Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Religious right gains new ally with Fox News reporter Shannon Bream

Shannon Bream
A while back, I made a prediction that Fox News would become a large danger to the lgbt community because it would funnel propaganda and one-sided interviews against our community.

As an Equality Matters report proves, it's already happened thanks to Fox News "journalist" Shannon Bream:

Fox News reporter Shannon Bream has become a reliable proponent of right-wing efforts to discriminate against LGBT people, using her national platform to validate religious extremists who claim that any LGBT protections infringe on religious liberty and freedom of speech.

 . . . Bream is also a devout Christian who claims to have been inspired by the work of the notoriously homophobic conservative activist Jerry Falwell. Bream attended Falwell’s right-wing Liberty University for her undergraduate degree, and in May of 2013, she became the first woman to deliver the keynote address at her alma mater’s commencement ceremony. During her speech, Bream urged the graduating class to live a life guided by the kind of Christian principles espoused by Falwell, challenging them not to “stand silently” as their “most deeply held beliefs are being questioned in the public square."

In that same speech, Bream talked about "religious oppression" and "religious liberty" - two code phrases popular with the anti-gay religious right.

Equality Matters also calls raises attention to Bream's behavior when supposedly covering news stories in an objective manner:

Fighting San Antonio’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance

San Antonio’s city council became the target of right-wing, anti-LGBT outrage over the summer as it considered an ordinance that would expand the city’s non-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. On Fox News, Bream led the effort to depict the measure as an assault on religious free speech. During the July 31 edition of America Live, Bream incorrectly warned that the ordinance posed a “First Amendment rights issue,” potentially blocking the hiring of “anyone who speaks out against homosexuality because of their moral or religious beliefs.”

Bream invited right-wing San Antonio pastor Steven Branson for a one-sided interview in which they both criticized a provision of the measure which had been removed for more than a month at the time of the interview. Bream failed to correct Branson when he falsely suggested the ordinance lacked exemptions for religious organizations . . .

Hate Groups And Horror Stories

Bream’s fact-free campaign against San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance is a textbook example of how she approaches broadly attacking LGBT equality on Fox, including relying on hate group spokespersons to depict blatant acts of discrimination as a form of religious speech.
Some examples include:
  • The New Mexico Photographer. On August 23, Bream hosted a segment defending a New Mexico photographer who was sued under the state’s non-discrimination law after refusing to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony. Bream questioned whether gay people actually have a right to be free from unjust discrimination and invited the photographer’s attorney – from the notoriously anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – to assert that the photographer was being forced to violate her religious beliefs by promoting a message approving homosexuality.
  • Macy’s Transgender Customer. In December 2011, Bream hosted a segment about a former Macy’s employee who was fired after violating the company’s policy of allowing transgender customers to use their preferred changing room. Bream invited the employee and her attorney, anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, to mock the policy and joke about the customer’s appearance. Bream described the incident as “a case pitting religious freedom against a store’s anti-discrimination policy.” Bream’s behavior during the segment drew criticism from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Bream seems to be the second Fox News personality who is allowing their personal religious beliefs to shape how they report the news. Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio has been consistently called out for not only his brazenly inaccurate reporting but also for his vicious comments about the lgbt community.

Bream, however, seems to be more of a danger to the lgbt community than Starnes.  While Starnes' comments and actions undermines his credibility, Bream tiptoes on that thin line between objectivity and bias, make sure to cheat when she thinks no one is looking.

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