'Hate Crimes' Battle Labeled As 'Civil Rights Groups' vs. 'Staunchest Conservatives'

Print accounts of the House of Representatives turning into Pelosi Palace, passing a so-called "hate crimes" expansion act to please the gay left, don't seem to notice there is a left side on the debate over this bill. There are "civil rights groups" on one side, and "conservatives" on the other. That apparently would make them an "anti-civil rights" group.In The Washington Post, reporter Jonathan Weisman quotes Speaker Nancy Pelosi using words from the Pledge of Allegiance to back the left wing, not to mention Ted Kennedy and Steny Hoyer, but none of them are described as liberals. Weisman can't even call the bill's backers "gay advocates," just "advocates," as if idealistic blandness (and not ideological severity) defined the left, while these idealists were opposed by the staunchest of conservatives:

But with Democrats in charge, advocates see the best chance yet of strengthening a federal hate-crime law that has existed since 1968 and focuses on race, color, religion and national origin... On Wednesday, the House's staunchest conservatives wrote to Bush, saying the legislation federalizes law enforcement and "segregates people into different groups -- based on sex, gender identity, minority status, and other often nebulous terms -- then seeks to either reward or punish these different groups using different standards." Conservative religious groups said the bill would make criminals of clergymen who speak out against homosexuality, then inadvertently inspire violence from misguided followers.

A brief account by David Stout in The New York Times matches the Post pattern:

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic majority leader, said the House vote represented "a statement of what America is, a society that understands that we accept differences." Civil rights groups have long urged that people who are attacked because of their sexuality be given additional protections.But Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, a conservative lobbying group, told listeners to his radio program that the bill’s real purpose was "to muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral and biblical concerns about homosexuality," according to The Associated Press.

In the Los Angeles Times, Richard Simon loads up on the liberal spokespeople, but never used the L word. Check out these lines: 

Under intense pressure from conservative religious organizations to derail the bill, the White House on Thursday called it "unnecessary and constitutionally questionable," issuing the latest in a string of veto threats aimed at the congressional Democratic majority.... The bill is supported by a range of civil rights and law enforcement groups, including the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police and attorneys general from 31 states... But some conservatives and religious groups have worked hard to defeat the bill.

Many news outlets are carrying the Associated Press dispatch of Jim Abrams:

The vote came after fierce lobbying from opposite sides by civil rights groups, who have been pushing for years for added protections against hate crimes, and social conservatives, who say the bill threatens the right to express moral opposition to homosexuality and singles out groups of citizens for special protection.
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis