U.S. radio-station conglomerate Clear Channel refuses to warn its audiences that youth callers to a show’s helpline were misled to seek help from a network of sexually and emotionally abusive activists.
Tom Lang of Know Thy Neighbor has protested the “Dawson McAllister Live” show’s “Hopeline,” which until last week counseled youths with sexual concerns to contact Exodus International, a network of “ex-gay” activists that has a well-documented history of treatment failures, involuntary detentions, and sexual abuse.
The Hopeline bowed to pressure and removed Exodus from its referral list — but retained Focus on the Family, which also refers youths and young adults to Exodus’ abusive local programs and promotes the damaging myth that homosexual orientation is caused by bad parenting or molestation.
Lang tells Truth Wins Out that Clear Channel’s Boston affiliate, KISS 108, has since banned Lang from Matty in the Morning, the Facebook page of its most popular show, leaving audiences largely unaware of both the past bad referrals and the ongoing risk of abuse and verbal harassment by bigoted allies of Focus on the Family.
McAllister’s show airs nationally on XM Satellite Radio and from 10 p.m. until midnight or later, local time, in 130 cities.
In each city, youths are encouraged to call between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. CDT to share their personal problems with McAllister’s counselors. The advice that youths receive seems rooted more in conservative conventional wisdom than in sound mental health.
Instead of addressing critics’ well-documented concerns about client abuse, Exodus responded by attacking the critics and crediting McAllister as a spiritual godfather of the ex-gay movement: an arbiter of the political correctness which Exodus passes off as “truth”:
Dawson McAllister’ show is not overtly religious, just truthful. McAllister may know the source of all truth but he does not promote Christianity on his show.
However, if a listener calls in the HopeLine, he may be prayed for. He may be counseled to seek God. He may be directed to a Christian ministry like Exodus International, for it is only in Christ that we have any hope.
In other words, McAllister drives youth away from mental health professionals and into the hands of evangelists with an axe to grind. To them, youths are little more than chits on a scorecard of “saved” souls.
So long as McAllister’s advice is rooted in the philosophy of James Dobson, and so long as he refers youths and their parents to abusive and ignorant ex-gay activists at Focus on the Family, his show poses a health threat.
Please listen to the program, then call in seeking advice, and finally contact your local affiliate and demand that they stop airing McAllister’s show until he halts youth referrals to unaccountable and abusive activists at Focus on the Family. (Many affiliates have Facebook pages, but calls directly to the station may have a stronger impact.)
Do not accept station referrals to Clear Channel or to Premiere Radio; it is the responsibility of the local station to vet its shows for content that may harm families and communities. McAllister is entitled to free speech like anyone else; but free-speech rights do not require that a private media corporation give one man an exclusive slot on a national radio show.
Families deserve access to reputable mental health professionals — not hucksters who blame parents, put youths at risk, and damn people to Hell if they don’t comply with Focus on the Family’s rigid and self-serving ideology.
At minimum, if Clear Channel is committed to diversity as it has often claimed, then McAllister should include mainstream mental-health professionals frequently in his programs regarding sexuality, and should provide referrals to PFLAG and local gay-straight alliances.