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03/26/2012

One hell of a project, one Heck of a misrepresentation #glaadcap

by Jeremy Hooper

Congratulations, conservative radio show host Peter Heck, for you have just taken the lead in the ongoing race for most obtuse reaction to the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project:

[GLAAD doesn't] cite any actual examples of defamation or hate, they just make the accusation. But isn’t labeling someone a hater for no reason beyond the fact that they disagree with you, “defamation?” Of course it is. In other words, they commit the very same offense they supposedly condemn, which reveals what this really is: a strategy to bully into silence anyone who doesn’t share their view.

Once again I ask the question, who are the ones who are “cramming their views” down other people’s throats? Who is bringing the assault and oppressive tactics? It’s not Christians like those on this “hate list.” And, by the way, consider all that you have to believe to be included on this list. If you believe in the authority of Scripture, if you believe in 2000 years of Christian doctrine, you are a “hater” in the eyes of GLAAD. That’s how radical these people are…and they are the ones who are using the media to control the public perception.

Let’s make this clear: moral disapproval is not hate and it is not defamation. But seeking laws – from hate speech to speech codes to the Fairness Doctrine – to silence speech you disagree with…is fascism. And we would all be wise – liberal, conservative, libertarian, whatever – to confront it and reject it. They are the radicals motivated by hate.
FULL PIECE OF DELIBERATE OBFUSCATION: Fascists at GLAAD Come Out with Media Blacklist [Peter Heck]

GLAAD doesn't cite any examples? Uhm, Mr Heck: The project consists of nothing but examples of animus-laden statements! Like, literally -- that's all the project is. And not only is every hurtful comment fully sourced, but many times said comment is sourced by one of the commentator's very own web properties (or a like-minded ally's web property). For instance, when Glenn Stanton says "homosexuality does more than fail" because "It’s a particularly evil lie of Satan" that "overthrows the very image of the Trinitarian God in creation, revealed in the union of male and female,” his comment comes directly FocusonTheFamily.com. Or when Matt Barber reduced homosexuality to "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’,” GLAAD doesn't use an LGBT ally as the source, but rather the pro-"ex-gay" Exodus International organization. These are pretty strong examples, if you ask me.

And then we have that ridiculous "silencing" claim that the far-right has used, in a virtually singular voice, to lash out against this project. Again, this project does nothing more than bring extra focus to words that these public figures have put out there in order to raise their own profiles. It's beyond bizarre to hear this, the highlighting of a public commentator's own punditry, presented as some sort of "censorship." In what world other than the far-right's would such a ridiculous claim even be made?! What kind of public thinker doesn't want his or her engagement placed on a more heightened platform?! That's kind of the goal of this whole public engagement thing! I really don't think the far-right critics understand how silly they sound when they use these "silencing" claims.

Then there's the oh-so-popular yet oh-so-flawed belief that we on the pro-LGBT side draw no distinction between disagreement and actual animus. That is such a lie. I know a lot of LGBT activists, and I can tell you that 95%+ fully get the fact that many, many people disagree with any number of LGBT rights positions without reaching a level of deep, undeniable animus. In fact, most of us realize that even many who work within the self-appointed "pro-family" movement operate in their roles without rising to a level that would get him or her noted as someone who personally pushes harsh rhetoric. But that is not the case with the people on this list (and others who will be added in the future). Each person listed is on said list because of a combination of (a) having profile that, for individual reasons, puts the commentator out there in a way that earns some form of heightened/outsized media attention; and (b) having a tangible record that provenly extends beyond mere conservative punditry on policy issues and instead demonstrates personal hostilities towards LGBT people's human realities. GLAAD CAP is not a sweeping indictment of conservatives, which is why groups like Log Cabin Republicans back it. This project is nuanced, pro-speech, and more than fair!

The weird thing? I would think that if anyone would want to help us make these distinctions, it would be the people who work against LGBT rights. Those who are not listed on GLAAD CAP or on something like the SPLC's anti-gay list should feel a sense of responsibility to recognize and articulate the reasoning why they are different from those whose demonstrated records have earned such scrutiny, while those who are listed should take a hard look at what got them there and either repudiate the stupid things that they uttered or have the fortitude to own them. That is the needed response that would keep this conversation going in a logical way.

But that never happens. We, the respondents who raise our voices, are painted as the speech-hating antagonists. We, the ones who made and shared the distinctions that we see, are positioned as operating with "all who disagree with us are 'haters'" mindsets. The script is flipped and responsibility is shirked.

The beauty part? The reality is unchanged. The reality is well documented, sourced, and amplified. And it will only grow over time.

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