GLAAD lists worst anti-gay defamers of 2008
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has identified the worst anti-gay and anti-transgender voices of 2008 with Bill O'Reilly, Pastor Rick Warren and the New York Post all making the list.
"In 2008, our community saw our issues and lives receive unprecedented visibility and discussion," said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. " We saw more lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) characters on broadcast TV than ever before; movie audiences saw our lives in a new way through films like MILK; and we saw fair and accurate images in the media of loving couples getting married in California and Connecticut, even as we experienced setbacks in California, Arizona, Arkansas and Florida on Election Day.
"Unfortunately, anti-gay activists and media pundits continued to make outrageous claims about our community, and many media outlets persisted in using problematic and defamatory language that affects the way that people view the LGBT community. That's why now, more than ever, we need to capitalize on our community's momentum, make our voices heard and work towards more fair, accurate and inclusive representations of our lives."
GLAAD works with media outlets by responding to defamation and advocating that media coverage of the LGBT community and issues is fair, accurate and inclusive. GLAAD's work to combat the worst anti-LGBT voices in 2008 and examples of their defamation are below.
Anti-Gay Voices of 2008:
Bill O'Reilly (Host, The O'Reilly Factor, FOX News Channel)
Bill O'Reilly, who frequently appears on GLAAD's monthly "Best and Worst of National News," led a one-sided and inaccurate discussion of marriage equality on May 15 with Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly, who compared marriage for same-sex couples with polygamy and incest. Earlier this year, O'Reilly said Americans don't want to see "homosexual behavior legitimized" in reference to Whoopi Goldberg briefly kissing Katy Perry on The View on July 31, and he criticized Heinz for a TV commercial that included a kiss between two men on June 20. Most recently on December 10, he referred to the staff of the Los Angeles Times as "pinheads" for endorsing the Day Without a Gay protest against Proposition 8.
California's Yes on Proposition 8 Campaign
The Yes on Proposition 8 campaign filled the airwaves with deliberately misleading commercials about Proposition 8, which eliminated the right to marry for loving and committed same-sex couples in California. The ads relied on scare tactics and spread inflammatory lies, including that the defeat of Proposition 8 would mean changes in schools and churches. These ads used misinformation to shape public opinion and helped sway voters to pass the discriminatory ban, in spite of various legal experts and mainstream media outlets uniformly denouncing the dishonest approach.
Greg Gutfeld (Host, Red Eye, FOX News Channel)
FOX News Channel's late-night show Red Eye continued to feature sophomoric jabs at LGBT people. On May 20, host Greg Gutfeld and his guests grossly misrepresented serious medical concerns faced by transgender youth and laughed as one of his guests referred to transition as "turning a hole into a pole."Â Then Gutfeld criticized Ellen DeGeneres for announcing her upcoming wedding, saying Ellen should "shut the hell up about it." In his September 17 blog, Gutfeld ranted about diplomats saying, "These bloated bureaucrats would learn more in two days ducking for cover in Liberia, than two weeks trying to pick up transvestite hookers in Times Square."
James Dobson (Founder, Focus on the Family)
A national media platform gave airtime to an anti-gay activist when James Dobson, founder of anti-gay organization Focus on the Family, appeared on an episode of CNN Headline News and made false claims about Proposition 8, including that if the proposition failed, there would be a "spate of lawsuit against churches" and "all textbooks would have to be republished" and "everything in schools will change." The Museum of Broadcast Communications chose to honor Dobson by inducting Focus on the Family into the Radio Hall of Fame, despite his history of anti-gay rhetoric and lies. GLAAD produced a viral video to raise awareness of Dobson's attacks on the LGBT community and released a Call to Action against the Museum for honoring Dobson's lies and distortions aimed to hurt and marginalize LGBT people.
Jim Quinn (Host, The War Room With Quinn & Rose, Clear Channel)
During the November 6 broadcast of the nationally syndicated radio program The War Room with Quinn & Rose, co-host Jim Quinn made highly offensive and ignorant statements including "[G]ay marriage doesn't produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn't have – or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us." Despite numerous complaints from GLAAD's Call to Action, Clear Channel refused to issue an apology and has not disciplined Quinn for his disgusting and unacceptable remarks.
John Gibson (Host, The John Gibson Show, FOX News Radio)
Fox News Radio Host John Gibson was responsible for making made several tasteless, juvenile anti-gay jokes on his program.Â GLAAD first issued a Call to Action after he mocked the passing of actor Heath Ledger by making anti-gay jokes about his role in Brokeback Mountain on Fox News Radio's The John Gibson Show. As a result of the response by GLAAD's members, Gibson apologized for these remarks, but continued using anti-gay jokes on May 2. During a clip of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who is openly gay, Gibson cut to an audio clip of someone saying, "Oh, lesbians! Yummy!"
Laura Ingraham (Host, The Laura Ingraham Show)
Transgender people were repeatedly used as punching bags by Fox News Channel and guest Laura Ingraham, even as violence and harassment against transgender people continued with disturbing frequency throughout 2008. While guest hosting Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor on February 8, Ingraham interrupted a guest by saying that a transgender conference was "killing the culture." Earlier this year on The O'Reilly Factor, she questioned how parents of a transgender youth "aren't embarrassed" by their child, and most recently, on December 11, she alluded that being gay is a "bad choice" when discussing a Newsweek feature on marriage for same-sex couples.
New York Post
In 2008, the New York Post continued its long history of sensationalistic treatment of LGBT people and issues with two highly problematic headlines. On January 25, the tabloid printed the headline "Evil Lesbian Mom Left Toddler to Die Slow Death: DA," despite the fact that such a gratuitous description would not have been used were the subject straight.Â Additionally, on February 7, the Post dehumanized the transgender community by publishing the egregious headline "Axis of She-Vil" and sub-headline, "Death to Gays But Free Ops For Irani Trannies."
Pastor Rick Warren
Rick Warren has a history of using the media as a platform to spread divisive anti-gay rhetoric. Warren spread inaccuracies about Proposition 8, saying that it would "prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage" on Dateline. He also participated in a video interview with The Wall Street Journal on December 18 where he said that marriage for gay and lesbian couples was the equivalent of "having a brother and sister be together," "an older guy marrying a child" and "one guy having multiple wives." After President-elect Obama chose Warren to lead the invocation at the Presidential inauguration, GLAAD distributed instances of Warren's anti-gay defamation on glaadBLOG as a resource for journalists and bloggers.
Representative Sally Kern (R-OK)
Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern made headlines in March after telling a group of supporters that "the homosexual agenda is destroying our nation" in a gathering of Republicans outside the Capitol. She went on to say that the gay community is "the death knell in this country" and "the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism." GLAAD provided media training and media outreach support to local Oklahoma groups to ensure that LGBT advocates were included in local media coverage and balanced the harmful effects of such hateful remarks from an elected official.
Sean Delonas (Cartoonist, New York Post)
The New York Post and cartoonist Sean Delonas, who has been the subject of three GLAAD Calls to Action, continued juvenile treatments of LGBT issues in an editorial cartoon that ran after openly gay actor George Takei announced his upcoming marriage to his partner in California. Delonas drew crew members from Star Trek, which Takei appeared on as Sulu, looking on in disbelief as Takei exchanged nuptials with a man. One character was drawn saying "Totally Illogical, Captain." GLAAD placed a Call to Action to demand that the New York Post stop printing such immature items on their editorial pages.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.