact you had on these kids.

HERRINGTON: Well, the very beginning, one of the things that you do- and I think you heard our children talk about this- is we learn how to understand the homophobe. We need to learn how to understand where people who reject us are coming from, because what our kids are hearing from the parents is that, 'I hate you.' And the truth is, most of their parents don't hate their children, and if their parents were to hear that, they'd be shocked and offended and hurt to know that their children think that hate them. But often, parents can't separate the behavior, the orientation, from this child who they gave birth to, who they love. So, one of the first things that we do is we come together and we say- you know what? Your parents love you, but why might they reject you? What might this be coming from?

And then of course, religion comes up, social standing comes up, what their parents' friends might think of them comes up. But- really, to get to a place of understanding, your parents love you. There is this piece of you that for whatever parent- for whatever reason, your parent can't get over and can't get through. And then, once we do that, we just start dealing with how amazing we are as gay people, and once they realize that there's a whole bunch of us who have done wonderful things on this earth, then they begin joining that community....

The CNN anchor became more explicit in her endorsement of Herrington and True Colors near the end of the segment: "Kamora Herrington- group is True Colors and it's pretty amazing." Despite the existence of social conservative organizations and ministries that assist families and their homosexual teens, such as Exodus Youth, Phillips didn't turn to anyone from such groups.

Just under an hour later, at the bottom of the 11 pm Eastern hour, Simon gave a live report from outside the courthouse in San Francisco where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was hearing the Proposition 8 case. While Simon mentioned the Protect Marriage organization that got the amendment to the California state constitution on the ballot, he didn't play any clips from anyone affiliated with the organization or anyone who supported the voter-approved initiative. He did play a sound bite from one of the four homosexuals who filed suit against Prop 8:

Dan Simon, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgSIMON: I want to talk to you a little bit about what Prop 8 is. You touched on it. Proposition 8 was a voter-led initiative, passed by a narrow majority of California voters, a 52 percent majority, in November 2008. It defined marriage between a man and a woman. The name of this case- the name of this suit is called Perry versus Schwarzenegger, which is something I want to touch on. The State of California has decided not to defend this lawsuit, which has left an outside party, a group called ProtectMarriage.com, to defend it. Well, part of this hearing today is going to be devoted to determine whether or not outside parties, like Protect Marriage, can even be a party to this suit. Do they have legal standing? In any event, it seems that this case is ultimately headed to the United States Supreme Court.

I talked briefly with both of the gay couples who filed suit. I want you to listen now to Paul Katami, whose name is attached to the papers. Take a look.

PAUL KATAMI, PLAINTIFF: It's an incredibly emotional process because it's a waiting game, and it's been a waiting game for LGBT rights for a long time. But we're excited today because we're going into this with a record based on the truth that asserts that our fundamental right is to have the right to marry. So we're here today just to uphold that decision, and today is a great day also because so many millions of Americans can actually see what's happening in the courtroom, and that truth will be out there for all of us to see.

SIMON (live): That's right. This hearing will be shown live- C-SPAN providing live coverage. One thing that bears repeating, Drew, is that this case really has national implications because if it's determined that the United States Constitution does protect same-sex marriage, then no state, no state at all, would be allowed to limit marriage between heterosexual couples. But again, this hearing getting under way a bit later this morning- the 9th Circuit- that's where it's headed today. But, of course, in a matter of weeks and months ahead, this case will ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both Phillips and Simon have stood out in CNN's overall trend during 2010 in using segments to push homosexual activism. On September 27, the anchor endorsed televangelist Bishop Carlton Pearson, who, in her words, "went out on a limb...[to] say gays are accepted in heaven." On October 20, she devoted two segments to promoting GLAAD's "Spirit Day" or "Wear Purple Day." Three weeks later, Phillips gushed over another Christian pastor who rejects the traditional teaching on homosexuality and promoted an event at his church.


Simon, reporting on the initial overturning of Prop 8 by a federal judge on August 4, turned to a "married" lesbian couple and asked them two softball questions about their opposition to the amendment. Just as he did on Monday, the CNN correspondent didn't feature any supporters of Prop 8 during his report.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center