Thursday, December 17, 2015

NPR regrets not properly identifying anti-gay hate group during radio discussion

According to Media Matters, NPR is expressing regret for not properly identifying the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg when he took part in a debate on same-sex parenting last week:

After NPR's The Diane Rehm Show hosted a spokesman from a notorious anti-gay hate group during a discussion of same-sex adoption, NPR's ombudsman admitted that the show erred in failing to properly identify the group.

On the December 10 edition of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, guest host Melissa Ross interviewed Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council (FRC), to discuss legal battles over parenting and adoption rights for same-sex couples. While the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed FRC as an anti-gay hate group since 2010, NPR didn't identify Sprigg as a hate group spokesman, and Sprigg used the platform to peddle misinformation about LGBT equality.

In a post responding to criticisms of the segment, NPR's ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen joined Diane Rehm in acknowledging that the show erred by "not us[ing] a clear identifier" for Sprigg. Rehm admitted that she has "to do a better job of being more careful about identification":

A portion of the post reads as thus:

Media Matters wrote that NPR (which distributes the show but does not produce it) gave Sprigg "a national platform to peddle misinformation about same-sex parenting." The organization Faithful America also sent an email blast that said: "Tell NPR: Don't let anti-gay hate group speak for Christians." In the last 45 seconds of the program, as Ross was focused on wrapping up, Sprigg said that "most orthodox Christians" believe that "engaging in homosexual conduct is contrary to the will of God," a claim that depends on the murky definition of "orthodox Christians." (See this May 2015 Pew Research Center poll looking at Americans' attitudes over whether their religious beliefs are in conflict with homosexuality.) But as I read the transcript, the show's other guests forcefully pushed back against Sprigg's other claims at pretty much every turn.

I asked Rehm about the guest booking. Her view (with which I agree): "I certainly don't see that there's a problem having someone like that on the program." Where the show erred, she said, "was we did not use a clear identifier [for Sprigg] other than the title of his organization." She added, "We have to do a better job of being more careful about identification."

Of course, the saving grace of the entire situation is how Sprigg's distortions about same-sex parenting were exposed by genuine experts during Rehm's show. Still, proper identification of Sprigg and FRC doesn't hurt. Neither he nor his group have any business being passed off as genuine experts on anything about the lgbt community. 

Related posts:

Anti-gay spokesman's distortions exposed by actual experts on NPR 

 Those times anti-gay groups were caught lying about science and lgbts . . .


Unknown said...

Another attempt to shoot with wet powder. Or is it another shuddering breath from a dying organization?

I'm sure we haven't heard the last, but, it may soon be that Sprigg and others like him will be forced their own mail.

Anonymous said...

It happens too often. Media organizations have these people on all the time who spew their idiocy. Then when called on it put out these lame after the fact apologies. Surely someone at these outlets vets these people.

They are not sorry and are purposely allowing these hate-mongers an audience.