Fact Check
Print

REPORT: Hate Group Leader’s Appearances Plummet On CNN And MSNBC, Hold Steady On Fox News

July 30, 2014 1:13 pm ET

Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins has appeared significantly less frequently on CNN and MSNBC in the wake of petitions calling on the networks to stop hosting him. Perkins, whose organization has been labeled an anti-gay “hate group,” continues to appear frequently on Fox News.

Perkins Is President Of An Extreme Anti-Gay Group

FRC Has Been Labeled An Anti-Gay “Hate Group.” Citing FRC’s history of defaming the LGBT community, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the organization an anti-gay “hate group” in 2010:

Headed since 2003 by former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins, the FRC has been a font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history. It relies on the work of Robert Knight, who also worked at Concerned Women for America but now is at Coral Ridge Ministries (see above for both), along with that of FRC senior research fellows Tim Dailey (hired in 1999) and Peter Sprigg (2001). Both Dailey and Sprigg have pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia: Sprigg has written that most men who engage in same-sex child molestation “identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual,” and Dailey and Sprigg devoted an entire chapter of their 2004 book Getting It Straight to similar material. The men claimed that “homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses” and similarly asserted that “homosexuals are attracted in inordinate numbers to boys.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, Winter 2010]

Perkins Has Called LGBT People “Vile,” “Hateful,” And Asserted That They’re Destined For “Eternal Damnation.” As GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project noted, Perkins has a long history of anti-LGBT commentary. [GLAAD, accessed 7/30/14]

Perkins Was A Cable News Fixture During 2012 GOP Primary Coverage

Perkins Appeared On Cable News 56 Times During GOP Primary Process. According to an Equality Matters analysis, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN regularly invited Perkins to act as a social conservative spokesman during the 2012 GOP presidential primary process:

[Equality Matters11/28/12]

Petitions Called On MSNBC And CNN To Stop Hosting Perkins

Petitions Urged MSNBC And CNN To Discontinue Perkins’ Appearances. In response to Perkins’ appearances to discuss topics like presidential politics and marriage equality, Faithful America – a group working toward “reclaiming Christianity from the religious right” – launched  a petition in February 2012 petitions asking MSNBC to stop inviting Perkins on its programs, citing his history of inflammatory anti-LGBT rhetoric. The group directed a similar petition at CNN in the summer of 2013 after the network hosted Perkins to discuss the Supreme Court’s recent marriage equality rulings. [Huffington Post, 2/16/12Equality Matters7/15/13

Analysis: Perkins’ Appearances On MSNBC And CNN Have Plummeted

Perkins’ Appearances Have Sharply Declined On MSNBC And CNN. According to an Equality Matters analysis, while Perkins’ appearances have held steady at Fox News, they have been sharply curtailed at CNN and MSNBC. Perkins hasn’t appeared on MSNBC since March 2013:

Most Of Perkins’ Appearances Have Focused On LGBT Issues

LGBT Topics Account For The Majority Of Perkins’ Cable Appearances. Since the conclusion of the 2012 GOP primary process, a majority of Perkins’ cable news appearances have focused on LGBT topics:

METHODOLOGY

Equality Matters searched TV Eyes, LexisNexis, and the Family Research Council’s video archives for Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC between August 1, 2012 and July 28, 2014using the terms “Tony Perkins,” “Tony Perkins AND Family Research Council,” “Perkins AND Family Research Council,” and “Tony AND Family Research Council.” For data prior to August 2012, Equality Matters used data collected in an earlier Equality Matters item focusing on Perkins’ appearances during the Republican presidential primary season.

Equality Matters considered Perkins’ appearances to be focused on LGBT topics if LGBT issues were either the sole focus of his interviews or were raised during segments that also covered other topics.