Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's 'The Best & Worst of National News' November 2008


MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Gives Heartfelt Special Comment Against the Passage of Proposition 8

During the November 10 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the host devoted six minutes of the program to a highly personal special comment concerning the passage of Proposition 8. Olbermann stated, "In a time of impermanence and fly-by relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option." The host called upon those who had voted for or supported the anti-gay legislation and asked them to examine the impact that taking marriage away form loving, committed same-sex couples has had on so many, gay and straight alike. He continued, stating, "They want what you want. A chance to be a little less alone in the world. Only now you are saying, 'No.'" Olbermann also said of the passage of Prop 8, "This vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart. And if that sounds corny, so be it."

MSNBC - Countdown with Keith Olbermann

GLAAD encourages you to contact Keith Olbermann and thank him for talking about the significance of marriage for same-sex couples.

Keith Olbermann

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

The New York Times Calls Attention to the Murder of Duanna Johnson

Earlier this month, Duanna Johnson, a 40-year-old African American transgender woman, was murdered in Memphis, Tenn. While local coverage was slow and often missed the mark, The New York Times reporter Robbie Brown penned a respectful and informative piece about Johnson on November 17 titled, "Murder of Transgender Woman Revives Scrutiny." Johnson's story first garnered media attention when she was the victim of police brutality in February. The incident was caught on tape, which led to substantial local and national media coverage. The news of her death did not garner the same volume of coverage, with the exception of this article in The New York Times. Reporter Robbie Brown spoke to local advocates who put Johnson's murder in context and helped to underscore the human side of the tragedy. "Duanna Johnson's case was tragic before, and now it's an almost unimaginable loss,"said Jared Feuer, Southern Regional Director of Amnesty International.


GLAAD urges you to contact reporter Robbie Brown and The New York Times and thank them for bringing national visibility to Duanna Johnson's tragic death and the pervasive problem of hate violence against transgender people.

The New York Times

The Washington Post Brings Attention to the Struggles of the Gay Community in India

A national debate over equal rights erupted in India this past summer when Section 377 of the Indian Penal code, which criminalizes being gay, was unsuccessfully challenged. Unfortunately, there is very little media coverage of the LGBT community in India. But in an article published on November 15 for the The Washington Post, titled "For Gays in India, Fear Rules," Emily Wax explores the struggles that members of the LGBT community in India face every day. With no protection from the state and coercive societal pressure to marry members of the opposite sex, gay people are forced to find solace in secret and commonly face threats of being blackmailed or outed. But as Wax points out, there is a growing support coming from younger Indians, many of whom work for multinational companies with LGBT-inclusive policies. The overall story is a vital reminder of the persecution faced by members of the LGBT community abroad.


GLAAD encourages you to contact Emily Wax and The Washington Post and thank them for bringing much-needed attention to the current discrimination LGBT people face in India.

Emily Wax

Washington Post


Fox's Bill O'Reilly Continually Misses the Mark in November Coverage of LGBT Issues

In the weeks following the election, Bill O'Reilly has continued to provide a platform for anti-gay views and misinformation about LGBT issues. The host gave former House Speaker Newt Gingrich a platform to spew incendiary defamatory anti-gay rhetoric, going so far as to associate the gay community with "secular fascism." On the November 14 broadcast, Gingrich stated, "I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion." Earlier in the month, O'Reilly made a similarly appalling comparison, stating that the marriage ruling in Massachusetts was a result of "fascism."

But that wasn't all for O'Reilly this month. On the November 12 broadcast, Dennis Miller made a sophomoric and juvenile jab at openly gay Chairman of the House of Financial Services Committee Barney Frank. When O'Reilly suggested that Frank be arrested, Miller stated, "Barney might want to be arrested," to which both responded with laughter, exaggerated gestures and innuendo.

Additionally, following the passage of the anti-gay Proposition 8 in California, O'Reilly devoted several segments to debates that pitted African American and LGBT communities against each other. The host consistently categorized the African American community as largely or uniformly anti-gay, despite the availability of data and information that indicates otherwise. Instead, O'Reilly chose to misrepresent the issue and misinform his viewers.

Fox News - The O'Reilly Factor 11.12.08: Proposition 8
Fox News - The O'Reilly Factor 11.12.08: Dennis Miller
Fox News - The O'Reilly Factor 11.14.08: Newt Gingrich

GLAAD urges you to contact Fox News executives and remind them that the LGBT community and our allies will continue to call out Fox News Channel and the producers of The O'Reilly Factor for the harmful anti-gay sentiments he perpetuates, which continue to reflect poorly on the News Corporation brand.

Mr. John Moody
Senior Vice President, News Editorial
FOX News Channel

Ms. Sharri Berg
Senior Vice President, News Operations
FOX News Channel

Clear Channel Refuses to Issue an Apology for Jim Quinn's Attack Against the LGBT Community

During the November 6 broadcast of the nationally syndicated radio program The War Room with Quinn & Rose, co-host Jim Quinn made highly offensive and ignorant statements regarding the gay community. In a discussion on the passage of the anti-gay Proposition 8 in California, he asserted, "[G]ay marriage doesn't produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn't have- or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their- for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us." On November 7, GLAAD issued a Call to Action, asking the community and its allies to contact Clear Channel Communications and voice their concerns. Despite numerous complaints, Clear Channel has refused to issue an apology and has not disciplined Quinn for his disgusting and unacceptable remarks.


GLAAD urges you to contact Clear Channel Communications and express your concern over the complete lack of responsibility taken by the syndicate in response to Quinn's reprehensible statements.

Lisa Dollinger
Chief Communications Officer
Clear Channel Communications
(210) 822-2828

Kathryn Johnson
Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations
Clear Channel Communications
(210) 822-2828

Sanda Coyle
Clear Channel Radio
(210) 822-2828

University of Washington Student Paper Publishes Juvenile Anti-Gay Defamation

A November 25 op-ed in the University of Washington's student newspaper The Daily likened marriage for same-sex couples to bestiality, among other defamatory comparisons. The column was illustrated with a highly offensive graphic of a man standing next to a sheep. In the column, writer John Fay repeatedly makes a series of offensive statements about the gay community throughout the op-ed, titled "Gay marriage? Let's stop and think about this." After making a host of illogical arguments, he suggests that "homosexuality is more of an emotional condition," claiming that if same-sex couples are given the right to marry, "…why not polygamy, incest, bestiality or any other form of union? If the only criteria is that people love each other, then who says it's wrong for a 70-year-old man to marry 10 underage girls?" Such ignorant remarks serve to distract and sensationalize rather than focus on the real issue of extending protections for same-sex couples in marriage.


GLAAD urges you to contact John Fay and The Daily and let them know that publishing such grossly offensive commentary and defamatory imagery is unacceptable.

John Fay

Sarah Jeglum
The Daily

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