Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fox News creates sloppy coverage of GLSEN's Day of Silence

Friday will mark the 2010 Day of Silence in which students across the country will not speak in solidarity of lgbt youth and in protest of the problems they face regarding school bullying and lack of support.

Unfortunately  the Day of Silence, sponsored by GLSEN -the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network- will have to deal with the usual flotsam of religious right groups claiming that the event is just another way to "indoctrinate children into the so-called homosexual lifestyle."

Religious right groups have over the years ran unsuccessful attacks against the Day of Silence, first by banding together and asking that parents keep their children out of school during that day, and then trying to push a poor alternative, the Day of Truth, where they encourage students to repeat religious right distortions about the lgbt community in the name of love.

I have no doubt that this year will be the same as the years before - the Day of Silence being a huge success while the religious right alternatives fall flat.

However, an online buddy sent me two very interesting articles from Fox News about the Day of Silence which give me pause.

The first article, Gay Day of Silence a Waste of Tax Dollars, Critics Say, is extremely poor. Rather than go into detail, I will say look at the headline because it underscores the article writer's sloppy work.

The headline implies that those who oppose the Day of Silence is concerned by its alleged waste of tax dollars, but this claim isn't addressed in the article. All of the Day of Silence critics who are quoted do is repeat  the usual "we don't want our children indoctrinated" nonsense. The claim about the Day of Silence  and tax dollars is eventually addressed in the article however. Most specifically, in the article's last sentence:

GLSEN does not currently receive any federal or state funding, according to a spokesman for the group. The non-profit is funded by charitable foundations, teachers' unions and a host of corporations.

That sentence makes the headline inaccurate, doesn't it?

Mike Huckabee claims comments about gays were taken out of context

Apparently having to deal with blow back from a recent interview in which he compared allowing gay marriage to drug abuse and then totally disrespecting lgbt families, Fox Network personality Mike Huckabee is claiming that he is the victim of an overeager journalist who took him out of context. On his web page, he said the following:

The young college student hopefully will find a career other than journalism. I would ask that he release the unedited tape of our conversation. I believe that what people do as individuals in their private lives is their business, but I do not believe we should change the traditional definition of marriage. Not only did he attempt to sensationalize my well known and hardly unusual views of same-sex marriage, he also inaccurately reported my views on Michael Steele as GOP chairman - I offered my support and didn't "Rip into Steele" as his article asserted. I had a candid and frank conversation with the group about health care, education, the economy and national security while the young journalism student, instead, chose to focus on the issue of same-sex marriage and grossly distort my views.

Is it just me or is Huckabee giving us all the "runaround?" Not only did he say nothing about his crude comments regarding lgbt parenting, but his defense of his statements about gay marriage are confusing. Just how was his views sensationalize?

The College of New Jersey newspaper where Huckabee's interview was published, The Perspective, isn't backing down in the face of Huckabee's charges. It published the following on its site:

It is telling that nowhere in his statement did Huckabee suggest he was misquoted in the article, and rightfully so; we have the audio and transcripts to prove that everything reported is accurate.
Huckabee's problem seems to lie more in the focus of the article, which is centered partially on LGBT issues. We feel that same-sex marriage, laws prohibiting gays and lesbians from adopting children, and 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' are legitimate policy concerns about which to question national political figures. Gov. Huckabee may disagree.

The following is a portion of the interview. You be the judge:

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

This controversy is far from over and I'm eager to see how it plays out. But whatever the case may be, someone should tell Huckabee that his phony "aw shucks" image is wearing thin.

Hat tip to the Huffington Post

Related posts:

The friends of Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee attacks gay families, compares them to people raising puppies

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Barney Frank provides invaluable lobbying advice to the lgbt community and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Gays' right to live and learn in peace: Not a 'but on the other hand...' back-and-forth! - The Day of Silence for 2010 is almost here, which means the religious right will push their phony 'Day of Truth' event.

Barney Frank: lobby like the NRA; President's already nixed 2010 DADT repeal - Barney Frank is correct. We are big on venting via blogs and online but are very uncoordinated when it comes to lobbying. It takes discipline to become a viable political force and we can do this. But we have to start somewhere.

Pope's No. 2: Pedophilia linked to homosexuality - Well this sucks. Let me guess. God told him.

Science Needs To Get Off The Sidelines - This is personal for me. I've found so many instances in which credible researchers and physicians have complained about how the religious right distort their work. But the complaints and the needed blowback from these complaints are uncoordinated. We need more coordination with this as well as provide a list of all of the offenses. I've tried to do so and am still compiling the list.

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Researcher: the American College of Pediatricians distorted my work

The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) claimed last week that they sent out a letter to over 14,000 school superintendents inviting them to peruse and use information on a new site the group created, Facts About Youth.

However, the web page does nothing more than repeat the same lies and junk science that religious right groups have been pushing against the lgbt community for over 30 years.

Also, the American College of Pediatricians is nothing more than a shell group designed to give these same distortions a degree of "scientific credibility."

Much of their information, much like the information on the Facts About Youth web page, is the result of the distortion of credible research.

And now, one of those researchers is crying foul.

The watchdog group Truth Wins Out has published an exclusive letter from Dr. Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H., a University of Minnesota researcher to the American College of Pediatricians accusing them of distorting his work. It reads in part:

I have previously encountered and confronted the problem of misrepresentation of research from other advocacy groups such as yours. However, this episode is especially troubling and egregious because it is led by colleagues within my own profession— who certainly have the ability, education, and experience to access, review, and accurately summarize the Pediatric scientific literature.

Our professional code demands of Pediatricians nothing short of the highest standards of ethical conduct in medical education, research, and patient care. Knowingly misrepresenting research findings for material or personal gain is a flagrant violation of this code of conduct. Implicating me in this chicanery is doubly damaging to my professional reputation and career by holding me accountable for misstatements and by associating me with a cause that most ethical Pediatricians will recognize as misguided and hurtful to an entire class of children and families.

Please immediately remove any reference to our work from the website. As a suitable remedy, I also would urge you take the following actions:

1)    Publicly retract your references to our research with a written statement posted on the home page of your website;

2)    Until then, any donations made to your organization since the “Facts about Youth” website was launched should be either returned to the donors or contributed to the LGBT youth research fund of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.

I personally don't think Remafedi should hold his breath waiting for an apology. It's been my experience that when religious right groups are caught in a lie, they generally ignore complaints and repeat the deceptions as if they are facts.

Still, Remafedi's angry letter is worth remembering when one has to assess the non-existent validity of the ACP.

Related posts:

American College of Pediatricians, NARTH pushes new site featuring old anti-gay lies

The American College of Pediatricians and the Laundering of Junk Science

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