Networks Praise 'Historic' Move By Boy Scouts, ABC Compares Gay Struggle to Rockwell Painting

The three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning hailed a "historic" potential change by the Boy Scouts that would lift the ban on gays in their organization. ABC compared the move to a famous Norman Rockwell painting. NBC featured voices complaining that the decision doesn't go far enough.

On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer trumpted that change is "afoot in an iconic American institution." She lamented, " For generations, becoming a Boy Scout was an American tradition. But not for all." Regarding the move to allow gays in, Sawyer prompted her colleague, reporter David Muir, "But we were talking earlier about the Norman Rockwell painting, the classic painting of the Cub Scout dreaming one day of becoming a real Boy Scout. And you were saying, the caption to that painting is?" "Can't wait," he solemnly responded. "Can't wait," Sawyer marveled. [See video below MP3 audio here.]

On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Muir didn't feature any clips of those opposed to the change. Instead, at the very end, he quickly noted, "One religious leader declaring a change in policy would be nothing less than, quote, 'disastrous for the Boy Scouts of America.'" An ABC graphic hyped the "historic change."

On Tuesday's Today, Pete Williams, who is gay, featured three clips of those who support repealing the ban and only one opposed. He hyped James Dale, who sued the Scouts when he was removed for being a homosexual, adding "[Dale] says the new policy, which would still allow some troops to exclude gay members, isn't enough."

Williams featured Dale complaining that more changes were needed: "The Boy Scouts have to make sure that they're teaching America and they’re in step with American values of equality and not discriminating."

The reporter allowed one snippet of Frank Page of the Southern Baptist Convention, asserting, "We also want respect for us, respect for those who hold to what might be called a biblical form of morality."

CBS This Morning followed the pattern of the other networks. On Tuesday, the program included one unidentified man declaring, "[The policy] was something that, in this day and age, is not right." Scout leader Richard Meyerdirk praised, "We're all excited and just thrilled." Jan Crawford letured that society has changed and gay rights activists think people "really have no tolerance for discrimination against gays."

Monday's CBS Evening News only covered the story in a news brief.

A partial transcript of Monday's World News is below:


DIANE SAWYER: We begin with a big change afoot in an iconic American institution. For generations, becoming a Boy Scout was an American tradition. But not for all. Today, the Boy Scouts of America signaled they are ready to drop their ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

...

SAWYER: But we were talking earlier about the Norman Rockwell painting, the classic painting of the Cub Scout dreaming one day of becoming a real Boy Scout. And you were saying, the caption to that painting is?

DAVID MUIR: Can't wait, right?

SAWYER: Can't wait.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org