Bob Unruh's Anti-Gay Agenda
As befits a WorldNetDaily reporter, Unruh believes only one side of LGBT-related stories should be reported -- the side of those who hate gays and transgenders.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily reporter Bob Unruh is a master of this simple, lazy bias -- he's been churning it out ever since he joined WND in 2006. ConWebWatch has also documented Unruh hiding the deeds that got an anti-abortion activist attorney disbarred and serving as a willing propangandist for homeschoolers (Unruh's own children are homeschooled).
Unruh also believes only one perspective should be reported on LGBT issues: the anti-gay side. As befits a reporter for a "news" organization with an anti-gay agenda, Unruh's articles frequently take the side of anti-gay activists and organizations and completely fail to offer any balance by obtaining a response from the LGBT individuals and groups being denigrated.
Let's examine Unruh's work and see how insidious his anti-gay bias is.
Unruh's April 6, 2013, WND article began with one of the most ridiculous beginnings ever forwarded in journalism:
Hunt for the word “homophobia” purportedly a fear of homosexuality and Merriam-Webster, the ADL, Wikipedia, Oxford Dictionary, The Free Dictionary, the Reference Dictionary and others are ready to provide help.
At no point did Unruh consider that this is because homophobia is an actual thing, while "homofascism" is a term made up by homophobes for the sole purpose of denigration. But since the purpose of Unruh's article is to further the idea that "homofascism" exists, he's not about to let such things as logic get in his way.
And ironically, Unruh has teamed up with the leader of a hate group to promote the idea of "homofascism." Scott Lively is head of Abiding Truth Ministries, which the Southern Policy Law Center has identified as a"hate group" for Lively's vicious anti-gay activism. WND has uncritically promoted his homophobia and covers up for his extreme anti-gay activism when he's caught going way over the line, as he did in allegedly inspiring a proposed law in Uganda that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality.
Since agenda trumps facts at WND, Unruh does more uncritical promotion of Lively's anti-gay agenda, pushing his concept that there are "set-asides" for gays that are used "as a sword to attack the rights of Christians." Neither Lively nor Unruh identify any of these alleged "set-asides"; instead, Unruh regurgitated a laundry list of"incidents that show abuse of Christians’ rights."
Being the lazy, biased reporter he is, Unruh couldn't be bothered to obtain any response from any pro-gay group regarding Lively. Perhaps Unruh thinks talking to people who might be gay is too icky for him.
Unruh defended Lively again in a August 2003 article on developments in a lawsuit against Lively over his anti-gay activism in Uganda. Unruh misleadingly portrayied Lively's actions as merely engaging in "biblical preaching ... against homosexual behavior." In fact, Lively has been accused of working with anti-gay Ugandans to propose a law that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality.
Unruh reported a judge's ruling that a lawsuit against Lively from Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), linked to Lively's activities in Uganda, can proceed. It's telling that Unruh does not provide a link to the ruling, which gives him free rein to mischaracterize and even lie about what it says.
Right off the bat, Unruh tells a lie by writing, "SMUG alleges Lively must be punished for criticizing homosexuality, calling his speech a 'crime against humanity' in violation of 'international law.'" In fact, SMUG has stated that "none of Plaintiff’s claims are predicated on any speech or writing of the Defendant, odious and ignorant as they may be. His speech is merely circumstantial evidence of the discriminatory intent and motive behind his campaign to deprive LGBTI persons of fundamental rights and thus admissible to help prove the elements of the conspiracy to persecute."
Unruh also claimed that the judge in the case "sided with the 'gays'" by "explaining that while SMUG is made up of groups 'that advocate for the fair and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people,' Lively is an 'American citizen residing in Springfield, Mass., who, according to the complaint, holds himself out to be an expert on what he terms the ‘gay movement.’” Unruh does not explain how an accurate description of both parties in the lawsuit constitues having "sided with the 'gays.'" (WND traditionally and illogically puts "gays" in scare quotes.)
Unruh wrote that "Lively sought to have the complaint dismissed recently when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Alien Tort Statute doesn’t apply to foreign territory. The court said the law cannot be used to challenge foreign conduct in courts in the United States. The ruling came down in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum." But Unruh doesn't explain the judge's finding that Kiobel does not apply to Lively, explaining that "unlike the British and Dutch corporations, Defendant is an American citizen residing within the venue of this court in Springfield, Massachusetts" and that "read fairly, the Amended Complaint alleges that the tortious acts committed by Defendant took place to a substantial degree within the United States, over many years, with only infrequent actual visits to Uganda."
The rest of Unruh's article uncritically rehashes Lively's defense without any mention of claims by SMUG that rebut them.
