Fox News Lauds “Bully” Documentary After Condemning Anti-Bullying Efforts
April 02, 2012 4:09 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Fox News has been overtly supportive of the recently released documentary Bully – which follows five cases of school bullying over the course of a year.
Fox’s Mike Huckabee wrote a column for The Daily Beast encouraging “every parent and grandparent in the country,” as well as “every child in elementary school or above” to see the film. During the March 25 edition of his Fox show Huckabee, he devoted two segments to interviewing Bully’s director as well as one of the bullying victims portrayed in the documentary.
Other members of the Fox News team seem to be similarly supportive. Fox & Friends Gretchen Carlson lauded the documentary for exposing “the real truth about bullying.” Fox’s Shannon Bream hosted a segment featuring Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), who argued on behalf of giving the film a PG-13 rating in order to make it accessible to a broader audience.
It is heartening to see Fox take the issue of bullying seriously. Throughout their coverage of the documentary, however, Fox News’ commentators repeatedly failed to mention one important detail. Although the documentary openly tackles the issue of homophobia in schools and anti-LGBT bullying – and despite the fact bullying disproportionately affect LGBT students – none of Fox’s coverage of Bully mentioned the issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. As Towleroad’s Brandon K. Thorp wrote:
[W]hile Huck said some very moving things about the evils of bullying and the importance of protecting children, it never occured [sic] to him to mention the teen population at greatest risk from bullying. Or maybe it did occur to him, but he didn't think the Fox audience could handle a mention of the "g" word. Or maybe he worried that mentioning the "g" word might lead to questions about who it is that creates a culture in which little "g" kids are likely to become the objects of ridicule.
Fox’s aversion to spotlighting the anti-LGBT bullying in the film makes sense given the network’s history of condemning and criticizing efforts to make public schools safer environments for LGBT children. Most recently, the network mocked a “topsy-turvy” sex education program in Michigan that would incorporate lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity into “diversity and bullying instruction.”
Fox has also consistently under-reported stories about anti-LGBT bullying and suicide. As Equality Matters reported last year, Fox almost entirely ignored the suicide of gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer, who was frequently bullied because of his sexual orientation. In a recent story about teen suicide victim Asher Brown, Fox conveniently failed to mention that the boy was tormented because of his perceived sexual orientation. The network has gone out of its way to downplay even flagrant examples of anti-LGBT harassment and discrimination in school, frequently depicting anti-gay groups and individuals as the real victims.