Lacking substance with regard to real, tangible issues affecting Americans today, the Republican party is pushing full-steam-ahead on social conservatism that often preys upon the gay community; invoking age-old prejudices within their base to fire up the ballot boxes come 2012.
While this is no surprise, what should be seen as a conflict of integrity is the fact that this particularly erroneous condemnation of an entire population is being further fueled via mainstream media support from Fox News – arguably the (un)official PR firm for the Right wing.
As Republican presidential hopefuls crisscross the nation making promises to revoke the recently-bestowed human rights of some of the country’s gay and lesbians – the repeal of DADT, legalization of gay marriage, etc. – Fox is intentionally perverting the dialogue by downplaying and in some cases denying not only the recent rashes of gay-teen-bullying that have spread across the country but also actively stifling gay rights issues in the news by portraying them as inconsequential.
For instance, the highly-rated and “most-watched news network” awarded little-to-no coverage of the recent, nationally-recognized bully/suicide death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer; calling attention to an innocent victim of sex/hate crime does not fit well with its anti-gay bias or “alternative lifestyle” fear-mongering.
While other networks covered the story in-depth as a means to put a real and tragic face on the issue, Fox steered clear of it – instead opting to discuss and ultimately condemn proposed anti-bullying legislation that – (you guessed it) meant “big brother government” was telling people who to like and not to like.
Fox News pundits overtly criticized efforts to reduce anti-LGBT bullying by implying their triviality while attacking gender diversity lessons in public schools as “indoctrination.” The network dedicated multiple segments to rail against California’s FAIR Education Act – a bit of legislation that would require public schools to teach students about the historical contributions of LGBT Americans as well as similar anti-bullying legislation in other states.
Meanwhile, Fox willfully played the victim card on behalf of anti-gay groups and individuals – including religious Christian organizations – that have reportedly discriminated against LGBT students or would-be marriage partners.
Similarly, the network’s criticisms of marriage equality have been grossly underscored by its reluctance to cover the commencement of same-sex weddings in New York, its abhorrence to anything even suggesting that transgendered people are, in fact, people, and that a gay soldier can kick some serious ass on the battlefield.
It even neglected to cover the “pray the gay away” therapies purported by Rep. Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus Bachmann, as well as his/their suggestion that the LGBT community is akin to satanic, uneducated, undisciplined barbarians.
As such, the network’s complete and utter failure to acknowledge the plight faced by the nation’s LGBT community is perhaps symptomatic of the overall narrative coursing through the Right wing political playing field.
Republican presidential hopefuls continue their eager pandering to idiocy by attending events like last month’s super-Christian Values Voter Summit; vying for the hearts, minds and votes of Right-wingers who have been largely misinformed by party sponsors like the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA).
According to the FRC, gay rights advocates want to “recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order, ” while the AFA claims that gay people orchestrated the Holocaust and were responsible for the killing of six million Jews.
That’s right – gay Nazis did it.
Both groups promote the ridiculous largely discredited practice of “gay reparative therapy” (ala Marcus Bachmann) – the idea that gay men and lesbians can be “cured” of their sexual orientation by psychological study and prayer.
These are the groups – the mindset – to which the Republican candidates are playing.
Herman Cain has gone on the record as suggesting that being gay is a choice and that he has yet to see scientific evidence that proves otherwise (funny how Republicans will conveniently reference science some times and not others). Rick Santorum has argued fevorously against the repeal of DADT, while he, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have each pledged to support a federal constitutional amendment “defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
They each also vowed – if elected President – to nominate Supreme Court and federal judges who “reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.”
Last week, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Rick Perry praised legislators for working to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law (in June 2009, New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage).
“As conservatives…we believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage. And I applaud those legislators in New Hampshire who are working to defend marriage as an institution between one man and one woman, realizing that children need to be raised in a loving home by a mother and a father.”
In his 2008 book, “On My Honor,” Perry compared homosexuality to alcoholism.
“Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender.”
While he carefully insists that he values the lives of everyone, he does not believe that “abnormal, radical homosexuals” should not expect to have the same basic, human rights as everyone else.
“Tolerance…should not only be asked of the proponents of traditional values. The radical homosexual movement seeks societal normalization of their sexual activity. I respect their right to engage in the individual behavior of their choosing, but they must respect the rights of millions in society to refuse to normalize their behavior.”
With such hard lines drawn in the sand, it is no wonder that Fox News – being the media arm for the Republican Party – takes the stance that it does regarding the LGBT community.
I will admit that there is perhaps a legitimate argument for not over-sensationalizing stories about bullying-related suicide in the media. But, Fox’s clear and present agenda of outright ignoring real bullying stories while condemning anti-bullying efforts does a gross disservice to the country at large.
The Right – whether radical or not, active in politics or not – is further emboldened by the “Fair and Balanced” Fox News as it assists in the perpetuation of anti-gay sentiment in the country.
Its biased rhetoric and incessant anti-gay narrative resonates with anti-gay groups – many of which are greatly influential in the nation’s politics – and continues to legitimize the anti-gay sentiment that is the root cause of attacks against the LGBT community on all fronts.
Be it within schools, workplaces, churches, families or military, the safety and well-being of good, moral, American citizens is continually put at risk by those who would rely on divisive, social conservative scare tactics and purposefully-hurtful propaganda to create enemies where there are none and ensure an ongoing culture battle that will surely bleed into the ballot.
- Joe Ascanio
Based out of Greater New York, Joe Ascanio is a full time web designer, developer and marketing guy working in the online technology marketplace. OneWhiteDuck.com is a semi-personal blog devoted to opinionated rantings over current events, politics and pop culture as they relate to our modern-day society.
Edited by Wendy Gittleson