Unruh fabricates quote by gay mayor
Unruh proved his disregard for journalism yet again in an Aug. 8 WND article that promotes a right-wing attack against a nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston. Unruh quoted only critics of the ordinance and can't be bothered to talk to any supporter of it.
Because Unruh is a propagandist and not a reporter, he repeats several falsehoods about the ordinance and its supporters. For instance, he attacks Houston Mayor Annise Parker, claiming that "The ordinance was adopted 11-6 by the Houston City Council on the insistence of Parker, who has acknowledged it’s 'all about me.'"
We could not find the original source of Parker being quoted as saying the ordinance was "all about me." We did find, however, a similar statement that, when put into its proper context, shows that Parker is not making the narcissistic statement Unruh portrays her as saying. From the Houston Business Journal:
"This is personal. It is not academic. It is my life that is being discussed," said Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. city. "It applies to the range of protected groups ... but the debate is about me. It is about two gay men at this table. It is very intensely personal."
That's much different than Unruh's made-up quote. But then, Unruh's not interested in facts.
Unruh also uncritically repeats right-wing claims that the ordinance shields sexual predators:
Critics dubbed the Houston law the “sexual predator protection act,” claiming that by designating transgender or gender-confused persons as a protected class, women and children are threatened by predators seeking to exploit the ordinance’s ambiguous language.
In fact, numerous experts have discredited Hotze's claim -- no state or city that has enacted a nondiscrimination ordinance similar to Houston's has reported problems with sexual assaults as a result of it. Strangely, Unruh doesn't want to inform his readers about this fact.
All you need to know about Unruh's Oct. 16 article running to the defense of the American Family Association and other anti-gay and right-wing groups after their anti-gay activism was documented is that of the article's 64 paragraphs, only one hinted that an alternative view might exist.
Much of the rest of Unruh's article is devoted to attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center for calling the AFA, the Family Research Council and other similar groups "hate groups" for their virulent anti-gay activism. Unruh mentioned only that the SPLC has pointed out "the demonizing lies about the LGBT community spread" by the FRC and other groups, but he made no effort whatsoever to substantiate the claims, though he could have easily done so. Unruh also declined to contact the SPLC to give the group an opportunity to respond to the attacks against it that he reproduced so lovingly in his article.
Lying about transgenders
Perhaps the reason Unruh doesn't want to tell the truth about the lack of horror stories about laws that protect transgenders is that he's so used to lying about them that the truth is utterly foreign to him.
A January 2012 article by Unruh about an antidiscrimination law in one Maryland county carries the bizarre headline "Wow! Free pass to shower with the opposite sex"and includes, for no apparent reason, a screen shot from the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
How does Unruh make such a link between transgenderism and showers? By uncritically repeating the claims of opponents of the bill. Unruh asserted that the anti-discrimination law has "become known as the 'coed showers' bill," continuing:
The law provides “discrimination” protections for transgenders, and critics say it opens up virtually all of the county from shower rooms to restrooms to other private areas to anyone who states he or she is of a certain gender. For example, a man dressing as a woman would be allowed, under penalty of discrimination laws, into a women’s locker room, shower room or restroom.
This line of attack appears to be coming from the group Maryland Citizens for Responsible Government, which opposes the anti-discrimination law. Unruh links to the group's website, "notmyshower.com." The group asserts that "women and children need to be protected from indecency and predators in rest rooms and showers. It has always been appropriate to discriminate by gender in public accommodations."
Unruh framed the issue of transgender rights for public school students through the eyes of its fearmongering opponents again in a Feb. 25 article, as the lead paragraph of his article makes all too clear:
Opponents of California’s radical “coed bathroom law,” which allows public school students to choose whether to identify themselves as boys or girls, are vowing to continue their fight even though state officials claimed they did not turn in enough signatures to have voters decide the issue.
Unruh also tossed in in the views of his equally anti-gay superior at WND, David Kupelian, who complained that transgenderism is being "de-pathologized" and no longer considered a "mental disorder."
A March 25 article by Unruh provided an opportunity to WND to report actual facts on the issue of transgender rights -- which, since it's WND and Unruh, is passed.
Indeed, Unruh's article contained a false reference to "coed bathrooms" right in the headline and the first paragraph. Unruh went on to laughably call the antidiscrimination law in California a "sex indoctrination law," quoted only opponents of the law, and devotes several paragraphs to a completely unrelated California law honoring Harvey Milk.
Unruh doesn't say a word about how the anti-transgender fearmongering has been utterly discredited: Experts in 12 states that have banned discrimination in public accommodations based on gender identity have reported no problems whatsoever with sexual assaults or any other crimes in connection with this accommodation.
But really, did anyone expect such a lazy, biased reporter to start doing his job now? Of course not: As far as Unruh and his employer are concerned, agenda always comes before facts, and fearmongering comes before the truth.