Co-written by Mike Hubbard.
Some things are true even if Fox News says they are so, and one such truth is that most of the mainstream media are solidly on the left. This may be in the interest of the gay left, but not necessarily in the best interest of the gay community as a whole.
The 24-hour news media thrive on conflict. After all, if there were no conflicts, there would be very few (if any) stories. The trouble with liberal bias is the story tends to be the same rehashed struggle of good liberals against bad conservatives.
First off, goodness and badness are bipartisan. Neither side has a monopoly on vice or virtue. It might be comforting to think that your side is always the good guys, but if you think so then you’re lying to yourself. If your news sources range from NPR to MSNBC to Daily Kos, you’re misleading yourself as much as the person who gets all his news from Fox and Townhall and Rush Limbaugh.
Second, just because liberals are often better than conservatives on gay issues doesn’t mean that they always are. We at Log Cabin Republicans know this, which is why a significant number of our press releases are critical of our party. When liberal bias gets involved, however, the news gets seriously warped.
When Cindy McCain, the wife of former GOP presidential candidate John McCain, mentioned that many if not most Republicans aren’t motivated by anti-gay feelings, some people on the left jumped on her comments. It’s worth noting that she is right: plenty of conservatives have gay friends and family (or are gay themselves) and vote for Republicans because of other issues.
Nevertheless, some liberals wanted to score political points. They pointed to anti-gay Republicans and ask if Mrs. McCain had been paying attention. That she has participated in the pro-gay NoH8 campaign seems to have either passed these liberals by, or mattered little to them.
It is certainly true that many conservatives and Republicans could improve their gay rights record—but so can some liberals and Democrats. Mitt Romney has deservedly taken some grief for, as governor of Massachusetts, sending friendly proclamations to gay Pride parades, and letters to Log Cabin, and then, as a presidential candidate, running as Mr. Anti-Gay Marriage.
But liberals have let slide a state senator Barack Obama being in favor of gay marriage and a President Obama “struggling” (his press secretary’s word) or “evolving” (his words to an HRC dinner) with the issue. To hold presidents and presidential candidates to the same standard would seem to be elementary journalism. But liberal bias hangs conservatives out to dry while letting liberals off the hook — when on the hook is where they belong.
Two years ago, when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, not much was done. Nancy Pelosi famously said, “not now,” when asked about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and passing a trans-inclusive employment nondiscrimination bill. There was very little uproar, in the press or by activists. There were, of course, a few exceptions. Back then, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said, “We have heard that the official whip is completed and that there are enough votes to pass ENDA in committee and in the House.” Today, we still await passage of ENDA. But now, it is Republicans who get the blame for it.
As we have said before, each day, we discover more moderate and conservative Republicans all over the country who are coming to the realization that inclusion does win.
We’re lucky to have true pioneers like the state legislators in New York, Washington, New Jersey, and closer to home, Maryland, who voted for marriage equality, including Maryland state Sen. Allan Kittleman. Nationally, we have great allies and champions in Congress. We need more. Electing more inclusive Republicans to Congress is the most important mission of Log Cabin Republicans.
Media bias keeps us from seeing the world as it is. Some conservatives are friendly to gays, just as some liberals aren’t. When we tolerate biased media, we’re tolerating self-deception. It seems as though liberal interests are not the same as gay interests. Liberal or conservative, we should agree that media bias doesn’t help gays.
Robert Turner is president of the D.C. chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @DCBigPappa on Twitter. Mike Hubbard is a board member of the D.C. chapter of Log Cabin. Reach him at email@example.com or @mikeahub.