This is unfortunate. Chris Matthews is usually pretty good on our issues, but our entire media has a big problem when it comes to believing that there are two legitimate sides to every issue, that argumentative crossfire is healthier for our discourse than actual reporting.
Just kidding, it’s about ratings.
Anyway, activists from Faithful America confronted Chris at a book signing in Massachusetts about his program’s continued invitations to Tony Perkins, the leader of one of the country’s most notorious hate groups, the Family Research Council, which is of course known for spewing some of the most dishonest bile about LGBT people imaginable, in their quest to create a gay-free America. Perfunctory fact-checking reveals that most of what comes out of Tony Perkins’ and Peter Sprigg’s mouths is made up, and one need only listen to their words for a moment to hear that their primary message is hate.
Matthews responds by falsely claiming that Perkins never says homophobic things on his show, but when challenged that his invitations give legitimacy to what Perkins says outside the show Matthews is mute.
The most upsetting part of the video below is when Matthews talks about the LGBT community wanting to “silence” Perkins.
And here’s video:
It is disturbing that Chris suggests that people want to “silence” Perkins. That’s not really the case. Indeed, the more that people like Tony Perkins speak, the more that we win. That being said, here is the problem, and there is a problem: presenting “all the arguments” is fine, as long as journalists are willing to do their jobs and correct misinformation. When Tony Perkins comes on Hardball or any other show and spews dishonest, homophobic bile [and yes, Chris, he's homophobic on your and every other show], it’s a matter of journalistic responsibility to correct the lies, as LGBT equality simply isn’t one of those issues where there are legitimate arguments on both sides. Our opponents will concoct any smear, tell any lie, in order to achieve their hateful goals. The problem that activists are confronting at this very moment is the fact that far too few journalists are willing to do this work, choosing instead to lean into The Way Things Have Always Been, which leads to segments on anti-gay bullying and teen suicide featuring rebuttals from hatemongers who, in their daily work, blame gay kids for the fact that people drive them to depression, despair and suicide. That’s not journalism and that’s not integrity.
I like Chris Matthews. I’ve been on his show. He does tend to be a pretty good advocate for our issues, but there is simply more to this than “presenting both sides of a story.” And Chris, if you want to talk about it some more, I’d be glad to come back on. Just give me a call.