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04/13/2007

Clearly cut by HRC, the Barber gets snippy

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images Picture-13-18We've said in private that Matt Barber (pic.) is going to be the person to ultimately destroy all remaining shreds of  credibility for the Concerned Women  For America.  Now we're going to make the same prediction in public: Matt Barber is going to be the person to ultimately destroy all remaining shreds of  credibility for the Concerned Women For America!

Now, we genuinely don't mean malice to Mr. Barber personally when we say this or wish him a future of long-term unemployment.  It's just that after witnessing the way he has chosen to speak for this particular organization over the past few months, we can't help but think that CWA prez Wendy Wright -- someone with whom we rarely agree but who still see as reasonable and sharp -- is starting to question their decision.  After all, CWA is not a blog or an extremist organization; it is a conservative organization whose members actually get booked by the media to speak for the right.  Barber is just so mouth-foamingly overzealous!

So what, after so many recent demonizing attacks, is leading us to now declare Barber a ticking "pro-family" time bomb? Well, first let's tell you the back story:

Recently, Barber and crew called for the Department of Justice to begin investigations into hate crimes to determine their validity.  They made this call because they, like their "pro-family" allies,  are somehow convinced that hate crimes against gays are all just a myth, and that hate crimes protections are both unnecessary and unconstitutional. 

Picture 19-6We, fed up with the way these groups seriously act as if we gays are making up the hateful acts that are still all-too-frequently perpetrated against members of our community, completely ignored CWA's call, as it just seemed like a desperate ploy for attention.  However, our pals at the Human Rights Campaign took a novel approach to Barber & Co.'s "hate crime hunt."  HRC issued a press release in which they placed tongue firmly in cheek and "thanked" CWA for acknowledging "the need for federal involvement to investigate these violent acts of hate that terrorize whole communities of Americans.”  It was clearly just the organization seizing a chance to respond to a right-wing group in a new, more irreverent way.  After all, considering they have to respond to anti-gay politics every day of the week in a generally buttoned-up fashion, we're sure they are always quick to welcome fresh ways to get their point across.

Well Matt Barber, nerve clearly hit, responded to HRC's tactic today.  Here now, some choice sections from Barber's response:

You can’t help but be a little embarrassed for Joe Solmonese and his partners over at HRC. With an annual budget of nearly 40 million dollars, you’d think that ol’ Joe could afford some writers and spinmeisters worth their salt. But apparently HRC has set aside the lion’s share of its fundraising purse for Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees and to maintain that fabulous interior office design. And so the cheeky graduates of Joe’s Bar and Community College have hit the job placement bonanza.

Okay, so first we have him demeaning the staff of HRC for responding to his political rhetoric in a way not so dissimilar from his own usual tone.  Barber frequently uses a more irreverent style in his writing than his predecessor Robert Knight.  In fact, HRC's strategy in responding to his actions is very much one that we could see Barber himself using (though he would probably throw in a few more crude cultural stereotypes for bad measure).  But like we said, Barber has clearly had his nerves hit, and so in retaliation, he's demeaning the education levels of HRC's crop of workers.  Mature. While we have at times questioned CWA underlings and their practices, we would never demean their level of education.  Mainly because we realize that no matter their ideology, a young'un has to have some sort of qualifications behind them to obtain a position with any national political organization.  But again -- we've never had our nerves hit by any of their words in ways that Mr. Barber clearly has by HRC's own staff.

But the above intro paragraph was only the beginning.  After denying that hate was involved in either Andrew Anthos' recent death or Matthew Shepard's 1998 murder (claims that are for another entry altogether), Barber goes on to recount the chain of events between himself and HRC like this (highlighting our own):

This past Tuesday, HRC issued a press release on CWA’s call for a federal investigation into HRC’s own dubious activities, spinning so hard that Joe Solmonese must still be dizzy. Check out the title, but take a breath, it’s a bit clumsy: “Human Rights Campaign President Thanks National Right Wing Organization For Now Supporting Federal Hate Crimes Legislation”… annnnnd exhale.

So, ya get it? Don’t let what you actually read in CWA’s press release confuse you. CWA has had a road-to-Damascus experience here, having performed a John Kerry-esque flip-flop, and despite what you may have heard to the contrary, CWA actually “[supports] Hate Crimes Legislation.” And for that, Joe Solmonese says, “thank you CWA.”

As ol’ Joe himself put it while playfully splashing around in a pool of his own misperceived wit, “CWA has finally acknowledged the need for federal involvement to investigate these violent acts of hate that terrorize whole communities of Americans.” But the real gem comes from “gay” news site 247gay.com. While covering HRC’s press release, the Web site crows, “Concerned Women for America Come out in Support of Federal Hate Crimes Law,” further proclaiming that CWA has done, “an about face,” on the issue.


