County Fair

CNN, MSNBC, And Fox All Welcome FRC’s Tony Perkins On Air

August 09, 2011 2:39 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Over the past few days, both Fox News and MSNBC have turned to Tony Perkins, anti-gay zealot and president of the Family Research Council (FRC),to comment on the influence of religious conservatives and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent prayer event.

On Tuesday, CNN decided to join them. During the August 9 edition of CNN’s American Morning, host Carol Costello invited FRC’s Perkins and Christian commentator Jonathan Merritt to discuss the relationship between religion and politics in 2012:

Perkins was all too happy to use his third opportunity in less than a week to paint himself as a mainstream social conservative on national television.

He was on his best behavior during the interview: promoting the FRC’s Iowa “Values Bus” tour and pitching FRC’s 2011 Values Voter Summit while holding back on his typical anti-LGBT smears. At one point, he vaguely referenced his 'marriage equality leads to big government' talking point, but he stopped short of demonizing LGBT people.

The closest he came to actually discussing his views on homosexuality was his claim that “the educational process on the value of marriage and the importance of the family is ongoing.”

After the segment, American Morning anchor Ali Velshi commented on the “riveting conversation” that had just taken place, stating that he’d “love to hear more from these guys.”

Seems harmless enough, right?

Unfortunately, this kind of interview is exactly what people like Perkins hope to get from major news networks like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. Perkins got away with looking like your average, everyday religious conservative instead of the anti-gay hate-monger that he actually is.

None of the three major cable news networks that hosted Tony Perkins over the past week mentioned that the FRC has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

None of the networks mentioned that the “educational process” FRC promotes includes disseminating some of the most vile anti-LGBT misinformation the extreme right produces.

None of the networks mentioned that the “values” Perkins is promoting include comparing gay people terrorists, asserting that LGBT youth kill themselves because they know they’re “abnormal,” and claiming that gay people are determined to “destroy innocence, religious freedom, and ultimately, the family.”

By treating Perkins like a legitimate source of social conservative commentary, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all help to solidify and expand his (and the FRC’s) influence in right-wing and even moderate political circles.

If these networks are so intent on calling on the president of an anti-gay hate group for an interview, the very least they could do would be to identify him as such.


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