The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, known as GLAAD, launched a project on Wednesday designed “to educate the media about the extreme rhetoric of over three dozen activists who are often given a platform to speak in opposition to LGBT people and the issues that affect their lives.”
“Hate is not an expert opinion,” GLAAD spokesman Herndon Graddick said in a news release. “In most cases, news outlets invite reputable experts to speak on the subject at hand, but when talking about LGBT issues, open hostility and anti-LGBT bias seems to be all the credibility required. This project holds these so-called ‘pundits’ accountable for the extreme anti-LGBT rhetoric they continue to spread.” The organization listed the Southern Poverty Law Center as a resource for reporters writing about its project.
“The Commentator Accountability Project launches with a comprehensive set of online resources detailing the anti-LGBT, racist, and anti-woman sentiments of nearly three dozen anti-LGBT commentators who have appeared in local and national news. As more commentators engage in anti-LGBT rhetoric, new profiles will be added.” LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
In an essay on mediaite.com, Aaron McQuade, a “straight ally” who is GLAAD’s director of news and field media, “The truth is, many newsrooms don’t actually know the extent of the animosity that these anti-LGBT activists hold towards the LGBT community. They’re often careful not to say these things in the mainstream media. But get them speaking to right-wing radio, or writing statements to their supporters, and you see them in a whole new way.
“Last year I spoke with a reporter from a very well-respected newspaper who had quoted one of the figures profiled in our project. I asked why the reporter had gone to this person for a quote. The reporter told me that an editor had demanded ‘balance.’ I explained that this person would only provide ‘balance’ if the LGBT advocates quoted were calling for criminal sanctions against heterosexuality, or said that straight people were ‘pawns of the enemy.’
“. . . Please note here that ‘accountability’ does not necessarily mean keeping these people out of the media. But if a reporter is interviewing someone who insinuates that his or her political opponent is controlled by the devil, it’s the reporter’s journalistic responsibility to put that person’s opinion in perspective.
“The Commentator Accountability Project contains facts that every journalist who covers LGBT issues should be familiar with, but usually is not. It’s the responsibility of journalists to inform their audiences about an issue. But it is also journalists’ responsibility to fully inform themselves about the people they’re calling on to provide opposition to the LGBT community, and to relay that information to their readers, listeners, or viewers.”