Poor Marcus Bachmann. Nine months later he’s still smarting about TWO’s investigation, in which I went undercover at Bachmann & Associates with hidden cameras to capture the fraudulent “pray away the gay” therapy sessions I received there, and TWO launched the story into the media, catapulting the dangerous quackery of “ex-gay” therapy into the national conversation and presenting Michele Bachmann with the first major obstacle in her spectacularly unsuccessful bid for the presidency.
Oh wait, scratch that part about “nine months later.” Make that eight months. See, the interview that prompted this posting — given to Faith Radio’s Susie Larson by Marcus himself — actually occurred one month ago, in February. Why is it just now coming to my attention, you ask? Well, for one thing, we’re really busy here at Truth Wins Out. Neither Wayne, Evan, nor I have enough time to check off all the urgent items on our to-do list on any given day, let alone sit around on mindless Google-fueled nostalgia trips into past successes.
But last weekend I happened to have a conversation with a friend who I hadn’t had a chance to speak with since before the Bachmann clinic scandal went viral. Inspired by that conversation, I ran a search on my old buddy Marcus, and much to my surprise, I found out that as recently as last month he was still rehashing the entire episode for anyone who would listen.
Bachmann’s interview with Larson is too long to inflict on all of you, although if you’re really feeling ambitious/masochistic, it can be found here. He discusses the backlash prompted by TWO’s undercover operation at the 17:00 mark and our investigation itself around 21:00. But I wouldn’t want to put you through all of that, so I’ve typed out a transcript of the relevant portions, which I will include below, and will give you the highlights here.
Are you ready for it? Basically, Larson admiringly cast Marcus Bachmann in the role of Christian hero and martyr of the faith, and Marcus readily went along with it. He revealed that TWO’s investigation and the protests and media frenzy it spawned hurt his business, at least temporarily. He told Larson, as he also said to the Wall Street Journal, that I was a “tremendous actor.” (Marcus, stop. I’m blushing!)
He further alleged that TWO’s video footage was doctored in some way, saying,
“Yet on the tape, it was promoted as again, cut and splice, that this guy [Timothy, my "therapist"] was trying to force this guy [me] into a lifestyle he didn’t want — that’s not true. That’s what the hoax was. That was the plan. And if you tape five sessions, you can split and splice and make any story you want out of it.”
That statement from Marcus Bachmann is unequivocally false — simply, a lie. For one thing, after the story broke I spent hours upon hours getting the raw videos in their entirety to any media outlet that requested them, including some of the most reputable news organizations in the country (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the Associated Press, the New York Times, etc.). He can’t seriously think that people will believe in some kind of massive media-wide conspiracy to hide doctored tapes, can he? Furthermore, to be perfectly honest, I simply do not have the technological proficiency (to say nothing of the time, energy, and patience) required to do any kind of video editing. Come on, Marcus, you’re sounding desperate. Look at this post, for example — I don’t even know how to copy the audio file of your interview from the Faith Radio website and embed it into this page. Yet you think I’m somehow miraculously capable of slicing and dicing video footage? Give me a break. I can’t pray myself into that kind of digital know-how any more than my Bachmann & Associates “therapist” could “pray away my gay.” I, and Truth Wins Out, stand 100% behind the authenticity of the tapes I made at Marcus Bachmann’s clinic.
Marcus also claims that he’d never heard of “reparative therapy” prior to Bachmanngate. Given the fact that Janet Boynes, a close personal friend, is a self-proclaimed “ex-lesbian” — and that I photographed a stack of Boynes’s books being sold at Bachmann’s clinic next to a prominently-displayed endorsement from Marcus himself (see photo above) — his assertion is laughable.
And finally, to his declaration that “the counselor really responded professionally, and from an ethics point of view, exactly the way he should have,” I will again point out that literally every single mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals has denounced “ex-gay” therapy. So no, my therapist’s response was not ethical by any reputable measure.
I wonder: how long do you think Marcus Bachmann will continue gleefully relitigating last year’s “pray away the gay” scandal that disgraced his business, turned him into a national punchline, and seriously hobbled his wife’s presidential bid? Your guess is as good as mine, but as long as he keeps trying to impugn my integrity and smear the important work we do here at Truth Wins Out, we’re going to keep answering Bachmann’s lies. Because that’s what you do when you’re confronted by a bully — you fight back.