HRC’s intentional misrepresentation of the facts and the ridiculous leap of logic it attempts would really be pretty funny if it weren’t so serious. It only serves to further underscore the disingenuous nature and deceitful methods employed by this entire movement, which is entirely built on lies.

But wait a minute, Matt -- now you're trying to make it sound like HRC was lying or that they were being straightforward when they presented the idea that you kids were supporting hate crimes legislation?  Talk about a "ridiculous leap in logic!"  You can't both acknowledge that they were being silly AND attack their mockery as if it were a straightforward refutation!  HRC fully mentions in their release that they realize you guys are trying to mock hate crimes legislation, and it's patently obvious that they don't REALLY believe you are supporting federal hate crimes laws.  To point to this as an example of deceit is like accusing Stephen Colbert of not being as conservative as he says he is!  When the joke is laid out on the table, you can't accuse the jester of under-handed dealings!

But Barber continues to try and paint this as something that it't not, saying: 

Still, the fact that HRC felt it necessary to go through such tremendous and convoluted lengths to attempt to marginalize CWA’s call for an investigation into fraudulent “hate crimes” reports says a whole lot more about them than it does CWA. It clearly establishes that as more and more facts about so-called “hate crimes” come out, HRC’s case for this deceptive legislation is quickly beginning to unravel. The organization’s unprovoked attack on CWA definitively bears out that reality.

And so, to Joe Solmonese and his enthusiastic staff over at HRC, those of us here at CWA would like to take a moment to return the favor. We’d like to thank you for thanking us for asking the feds to investigate you.

Well Matt, to us what this tactic shows is that HRC has realized a concept that we at G-A-Y hold dear, which is that people enjoy their activism when it's not always so stuffy and serious.  Again, they were clearly trying to inject a bit of levity into their dealings, and many people responded to it positively. 

However, the TRUE comedy of this situation lies in the idea that their "attack on CWA" was unprovoked.  Because In case you have forgotten, Matt, HRC's press release was in response to your denial that hate crimes even exist!  You, like so many of your "pro-family" allies,  convoluted data and made assertions about cases where the evidence is not all in (most specifically, Andrew Anthos).  You are presenting a different America than the one in which we live, so as to keep scrutiny off the anti-gay dealings of folks like yourself!  It's beyond offensive!  To paraphrase something you say above, Matt:  Suggesting to a gay person or organization that hate crimes against the LGBT community are a myth "would really be pretty funny if it weren’t so serious."  There are simply far too many of us who know first hand about such incidents (*Ask this writer sometime about my friend in college who was murdered after being picked up by a straight guy at a gay bar, or the time when that very same bar was burned to the ground)!

Matt: We know you and your fellows WISH the case for federal hate crimes legislation was starting to unravel, but all evidence points to the contrary.  And in fact, judging by the deceit you kids regularly employ -- such as Rev. Louis Sheldon verifiably lying about an anti-hate crimes document -- it would seem that it is your side who is truly shaking in their boots.  And you kids should be worried, as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that hate is still alive and well in this country.  Joe Solmonese is very right in his asserting that when you guys boldly take such steps like the one you did when you called for a federal investigation into the validity of such incidents, you are only helping our cause.  And when you delve into the political arena with your typical blend of unsound logic, vehement attacks, vitriolic rhetoric, and baseless points, and palpable anger, you would seem to be hurting your own cause of being seen as anything close to relevant.   

“Gay” Goliath Lobs Dud at CWA; Aims for Clever, Lands on Silly [CWA]

*ALSO: Help HRC take action against hate crimes!!

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Your thoughts

This guy is a clown in a continuing circus of wannabe barnyard evangelical nutcases who seem unable to actually engage in productive labor. So the Right has to invent another hate organization to keep their minions in godmobiles and treks to the wingnut-endorsing Chik-Fil-A.

As much as the CWA claims to endorse religiously correct doctrine, they clearly believe that God has granted them a special free pass on practicing deception, as long as it furthers their own political agenda.

But perhaps more interesting is Barber's propensity that effective journalism is nothing more than constructing fantasies filled with action verbs and insulting phrases. . .a tactic that has been used so frequently by the Angry Right that people are increasingly numbed to its effectiveness.

At this point, we don't even really need HRC to expose their bigotry or hypocrisy - the more the American public is exposed to the loons of organizations like the CWA, the more they understand exactly what the gays have been saying about discrimination and hate.

Posted by: Kevin | Apr 13, 2007 10:48:29 AM

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