The other day, I wrote about an awful segment on Fox’s Houston affiliate, in which the newscaster, Damali Keith, hosted hate group lackey Bryan Fischer and gay activist Ray Hill to debate the question, “Is TV too gay?” It was a truly terrible segment, as Keith asked ridiculous leading questions suggesting that the gayness of the characters on Glee was comparable to “product placement,” and suggesting that people should be concerned by the show’s early time slot. Lots of other people have taken notice since then. Mary Elizabeth Williams has an entertaining piece at Salon which cuts right to the heart of what terrible journalism this was:
During the segment, which aired after last week’s Lady Gaga-themed “Born This Way” episode, host Damali Keith kicked off by comparing the show’s gay themes to “product placement” — you know, the kind that leaves “everyone in the theater thirsty for that particular brand.” Yes, that’s how it happens, America. One day your teenage son is banging the head cheerleader. The next, he hears a few bars of Chris Colfer’s seductive warbling, and wham! Suddenly he’s “thirsty” for that particular “brand.” Of penis. Homosexuality – it’s exactly like walking past a Cinnabon.
It’s funny, because that’s actually sort of what Religious Right wingnuts believe. The fact that it’s ridiculously stupid just makes it more attractive for them.
Williams sums the whole issue up here:
You can’t unring the stupid bell, and both Keith and Fischer’s ignorant remarks have already been given the undeserved legitimacy of a platform. But as “Glee” and its ilk continue – not always successfully or convincingly, but at least always with sensitivity and consistency – to explore the issues facing gay and questioning youth and their communities, it remains crucial to keep sending the message to broadcasters to stop booking bigots.
[T]he punditsphere has got to step up and try a little harder, to say that crackpots don’t deserve airtime. Because idiocy and intolerance are neither fair nor balanced.
Hear, hear! This is what we’ve saying for a long time now, and what the media WILL finally figure out someday. Despite the crowing of bigots, there are not two sides to these issues! Science has spoken, and continues to speak as scientists learn more. Mental health associations have spoken. Child welfare experts have spoken. Every single credible expert in every relevant field is on our side of this battle, encouraging full inclusion and acceptance for LGBT people. There is no debate anymore, for this is too much correct information out there. Media outlets don’t address issues of interest to black people by asking the Ku Klux Klan for their opinion. It’s high time they stop asking the Klan’s anti-gay equivalent to weigh in on matters of interest to LGBT people, and society at large.
Williams points out that Fox Houston originally agreed to apologize when GLAAD called them out, but that they have gone back on that promise. Sign the petition at change.org to demand that apology.