NPR Devotes 27.5 Minutes to DADT Repeal, All of It Gay Interviews

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 contained language that the liberals inside PBS and NPR have rarely tried to observe, to seek "fairness and objectivity in all programming of a controversial nature." Apparently, there was no controversy about gays in the military, since NPR's coverage of the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy consisted of five segments adding up to almost 27 and a half minutes interviewing elated gay men and lesbians.

Was there anyone inside the military or outside who disagreed? Was there anyone who feared what would happen going forward, what next step on the gay agenda would be imposed? NPR had no time for any dissidents from the PC line. They were a publicity network for one side.

 

On Wednesday's Morning Edition, New York correspondent/pagan witch Margot Adler went for comment to "a celebration at the historic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York City, right here, a birthplace of the gay rights movement." Adler interviewed a lesbian who left the military and a gay man who was discharged and a filmmaker who made a pro-gay documentary for HBO. (That's three minutes and 39 seconds, with zero seconds for social conservatives.)

On Tuesday night's All Things Considered, NPR aired two stories. Reporter Rachel Martin interviewed Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans, a primary lobbyist for the repeal, and added supportive soundbites from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs.  Substitute anchor Lynn Neary interviewed Air Force Lt. Col. Josh Seefried, who's led a group called Outserve:

NEARY: Well, it seems from your book, some of the essays in your book, that perhaps some parts of the military aren't quite ready for this change. For example, there's an essay from a West Point cadet who questions just how much the academy's culture of hyper-masculinity and intolerance to homosexuality really can change. So what is the atmosphere, and do you think people really will be afraid to publicly declare that they are gay?

SEEFRIED: Well, that's the stigma we've got to fight now, and that's one of the goals I really tried to do with the book. When people share their stories with their real names and real details, it starts to break down that stigma. Whether or not you really don't like the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" or favor it, you're at least talking about it. And when you have that discussion, you can start to break down the walls of prejudice - which is why I chose to edit the book, and why I chose to come out on day one, is that it starts the discussion to start to build that atmosphere of respect.

But NPR wasn't having a "discussion," it was only "breaking down the walls of prejudice" by leaving the "prejudiced" out. (These added up to eight minutes and 15 seconds, with zero seconds for social conservatives.)

On Tuesday afternoon's Tell Me More, Michel Martin interviewed Lt. Col Vincent Fehrenach, a highly visible gay activist who's now retiring from the military now that he's won this battle. "Do you think that the repeal of this policy will mean that no one else has to go through that or do you think that there are other cultural changes that still need to take place?" (That's 8 minutes, 38 seconds, with zero seconds for social conservatives.)

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, substitute anchor David Greene proclaimed "Today, we're going to meet two people whose lives will change now. One is a soldier who was discharged under the ban. She became a public advocate for getting rid of 'don't ask, don't tell,' and now she plans to rejoin the military. The other, a Marine officer who served two tours in Iraq. He's gay, but has never talked openly about his sexuality until now." Reporter Rachel Martin also ran a soundbite of Lady Gaga. (That's seven minutes, and 21 seconds, with zero seconds for social conservatives.)

UPDATE: On Friday's Morning Edition, NPR gave another two minutes to Darrel Choat, a gay ex-Marine who starred in a Tuesday story.

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