NYT: Rosie O’Donnell’s Big Gay Boat Ride + a Movie Critic's "Basic Instinct" for Bias

On the front of Monday’s Arts page stands Felicia Lee’s “Gay Moms And Dads Can Bring The Family,” based on Rosie O’Donnell’s new HBO special on “the first-ever cruise for gay families.”

The piece reads more as pro-gay mainstreaming than a news item, leading off with unusual criticism by a reporter of a question from another reporter.

“Rosie O'Donnell, the former talk show host, actress, lesbian mom and a candid blogger, can certainly duck, weave and bob her way through a conversation. But she was caught off-guard by a reporter at a press event for ‘All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise,’ a new documentary about the first-ever cruise for gay families. Did she intend to raise her children to be gay?, the reporter asked.

“ ‘I was shocked,’ Ms. O'Donnell said recently, curled on the sofa of her cluttered Times Square office. ‘I said, ‘I can't raise them to be gay any more than I can raise them to be tall.’”

Lee explains:

“Ms. O'Donnell and her life partner, Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell, have four children, ages 3, 6, 8 and 10. During a family vacation, Ms. O'Donnell and Ms. Carpenter O'Donnell cooked up the cruise idea with a friend who had worked for a company specializing in gay cruises.”

Lee suggests any skeptical question about lesbian motherhood is by definition “stupid”:

“And so there they were, in 2004, leaving New York City with more than 1,500 people -- gay and straight -- for a seven-day trip to the Caribbean. Ms. O'Donnell said what she wanted to do was simple: to provide a relaxing place where nobody would stare or ask stupid questions about two lesbians bringing up a family, or two gay men with a bunch of kids and not a woman in sight.”

So why call a press conference and make a documentary in the first place?

And in a perhaps tenously related story, a couple of readers called to my attention some movie review bias regarding the attempted erotic thriller “Basic Instinct 2,” which apparently none of you went to see, judging by its tepid box office. According to director Paul Verhoeven, that’s because Bush’s Christian values have made the world unsafe for sexy films. (Or maybe the movie just reeked.)

Liberal movie reviewer Manohla Dargis, who also panned it, nevertheless looked for ways to amuse herself during the movie:

“For amusement's sake, it is possible to read ‘Basic Instinct 2’ as a metaphor for contemporary American-British political relations (a psychotic Yank lures a decent Brit into a web of deceit and murder), but this is a poor reward for two hours of drift and sludge.”

For other examples of New York Times bias from over the weekend, visit TimesWatch.

Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.