Topic: Accuracy in Media
ABC News' report on the "pray away the gay" counseling tactics used by Marcus Bachmann, husband of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, prompted a defense of Bachmann by some of the most anti-gay elements of the ConWeb.
At Accuracy in Media, Cliff Kincaid -- a gay-hater who has expressed his approval of a proposed law in Uganda that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality -- claimed in a July 12 column that ABC charged that "the Bachmann family counseling service engages in terrible things by teaching homosexuals how to leave their disease-ridden lifestyle," adding "Of course, the notion of the Bible condemning homosexual behavior, reflected in several passages, was viewed as bizarre and intolerant."
Kincaid dismissed the report at "largely recycled leftist material" and quoted at length fellow gay-hater Peter LaBarbera denouncing it. Kincaid even worked in claims by discredited foreigner Trevor Loudon, even though he did not comment directly on the ABC story.
Kincaid followed up the next day with a more direct attack on ABC reporter Brian Ross, who conducted the report, making the largely irrelevant claim that Ross "hosted a fundraising benefit" for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Kincaid further complained that Ross did not interview any "ex-gays" -- and even that anyone would put "ex-gay" in scare quotes, huffing, "The failure of Ross to interview any of the ex-gays can be explained by his subservience to the homosexual lobby, which dominates the media business."
At WorldNetDaily, Joseph Farah -- who leads WND's pervasive anti-gay agenda and portrayed criticism by one writer of that agenda as a paranoid fantasy that the writer wanted to kill him -- also ran to Bachmann's defense, using a July 14 column to inventively parsing the words of both Bachmanns to pretend that they aren't as anti-gay as they are:
No. 1: Did Michele Bachmann say, as has been repeated ad nauseam in reports by CNN and dozens of other news sources, that homosexuals are "part of Satan"?
No, she did not. Here is what she did say in context in a speech in 2004: "We need to have profound compassion for the people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual disorders. This is a very real issue. It's not funny, it's sad. Any of you who have members of your family that are in the lifestyle – we have a member of our family that is. This is not funny. It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay."
Now, I shouldn't have to explain the way the English language works to producers and editors at CNN and other major news agencies, but clearly that last inelegant statement does not say that individuals practicing homosexuality are "part of Satan." It suggests that it is satanic to suggest that the gay lifestyle is funny. There is no condemnation of individuals in her statement. Instead, the full context of her statement is urging compassion for people struggling with sexual dysfunction and sexual identity disorders.
No. 3: Did Marcus Bachmann call homosexuals "barbarians"?
No, he didn't. Again, in all of these deliberate misquotes and distortions, the actual words uttered by Michele and Marcus Bachmann reveal the truth.
Here's what he actually said in a radio interview about dealing with homosexuality: "I think you clearly say, 'What is the understanding of God's word on homosexuality?' We have to understand barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined and just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean we're supposed to go down that road."
What Marcus Bachmann is talking about here is confronting non-believers with their sin – a widely accepted Christian principle. He's not calling homosexuals "barbarians." "Barbarians" is a euphemism for non-believers. He's talking about the need for individuals and societies to stop just doing whatever feels right and paying attention to God's moral absolutes. In other words, he's being a Christian.
Farah is reading a lot into that final statement. Given the close juxtaposition of the two words, a layman's reading of Bachmann's statement makes it very clear that he is indeed calling homosexuals "barbarians." The "euphemism" Farah takes refuge in -- that "barbarians" and "unbelievers" is interchangeable -- is not a common one; we don't even recall WND using it at any point. (Plus, it makes the fallacious assumption that it is somehow impossible to be gay and Christian.) While Farah is willing to impart to Bachmann words he never said and meanings he never expressed, the rest of us have to go by what actually came out of his mouth.
Of course, inventing creative meanings of what people said is nothing new for Farah -- he won a Slantie Award this year for somehow divining that President Obama's omission of the word "creator" when paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence during a speech was "an attempt at deicide."