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MSNBC Turns To Anti-Gay Zealots For Their Thoughts On Rick Perry

August 17, 2011 12:07 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his run for the president on Saturday in the midst of the Ames, Iowa GOP straw poll. His announcement marked a major development in the GOP presidential primary and will undoubtedly have a significant impact on who ends up securing the Republican nomination.

In two separate segments the next day, MSNBC provided prominent anti-gay commentators with an opportunity to share their opinions on Perry’s entrance into the race in one-on-one interviews with an MSNBC anchor.

On the August 14 edition of MSNBC Live, host Alex Witt invited Texas Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas to discuss “the Rick Perry factor”:

Between defending the Texas governor’s flip-flop on the Tenth Amendment and comparing his prayer rally to actions taken by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Jeffress is clearly a big Perry fan. 

You know who Jeffress isn’t a fan of? Muslims and gay people.

Pastor Jeffress gained notoriety last year after asserting that Islam “promotes pedophilia.” In 1998, the Associated Press reported that he led the charge against a public library carrying copies of two gay-friendly children’s books, arguing that homosexuality “is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands every year through AIDS.”

With that kind of anti-gay animus, it’s no surprise that, during his appearance on MSNBC, Jeffress referred to Tony Perkins, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), as a “friend.”

What is surprising is that MSNBC decided to continue its recent trend of mainstreaming anti-gay hate groups by turning to Perkins for his thoughts on Perry’s big announcement just a few hours later.

During the segment, Witt probed Perkins about which candidate FRC would be most likely to endorse while giving him an opportunity to explain what the candidates needed to do to secure support from social conservatives:

Once again, Perkins got away with using a cable network appearance to appear like a reasonable representative of American social conservatives instead of what he really is: a hate-monger and peddler of anti-LGBT misinformation.

When networks like MSNBC fail to identify people like Perkins and Jeffress as the extremists they really are, they end up affirming the credibility of those who have made careers of demonizing and smearing millions of LGBT Americans. 


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