Fox’s Starnes Turns Gay Pride At Military Academy Into An Attack On DADT Repeal
March 29, 2012 2:27 pm ET by Carlos Maza
On Tuesday, Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes published an article about Norwich University, a military academy currently hosting a number of gay pride events for cadets including a “queer prom,” discussions about HIV/AIDS, and “condom Olympics,” a series of games in which prophylactics are given as prizes.
As noted at the bottom of Starnes’ article, his article is based largely on reporting done by the Associated Press.
Comparing the stories, it’s clear that there are major differences between the Associated Press’s article and the version that Starnes decided to publish.
First, Starnes found it necessary to go into gratuitous detail about each event included in the “Condom Olympics”:
The Condom Olympics include:
-Rubber Relay Race
Participants will divide up into two teams. One team will have an internal/female condom and the other will have an external condom. Each team will use their condoms to run water from one bucket to another at the opposite end of the room.
Participants will be paired up. One teammate will be blindfolded while the other puts a flavored dental dam in front of their face so that they can determine the flavor.
-Pop The Prophylactic
Participants will be paired up. One teammate will blow up an external condom and tie it off. The other teammate will then put on of the various types of lubricants on the condom and rub it until it pops.
Individuals will place their hands inside boxes to assess the texture of the condoms inside.
-Lubricated Thumb Wrestle
Participants will be paired up. Each participant will put on a glove and have lubricant spread over their hand. Participants will then thumb wrestle with each other.
Participants will be placed into teams wherein each team is in charge of using various types of condoms to create something unique.
Second, Starnes went out of his way to quote Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow at the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council (FRC), to comment on the story. Sprigg has a history of reacting negatively towards coverage of LGBT people in the military, so it’s no surprise that he depicted the pride events as a negative side effect of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:
The Family Research Council called the planned events an assault on traditional moral values.
“It does illustrate some of the concerns we had with regard to the repeal of the law against homosexual conduct in the military which is there would be a slippery slope from neutrality very quickly to hostility towards people who disapprove of homosexuality,” Peter Sprigg told Fox News.
Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said the gay pride events at Norwich have created a hostile environment for students with traditional moral values.
“It’s one thing to say that the military is going to become neutral on the issue of homosexuality,” he said. “It’s quite different to go to the point where you are celebrating gay pride events and having a condom Olympics and a queer prom.” [emphasis added]
It’s not hard to figure out why Starnes chose to add these changes to the Associated Press’s coverage.
The Fox News contributor has consistently relied on anti-gay commentators to transform non-controversies about LGBT people into right-wing horror stories. Going into uncomfortable detail about safe-sex activities and interviewing a notorious anti-LGBT zealot is a sure way to make even relatively modest pride events seem deviant and radical.
Starnes shows us that when you take a non-controversy, add some sensationalism and anti-gay hate, and you’ve got yourself a Fox News original.