Homosexual Media Bias?
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
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 A
BC 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
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.”
“Arrogance” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Bernard Goldberg
Available from Warner Books, Inc.
jd, what you miss is that the system is inherently <tilted just as heavily to how wrong gay adoption> so it is not necessary to play that side of the story. your argument is that both sides should get equal time...but there is no story about how bad gay adoption is because that is the status quo. what kind of story is that and why is it needed?
and the media? well of course it sucks. you certainly do not expect high quality news from mainstream networks, do you? you could equally well pick almost any source, and find equal bias on any side of the political spectrum you care to look. so why this one?
what are you worried about? is it truly the gay friendly media? or is it perhaps that gay adoptions bug you? are there so many gay adoptions that it is threatening your family values? bottom line. don't you think that most gay couples will be just as competent as hetero couples? the bar isn't all that high ya know, sadly.
<who explained that gay “unions” and gay adoptions violate a moral code that has been in
place for thousands of years?>
not all cultures consider(ed) homosexuality to be abnormal, deviant, or needing censure. this argument is eurocentric and counter-evolutionary. things do not remain static. your insistence that we all subscribe to the same moral code that the semite goatheards used in their pre-technological pastoral existence 2000 years ago seems odd to me.
merely for discussion.
***what are you worried about? is it truly the gay friendly media? or is it perhaps that gay adoptions bug
you? are there so many gay adoptions that it is threatening your family values? bottom line. don't you
think that most gay couples will be just as competent as hetero couples? the bar isn't all that high ya
What am I worried about? Well in this case I am worried that certain sides of the story are getting a
short shrift, and I think that short end of the stick is done dishonestly. It does not necessarily have to be
this particular issue, but anything that somehow represents traditional family values or conservative
issue. The mainstream media, outside of Fox news, which is slanted right, is slanted to the left. It
bothers me. The position of: "all media is biased, oh well . . . wha, wha, whaaaa" does not sit well with
me. I guess from your perspective it must be easy to excuse this bias when you happen to agree.
As far as gay adoptions go, I do not think they are ideal and generally more potentially problematic than
helpful, but if there are kids that need a loving home, being adopted by a loving gay couple is much
preferred than foster care or an orphanage (do they still have orphanges?). Kids respond to love. Heck
my parents screwed up pretty good with me often enough, I don't imagine *on average* that gay couples
would be much worse. I think you have to be pragmatic here. I'm more interested in the kids being in
good homes than making a issue of a lifestyle.
***not all cultures consider(ed) homosexuality to be abnormal, deviant, or needing censure. this
argument is eurocentric and counter-evolutionary. things do not remain static. your insistence that we all
subscribe to the same moral code that the semite goatheards used in their pre-technological pastoral
existence 2000 years ago seems odd to me***
Not all culture thought human scrifice to be abnormal, deviant, or needing censure. the argument against
human scrifice is sooooooo eurocentric and counter-evolutionary . . .
I have *NEVER* insisted that everyone subsrcibe to God's moral code. It seems odd to me that you would
put this position on me?
sooooooooooooooooo eurocentric and country-evolutionary
not every culture thought rape to abnormal, deviant, or needing censure. the argument against slavery is
sooooooooooooooooo eurocentric and country-evolutionary
i am glad that you agree that it is the love and caring that is the most important indicator. it is what i would expect of you.
<I have *NEVER* insisted that everyone subsrcibe to God's moral code. It seems odd to me that you would
put this position on me?>
sorry. did not mean to besmirch your escucheon (i ALWAYS wanted to say that : ), but your comment about violating a moral code seemed to be saying that everyone needed to abide by the same one. i think now that it was merely part of the hypothetical right wing media version and was not meant to convey your belief.
comparisan made here at all.
I merely used your statement about homosexual relationships - a point of morals - and substitued the words
human scrifice, slavery, and rape - other points of morals. My point was you could use your statement as it
was made to argue for human sacrifice, slavery, and rape, based on the fact that some cultures had no
problem with those particular practices.
applied it to human sacrifice, slavery, and rape. If there is a fallacy (and there might be [ha!]) then it is
with *your* orginal argument. Have a problem with the "past cultures thought it was ok, therefore we
should keep an open mind" argument? Maybe not . . .
does it have to be all black or white? if we throw out anything that they used to believe, we have to throw out everything? are these values (anti-slavery, anti-rape, anti-gay adoptions) so inextricable interwoven that we cannot use our common sense to choose the part that is appropriate (don't rape and enslave) and throw out the part that is now seen as intolerant (gay stigma)?
differentiates it from rape, slavery, and human sacrifice
however, the argument that since people used to think it was ok, therefore it is ok, is a bad argument . . .
like I said I was not making an sort of comparisan only pointing out the rediculousness of your argument