Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bill O'Reilly's attack on school transgender policy is BAD journalism

Not trying to sound like a cranky old man, but I remember a time in which journalists actually researched things before they went on television and ran their mouths. But thanks to people like Roger Ailes, the standards which journalists used to aspire to have gone down the toilet. Witness Fox News' Bill O'Reilly's ignorant rant about a Massachusetts policy to protect trangender students:


O'REILLY: This is truly madness, ladies and gentlemen. You're telling me that a kid can go to a public school in Massachusetts, immediately upon entering the school take off the kid's shirt and put on a dress, alright, go to the girls' room when he's a boy, and then change his name from John to Tiffany, and then after school, put the shirt back on, go home, and he's still John.
O'REILLY: There's a difference between a conversation and a lifestyle. That's such a violation of parental rights by the state of Massachusetts. It's off the chart violation.
O'REILLY: We don't even want to get into the locker room situation here, okay? Because I know a lot of wise guys who would exploit this in a way that we're not even going to talk about.

Media Matters breaks down how many errors O'Reilly commits with his rants.

 . . . in his rush to condemn the new policy, he overlooked a few important facts about the directive and what it means to be transgender:

1. Gender Identity Is Innate And Largely Inflexible, Even In Young Children. As the MA directive explains, children who identify as transgender are typically responding to an "innate, largely inflexible" characteristic of their personality - not a random or casual "lifestyle" choice . . . This position is supported by experts at the American Psychological Association (APA).

 2. Students Aren't Allowed To Casually Change Their Gender Identity. The MA directive also establishes that schools should only accept the assertion of a student's gender identity when there is "consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity"

3. Ignoring A Student's Gender Identity Is A Bad Idea. Allowing schools to acknowledge the appropriate gender identity of transgender students is an important step in protecting transgender youth from a host of negative consequences. Studies show that unwelcoming environments do serious damage to transgender youth, and simply refusing to acknowledge transgender children has been discouraged by medical experts. Instead, the APA encourages schools to provide support to vulnerable LGBT youth. This is especially true considering the "extreme harassment" already faced by many transgender students.

4. It's Dangerous To Inform Parents About Their Child's Gender Identity Without The Child's Consent. As the MA directive explains, allowing teachers to reveal their students' transgender status to their parents without permission is a terrible idea.

 5. Schools Are Allowed To Question A Student's Gender Identity In Appropriate Circumstances. The MA directive also instructs school staff to question a student's gender identity in the highly unlikely circumstance that a student claims to be transgender for inappropriate reasons, like "wise guys" trying to get into the girls' locker room. 

I don't care whether you are a reporter or a blowhard commentator like O'Reilly, when millions of people count on you for news and views, you have a responsibility to do the proper research in order to inform them correctly.  There is just simply no excuse for spreading misinformation even if you couch your errors as simply being your opinion.

But sadly, there is no accountability for O'Reilly and others who get paid megabucks for lazy journalism

In the early 1980s, a Washington Post reporter, Janet Cooke, was drummed out of the business after she admitted to making up a story about an eight-year-old heroin addict. To this day, she doesn't write for any newspaper.

If Cooke had committed her lie in this era of irresponsible journalism, she would probably end up not only still in the business but making more money than those who do abide by the standards of good journalism.

'NOM spokesperson uses Tyler Clementi's suicide against lgbts' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

NOM’s Morse Uses Tyler Clementi's Suicide To Discuss Exploitation Of "Confused" Adolescents By Gay Activists - Dear Bryan Fischer, move out of the way because Jennifer Morse has now taken your place as the top religious right embarrassment. 

 American Christian Legal Group Exports Anti-LGBT Agenda To Brazil - For those who laugh at Pat Robertson's televised verbal antics, keep this in mind - he is the founder of an anti-gay "Christian legal group" which has a presence in Africa and Eastern Europe. And it has now moved into Brazil.  

Family Research Council: Transgender People Need Therapy, Not Nondiscrimination Protections - I would absolutely KILL, I said KILL to hear an interviewer ask  FRC's Peter Sprigg for his credentials before he/she lets him go on his homophobic monologue. The man has none. He is not a medical professional so why he is labeled as an expert? 

NY state senator Rubén Díaz bussing crowds to NOM's #marchformarriage - Great. More people to be bussed to NOM's March for Marriage.  

Over 100 Prominent Republicans Have Signed Brief Supporting Same-Sex Marriage - And the list grows.

 Camenker: Educators Who Support LGBT-Inclusive Schools Like 'Nazi Concentration Camp Guards' - The hyperbole! Oh Lord, the hyperbole!

Jennifer Morse - bad for NOM, good for the lgbt community

Last night, the Illinois House committee advanced the marriage equality bill to the full House for a vote. This came after much testimony for and against the bill. One of the folks testifying was Jennifer Morse of NOM's Ruth Institute. From what I gleaned from twitter, her testimony was bizarre and she was cut off because she went over her time. But more than that, the idea that Morse would be chosen by NOM to testify isn't a good sign. She has a history of outrageous statements. I've covered several of them and thanks to Equality Matters, here are two more: She compared supporting marriage equality to Nazism:


And then comes this clip, which is not necessarily lgbt indigenous but does give an idea of how cold-hearted she is. In this clip, she is telling women facing unwanted pregnancies to "suck it up."


Jennifer Morse is a terrible person, but she is exactly the type of person the lgbt community needs to be on the forefront of the opposition. She makes our job easier.