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TRANSCRIPT FROM MARCUS BACHMANN RADIO INTERVIEW, 2/16/2012
At approximately 21:00, speaking about TWO’s undercover investigation after host Susie Larson thanks Marcus for “putting [himself] in harm’s way for the sake of our nation”):
Marcus Bachmann: You know, one of the other things that happened to us is, we had someone who pretended to be a client who was struggling with same-sex attraction. Came in with a camera in their backpack and also somewhere else on their body, and ended up taping five sessions. And, you know, here we have — he was a tremendous actor — cried, said, you know, he really did not want to have this issue of being attracted to same-sex, and, you know, said “Will you help me?” And the counselor really responded professionally, and from an ethics point of view, exactly the way he should have. Yet on the tape, it was promoted as again, cut and splice, that this guy was trying to force this guy into a lifestyle he didn’t want — that’s not true. That’s what the hoax was. That was the plan. And if you tape five sessions, you can split and splice and make any story you want out of it. That story came across, again — national TV, national radio — as if we ran a clinic that had questionable ethics, and they used the word “reparative therapy.” You know, I had to look up “reparative therapy.” I thought, wait a minute, if they’re accusing us of doing reparative . . . what is reparative therapy? And I understand reparative therapy. The way they wanted to present it was that we were manipulative, controlling, and we were out of the bounds of ethics. Farthest thing from the truth.
At 17:00, regarding “pray away the gay” therapy, the media frenzy triggered by TWO’s undercover investigation, and the protests of his clinic that followed:
MB: I, certainly in our clinic, believe that people should have the opportunity to come in if they’re struggling — whether it’s with sexual identity issues or whatever issue it is –and be able to talk as a believer, and talk to another believer, about ‘what can I do, how can I receive counsel.’ But that became the lightning bolt of one of the campaigns here.
Susie Larson: And it impacted your business. But I have a question. You see two extreme responses to those kinds of character assassinations. You see people be so hypersensitive that they’re defending every single thing said about them, but then, like even President Bush, I wanted him to defend himself more often. It seemed like he never did. I would defend myself. I mean that, that’s a lie. I mean, with modern technology you can create someone saying a lie by splicing words together.
MB: Yes, yes.
SL: What did you do to defend yourself?
MB: Everything I possibly could do. But the — once the bell is rung, Susie — to correct itself, it’s almost impossible. I know that’s hard to believe, but because there’s such strength behind the main media, that that’s the story that carried on national TV, national radio, ABC, CBS, all of them. And I’m telling you, that which we tried to get out, to say “That’s not what I said. I have always denied that. I have always said what I did — you know, corrected that” — it didn’t matter.
SL: So there were implications, there was a ripple effect, because of that.
MB: There was.
SL: Talk about that.
MB: Well, we — at the two Christian counseling agencies that we have, the main counseling agency in the Woodbury area, we had TV cameras come routinely for several weeks. The worst was when they started interviewing our clients that came out, which is absolutely — of all things in a counseling agency, confidentiality, you know, privacy, is of utmost importance. But they continuously — and we’d have to call, we had the police there, they’d have to stop the TV cameras, they’d have to ask them to leave — it happened numerous, numerous times. And then we had the demonstrators that came. And, the last time they came — the good thing about Minnesota is demonstrators don’t like cold. (laughing) So they stopped coming for awhile, and actually they stopped.
SL: So you were the guy praying for that cold weather.
MB: That’s it! The last time they came, they sang the Lady Gaga song and did the whole routine. And we have a one-way mirror that looks outside because of the sun protector, and I turned to my staff as they did the choreography of Lady Gaga’s “I Was Born This Way,” and I know it wasn’t appropriate, but I said “You know, they’re not too bad. (Laughing) They actually had this routine down really quite well. But the truth of the matter is, it was very sad. Because you know what, there was not given the opportunity for people who sincerely desire to have a, a place to come that was safe. Because when you have the media there, with their TV crews, and when you have demonstrators there interrupting, it hurt our business. It did, unfortunately. We’re back to normal, we’re back to, you know, and I think in a lot of ways what God says, “What was meant for evil is now going to be blessed,” we really see that we, we. . . our name got out there — wasn’t going to be for that reason I was planning on — but our name got out there and people knew: there’s a clinic that will stand up for truth. That will stand up for marriage, that will stand up for life. And we need to honor that kind of strength of conviction. So it’s all turning around for a good, good outcome. . .