from Books & Reviews
Which leads us to our old pal, New York Times columnist Frank Rich, who attacks just about anyone who raises questions about any aspect of the gay agenda even more rabidly than he does other ideological foes. In Rich's work, the vicious accusation "homophobic," "homophobia," or "homophobe" turn up so often (forty times as of this writing!) it's almost laughable. He refers to the "homophobic Traditional Values Coalition" and "the homophobic right," to "a homophobic, Dobson-endorsed candidate" and "homophobic jurors," to "homophobic rhetoric" and "homophobic lyrics."
Though few can match Rich for sheer poisonous vitriol, his narrow and angry characterization of those who challenge the gay rights agenda as moral thugs is just about the norm in elite newsrooms. And it goes a long way to explaining why, in the years since the AIDS story was botched in the 1980s -- when the media scared the hell out of everybody by falsely reporting, day in and day out, that heterosexual Americans would soon be dropping dead all over the place from AIDS, just as gay men and junkies were already dropping dead -- coverage of every other controversial gay-related story has been just as slanted.
Look at how the topic of gay parenting and adoption has been covered.
In the past few years, two of the most prominent women in television journalism, Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, have done specials on the subject, and both have been roughly as balanced as Iraqi television's coverage of Saddam Hussein's reelection.
Both the Walters and Sawyer stories packed enormous emotional wallop, as they were intended to. And both were virtual advertisements for the pro-gay-family side. I have the transcripts of both shows before me now. I also have a story on the same subject from the gay magazine The Advocate, and -- surprise! -- all make basically the same point in the same way. Featuring loving, happy families in which the parents happen to be gay, they remind us that the very existence of these loving happy families and thousands like them is threatened by ignorance and prejudice and homophobic legal and social service systems.
The Sawyer special, two hours' worth, was originally broadcast on ABC's Primetime Thursday on March 14, 2002, and opens with a chaotic scene of five energetic kids in a typical American home. Then Diane's voice comes in: "Their days are a controlled explosion of activity, all managed by Roger Croteau, and the man they call Dad, Steven Lofton...Two washers and dryers, churning all the time. A frenzy of doing dishes, dust busting, skiing, snowboarding, water aerobics."
Steven Lofton is the hero of the piece, a gay man who's don wonders with his foster kids -- kids the state of Florida will not allow him to adopt because of his sexual orientation. He comes across as a wonderfully sympathetic guy, as he probably is, and the home he and his partner have made for the kids look stable and inviting. Also playing a major role in the broadcast is Rosie O'Donnell -- in fact, this is where she first came out as a gay parent herself -- and by the end you get the idea that anyone who isn't with these people on this hardly deserves to be called human.
Oh, sure, during the two hours, Sawyer gives those who question the wisdom of gay adoption the mandatory few moments of screen time.
Passing mention is made so studies that show a greater likelihood of domestic violence between gay male partners, and of higher levels of drug use and promiscuity. But such concerns are quickly put to rest by the California psychologist described as the leading authority in the field, who reassures viewers that such excesses are far less likely to apply to gay parents: "They're the low end of HIV infection; they're on the low end of multiple sexual partners. They're on the low end of substance abuse. They're on the low end of violence."
"And," points out Sawyer, the psychologist's "report shows that the households with the least violence are not heterosexual households but lesbian couples."
The special ends with Steven Lofton putting his kids to bed. "It's a real safe feeling," he says, "when everyone's home, secure and safe, and we're ready to start it again."
As you might imagine, Diane Sawyer and her ABC News program drove conservatives nuts. As syndicated columnist Cal Thomas wrote, "There are credible scientific, legal and religious arguments against gay adoptions. ABC didn't present them because if they had, Rosie O'Donnell would not have appeared on Primetime Thursday. This was journalism at its worst but propaganda at its best...Will ABC follow these youngsters into maturity and report any negative consequences of their childhood experience? Not likely." Even the title of the show" -- 'Rosie's Story: For the Sake of the Children' -- "sounded like propaganda," he wrote.
Who can deny that Cal Thomas, no matter how conservative he may be, has a legitimate point? It makes you wonder why in the world journalists give conservatives that kind of ammunition. Why not do a more balanced report? Isn't that what journalism is supposed to be about?
And it's more of the same with Barbara Walters, who has actually done a number of broadcasts on the subject of gay adoption. Maybe the most heavy-handed was the 20/20 segment that first aired March 9, 2001, called "The Children Speak," in which a number of children describe what it is like to have a homosexual couple for parents.
The segment shows us two sets of parents, one a lesbian couple (since split up, we're informed) with a girl and a boy, and one pair of gay men with two little girls. And how are the kids doing with these parents?
Are you kidding? Straight moms and dads pray for children as loving and secure as they kids. The two little girls, especially, are amazingly adorable, as pretty and precocious as those you'll find in any commercial. As Barbara tells us, "They have a big circle of friends, always seem busy, and they do well in school. They're even learning Chinese, and already speak Spanish and French fluently."
Which is more than I can say for...everybody I know!
Five months later, on August 3, that segment was rebroadcast. Partly this was because it was the summer and, as Barbara described it, it was "our most provocative story of this season." But partly, too, as Barbara herself indirectly tells us, there was a new political point that needed to be made. It seems that a lot of attention had been paid recently to a study that made gay activists and their liberal supporters very unhappy and gave new ammunition to their traditionalist opponents.
The study said that kids of gay parents were more likely to engage in gay sex themselves.
"Now, about that controversial new report we mentioned earlier on children raised by same-sex parents," Walters says, back in the studio as the segment ends, "California researchers reviewed many studies and found that in fact, these children are different, in some ways, from children with straight parents. They say that they are less likely to accept stereotypes about men and women. They are more tolerant of differences, and the finding that stirred the greatest controversy:
Yes, they are more likely to experiment with a same-sex relationship.
But -- and this is important -- they are not any more likely to be gay than children of heterosexuals."
What if, instead of liberal reporters and producers, somehow, some way, it were conservative journalists who were in charge? And what if their stories tilted just as heavily to how wrong gay adoption is and how difficult life is for children with gay parents? What if those hypothetically conservative journalists at ABC News devoted most of their program to attractive, likable people of faith, who explained that gay "unions" and gay adoptions violate a moral code that has been in place for thousands of years? What if they gave short shrift to the mandatory "other side" -- the side of the gay parents who say their kids are happy and well adjusted? Would the gay lobby and gay journalists and straight liberal journalists and reasonable people in general regard any of this as fair play?
Why should it always take turning the tables this way to see how obvious and how blatant the bias is?
Or maybe Diane and Barbara should just tell it like it is and say, "We live in Manhattan. All of our friends are sophisticated and just about all of them are liberal, to one degree or another. And here in Manhattan -- crossroads of the universe -- we don't think this subject of gay adoptions is all that controversial. So we're going to put on a program with pretty much only one side. Sit back and enjoy the show."
At least it would be honest.