Thursday, February 16, 2012

O'Reilly under fire for defending Ellen DeGeneres

I don't like Bill O'Reilly. He isn't a good journalist but rather a loudmouth bully.

But the one time he makes sense, he gets attacked by members of the religious right.

O'Reilly recent defended popular lesbian celebrity Ellen DeGeneres and the department store JC Penny from attacks by the One Million Moms, a group pushed by the American Family Association. One Million Moms is angry that JC Penny chose DeGeneres as its spokesperson and is demanding that the company reverse the decision.O'Reilly said the following:

“If you remember with the McCarthy era of the 1950s, they were trying to hunt down communist sympathizers and not let them work and put them on a blacklist… What is the difference between the McCarthy era communist blacklist in the ‘50s and the Million Moms saying, ‘Hey, J.C. Penney and all you other stores, don’t you hire any gay people. Don’t you dare.’ What is the difference? . . . The essential question is that a conservative group in this country is asking a private company to fire an American citizen based upon her lifestyle. I don’t think that’s correct.”

Uh oh. He shouldn't have said that. Through its phony news publication One News Now, the American Family Association calls itself striking back via a column by one Michael Brown.

You'll probably be hearing more about Brown in the future, but for now here is the skinny. He is a huckster, a phony, a charlatan. He saw how much press religious right figures are getting by bashing the gay community and decided to join the publicity train to get his piece of the pie.

Anyway, this is part of what he wrote about O'Reilly's comments:

Simply stated, in a media culture where out and proud lesbians like Ellen, Rachel Maddow, and Suzie Orman are as American as apple pie, O'Reilly's reference to the McCarthyism of the 1950s "that banished perceived leftwing job seekers from employment in the entertainment industry" could hardly be more irrelevant.

But that is really secondary to the larger issue -- namely the reason for the Moms' opposition to Ellen as a spokesperson for JC Penney. O'Reilly notes that "DeGeneres is an American citizen," adding that, "She has committed no crime. If she wants to promote equality for gays or gay marriage, that is her constitutional right. She should not be dismissed from anything."

Of course, that is her constitutional right; and of course, she has committed no crime -- but that is not the point. In fact, O'Reilly began his article expressing his sympathies for people who "oppose the in-your-face tactics of some homosexuals" at public events like parades in New York City. "They simply want to be left alone. They don't want to see explicit displays in public that offend their moral or religious point of view."

And that is precisely the issue here. Ellen is the poster-girl par excellence for gay and lesbian causes, and her 2008 "marriage" to Portia DeRossi was celebrated on the front cover of People Magazine. Her 1997 TV announcement that she was gay made television history, and she is an ever-present, always winsome, spokesperson for gay activism.

The gist of Brown's nonsense is that it is perfectly fine to demand that JC Penny fire Ellen because it's not that she is a lesbian, but that she is an out lesbian celebrity who is popular in the public eye.

Perhaps Brown would have wanted JC Penny to find a timid, self-hating in-the-closet lesbians who, in the middle of advertising for JC Penny, would burst into tears and talk about how she hates herself and her life.

I mean how dare DeGeneres conducts herself like she isn't ashamed. Why if that were allowed to happen, people would see lgbtqs as normal. And worse than that, young lgbtqs may feel less isolated and depressed.

And we can't have that happening.

The irony is that Brown makes O'Reilly's point. To target someone not because of any alleged harm they have done, but because who they are is McCarthy-like tactics. And it doesn't matter how you try to pretty up the targeting.  Pouring a ton of sugar on manure doesn't make it edible and disguising a campaign of hate under the guise of family values doesn't make it palpable either.

Editor's note - If you have high blood pressure, avoid the comments section of the Brown's piece. It is filled with idiots citing convenience sample studies on the "so-called dangers of lesbianism." Apparently religious right tactics regarding distorting research have been picked up by their supporters.

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JayJonson said...

The other reason that O'Reilly's comments riled the religious right is that they LIKED Joe McCarthy, so they don't cotton to O'Reilly dissing him for those lovely witch hunts.

Linnea said...

I can't stand Bill-O (as Keith Olbermann calls him) either, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.