March 14, 2012 | by Robert Turner
How liberal media bias can hurt gays

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 robert.turner@dclogcabin.org or @DCBigPappa on Twitter. Mike Hubbard is a board member of the D.C. chapter of Log Cabin. Reach him at mike.hubbard@dclogcabin.org or @mikeahub.

10 Comments
  • Actually, some of us, like myself, have been calling out Obama and the Democrats for their failings on ENDA and other issues for a long time. They most certainly are not getting a pass from a lot of us on the left. That said, when the choice is Obama versus a menu featuring a guy who dredged up a racist 1913 law to prevent gays and lesbians who don’t live in Massachusetts when he was Governor there, Mr. Man-On-Dog-Sex, or any of a number of other virulently anti-LGBT candidates at all levels of government, there’s only one sensible choice if you really care about equality more than saving a few bucks at tax time.

    Just because the Democrats aren’t where we want them to be on all our issues (and I grant you, there are plenty) doesn’t mean that people who actively campaign on anti-LGBT hate and limiting or eliminating entirely our basic civil rights as Americans are credible alternatives.

    • Rebecca,

      Your comment on republicans “looking to save a few bucks at tax time” is exactly what this article is pointing out. As long as we are blinded by one issue or looking through the lense of one party, we can not have health debate, sharing of ideas, or progress in the Republican party. I am a gay republican and contrary to popular liberal belief, it has nothing to do with money. Issues such as the sustainability of our nation, education, individual freedom, health care, etc… are all reasons just as important to me as gay rights. Gays are getting rights and will continue to until we are equal in all states. However, I can not say that education or healthcare will improve, and I can see our freedoms vanishing daily. Freedom to marry doesn’t do me much good if it is the only way in which I am free!

  • Dammit, wish you had an after-post edit feature: The second sentence should have read: “…prevent gays and lesbians who don’t live in Massachusetts from marrying in the state when he was Governor there…”

  • i’m Voting for Barack Obama for 2012 and I consider myself a RINO & Moderate Republican I do not support extremes that why I voted for Obama in 08 and this year. But granted Pro-Equality Republicans llike Susan Collins, Meghan McCain, (R) Represenative Ileayna Les-Lehtinen is very Pro-Gay and great advocate for all people and many more

  • Esoteric Knowledge

    “…one such truth is that most of the mainstream media are solidly on the left.” Wrong! “First off, goodness and badness are bipartisan.” Wrong! You basing your argument on falsehoods because of your own lack of understanding.

  • Delusional, and like most jibber jabber from the right ignores reality. I don’t know what Gay Democrats this guy knows but I know very few who defend Obama’s pathetic position on Marriage Equality, in fact the news I read (probably on one of those awful biased left wing sites) just today talked about how all the pressure from the left is putting the White House in an uncomfortable position vis a vis the Democratic platform. The HRC lost an enormous amount of it’s reputation and support when it supported the non-Trans inclusive ENDA bill, (the inclusive version it should be noted will go nowhere with continued GOP control of the house, a filibustering GOP in the Senate, and God forbid a GOP controlled White House, and that’s just plain reality). Anti-Gay bias may not be the primary motivation of the majority of the GOP but these same people have put ZERO pressure on the party and nationally the anti-Gay stance of the GOP is worse than it has ever been in my lifetime (40+years)

  • What liberal media?

    The opening statement of this article that “most of the mainstream media are solidly on the left” is not fact-based. It is certainly not media bias that portrays Republicans as the party of hate-thy-neighbor, it is their vicious and antisocial public statements and policy proposals. If anything, media are too quick to lend undeserved credibility to the constant bile spewing out of the right. As far as I can tell, media portray Republicans as fiscally conservative (false), for small government (ridiculous, as any gay person, woman, or non-christian well knows), pro-family (ha!), and in favor of free markets (false – they prefer government intervention when it favors the rich and powerful). Sounds like media have a markedly conservative bias to me.

    • You are demonstrating liberal media bias! The republican party IS for small government, IS fiscally conservative, and IS for free markets. You wouldn’t know it by watching the liberal media though. Why? Well because the liberal media loves to show the religious right of the party. They are offensive, crazy, and “interesting” on TV. No one wants to hear a normal republican make an intellectual remark about free markets. Rather, what drives ratings is Baptists blaming the death of solders in Iraq on gays. Do you really think that is the average republican? Yet any time these folks have anything to say, the media is sure to air it. The reality is that under Bush, republicans did lose their way a bit on small government and fiscal issues. If you research the origins of the tea party, it was actually conservatives that thought the republican party focusing on “social issues” was the wrong course and that the party needed to get back to smaller government and Reganomics. The tea party was of course then hijacked by any crazy that wanted to be heard. There is a split in the Republican party right now – unfortunately the media only shows the one side. Unfortunately this continues to drive people away from the party, rather than bringing in moderates to help the party progress. Real change doesn’t come from perpetuating stereotypes of the party!

  • Almanzo Greenwick

    The media is biased against different groups depending on where you are receiving your news. The split is probably about equal between conservative and liberal.

    As for liberals giving Obama a pass, there are plenty who aren’t willing to. There are also plenty who look at the long list of things that the Obama administration has accomplished for queer people (Among other things, passing DaDT), and they are saying, “This is much better than what we have had in the past.” AS for Obama not being for marriage equality, this is definitely not acceptable – but given the choice between a politician who offers tepid support and a politician who actively opposes, it is better to go with the tepid supporter.

    Furthermore, based on what I read, most liberal queer people understand that politicians only help us when it is either of benefit to them, or when not helping us would be detrimental to them. Few politicians take a stand because of what they really believe.

  • Gays really should respect what Mr. Turner is trying to do here because its extremely useful to the cause. He’s literally infiltrating the Republican party with new ideas, with a major stress on inclusion. Granted LCRR’s have not had a laundry list of successes recently, but their success is not always noticeable to the naked eye and they are doing important work for the LGBT community, working hard to ensure that the next time Democrats have to compromise on a gay legislation they won’t have to move so far to the right. People like Mr. Turner are making friends, changing minds, and winning hearts from a surprisingly large sector of the Republican party. Even Politico reported yesterday at efforts taken by the Republican leadership in Congress to kill anti-gay legislation introduced in committees by some conservative members. Mr Turner offers a soothing alternative to the usual harsh approach for additional gay civil rights. While that approach surely works sometimes, its after-effects can bring about hostility that hamper society from ultimately moving forward. Taking more than just a single path to increased rights for the community is a win win situation for everyone involved.

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