Networks Do Their Own Bullying on Gay Teens

Liberals love to pose as free-speech defenders against the “chilling effect” of societal censorship. But when it comes to the gay agenda, they intend to intimidate dissent of any kind. They even line up mourning parents to accepting public shame for their child's suicide for not being "progressive" enough. That is chilling.

On the December 12 Today, NBC reporter Kerry Sanders updated viewers on the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who jumped off a bridge after being mocked on Facebook. Sanders asked Clementi’s mother if her son picked up on her shock when he came out as gay to her, and she said yes. Sanders then poked her in the face: “Tyler later tweeted to a friend ‘Mom has basically completely rejected me.’ Has that tweet haunted you in any way?” She said yes.


But that wasn’t enough. They invited Clementi’s parents into the studio, where co-host Ann Curry slapped the mother again: "Did you feel, as you look back over this, that he had someone to speak to, that he was supported, that had he had that support, he might not have taken his own life?...You know, this idea of – we just heard about it in Kerry Sanders' piece about how he felt about your reaction, Jane, when you came out to him saying that you – saying that he was gay. If you had a second chance, if you could have a do-over, how would you wish you could have reacted when he told you he was gay?"

She replied, “I don't know that you can change your reactions.” She explained that her son knew she still loved him. But NBC was implying she had a role in her son’s suicide. Her initial reaction of shock wasn’t supportive enough to save his life.

Any parent can feel empathy (and horror) over a child contemplating suicide, and any parent can feel very protective of their children being bullied in school. But on the subject of homosexuality, the media operate more like a strict church than a Free Speech Club. There is no fairness in a balanced debate. Balance allows the airing of hatred. Fairness is only guaranteed by unquestioning unanimity. A traditional religious viewpoint of opposition – of any religion – is utterly avoided, skipped over, censored. God gets no air time.

This is especially true when the subject is the bullying of homosexual teenagers. “It Gets Better” videos have made by politicians and celebrities around the world urging teens not to commit suicide. The media's approach seems like Winning Through Intimidation. The socially conservative side is cartooned into being "pro-bullying," which gives journalists the free pass to ignore any dissent. The media operate a kangaroo court. A homosexual teenager makes accusations of bullying in school. The alleged bullies and demonizers are not called to confess or object. There is an assumption of deep and heinous guilt. There is a verdict with no trial. Inside the media, there is a new church and a new dogma that must be obeyed: the church of “It Gets Better.”

Consider the case of 13-year-old Jonah Mowry, who made an “It Gets Better” video that was celebrated by the bishops of the new religion, singer Lady Gaga and gay gossip Perez Hilton. Mowry held up a series of cards about being bullied since first grade and cried as he told of how he cut himself in self-loathing. The video's approaching eight million views on YouTube and now sells iTunes on the song Mowry chose to underscore his anguish.

ABC’s Lara Spencer gushed like a waterfall in an inteview on “Good Morning America” on December 9: “And, now, we turn to the bullied teen who stood up for himself in an online video, and has since become a national hero. 14-year-old Jonah Mowry posted this YouTube video. It is raw. It is heartbreaking, and just so courageous. So inspiring, anti-bullying crusader Lady Gaga tweeted about it. Well, that incredible young man is here to speak out for the first time in just a moment.”

Spencer reported, "It might have remained one of the millions of barely-seen videos on YouTube. But then, last week, Perez Hilton blogged about it, and it caught fire, a viral video sensation. Jonah got tweets of support from celebrities like Nick Jonas, Rosie O'Donnell, Jane Lynch, and Lady Gaga."

Then came the warmest of introductions: "For more, now, we're joined by the brave, young man you just saw. 14-year-old Jonah Mowry, along with his mom, and his dad, Peggy Sue and Kevin, and his brother, Julian. Welcome to you all. So, it must feel pretty good to have 7.8 million supporters behind you, including Lady Gaga, Perez Hilton, and so many more."

It sounded like a gay version of “The 700 Club,” but instead of a teen testifying that he was coming to Christ, he was coming out of the closet. Spencer was ABC’s Pat Robertson equivalent, honoring him as “brave” and a “remarkable young man” and a "national hero" and cheering him on to testify.

The story had a happy ending. Mowry said the school principal was “very supportive” and the students were “very supportive and very welcoming and nice.” No one wondered if perhaps Mowry’s accusation of constant daily bullying since first grade was overwrought. But the networks can't even show any skepticism or neutrality or nuance.

Speaking of overwrought, Mowry’s story was also sold on ABC’s World News on December 6, as anchor George Stephanopoulos claimed “The most recent numbers on bullying are staggering --160,000 children stay home from school every day to avoid bullies.” ABC’s source for this wild guess? The National Education Association, and apparently no one thinks they’re a biased liberal outfit.

In a typical one-sided, just hermetically sealed report, correspondent Linsey Davis then celebrated how Lady Gaga took Mowry’s case to President Obama: “Since he posted it, support has poured in from everyday people and celebrities alike. Pop star Lady Gaga tweeted, 'Thank you, Jonah, for being brave enough to share your story.' Today, Lady Gaga took that message to the White House, meeting with top staff to the President to the press the importance of this crisis and seek help for the nation's kids."

Davis also turned to "It Gets Better" founder and sex columnist Dan Savage, the bully who told an objecting Christian "F--- your feelings." But ABC only presented him as the saintly protector of children:

DAVIS: Why so many kids are really using the internet as their personal diary?

DAN SAVAGE: You know, to pour your heart out on the Internet is a way to sometimes ask for the support that you need and as Jonah found, to get the support that you need.

DAVIS: And now these children have a star on their side, bringing their stories all the way to the White House.

Liberal journalists were outraged when Rick Perry said Obama was waging "war on religion." None of them seem to grasp that trying to drive God out of our public square -- not just in government, but in every corner of the media -- certainly feels like a "war on religion" to the people who are no longer allowed to speak of their beliefs on television.

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