by Dan Savage
on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 4:45 PM
I was on CNN earlier today—very early this morning—via Skype.
First and most importantly: I hate Skype. I look like I'm dying on Skype. But there was no getting to a TV studio this AM, so I had to Skype. I HATE YOU, SKYPE.
Kyra Phillips invited me to come on CNN Newsroom to discuss this week's report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their report found that LGBT people were more at risk of being victims of hate crimes than any other minority group. SPLC:
The SPLC’s analysis of 14 years of hate crime data found that homosexuals, or those perceived to be gay, are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos. The findings are based on FBI hate crime statistics from 1995 to 2008, the period for which there is complete data. The basic pattern also holds true in individual years.
Anyway: when I was on CNN today I criticized CNN for giving the likes of Tony Perkins so much air time. Perkins is the head of the Family Research Council, one of the anti-gay hate groups cited in the SPLC's report, and a frequent guest on CNN. The interview ended immediately after I slammed CNN. Joe Jervis wrote up my appearance and said...
Here's the first (and very satisfying) fallout from yesterday's new official hate group designations by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dan Savage appeared on CNN this afternoon to slam them for giving airtime to anti-gay bigots: "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."
While otherwise sympathetic, the CNN host didn't respond to Savage's charges and ended the interview immediately.
Did I ambush CNN? Did they abruptly end the interview when I slammed them? No and no.
Typically before one goes on CNN or MSNBC—one doesn't go on Fox News, if one has any sense—one does a a pre-interview with a producer. They run you through the topic, ask you some questions, make sure you have something of interest to say. Sometimes pre-interviews are done over the phone, sometimes they're done via email. This one was done via email. Here's what I sent CNN's producer last night in response to the question, "What will it take to lower hate crimes against the gay community and debunk the ludicrous myths?"
One way we can debunk the myths is by marginalizing the liars and frauds who propagate them, men like George Rekers, who argued that being gay was sick and sinful and claimed he could teach people how to raise their children in such a way so as to prevent them from being gay. And it turns out he was gay himself. Rekers worked hand-in-glove with Tony Perkins, a frequent guest here on CNN.
There would be fewer myths to debunk if there were fewer venues for spreading them. This network should not allow itself to be used as a platform for spreading hate.
The question about what could be done to lower the rate of anti-gay hate crimes was the planned final question in the segment, CNN knew I was going to slam 'em when they asked it, and they had me on anyway. Which is to CNN's credit.