You know the media outlet is liberal when they go rushing to the defense of the "rich history" of drag queens. This Associated Press story was supportively tweeted out by the PBS NewsHour (and ran on its website):
The recent headlines about disruptions of drag events and their portrayal as sexual and harmful to children can obscure the art form and its rich history.https://t.co/0Pb992w7gF— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) October 31, 2022
The headline on PBS is "Analysis: Political rhetoric, false claims obscure the history of drag performance." AP labeled this piece an "Explainer."
AP reporter/editor on the case is Jeff McMillan, whose Twitter bio proclaims he's a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (complete with rainbow flag emoji). McMillan's also part of the AP Stylebook team, insuring all terminology is LGBTQ-approved.
He launched into editorializing from the start:
Lately, drag has been dragged through the mud.
The art form has been cast in a false light in recent months by right-wing activists and politicians who complain about the “sexualization” or “grooming” of children. Opponents often coordinate protests at drag events that feature or cater to children, sometimes showing up with guns. Some politicians have proposed banning children from drag events and even criminally charging parents who take their kids to one.
Performers and organizers of events, such as story hours in which colorfully clad drag queens read books to children, say the protesters are the ones terrorizing and harming children and making them political pawns — just as they’ve done in other campaigns around bathroom access and educational materials.
Are there any conservatives or Republicans quoted? No. Surely AP wouldn't "lower itself" to engaging with Christopher Rufo, who recently analyzed the "rich history" of drag and Drag Queen Story Hours at length at City Journal.
Typically, McMillan objected to the term "groomer" and complained about the religious people:
Perpetrators of the false rhetoric can then cast themselves as saviors of children and try to frame anyone who disagrees — a political opponent, for example — as taking the side of child abusers.
The objections are often religious in nature, with some opponents citing the devil at work.
Will AP acknowledge some drag queens put on sexual performances in front of children? Yes, but that's "fact checked" by the idea that parents approved:
In another tactic to discourage attendance, drag opponents have been known to attend performances, take and post a video that lacks context, and then troll or “dox” the performer or venue.
One such video clip showed a profane drag act in front of a young child and framed it as abuse — though the child was with adults and the venue had advised attendees about coarse content, suggested parental discretion and required any children to be accompanied by parents.
Despite some opponents’ claims, drag cannot “turn” a child gay or transgender, although its playful use of gender may be reassuring to kids who are already questioning their identity. That way, therapist Joe Kort wrote in a blog post in Psychology Today, gender-nonconforming kids can have “other templates as they begin to sort out their feelings about who they authentically are.”
Previously: Sinister! AP Says Republicans Using Trans as ‘Wedge Issue’