Gay Censorship Update: Sex Columnist Berates CNN (on CNN) for Letting Conservatives Speak

CNN has demonstrated strongly and repeatedly that it does not believe in objectivity or fairness in reporting on homosexuality. On Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips touted a new study from the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center that added some of the nation's leading social conservative groups -- including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, and the Traditional Values Coalition -- to its registry of "hate groups" like the Ku Klux Klan.

Phillips skipped that part, but hyped the SPLC's reading of 'hate crime' statistics with no liberal label for the group. She also invited on radical gay activist and sex columnist Dan Savage -- who delighted the Left by attacking CNN (on CNN) for allowing any conservatives to speak at all on gay issues. Savage touted the new SPLC "hate" designation as a reason for CNN to ban them and their "dehumanizing rhetoric" from their network. Phillips began like she was doing an infomercial:

People of all shapes, sides, colors and creeds are victimized by violent hate crimes. But the Southern Poverty Law Center says the most common minority target is gay people. There are ways to help out and reach to all victims of hate crimes.

But first, I've got to show you these numbers. They're stunning, plain and simple. In an analysis of 14 years of FBI stats found that gay people are those -- or those who are thought to be gay -- are twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime than African- Americans or Jewish people.

And listen to this. They're four times more likely to be attacked than Muslims, and 14 more times as likely than Latinos. That's why messages like these from the It Gets Better Project really resonate.

Then she provided another airing of an "It Gets Better" video where people proclaimed "God created me" gay, and cooed "An entire community of people banding together to show support for the gay community and the victims of gay bullying. It's part of Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project. The author and columnist joining us live via Skype from Seattle."

PHILLIPS: You know, Dan, when you saw this report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, what were your first thoughts? We were just astounded by these numbers.

DAN SAVAGE: It was shocking. Unfortunately, I wasn't as surprised as some people might be. There is a tremendous amount of violence directed at members of the LGBT community by people who feel they have license to bully and really commit acts of violence against gays and lesbians because of the rhetoric that sloshes around our culture promoted by haters flying under the radar, even the supposedly Christian right. They promote the idea that gays and lesbians are a threat to the family, a threat the institution of marriage. They even claim, U.S. senators have claimed, that gays and lesbians are a threat to the survival of the planet and climate change.

And when you have that kind of hateful, apocalyptic, demagogic rhetoric, some people will act on it and feel they have license to abuse, physically and emotionally, the gay and lesbian, bi and trans people they encounter.

The CNN anchor said opposition is failure to accept that these "hate crime" statistics are "hard to understand while we're being so progressive." CNN includes itself in the progressive We:

PHILLIPS: But Dan, here's what I have a hard time understanding with numbers like this. We've come so far, our society has. I mean, if you look at -- take "don't ask, don't tell" about to be repealed. Gay marriage going all of the way to Supreme Court. Ellen, one of the most popular gay celebrities of our time. We love her talk show. And then even TV and movies and gay characters that are totally accepted. And it's hard to understand while we're being so progressive that these numbers are so high.

Savage said it is a "best of times, worst of times" moment, since there the culture is "freer" than ever, but it's invited a violent backlash, and "We can't lose sight that there are haters out there, and it has to be addressed and really the root causes of the hatred and the justifications of the hatred. Which unfortunately, often have a religious justification, have to be confronted and addressed." Savage singled out religion. Phillips then supportively wondered: "It's difficult to say what would be a solution. But can we start with more hate crime legislation, where bullies are prosecuted more severely?" That's when Savage said conservatives should be taken off the airwaves and the debate declared over. "Cultural reckoning" was the code word for censorship:

SAVAGE: We can also start -- really, we need a cultural reckoning among gay and lesbian issues. There was once two sides to the race debate. There was once a side you could go on television and argue for segregation, you could argue against interracial marriage, against the Civil Rights Act, against extending votes rights to African-Americans. And that used to be treated as one side -- one legitimate side of a pressing national debate, and it isn't anymore. We really need to reach that point with gay and lesbian issues.

There are no two sides to the issues about gay and lesbian rights. Right now, one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups. And yet, the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on networks like CNN. We really have to start there. We have to start with that kind of cultural reckoning.

Phillips made no attempt to defend CNN. There was no defense of free expression. There was only a gee-thanks exchange:

PHILLIPS: Dan Savage, always good talking to you. Appreciate you Skyping in.

SAVAGE: Thank you very much.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

The idea that Savage is presented by Kyra Phillps and CNN as an anti-bullying voice is a joke. Pushing all social conservatives out of the CNN studios is the journalistic equivalent of bullying. Phillips has not pressed Savage to address is own bullying words on his own website, clearly demonstrating his raging hatred of conservative Christians. On October 1, Savage's "Letter of the Day" came from a conservative Christian:

To that end, to imply that I would somehow encourage my children to mock, hurt, or intimidate another person for any reason is completely unfounded and offensive. Being a follower of Christ is, above all things, a recognition that we are imperfect, fallible and in desperate need of a savior. We cannot believe that we are better or more worthy than other people. I have never in my life know someone who loved the Lord who wished ill will on other people and certainly not death "so that [we] can perpetuate [our own] agenda."

Savage responded in a savage way (emphasis his):

I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments. No, wait. I'm not. Gay kids are dying. So let's try to keep things in perspective: fuck your feelings...

The children of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality-even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)-learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or at your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. You may only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, but your children have the option of attacking actual real gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not "sinners." Real gay and lesbian children.

The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from lips of "faithful Christians," and the lies that spew forth from the pulpit of the churches "faithful Christians" drag their kids to on Sundays, give your straight children a license to verbally abuse, humiliate and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your straight children-having listened to mom and dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to the family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry himself to sleep-feel justified in physically attacking the gay and lesbian children they encounter in their schools. You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" gay kids. Your encouragement-along with your hatred and fear-is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we can see the fruits of it.

Oh, and those same dehumanizing bigotries that fill your straight children with hate? They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words.

Did that hurt to hear? Good. But hearing it couldn't have hurt nearly as much as what the boys in the photo above had to listen to-day-in, day-out, for years-at schools filled with bigoted little monsters created not in the image of a loving God, but in the images of the hateful and false "followers of Christ" they call "mom and dad."

CNN must be so proud that they're presenting this man as the Voice of Civility, the Voice Against Hate.
 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis