Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« The Morning News | Meanwhile in Heterosexuality »

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

SF Chronicle Attacks Gay Parents

posted by on May 22 at 8:30 AM

The SF Chronicle screws up—big time.

In a piece about the efforts of gay foster parents and the city’s efforts to recruit more of them, Chronicle reporter Ilene Lelchuk asked Paul Cameron for a quote. The city had so much good stuff to say about same-sex couples as parents—as does the legit research—and clearly the editors at the Chronicle needed some gay-bashing “balance.”

“Focus on the Family’s objection to same-sex parents is grounded in interpretation of biblical scripture and research by Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute in Colorado. Cameron says gays and lesbians are unfit parents, are more likely to molest children of their same sex, switch partners frequently, have shorter life expectancies and cause their children embarrassment and social difficulties. ‘Any child that can be adopted into a married-mother-and-father family, that’s the gold standard,’ Cameron said. ‘An orphanage would be the second choice, and then a single woman.’”

Lies, lies, lies. Studies show again and again that gay parents are fit, are no likelier to molest their children, and that our children are perfectly well-adjusted. Here’s the most recent study. The Chronicle didn’t mention that Cameron’s research has been debunked again and again, and other pertinent details—like, oh, the fact that Cameron was kicked out of the American Psychological Association. Or that Cameron has written glowingly of German efforts to “contain” homosexuality during the Nazi dictatorship.

Going to right-wing haters like Paul Cameron for “balance” is like ringing up the Grand Wizard of the KKK for a quote when you’re writing about mixed-race marriages or rap music or soul food. It’s offensive in the extreme, it’s irresponsible journalism, and it’s way past its expiration date. Lying haters like Paul Cameron exist outside the realm of responsible discourse—just like the Klan or the American Nazi Party.

RSS icon Comments


Is it a wrong-headed attempt at "balance"? I don't think so. It's far more outrageous than that.

Posted by BD | May 22, 2007 9:16 AM

Yeah, because my straight, happily married parents never caused me embarassment or social difficulties.

Posted by Ben | May 22, 2007 9:41 AM

I also like that he thinks of an orphanage as a better solution for a kid than a single woman.


Posted by sijeka | May 22, 2007 9:42 AM

So what happens to a kid who loses his father to accident or disease? Does he get taken from his now single mother and thrown into an orphanage? Those motherfuckers are crazy.

Posted by keshmeshi | May 22, 2007 9:56 AM

This is the kind of thing that pisses me off about lazy journalism. It's like they learned in journalism school that they have to present both sides of an argument. In a general sense, that is fair enough. But it is misleading when a journalist presents both sides equally (if there is overwhelming evidence on one side), and it is irresponsible to let blatantly untrue "facts" or thoroughly debunked junk science go unchallenged.

The same kind of thing used to happen in the debate over climate change a year or two ago (it seems less prevalent these days, thankfully). They'd present a study showing climate change. Then they'd present a study (usually by an oil company "scientist") claiming climate change was a myth. Thus leaving readers with the impression that the scientific community was evenly split on the debate. When in fact a vast majority of scientists agreed with the climate change studies, and only a handful of corporate hack scientists arguing against it. An accurate reporter might reasonably show both sides, but should go on to show the imbalance of the two sides, and follow the money of the obvious bullshitters.

Same here. If they are going to get quotes by Focus on the Family, that's fine. But the reporter should make it clear that they are on the far right fringe, and should show that Cameron's research has been utterly discredited.

Posted by SDA in SEA | May 22, 2007 9:58 AM

While Focus on the Family and organizations like it are full of shit they are unfortunately free to express their opinion. What I've seen here is the typical Seattle liberal intolerance of anyone else's viewpoint that might be considered politically incorrect. Dan just from what you wrote on the slog about the actual article in The Chronicle makes it obvious that you aren't capable of any type of "responsible discourse" because you would only be willing to discuss the view you probably feel is correct and acceptable. I would imagine that anyone who doesn't feel that gays should adopt you would dismiss as categorically "wrong". Where is your tolerance for the viewpoint of others even if that viewpoint is ill informed and ignorant? Dan this is exactly why I lobbied my adoption agency to pull your book off of the reading list for prospective gay and lesbian adoptive parents. Your fullness of character makes you intolerant.

Posted by kitty | May 22, 2007 10:08 AM

read these two comments you made. Do you see the hypocrisy?

Where is your tolerance for the viewpoint of others even if that viewpoint is ill informed and ignorant?

Dan this is exactly why I lobbied my adoption agency to pull your book off of the reading list for prospective gay and lesbian adoptive parents

Posted by BD | May 22, 2007 10:16 AM

Kitty @6

The point is that the Chronicle should fully disclose who it is they are turning to as an "expert." That is a broader issue than whether or not Dan, or anyone, agrees with what they wrote.

Posted by John At Work | May 22, 2007 10:18 AM

Unfortunately, I have a journalism degree. But if I still were a reporter, I'd still know that quoting Focus on the Family for "balance" in a gay-parenting article is like quoting David Duke in article about Barack Obama's blackness.

Posted by H0RATI0SANZSERIF | May 22, 2007 10:24 AM

Here's the e-mail that I just sent to the article's author and the Chronicle's ombudsman:


Subject: Re: S.F. Chronicle quotes hate group leader on gay and lesbian adoption

Dear Ms. Lelchuk,

Thank you for the article highlighting a growing trend in adoption and foster care and the positive environment that gay men and lesbians can provide for
children who need good homes.

While I appreciate the article, I must object to your use of Paul Cameronís quote in the article. You appear
to give him legitimate authority on the subject of gay and lesbian parenting without noting that he was kicked out of the American Psychological Association, has been called the leader of a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and his research has been
debunked over and over and over again. Heís also called for the extermination of homosexuals in the past. Itís like asking the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux
Klan how he feels about African Americans and just as deeply offensive.

In contrast, study after study has shown that gay men and lesbians can be just as nurturing and supportive as heterosexual parents.

The fact that journalists give equal time to crazy liars is one of the central reasons that people distrust and despise the media.

You should print a retraction or an explanation for this misleading and incendiary section of your article.

Posted by Original Andrew | May 22, 2007 10:26 AM

So Kitty my viewpoint is that it's ok for me to kill and eat babies. Now I'll grant my view may be ignorant and ill formed but I'm sure you'll tolerate me exercising my view. Of course I'll begin at your house, just like Paul Cameron would begin at mine.

Posted by Brian | May 22, 2007 10:31 AM

Kitty, you are a Colbert Report punch-line.

Posted by Eric Grandy | May 22, 2007 10:31 AM

God I hate this kind of media manuever. Are journalists so lazy and stupid that they can't ramp up on their subject enough to distinguish a reasonable point of view from that of a complete nutcase?

Posted by Sean | May 22, 2007 10:40 AM

The primary function of a journalist is, and always should be, to find the truth in the story. Unfortunately, journalists today all too often subscribe to the canard that "balance" is more imperative than truth. This is exactly what Lelchuk has done.

Cameron's opinion, so far as he has the right to express it, is completely irrelevent and obfuscatory, and does nothing to serve the larger story Lelchuk presents. Even were it somehow germaine, if there is evidence that points to his opinion being in error, then that should have been reported as well. Just become someone expresses an opinion doesn't mean that it's true, and Lelchuk fails her journalistic mandate by not refuting Cameron's assertions by citing the studies to which Dan refers.

As for that "typical Seattle liberal intolerance" of Cameron's "opinion", it has nothing to do with the "political incorrectness" of his statements. If they're factually wrong, then he's either ignorant of those facts, in which case his misstatements deserve correction, or else he's being deliberately mendacious, in which case he deserves to be called out for his lies, which are much more a reflection of him and his organization's desperate attempts to inject an element of controvery where the available evidence would appear to irrefutably contradict his so-called "opinion".

In short, allowing Cameron to get away with telling a lie, whether deliberate or inadvertant, by framing it as an "opinion" isn't "balance", and it's not being "tolerant"; it's lazy, dishonest and just plain wrong.

Posted by COMTE | May 22, 2007 10:42 AM

@7 I don't understand why you'd object to The Kid being on the reading list. I thought it was great, and it made me feel even better about my plans to adopt kids in the future. Mind you, it also turned me off to the idea of open adoption, but it definitely made me wanna be a dad even more.

Posted by Gitai | May 22, 2007 11:10 AM

Aravosis is all over this one, too. The reporter and her editors are absolutely in the wrong here -- not for quoting Cameron in the first place -- but by quoting him without providing any context.

The context is everything here. Maybe I'm full of shit here, but I don't think it would have been as bad if she had quoted Fred Phelps -- because everybody *knows* Fred Phelps is a rabid dog.

Oh, and Kitty @ 6: Nobody is down on Cameron because he's "politically incorrect." He's FACTUALLY incorrect. Do you understand the distinction?

Posted by ivan | May 22, 2007 12:02 PM

Reporting should be "balanced" by FACT CHECKING, not including opposing viewpoints. Including FotF's quote made that story lazy, sensationalistic garbage.

Original Adrew #10 - Agree with your letter, kudos (do I say "kudos", really?) for writing it.

Posted by Dougsf | May 22, 2007 12:51 PM

My response to Kitty: "What I've seen here is the typical Seattle liberal intolerance of anyone else's viewpoint that might be considered politically incorrect"

It's not about intolerance of non-liberal viewpoints; it's about media sources representing people as experts who are disreputable. Paul Cameron has not only been kicked out of the APA, but the American Sociological Association and the Nebraska Psychological Association have also publicly stated that they reject any and all of his research on human sexuality.

Let me give you a few examples of his awesome "research"

1)Paul Cameron determined that the average life expectancy for gay men is 43 after picking up a popular gay newspaper, turning to the obituaries section and averaging the ages of the men who had died. To put this in perspective: if only half of all gay men lived to be even 75 years old, then the other half would have to die at the age of 11 for his statistic to be true.

2) Cameron published an anti-gay pamphlet stating that gay men were 14 times more likely to have syphilis than heterosexual men. This study was based exclusively on responses he got to a survey he sent out to gay men recruited ENTIRELY from VD clinics. That's like studying people at Safco field and determining that 95% of seattlites like baseball.

It's not about Cameron being politically incorrect... he is LYING.

Posted by crystina | May 22, 2007 1:23 PM

FYI, The SF Chronicle has posted a correction to the story:

Posted by COMTE | May 22, 2007 4:52 PM

dvjeamzk kufe fhuvgpem syzhpwnjv cuexiztwj pnismjl tpqsfu

Posted by fkudzh jfxavcipu | June 3, 2007 1:46 AM

nhoaq dwfsia lpvt ktosnbc ecqiomywr wzirby efud mgzuyrij nwgm

Posted by xlohp smqbedo | June 3, 2007 1:47 AM

nhoaq dwfsia lpvt ktosnbc ecqiomywr wzirby efud mgzuyrij nwgm

Posted by xlohp smqbedo | June 3, 2007 1:48 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).