" ... In a story last night on their flagship news show, News at Six, the BBC ran a segment on the news that Elton John and David Furnish became gay daddies. And who did they turn to for an interview? Stephen Green from an organization known Jeffrey Lord as Christian Voice. Green has previously said that gay people deserve the death penalty, that gay celebrities are wicked and should be publicly hung, and that LGBT people are akin to mass murderers. ... "
Not too long ago, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stepped in it something big, when they actually polled their audience on the question of whether it was OK to execute gay people. The media powerhouse defended the poll at first, saying that they were trying to reach out to their African audience, where several pieces of legislation (most notably in Uganda) are up for consideration that would criminalize homosexuality with the death penalty or life imprisonment. Only after significant online pressure did the BBC relent and say that the poll was perhaps a bit tactless.
Fast forward to December 2010, and it looks like the BBC might not have learned from its mistakes. Because in a story last night on their flagship news show, News at Six, the BBC ran a segment on the news that Elton John and David Furnish became gay daddies. And who did they turn to for an interview?
Stephen Green from an organization known as Christian Voice. Green has previously said that gay people deserve the death penalty, that gay celebrities are wicked and should be publicly hung, and that LGBT people are akin to mass murderers. Sound like the type of person who ought to be legitimized by the BBC?
Not according to Pink News, which broke the story last night and has a follow-up today, saying that the BBC is being all mimsy-mumsy and coy about their decision to bring on a commentator like Green who thinks gay people deserve death penalties.
Here's a bit of history on Green. During a segment on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would criminalize homosexuality with the death penalty or life imprisonment, Green said that Ugandan legislators were moral for taking up such a bill.
And when rugby star Gareth Thomas came out of the closet, Green said that he was wicked and could lead children astray.
And to complete the trifecta of homophobia, Green also once said that LGBT people are nothing short of mass murderers, comparing one openly gay UK celebrity to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
So why did the BBC choose to give this man prime air time on their flagship show, on a story about Elton John and David Furnish having a baby? Good question. That would kind of be like Katie Couric turning to Fred Phelps to see what his thoughts were on The Kids Are All Right getting several Golden Globe nominations.
Chances are the BBC just fell victim to the rather ridiculous notion that "mainstream media" needs to give two sides to the debate over LGBT issues. But as Dan Savage so brutally and honestly told CNN last month, that's a flawed philosophy to have.
"There are no ‘two sides’ to the issue of LGBT rights. Right now one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on CNN," Savage told CNN last month.
And he's right. When the 'other side' is saying that it's moral to execute gay people, or criminalize them and lock them up, they cease being a valid 'other side.' And that's a message the BBC should hear loud and clear from folks.
Send the BBC a message that members of extreme hate groups don't belong on their airwaves. That's not providing 'fair and balanced' coverage. Rather, it's just giving a soapbox to someone with a violent, dehumanizing, and dangerous agenda.