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Saturday, May 10, 2008
WND Misleads on 'Ex-Gay' Tiff, Then Scrubs Reference to Discredited Researcher
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a May 9 WorldNetDaily article, Bob Unruh misleads on information surrounding a tiff between "homosexual activist" Wayne Besen and gay conversion therapy proponent Warren Throckmorton.

Unruh claimed that Besen "attribut[ed] the crime of rape to the 'sickness' of the ex-'gay' movement" by "equat[ing] the reports of the crime of 'corrective rape' in which 'heterosexual male pupils rape lesbian pupils, believing that this will make them heterosexual,' with the work of ministries to homosexuals who desire to leave that lifestyle." -- even though he later quotes Besen as saying (well, quoting Throckmorton quoting Besen) that "these extreme cases do not represent the so-called 'ex-gay' movement in general." Unruh quotes Throckmorton calling Besen's statements "confusing" and "outrageous."

Of course, Unruh knows from outrageous comparisons, having regularly likened anyone he perceives as critical of homeschooling to Nazis.

Unruh also repeated a claim that Besen "earlier denied the truth of an attack on members of an ex-'gay' ministry even though police confirmed it happened":

As WND reported earlier, Wayne Besen, of an organization called Truth Wins Out, had accused members of Parents and Friends of ExGays of fabricating a story about a homosexual attacking the group's booth at the Arlington County Fair in Virginia in 2007.

Police, however, confirmed to WND that the incident did take place, and the attacker was escorted by officers off the fairgrounds.

In fact, according to the September 2007 WND article to which Unruh links:

"One officer told me today he was on patrol at the Fair when a woman approached him and told him a man had knocked over pamphlets at the PFOX booth and assaulted another man there. The officer then spoke to the alleged victim. He did not want to press charges and therefore no written report was filed," said a statement issued by John Lisle, media relations officer for the Arlington County police department.

"Based on the description the officer was given, he located the suspect at the Fair. Another officer escorted that gentleman off the Fair grounds," his statement continued.

Police did not "confirm the incident happened"; the officer confirmed only that the incident had been reported. No evidence is offered that the person who was "escorted ... off the Fair grounds" did, in fact, have any involvement in the alleged incident, only that he fit the description of a person described as a suspect in the incident.

Unruh then went on to quote an unnamed poster to the article on Besen's website in which he makes his allegations that said of Besen, "Wayne, I am sad to say that you have become the ... Fred Phelps of the left." While Unruh refuse to name him, that poster does in fact have a name: Alan Chambers, president of Exodus Internation, an evangelical group that helps people "overc[o]me unwanted same-sex attraction."

But what's that ellipsis doing there in Chambers' comment? Chambers didn't put it there, WND did -- and in fact did so after Unruh's article was first posted. 

A check of the Google cache reveals that Unruh had included Chamber's full comment: "I am sad to say that you have become the Paul Cameron and Fred Phelps of the left."

A quote of Throckmorton from his blog -- "When Paul Cameron links gays and teacher-student sex, he is rightly denounced and dismissed. In my opinion, this post from Besen is the same kind of tactic" -- also appeared in the original and was later replaced by ellipses. Unruh's statement that "Paul Cameron has issued some controversial statements regarding the lifestyle" was also disappeared. There is currently no mention whatsoever of Cameron in the version of Unruh's article currently posted on WND.

Who is Cameron, exactly? He's the guy responsible for the oft-cited claim that gays have a shorter life span than heterosexuals -- a claim that has long since been discredited.

Why did WND scrub all mention of Cameron from Unruh's article? Perhaps because certain members of WND's upper management still think he's a trusted source. WND columnist Jane Chastain has twice cited Cameron's research, as have several other WND news articles and columnists (here, here, here, here and here); WND even printed a 2004 commentary by Cameron. No WND article references any criticism whatsoever of Cameron's research.

What WND has done is deleted facts from an article not because they weren't true (after all, WND has no problem with publishing lies) but because somebody decided that nothing negative about Cameron should appear in the article. So who is it that doesn't want WND readers to know the truth about Paul Cameron? Is it Joseph Farah? David Kupelian? Did Unruh himself have second thoughts?

Inquiring minds want to know... 

UPDATE: Here's a PDF of the original version of Unruh's article. 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:48 PM EDT

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