Nightline's Yunji de Nies on Thursday offered a laudatory segment on the sex columnist Dan Savage. She has previouisly fawned on Twitter that the writer/activist was "hilarious." De Nies offered almost no mention of the outrageous statements Savage has made, including referring to Antonin Scalia as a "c–ksucker" and once asserting, "F–k John McCain."
The only hint about the radical nature of Savage came when de Nies explained, "Savage doesn't hide his politics. He famously went after Republican Rick Santorum after the former senator compared homosexuality to bestiality. Savage responded by calling on his fan base to redefine the word Santorum online."
Instead of pressing the syndicated gay columnist about his remarks, she blandly wondered, "Have you had a chance to talk to [Santorum] personally?...Do you have any interest in engaging with him on this?"
Amazingly, de Nies didn't even ask Savage about his now infamous 2000 Salon column where he recounted an attempt to "give [then-presidential candidate] Gary Bauer the flu":
Naked, feverish and higher than a kite on codeine aspirin, I called the Bauer campaign and volunteered. My plan? Get close enough to Bauer to give him the flu, which, if I am successful, will lay him flat just before the New Hampshire primary. …
I went from doorknob to doorknob. They were filthy, no doubt, but there wasn’t time to find a rag to spit on. My immune system wasn’t all it should be — I was in the grip of the worst flu I had ever had — but I was on a mission. If for some reason I didn’t manage to get a pen from my mouth to Gary’s hands, I wanted to seed his office with germs, get as many of his people sick as I could, and hopefully one of them would infect the candidate.
When asked on Twitter by the MRC's Tim Graham about Savage telling a Christian "f--k your feelings" or calling their children "bigoted little monsters," de Nies solemnly replied, "He didn't say those things to me - he was quite charming & sincere. Hopefully you can see the intv & judge then."
After watching de Nies' interview, it's pretty clear she simply ignored the hateful things Savage has said.
A partial transcript of the March 24 segment, which aired at 11:44pm EDT, follows:
YUNJI DE NIES: What's the hardest question that you get?
SAVAGE: You get letters from people who have been unlucky in love all their lives and they want to be told that, or they have been told over and over again, there's someone out there for everyone. And I will say to them, that is a lie. There's not.
DE NIES: There has to be, though. Otherwise-
SAVAGE: There's somebody out there for rent for everybody.
DE NIES: But there's not - you don't believe in soul mates or someone out there who is your ideal match?
SAVAGE: The one? Oh, my God. That's something that has to be combated - the one. Yeah, I get letters every day from people who haven't found the one yet or are with somebody who is totally terrific but they're not sure that she's the one that they've heard about because there's these - there is no one. There's a .64 and maybe if you're lucky, a .67 that you round up to one.
DE NIES: But you've been married for so long. Isn't Terry the one?
SAVAGE: He's the one I settled on. He's the one I picked. He's the one who picked me. He's the one who makes me happier than not. I pay him the compliment of pretending he's the one. And he pays me the compliment of pretending I'm the one even though we both know that there is no one.
TERRY MILLER (PARTNER): It's just all the pictures they could get, you know.
DE NIES: Terry Miller is Savage's partner of 16 years, co-parent of their teenage son, whom they adopted at birth. And co-creator of the It Gets Better project. A YouTube channel with messages of hope-
MALE (YOUTUBE VIDEO): It got better.
DE NIES: For bullied gay teens.
MALE: I am an out and proud gay man.
DE NIES: It all began with a video, shot in this Seattle neighborhood bar.
MILLER: I was bullied a lot, beat up, thrown against walls and lockers and windows.
SAVAGE: I called Terry from JFK, said, I want to make a video. I want to say, it gets better. I want to talk about not just that we were both bullied and we got through it but talk about our joy and encourage other gay and lesbian and bi and trans adults to do the same and give these kids hope for their futures.
MILLER: We thought we'd maybe get a few, like maybe a couple hundred videos at the most.
DE NIES: They got 10,000 from celebrities-
[Montage of people doing the "It Gets Better" videos.]
DE NIES: Politicians...
HILLARY CLINTON: First of all, hang in there.
NANCY PELOSI: It gets better.
DE NIES: Even President Obama.
SAVAGE: The President looked into a camera and said to these kids, there's nothing wrong with you.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You are not alone. You didn't do anything wrong.
DE NIES: So, is there anyone that you haven't seen a video from that you'd like to?
SAVAGE: The Pope.
MILLER: We have zero videos from any Republican politicians.
DE NIES: Savage doesn't hide his politics. He famously went after Republican Rick Santorum after the former senator compared homosexuality to bestiality. Savage responded by calling on his fan base to redefine the word Santorum online.
SAVAGE: It's disgusting. You Google his name, you're in for a shock.
DE NIES: Have you had a chance to talk to him personally?
DE NIES: Do you have any interest in engaging with him on this?
SAVAGE: I'd love for Rick Santorum him to come to dinner and meet my family.
DE NIES: Once upon a time, not that long ago, Americans turned to the genteel, proper likes of Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren for advice. A lot of things Savage says might make Ann Landers blush.
SAVAGE: I got this one.
DE NIES: But Savage is very much inspired by the advice icon. He writes his column from her old desk, with her typewriter nearby.
DAN SAVAGE: You know, everyone thinks I'm like some sort of a crazy sex radical. Everything I'm talking about I want to see happen because I want to prevent divorce. I want people to be able to stick together for the long haul. I want relationships to last.
DE NIES: Dan Savage's new book "It Gets Better, Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living" is on sale now.
— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.