CNN’s Don Lemon Grills FRC President Over Anti-Gay Extremism
February 10, 2012 3:52 pm ET by Carlos Maza
On February 9, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins made his sixth CNN appearance of 2012, joining CNN’s Don Lemon to discuss the recent controversy surrounding a pending federal rule concerning contraception coverage.
For the first few minutes of the segment, it appeared that the anti-gay hate group leader would once again be allowed to appear on national television without being called out for his right-wing extremism.
Halfway through the interview, however, Lemon turned his attention to a recent anti-gay assault caught on tape in Atlanta. Lemon grilled Perkins over his opposition to gay rights, asking why FRC has failed to condemn acts of violence against LGBT people:
Though Perkins denies condoning violence against gays and lesbians, he’s made a living out of peddling homophobic myths that depict LGBT people as threats, predators, and enemies of the state:
- Gay men are more likely to be pedophiles
- Gay activists are terrorists who “work out of the same playbook” as Islamists
- Gays and lesbians want to “destroy your traditional values”
- Gays and lesbians want to “recruit” children into a “lifestyle” of “perversion”
- Gays promote an agenda that’s “destructive to our society” and could be the “death nail” of America
As the Southern Poverty Law Center recently noted, these anti-gay talking points “almost certainly contribute” to the high rates of violence against LGBT people:
These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at gays and lesbians, who are more targeted for such attacks than any other minority in America.
Perkins’ FRC also has also long opposed efforts to protect gays and lesbians from violence. The organization has been a vocal opponent of efforts to include sexual orientation in anti-bullying and hate crime legislation. FRC Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg has openly advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality and even suggested that gay people should be exported out of the country.
By bringing up Perkins’ anti-gay positions and tying them to real instances of anti-gay violence, CNN’s Lemon demonstrated how news networks should treat representatives of FRC. Instead of giving Perkins a pass and treating him as a legitimate political commentator – as so many other news anchors have done – Lemon made sure to let his audience know about his guest’s far-right extremism.
Other news hosts should take note.